Thursday, April 1, 2021

Pack2Rack Review vs. Rac n Roll, Dream Duffel, Rack Monsters, Glam'r Gear, Dance Tower, Diva Dolly and more!

Comparing Rolling Dance bags 

Here we are approaching the end of the 2019 dance competition season. Are you still lugging around backpacks and make-shift suitcases to carry all of your costumes, accessories, make-up etc? A rolling dance bag with a rack should be at the top of your must-haves for this coming dance season! They are affordable, durable, and most of all will give you peace of mind, organization, and reduce stress when traveling to events and competitions. Best of all, you don't have to break the bank to own a bag.


Sooner or later, sooner being the better option, you should consider investing in a rolling closet.  Yes, it's an investment, but consider this: why would you fuss and muss and dig around the bottom of a bag when you can roll in with everything organized in one rolling dance bag?  For about $180.00, you can buy peace of mind, organization, and quality. Prices range anywhere from $98.00-$315.00, so there is definitely a bag out there that will fit your budget. Something to consider is when you're done with the bag, you can sell it. There's a big resale market. Check your Facebook marketplace, dance group pages, and likely your own studio. These bags generally have a long life span so there may not be many out there for sale. Hence the reason I say that taking the plunge and making a purchase is a good investment. If you're looking for a used bag a good time to look is June after recital. There are many graduating Seniors and kids who have decided to move on to other activities. Great deals can be had if you're on a tight budget. If you have to pay for shipping, then you might as well buy new. Shipping costs for these big bags are $$$, so look local when shopping. Also, warranties are for the original buyer ONLY. Warranties are generally 6-12 months depending on the brand. Normal wear and tear are NOT covered. Spare parts can be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

So then, which bag do you buy? I have no bias towards one brand or another. I am a 14-year veteran dance mom. Attending and packing for countless recitals, competitions, and conventions over the years gives me the hands-on and visual experience to provide real-life knowledge of all of the brands available. I have used and or owned almost all of the below-mentioned bags at one time or another, both personally and professionally.

There are currently 19 brands and styles of rolling dance bags with more coming on the market in the Fall of 2019. If you haven't purchased anything yet, I'd say wait. There are some very exciting new bags and changes to current bags arriving in Oct./Nov.
Everyone will have their favorite brand. Every brand will have a lemon, the same as with any product. All of these will serve you well for their intended purpose, which is to hang, store, and wheel in and out of any competition or event in an organized manner with all of your stuff in one convenient bag.
Do you have to spend $300 plus dollars to have a great bag, NO.
Is one brand better than another? YES. Rack stability is what separates one bag from being great to another bag that's just a rolling case with a rack attached. Some brands focus on maximizing storage compartments, while others are a bit more simplistic. Most all of the brands can accommodate a curtain that easily attaches to the top rack. You can have a curtain made, buy one from any local store or, some brands are now including a curtain with the bag itself or as an accessory option. Other than that, it's about personal preference of style and budget.

Unreliable racks and wheels are the key components and separate a good bag from a great bag. At every competition, you will likely see most of the brands of bags listed below. There are a few brands that consistently suffer from the dreaded leaning rack syndrome and other issues such as handles and wheels breaking. Supporting data from thousands of customers who have posted on public and private pages can be found with a simple search on the www. I personally follow groups with more the 78,563 dance moms and see such posts on a daily basis.
You can spot the dreaded leaning rack syndrome from afar. The racks are almost always in a downward leaning position regardless of how few or how many costumes are hanging on the rack. The quality of the bags will stand the test of time, weather, and abuse. If a leaning or stuck rack doesn't bother you, then you'll be fine. Here are just a few quotes from posts that I often see and hear.
"I bought a new d**** d****e and my handle broke the first time I used it as well!! I bought a new handle and am hoping this doesn't happen again." "Hate our d****d****e nothing but issues on my third one constantly needs replacement parts and all three bought brand new." I would skip the DD anytime you go into a dressing room and there is a rack that has fallen over it's always a DD."  I’ve had a D***m D****e that had the dreaded leaning and wobbling rack. I used it for 5-6 years with no real issues but a lot of aggravation from the rack feeling unsteady."

           Without further ado here are the 16 dance bags with rack options. Happy shopping!


