Skiing/Boarding

The 10 Best Ski & Snowboard Travel Bags [2018-2019]

With great skis and boards comes great responsibility, they say. Taking your skis on a plane or car can be a hassle but a good ski/snowboard bag can make the journey much easier.

Let’s not even mention the bag handlers throwing your skis around and the need for a good bag that will protect your expensive investment is obvious.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Ski Boot Bags, Ski Racks, Ski Goggles.

Quick Answer: The 10 Best Ski & Snowboard Bags For 2018

Single Ski Bags

  1. High Sierra Deluxe Single Ski Bag
  2. Sportube Series 1 Travel Case
  3. Athalon PaddedSingle Ski Bag

Double Ski Bags

  1. Thule RoundTrip Double Ski Bag
  2. Sportube Series 2 Double Ski Hard Case
  3. High Sierra Deluxe Wheeled Double Ski Bag

Snowboard Bags

  1. Burton Wheelie Gig Snowboard Bag
  2. Sportube Series 3 Special Edition
  3. Dakine High Roller Snowboard Bag
  4. Thule RoundTrip Snowboard Roller Bag

Here is a feature overview of our 3 top rated ski and snowboard bags with our buying guide below.

Best Ski & Snowboard Travel Bags

 High Sierra Single Ski BagThule RoundTrip Double Ski BagBurton Snowboard Wheelie Gig Bag
Capacity:One pair of skis up to 185 cmTwo pairs of skis up to 192 cmTwo snowboards up to 181 cm
Construction:Fabric/NylonFabric/NylonFabric/Nylon
Features:Quick-release adjustable compression strapsThick padded ski protection, full length zipper that locksFully padded for complete board protection, full length contoured zipper with TSA-Approved locks
Wheels:NoYes, High quality urethane wheelsYes, High quality urethane wheels

Best Single Ski Bags

#1 High Sierra Deluxe Single Ski Bag

High Sierra Deluxe Single Ski Bag

The High Sierra Ski Bag will accommodate one pair of skis up to 185cm long, this single ski bag should meet the needs of most skiers.

The nylon fabric construction is super-durable and will last many years of heavy use. This bag is made to withstand the abuse of the baggage handlers while protecting your skis.

The bag has a good amount of padding in the center of the bag designed to protect your ski bindings, I have to say I like this feature. The long handles can be used as a shoulder strap as well for easy carrying of your skis.


#2 Sportube Series 1 Travel Case

Sportube Series 1 - Travel Case

When you want more protection for your skis, then you want the Sportube. Barring being run over by a truck you can rest assured no matter what the baggage handlers do, your skis will be fully protected in the high density, lightweight polyethylene hard-shell case.

The Sportube Original hard-shell carry case adjusts in length from 48″ to 83″ (122cm to 212cm) with padding on both ends to prevent damage to the nose or tail of your skis. It will accommodate a pair of skis up to 210cm in length plus your poles.

If you’re into cross country skiing, it will fit up to two pairs and to make transporting your skis easy, the Sportube has polyurethane roller wheels and a pull handle.

Plan on traveling by car? Strap the Sportube on your rack to protect them from mud, dirt and salt. The Sportube cost more than a nylon ski bag, but it offers unmatched protection for your expensive skis.


#3 Athalon Single Padded Ski Bag

Athalon Single Padded Ski Bag

The rugged polyester fabric construction from a well loved name, makes this inexpensive single ski bag a good choice!

Athalon has been making quality ski accessories for decades and this budget priced ski bag is worthy of protecting your skis. I have used an Athalon boot bag for years and can attest to their quality products.

Keep an eye on ski length when ordering this product as you’ll need to make certain your ski bag can accommodate the length of your skis. I like the simple, no-frills design, and trust Athalon to make a durable product.


Best Double Ski Bags

#1 Thule RoundTrip Double Ski Bag

Thule RoundTrip Ski Roller BagThis is a wheeled double ski bag, we’re glad Thule had the forethought to add this feature. Any double ski or board bag is going to be way too cumbersome and heavy to carry around without the wheels.

This double ski bag takes a slight edge over the Transpack (below) for one reason the “S” shaped zipper. This makes it much easier to load and unload your skis and equipment.

This bag has room for a pair of skis, ski boots, helmet, goggles, and everything else you can imagine. Lock the zippers on this bag to help add an extra layer of protection from the opportunistic thief who might want that nice new pair of goggles you’re carrying.

With Thule quality, its hard to go wrong here with the RoundTrip!


