Winter is officially here, and that means skiing and snowboarding season is too. While a good bag is excellent for getting your gear to the mountains and ski resorts, it’s also a great way to store your ski or snowboard until the weather turns cold again and the ski resorts reopen. Keep moisture and dust off your gear so when you pull it out next season it’ll be ready to go.
In addition to a good waterproof duffel bag, ski and snowboard bags are essential for travel to avoid dinging and denting your expensive equipment, and many are padded, offering additional protection. This is especially if you plan to travel. Not sure where to go? Colorado is a great ski destination and you can even stay in Hunter S. Thompson’s cabin while you’re there. Wherever you decide to go, here are our picks for the best ski and snowboard bags you can buy, covering soft shells, hard shells, and rolling models for both snowsports.
Db The Djarv Snow Roller Ski Bag
If only the best will do, Db’s The Djarv Snow Roller is one of the most versatile and smartly designed ski bags on the market. At north of $260, it’s pricey. But that investment includes an ultra-durable face fabric, rolling compression to accommodate a wide range of skis, and easy-roll wheels so navigating airports is a breeze. The variable capacity of between 15 to 150 liters also makes it ideal for virtually any size load.
Evo Roller Ski Bag
Evo’s in-house brand is a solid mid-range option for skiers and snowboarders on a budget. It boasts many of the same features as its more expensive competitors, including compression straps and dual handles for versatile hauling. We especially love the smart organization, including the main compartment that’s large enough for two pairs of skis, plus interior and exterior pockets for wrangling your essential gear.
Thule RoundTrip Ski Roller Ski Bag
Thule knows a thing or two about protecting and transporting gear. The brand brings its considerable experience and design prowess to bear on the RoundTrip Ski Roller. It’s spacious enough for two pairs of alpine skis up to 175cm in length, with a protective sleeve for stashing poles, too. Internal compartments provide plenty of extra storage space, while lockable zippers keep everything secure in transit. It’s the priciest option on this list. But for hardcore enthusiasts who need to protect the best skis and the best snowboards, it’s worth every penny.
Dakine Padded Ski Sleeve
The Dakine Padded Ski Sleeve is the padded version of Dakine’s popular Ski Sleeve carrying case and the one we recommend for the additional protection it provides your skis. It’s fairly compact, with room enough to fit a single pair of skis. Even with the padding, you’ll be able to fold up the back for easy placement in a locker when on the hill. Owners report that the bag holds up well over time, a testament to Dakine’s quality as one of the best ski brands. While a normal pair of skis should fit into this case without a problem, those with fatter skis or twin tips may want to look for a slightly larger bag.
High Sierra Ski Bag and Ski Boot Bag Combo
For less than $40, High Sierra offers two decent ski bags for the price you’d typically pay for one. The downside is that there’s no padding, and the durability isn’t on par with other pricier alternatives. But for a beginning skier, it’s a great deal considering all the money you’ll be spending for the rest of your gear. Snowboarder? Don’t worry, High Sierra also offers athat is similar to the ski bag combo at an equally good price.
Burton Gig Snowboard Bag
Burton’s Gig snowboard bag has been around for the better part of two decades, so it only makes sense that we put it in the list of our top picks. Available in wheeled and non-wheeled versions, the bag is fully padded to ensure that your equipment doesn’t get damaged in transit. We personally recommend the wheeled version of the Gig, as it’s easier to transport. But if you don’t mind carrying your equipment, the non-wheeled version of the bag is significantly cheaper. Both are available in a variety of sizes and styles, and there is plenty of room inside the bag to store additional items and zippered outside compartments, too.
Sportube Series 3 Ski and Snowboard Case
Want the ultimate in protection for your ski and snowboard equipment? Try a hard case like the Sportube Series 3. Designed as a case that can hold up to two snowboards with bindings and boots, users find that the Sportube can also hold up to three pairs of alpine skis, including poles for each. The company says there are many other combinations of equipment that would also fit as well. While there is only one size available, the telescopic design allows you to customize the size of the case to what you’re carrying inside. The exterior is made of high-density polyethylene plastic, which adds little extra weight. While the Sportube Series 3 does have handles for easy transport, the included heavy-duty wheels allow you to roll it around with ease. You can even strap it to your roof rack if need be, and the outer case will keep your skis protected from the elements and road grime on your way to the hill. It’s a pricey option, but it’s the most versatile on this list.
Dakine Fall Line Ski Roller Travel Bag
If you’re looking for a bag with a little more space than Dakine’s Ski Sleeve, the Fall Line is a great alternative. You’ll be able to fit at least two pairs of skis comfortably in this padded bag, with room for additional items like ski boots and poles, too. We love that the built-in wheels also allow for easy transport. Zippered pockets on the outside provide additional storage space for the smaller items you might need on the slopes. Buyers speak highly of the durability of the bag and its spaciousness. The bag has supports near the bottom but is foldable elsewhere, allowing for easy storage.
How to Pick the Right Ski Bag
Especially where air travel is concerned, it can be cumbersome getting your equipment to its final destination in good condition, even with the best gear rack. Make sure you transport your gear in the proper type of luggage that meets your gear’s particular needs.
Types of Ski and Snowboard Bags
There are two primary types of ski and snowboard bags: Wheeled and non-wheeled. The benefits of wheeled ski bags include wheels on one end for efficient transport and adequate padding to protect your equipment from damage during travel. Wheeled ski bags are generally larger, made to accommodate two or three pairs of skis in addition to ski poles — and sometimes boots. Wheeled snowboard bags are available in either a single or double version.
Non-wheeled ski bags can be purchased with or without padding — although padding is highly recommended, especially for air travel. Either version is available in single or double options, denoting the capacity to carry either one or two pairs of skis. Similar to ski bags, non-wheeled snowboard bags are available in padded or non-padded options. Most hold just one snowboard and bindings, but some on the market carry more than one.
For those who want to ensure their equipment arrives undamaged, there are hard travel cases that do the best job of protecting skis and snowboards from damage. These are ideally used for flights where you change planes multiple times or for traveling under unexpected circumstances. Hard travel cases often accommodate multiple pairs of skis or snowboards.
Essential Features of Ski and Snowboard Bags
Every ski bag comes with its own set of distinguishing features. It’s essential to know in advance which features you need and which you’re willing to go without. For example, interior gear straps are necessary for separating multiple pairs of skis within a bag and holding them in place, assuring they don’t bump against one another during transit. These are typically made of nylon and can be tightened and adjusted as necessary.
Exterior compression straps are ideal to reduce bulk and keep skis or snowboards from loosening from their interior straps. For skis that are shorter than the ski bag, compression straps can also be used to tuck up the extra fabric and shorten the bag so the skis are less likely to jostle.
Padded straps are ideal if you know you’re going to be carrying your skis or snowboard over your shoulder. The equipment is heavy no matter how far you’re traveling and, especially for longer trips, padded straps save the integrity of your back and shoulders.
In addition to the skis and snowboards themselves, when you’re traveling to the slopes, you’re likely going to be bringing plenty of other gear. Pockets in your ski or snowboard bag help save room in your suitcase by storing goggles, gloves, and other winter essentials.
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