Rac n Roll This is the brand that started it all! Designed by a dance mom for her dancing daughter. The company has over the years perfected its design and is world-renowned for its quality and service. Entering its 15th year, Rac n roll has introduced its newest model, the 4X Dual, and is yet again setting the bar high for others to follow. The Dual wheels allow for an incredibly smooth roll. The rack is very sturdy. Two side telescoping rods and a top rack. Available in 2 sizes and 4 solid colors. New to the collection is the Carry-on size bag. If you're looking for something for those lighter competition days and or airline travel, then this is a great option. The carry-on is currently offered in black only.

The Dance Tower made by Grit. World-renowned maker of hockey and ice skating bags. It was a natural move for this company to design a dance bag. The upright design takes up a minimal amount of space.  The rack, a bungee cord type system, (brilliant)! is effortless to set up and yes, the rack and the bag are very sturdy.  This bag will hold 12 costumes. The collapsible design makes for easy storing when not in use. Multiple storage pockets on the inside lid plus a detachable compartment added to the space-saving vertical style make this bag a great choice. If you are looking to have more space in the dressing room then I highly recommend the Dance Tower. Available in 3 colors, Black, Fuchsia, and Purple. Love this bag!

                                  The Ocho and its smaller sister bag, the Quattro
Looking for something big yet small? There's tons of storage space with this bag both inside and out. Specifically designed for those who have 8 or fewer costumes. An advanced system designed for the maximum capacity in a small space.  There are a total of 8 exterior and interior pockets and storage compartments. An adjustable rack extends out to 34 inches. Additional features include a zipped expandable one inch of space, locking quad wheel system, solid steel frame, and rack system, rear and side protective skid rails.  Handles on the side and top of the bag for easy handling.  Simple 3 piece steel rod system.  No mechanisms or buttons, making this rack super solid and fail-safe. New Fall Version, coming in November 2019, features a completely new rack and lid system. Racks pull up from the interior and are 100% height adjustable. The lid opens from front to back, rather than side to side (shown in these photos). New colors and patterns too!

The Quattro Traveler series is a smaller version of the Ocho and is intended to store up to 4 costumes plus your gear. The dimensions are designed to have the capability of traveling on a plane without having to check your bag. Each airline has its own sizing guidelines for carry-on luggage, therefore it is advised that you check with the airline for current rules. If you like the vertical style, easy setup, and tons of organizational opportunities, then either of these bags is a top contender. 

The Quattro Traveler G2
Several changes and new features for the Fall 2019 line. The G2 has a front-to-back, adjustable lid. 
Interior, fully adjustable, retractable rack, a hanger bracket, and USB port integration. Rack sets up in seconds and locks in place at any height. The new lid design provides for easier and quicker access to contents. The hanger bracket replaces the D-rings for faster and simpler placement of costumes. 3 color options, all a faux snakeskin. 


A different twist in design!  Now in its 3rd season. The first to offer an adjustable height rack. It's truly a rolling dressing room.  The optional curtain offers a sense of privacy. Simply attach via velcro straps onto a pull-out u-shaped rod system. This bag also allows the lid cover to close completely while the side rods are exposed. Similar style bags cannot be zippered shut when the rack is in place. There is a side pouch with a strap locking system to hold a chair in place on the exterior.  The rack system has 3 adjustable height sections, the 1st of its kind. A unique stabilizer insert piece adds great support to the rack.  There are interior and exterior pockets and storage compartments to store all of your shoes and accessories.  This bag has a 4 wheel coaster system allowing you to push or pull the bag.  9 colors and 2 sizes.

The Pliante.' This bag collapses making it easy to store during the off-season. Loaded with pockets inside and outside, it's difficult not to be
organized. There is also a cooler pack pocket for food or drinks, as well as a mesh pocket to hold a water bottle. A huge backside zippered pocket is big enough to store a folding stool. The Pliante' is is the FIRST bag of its kind to offer the USB Port integration onboard the bag. You will always have power for your phone, iPad, etc. The interior liner matches the exterior webbing color. i.e. Pink exterior webbing has a pink interior liner, etc. 2 sizes, 4 colors. The

Pliante' V2, arriving this Fall 2019,  they've added several additional zipped compartment sections, also new is the "Flip-Lock" system. This allows for an adjustable rack which gives you complete control of the rack height. Matching color block curtains are included with the bag. And something super cool is the new colored wheels. 3 new colors for this season! Holds up to 18 costumes and all of your accessories and gear. A really great bag!


New for the 2020 Fall season is the Pliante' GS series. Adding to the Pliante' family is the Le' Petite, which is a smaller version of the standard size. 
The Petite is designed to hold up to 10 costumes plus your gear. 
Curtain is included with all versions of the Pliante' bags.
 Lots of options for colors this fall with the addition of several new colors and patterns.
As always, the interior liner, handles, zippers, and wheels match the trim color.