#2 Sportube Series 2 Double Ski Hard Case

Sportube Series 2 Double Ski Hard Case

Just like the Sportube Original, except that this case is meant to protect 2 pair of alpine skis and poles and up to 4 pairs of cross country skis in the polyethylene hard-shell case.

Like the Original, it will accommodate skis up to 210cm in length and offers the same level of protection. The Series 2 has polyurethane roller wheels and a pull strap for easy transport. If your traveling by car you can strap the Sportube to the roof for easy transport while being protected from salt and mud.

With its almost complete protection from abuse, this is the best ski bag for air travel. The Sportube can be locked up for extra protection, if traveling by plane make sure your get a TSA approved lock.


#3 High Sierra Deluxe Wheeled Double Ski Bag

High Sierra Deluxe Wheeled Double Ski Bag

High Sierra gives us room, for 2 pairs of skis up to 185 cm long with this travel bag. The fully padded main compartment provides plenty of protection against your skis damaging each other.

I like the easy to use tie down straps and the padded divider that will keep your skis safe and from rubbing against each other.

Probably the strongest asset this ski bag has going for it is the high quality urethane roller wheels for easy carrying through the airport, making this the best ski bag with wheels. You can also sling it over your shoulder if need be, a nice feature.

High Sierra went the extra mile on this one to provide an extra stash pocket for gloves, hats, and accessories in order to maximize use of this large bag.

The hardened plastic “rub rails” on the bottom of the bag keep prevent abrasion from ruining the bag, especially helpful since you know the airport handlers will be dragging the bag around!


Best Snowboard Bags

#1 Burton Wheelie Gig Snowboard Bag

Burton Wheelie Gig Snowboard BagFew manufacturers can claim to know a sport as well as Burton knows boarding. With a dedicated wheel system designed specifically to support this multi-board bag, we’re pretty sure you’ll love the function.

The fully padded design means that this double board bag has all the protection you’ll need to carry your gear. Removable shoulder strap and carrying handles gives you the choice to shoulder sling it or wheel it around the airport on your travels.

We appreciate that they added the lockable zippers because it’s just good insurance these days. Like all Burton equipment, its top notch and probably the best snowboard bag.


#2 Sportube Series 3 Special Edition

Sportube Series 3 - Snowboard and Multi-Ski Special Edition

When you want the ultimate in protection for your snowboard, you want the Sportube Series 3. The high-density polyethylene hard-shell case is tough and durable.

The Series 3 will fit up to 2 snowboards, with bindings and boots or 3 pairs of alpine skis plus it gives you some extra storage in the tube for gloves and goggles. The Series 3 has easy glide wheels with a pull strap for transport from the car to hotel or around the airport.

The Sportube adjusts in length from 42 to 72 inches (107-183 cm) to keep your snowboard and ski gear from rattling around plus padding on both ends of the case. Traveling by car? Strap the Sportube to your roof rack for protection from road salt and dirt.

If you’re traveling by plane, I would say this is the best snowboard bag for air travel. For extra security, lock it up with a TSA approved lock, not included.


#3 Dakine High Roller Snowboard Bag

Dakine High Roller Snowboard Travel BagOffered in 3 sizes from 157cm – 175cm, this bag is going to fit your boards like a glove. Constructed from 600 denier polyester, these bags should hold up well against any abuse thrown their way.

Featuring exterior access boot pockets, these bags have room for more than just your board. It’s nice to have the ability to carry all your gear in one bag and the soft snowboard boots won’t damage your boards!

The fully padded bag protects your board from tip to tail while the lockable zippers secure your equipment from prying eyes. Biggest drawback? If you want to carry 2 snowboards, you will have to remove the bindings.


#4 Thule RoundTrip Snowboard Roller Bag

Thule RoundTrip Snowboard Roller Bag

Last but certainly not least is the Thule Roundtrip. Thule makes some of the best quality gear out there and the Roundtrip is no exception!

Featuring heavy duty wheels on this 170cm board bag, you won’t be burdened down while traveling.

The “Monster size” interior has space for multiple boards or tons of equipment so you can keep all your gear organized in one bag! I like the removable shoulder strap for some added versatility and the beefy zippers won’t break, even after years of abuse.

At the end of the day, this bag is made for boarders with a serious load of gear who need all the space to carry it! In my opinion this is the best snowboard bag with wheels.


