The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The Best Ski and Snowboard Bags for 2020

It’s almost fall, which means it’s practically skiing and snowboarding season. While a good bag is excellent for getting your gear to the mountains and ski resorts, it’s also a great way to store away your ski or snowboard until the weather turns cold once again, and the ski resorts start to open back up.

Ski and snowboard bags are essential for travel to avoid dinging and denting your expensive equipment, and many are padded, offering additional protection. Here are our picks for the best ski and snowboard bags you can buy, covering soft shell, hard shell, and rolling models for both snowsports.

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. While any protective case will protect your investment in some form, only padded solutions provide true protection from dings and scratches. The case itself is fairly compact and room enough to fit one pair of skis inside. Even with the padding, you’ll still be able able to fold up the back for easy placement in a locker when on the hill, and 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. Some users do report that it takes a little bit of finagling to get fat skis or twin tips into the bag. But even with those issues (which wouldn’t affect too many skiers anyway), we feel confident in recommending the Ski Sleeve as one of our top picks.

High Sierra Ski Bag and Ski Boot Bag Combo

Our next recommendation comes from High Sierra, whose ski bag and ski boot bag combo is too good of a deal to pass up. For about $40, you’re getting two decent bags for the price you’d typically pay for just one. Are there some negatives to these bags? Sure. There’s no padding, and these bags likely will not last as long as some of our other recommendations. 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 offers a snowboard bag combo that is similar to the ski bag combo, at an equally good price. In either case, it’s one-size-fits-all. While that might not matter for most men’s equipment, women might find these bags a little bigger than what they might need.

Ski Bag Combo:

Snowboard Bag Combo:

Burton Gig

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 two versions, one with wheels and one without, the bag is fully padded to ensure that your equipment doesn’t get damaged in transport. We personally recommend the wheeled version of the Gig as its easier to transport around — but if you don’t mind carrying your equipment, the non-wheeled version of the bag is significantly cheaper.

Both bags 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). We owned a Gig ourselves and were able to squeeze or bots and some other things into the bag without an issue. The bag has held up well over time, too, an example of the quality we expect from Burton.

Non-wheeled:

Wheeled:

Sportube Series 3

Want the ultimate in protection for your ski and snowboard equipment? Try a hard case like the Sportube Series 3. Originally designed as a case that could hold up to two snowboards with bindings and boots, users found that the Sportube could 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. While it’s one of our most expensive recommendations, the Sportube is by far the most versatile, and if you can afford it — we’d recommend this one above all others.

Dakine Fall Line

If you’re looking for a bag that has a little more space than Dakine’s Ski Sleeve, then the Fall Line is a great option. You’ll be able to fit at least two pairs of skis comfortably in this padded bag, with space for additional items like ski boots and poles, too. Making things even better is the fact that this bag has wheels with a strap on the top to allow for much easier transport. Zippered pockets on the outside allow you to store additional small 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. Several sizes and styles are available.

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.

Features

Depending on the type of bag, each come with their 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 at will.

Exterior compression straps are an ideal feature 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.

Editors' Recommendations