Litz dance bag. Wow! A brilliant design. Instead of an exterior rack, the Litz bag has an internal rack that can be pulled out or used in its closed position. The door has very deep zippered compartments covered in mesh. This gives you easy viewing and allows your shoes, accessories, or whatever you desire to store, the ability to breathe. 6 patented caster wheels for super easy maneuverability. This bag is huge! Standing taller than any of the other brands at 36 inches. A generous depth allows you to hang and store up to 12 costumes. This is by far the most convenient bag on the market today. There is literally no setup required. Simply hang your costumes, pack your bag, and you are done. Currently, the Litz dance bag is sold as a bundle set which includes a matching duffel sack and backpack. This is definitely a bag to consider owning. 2 colors. Black with Pink or Black with a Maze Gold.


Diva Dolly  This product is a trunk/trolley style.  It is definitely not
a bag.  It is completely unique in its style and functionality.  The Dolly has three pull-out drawers that are on gliders and are fully lined. The top tray area has divider pieces for maximum organization. The rack is a telescoping system that is easy to put together in seconds.  There are six coaster wheels for easy maneuverability and can be pushed or leaned to pull for transporting. This case is heavy! Weighing in at 34 lbs. without anything in it. You definitely need two people to load in and out of a vehicle. You can hang up to 6 costumes on the inside and on the rack. That said, the interior hanging area lacks in width and thus you have to hang the costumes without using a  protective garment bag, which can be an issue. This product is best suited if your intent is to store your costumes in the drawers. The mirror is small, so I would suggest purchasing a hanging mirror, other than that this product is very cool. Colors vary from season to season.

Dance Star  Be a star and travel like one too! Loving this trunk!  This case is quite innovative in its design and is made in the USA. Featuring a 360-degree rack. The Dance Star will easily accommodate 18 costumes. There are 5 pull-out drawers to store and organize all of your make-up, accessories, and gear. The Dance Star comes with a lifetime warranty. It is scratch-resistant and water-resistant with a lock-tight lid to keep moisture out. This case is built to last! 13 color options. Love this "bag."


The Dance Angel dance bag has a very unique rack design.  This bag stands in an upright position and is on 4 spinners' wheels. Two sizes, Carry-on and Large and has a patent for its rack system. The rack is placed in its own separate compartment behind the interior. You unzip the compartment and pull on the metal loop to pull up the rack, you then pull out the sides to extend the hanging area. Super easy and smooth setup. The Larger bag will hold up to 8 costumes on the inside and the carry-on size 3 at most. The lack of extendable width on the rack can make it difficult to properly hang your costumes. The d-rings on this bag are not secured. The result is your costumes don't hang on the interior because it pulls down when a hanger is placed on it. The lack of pockets and storage compartments both inside and outside, makes this bag unappealing and disappointing as it does not address the need to organize your gear. The wheels flow very nicely.


The Pack2Rack  There are several storage compartments that it's tough to decide what you want to put where. On the outside, there are 3 compartments. On the front side, there is a cooler style pocket, next to that is a zippered pocket and in between these is a mesh compartment to hold a water bottle.  On the backside, there is a huge zippered pocket.  Here you can place an accessory stool or a change of clothes etc. The interior has an elongated mesh compartment and on the opposite side are two zippered storage compartments, 1 large and 1 small.

The lid opens to the side which hangs on the top rack. The lid is loaded with clear zippered pockets.  My favorite pocket is the elongated vertical pocket for convenient storage. The rack is a 3 piece metal pole system. 2 round side poles quickly slip into the holding support system and click into place. The 3rd top piece simply clicks onto the side pieces. Lastly, when the bag is not in use it completely collapses. It is a very nice design and I love all of the compartments on the lid.

Ovation Gear This bag is a combination of the Pack2Rack collapsing mechanism and the Rac n Roll box style. It's a simple bag with your basic pockets. 2 outside pockets, 4 interior pockets, and a zippered mesh compartment on the inside of the lid. They do have a very cool privacy feature for this bag. At every event that we attend, we've seen this bag. The rack has a tendency to lean.  For me, the most important component of these types of products is the rack. The rack should be sturdy, reliable and not lean. The quality of the fabric is on par with all other brands. Offered in two sizes with multiple color options.



Closet Trolley. This brand was born from the design of the Dream Duffel. The rack on the Closet Trolley is strong, stable and dependable. One size, 3 trim colors. A simple straightforward design. Haven't heard or seen any complaints about this product.




