With winter just around the corner, all you can think about is carving that first line of fresh, untouched powder. The barren mountaintops will soon be sheeted with white and the ski lifts will come alive in a squealing torrent of turning gears. Your skis are tuned and waxed and you’ve installed a fancy heater into your favorite boots this year.
Better yet, you’ve got the car packed and plane tickets bought — but how are you going to safely transport all your gear to the mountains? Ski and snowboard bags are essential for travel to avoid dinging and denting your precious equipment. Here are our picks for the best ski bags you can buy, covering soft shell, hard shell, and rolling models for both skis and snowboards.
Things to consider
Especially where air travel is concerned, it can be cumbersome getting your equipment to its final destination in good condition. 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.
There are two primary types of snowboard and ski bags: wheeled and non-wheeled.
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 there are some on the market that carry more than one.
For those who want to ensure their equipment arrives completely unblemished, 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.
Depending on the type of bag, each come with their own set of distinguishing features. It’s important to know in advance which features you absolutely need and which you’re willing to go without. For example, interior gear straps are essential 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.
The best soft style ski bag
The High Sierra Deluxe Double Ski Bag ($50)
Theis designed to be your go-to ski bag, with all the features you need for frequent traveling at an affordable price. The main compartment boasts a holding capacity of two pairs of skis measuring up to 185 centimeters in length. The interior features a divider panel and straps to keep the skis separated and in place throughout the duration of travel.
The center of the bag is padded to protect the bindings and there are quick-release compression straps on each end that can be adjusted as needed. The exterior features a padded tow handle and neoprene-padded handle wrap for added comfort. Inline skate-style wheels provide for easy transportation and the durability of the 600-denier Duralite fabric makes it so you never need to worry about your ski bag wearing out.
The best hard style ski bag
The Sportube Series 2 ($180)
If you want the added protection of a hard case, theoffers all the bells and whistles. This high-density polyethylene case fits up to two pairs of skis, or four pairs of cross-country skis, measuring up to 210 centimeters. Interior straps allow for separate packing of skis and padding at both ends makes for additional protection.
In addition to being durable, the Sportube is lightweight, weighing in at just 12 pounds when empty. It includes an easy pull handle for transit and wheels so you can travel with ease. This ski case was also designed to be lockable, providing for added measures of security and reassurance while traveling.
The best soft style snowboard bag
Burton Wheelie Gig ($170)
Produced by one of the most renowned snowboard companies, the Burton Wheelie Gig has long been a fan favorite thanks to its stellar design. Burton crafted it with durable 600D polyester to ensure protection and longevity. In addition to your snowboard, it packs tons of room for extra gear so you can store everything you need, whether you’re embarking on a weekly terrain park trip or a weeklong expedition.
The bag holds snowboards measuring between 146 centimeters to 181 centimeters and moving the bag around is easy with padded handles, a removable padded shoulder strap, and IXION wheels. An added bonus? It features an external zippered accessory pocket. This top-notch snowboard bag is everything you ever wanted in a streamlined design.
The best hard style snowboard bag
The Sportube Series 3 ($270)
Providing for the utmost protection, the bombproofwas designed to hold two snowboards with boots and bindings. Additionally, it can be converted into a ski carrier to transport up to three pairs of adult skis and poles. This carrying case is adjustable up to 183 centimeters to keep gear from rattling around and, similar to the Sportube Series 2, features padding at both ends.
The wheels make for efficient maneuverability and a strap and band pack is included. The product is designed with two handles as well as an easy pull handle so that even for its large carrying capacity, it can be moved without hassle. When you need to transport multiple boards and can’t afford to sacrifice protection, the Sportube Series 3 will see you confidently to your final destination.
The best convertible bag for skis or snowboards
High Sierra Wheeled Double Ski/Snowboard Combo ($120)
When convertibility is key, you need a bag that can do it all. Theis ideal if you’re both a skier and a snowboarder that frequently transitions between equipment. The interior provides enough room for a ski or a board up to 183 centimeters and the main compartment is fully padded with an interior strap system that keeps your gear organized and in place.
Long webbing handles double as a shoulder strap and High Sierra built plastic-molded rub rails on the bottom of the bag for protection from abrasion. Perhaps one of its best features are the inline skate-style wheels which help get you quickly to wherever you’re going. When you’ve got two sets of equipment and want to be able to use one bag for both, the High Sierra Wheeled Double Ski/Snowboard Combo has you covered.
The best rolling luggage for snowboards
Dakine High Roller Snowboard Bag ($200)
If you’re looking for a rolling bag with lots of features, the Dakine High Roller is versatile and boasts plenty of space. The bag fits two snowboards, one with bindings mounted, one pair of boots, and a bit of outerwear. Dakine padded the High Roller entirely and it comes with two removable interior pockets and two exterior pockets for keeping essentials on hand. The interior pockets provide enough space for your boots, clothes, and other snowboard accessories. Durable urethane wheels make for easy and efficient transit through airports, resorts, and down city streets. The Dakine High Roller is for when you need lots of space and want just one bag to do it all.
The best rolling luggage for skis
Dakine Boundary Roller Ski Bag ($210)
The Dakine Boundary Roller ski bag is not just a ski bag — it’s a storage unit on wheels. This fully-featured product holds two pairs of skis and one set of poles and includes enough room for a variety of other essentials. A removable tarp-lined bag is ideal for wet boots and a vented outerwear bag allows your musky clothes to breathe.
The bag provides padding all the way around for complete equipment protection and its precisely designed end handles make for single-hand operation, which allows you to pull your gear with one hand while keeping your passport and plane ticket in the other. When performance matters, Dakine delivers with its Boundary Roller ski bag.