Simply Caddy
This bag boasts a very unique design. The rack is actually on the side of the bag. It is also a collapsible bag for easy storing in the off-season. Another feature is the removable tray on the interior which is attached with velcro. Outside cooler pocket plus an additional exterior front pocket. Mesh compartment on the inside of the lid. Nice quality bag with a stable rack. One size, one color, black.




The Mavii, pictured to the left, and the Travolution is also known as the Ecogear, depending on which site you visit, are pictured to the right.
These bags SEEM to be one in the same bag each is the same sizing.

The rack on the Travolution is less than desirable. "The quality of the rack and the parts and the ability to assemble leaves a lot to be desired." The rack is very thin flimsy, leans, and is unstable. "The rack is a cheap plastic unit that goes together by pushing the rods into the plastic ends and then the legs into holes inside the bottom of the bag. The holes weren't big enough for the rods and we had to do some serious engineers to get them to fit. They are tough to back out of the holes as well, and the plastic bit broke within a month of purchase." The noticeable differences that one can see are that the bag to the left is a cloth-type fabric. The bag to the right is a nylon fabric. The pocket style is a tad bit different, however, the configuration is basically the same. Also noted is that the Travolution opens on the bottom for additional storage space. To be fair, I have not seen the Mavii other than photos. I have seen the Travolution. All those whom I have known to purchase the bag to the right have gone on to purchase other brands. Some do like this bag. Again, the rack is the issue. Both are very inexpensive, in fact, they are less than any other brand. Prices vary widely on these bags depending on which site you visit. They range anywhere from $98.00-276.00 for the exact same bag! The most expensive being on Amazon.





17 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this! My daughter (6) will be starting comp dance in the fall and she is asking Santa for one of these. She has seen the older comp girls have them and I love how organized everything is. There are so many different brands it's overwhelming to choose the right one.

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  2. I did not see a review specifically for the rac n roll.... how does that perform?

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    1. Oops, we were updating pictures and forget to add back in! Check back shortly. Great bag!

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  3. Did you review the dream duffel, I only see the closet trolley

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    1. Hello, due to certain restrictions on this brand, we are only able to provide quotes from customer posts.

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  4. You mention that some new bags were going to be coming out in October and November 2019 and I'm wondering if they came out and what your thoughts are on the new ones?

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    1. Hello, the newly designed Ocho dance bag is the same configuration as the last several versions. The new lid and internal adjustable rack is shown in the smaller sister bag, the Quattro G2. There will be new styles, and likely brands, coming out for the 2020 season. Glam'r Gear has already introduced the new "Demi" collapsible bag. Information will be posted as it becomes available.

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  5. Thank you so much for putting this together. Do you have any reviews of dance garment bags? I know a lot of the brands mentioned above sell their own. Didn’t know if you had any opinions on which ones are better.

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    1. We have an entire blog post just about costume garment bags.
      : )

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  6. What about the Backstage TravelRack? Any opinion, especially on rack stability?

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    1. This is a new brand and appears to be the same design and components of the Ovation Gear and Pliante' bags. Being that this bag has not yet surfaced at any competitions there aren't any sightings or reviews.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. We used to have a Dream Duffel, but it practically fell apart after about 10 months of use. Hated how it looked too. Most of the dance mums I know were ditching their duffels for DivaDollys and my daughter practically forced me to get one too. Really really glad I did. She chose the pink and white design, and people are always commenting on how great it looks. My daughter loves this. Really wouldn't recommend wasting money on the other bags, one DivaDolly will last you years & the kids love them. Really you can't go wrong.

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  9. We purchased a Rac n Roll spring of 2020 and had issues with it from day 1. The evening before the 1st competition one of the wheels completely fell off and we had to rush to the hardware store to find screws to match to somehow get the wheel back on. Then after 1 use the lining ripped. I have contacted them and they say that they are going to take it back, I hope I see my refund. I had a D.Duffel for years and was always happy but it was a medium size and with 2 girls dancing it was too small and I also found it heavy. I am realizing I need two separate bags and am going to now give the closet trolley a try.

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  10. Nice post to read. Here you have explained the matter nicely. If anyone wish to know more about guitar lessons tucson | private dance lessons can visit, Thanx for the post, keep sharing. Cheers...!!

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  11. What is your favorite most affordable bag? We are new to the dance comp scene. I want something that will last but won't break the bank.

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  12. We have a Grit tower and love it! Been using it for 5 yrs now and not one issue. Easy to load, pull and set up. Can't say enough about it.

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