Ski & Snowboard Bag Comparison Table

Ski / Snowboard Travel Bag Best ForCapacityWheelsShellRating
High Sierra Deluxe Single Ski BagSkis1 Pair SkisNoSoft Shell4.3 / 5.0
Sportube OriginalSkis1 Pair SkisYesHard Shell4.0 / 5.0
Athalon Single Padded Ski BagSkis1 Pair SkisNoSoft Shell4.5 / 5.0
Thule RoundTrip Double Ski BagSkis2 Pair SkisYesSoft Shell4.7 / 5.0
Sportube Series 2 Double Ski Hard CaseSkis2 Pair SkisYesHard Shell4.1 / 5.0
Swix Norwegian Double Wheeled Ski BagSkis2 Pair SkisYesSoft Shell4.7 / 5.0
Burton Wheelie Gig Snowboard BagSnowboards2 SnowboardsYesSoft Shell4.6 / 5.0
Sportube Series 3 Special EditionSkis / Snowboards3 Pair Skis / 2 SnowboardsYesHard Shell3.6 / 5.0
Dakine High Roller Snowboard BagSnowboards2 SnowboardsYesSoft Shell4.6 / 5.0
Thule RoundTrip Snowboard Roller BagSnowboards2 SnowboardsYesSoft Shell5.0 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Ski & Snowboard Bag

best-ski-and-snowboard-travel-bags

Letting your skis bang around in the attic or grind against your ski poles is the best way to ruin them. Your skis and snowboards aren’t cheap and keeping them in good shape means protecting them with a ski or snowboard bag.

There are several considerations to keep in mind when picking out a new ski or snowboard bag. Some of them are obvious – such as “how many skis or boards will I need to carry?” Some, are less obvious, such as the pros and cons of padded bags.

Padding

Ski & Snowboard Bag Padding

Ski and snowboard bags may come in one of two flavors – padded and unpadded. Most often the cheapest bags on the market are thick, durable nylon lacking any padding at all.

These are great for keeping your skis organized and easy to carry while preventing them from scratching or being scratched.

Bags without padding may not provide adequate protection for air travel – we recommend seeking a padded bag for your skis or board when traveling by air.

Padded bags, however, are one step above these inexpensive nylon bags. Usually featuring several millimeters of closed cell foam, these bags may be a bit more pricey.

Benefits include keeping multiple skis protected when carrying double-ski bags, as well as providing additional protection to the ski. Most padded ski and board bags include a divider between multiple pairs of equipment to increase protection.

Padding is a great benefit and I highly recommend a padded ski bag for travel. If you expect to travel a lot or are looking for maximum protection you may want to seek a hard case for your skis.

Utility / Cargo Bags

Ski Bag Storage
Storage Options

Instead of only carrying skis, some soft ski and snowboard bags include space for all your other gear. These are often known as cargo bags.

Despite the added bulk and weight, some skiers find benefit in keeping poles, helmets, goggles, and clothes in the same bag as skis. Personally, I prefer to use a boot bag for my boots, helmet, goggles and clothes.

Skis can be rough on other equipment kept near them especially if you keep your ski’s metal edges sharp.

Number of Boards / Skis

Number of Boards-Skis to transport

When choosing a bag, you’ll want to consider how many boards or skis your already have. Don’t forget to factor in room for growth – chances are you’ll pick up another pair of skis or board in the future. You may choose a bag with more room to expand!

For soft bags it’s usually not smart to pick a bag with more than two slots. Fabric bags have a hard time holding more than two skis comfortably and the weight will become prohibitive to you.

Wheels

Urethane Wheels for Easy Transport

For airport travel and travel to-and-from the resort, having wheels on your bag is a must! Unfortunately, the soft and flexible nature of most ski bags means that the wheels can sometimes be less effective than ideal.

When choosing a soft ski or board bag with wheels, be sure to check reviews to ensure the bag functions as designed when loaded with skis. You’d be amazed how many poorly designed bags hit the market every year.

Hard Case vs Soft Bag

One big decision you will need to make is whether you want to go with a soft padded ski bag or a hard case. They each have their pros and cons.

Hard Case: Provides the ultimate in protection but is heavier and harder to store.

Soft Bag: They don’t provide the the protection of a hard case but they are lighter and can be folded up in the off season for easy storage. They are also expandable giving some extra storage as compared to a hard case that cannot.

Price of Ski and Snowboard Bags

If you’re not already aware, skiing and snowboarding are pretty expensive hobbies. It never really gets cheaper, either. Sorry.

When it comes to gear though, snowboards and skis can both costs multiple thousands of dollars and if you’re carrying two or more in a bag, that bag is now protecting $3,000+ worth of high-end equipment. (Of course, not all skis and boards cost this much.)

Even if your equipment isn’t that expensive, it’s still not cheap. So, spending the extra bucks on a bag that can really protect your gear is a worthwhile investment.

If you just want a bag to keep the dust off while they’re stored in the attic, then so be it. Go cheap on those.

If you want a bag to protect your skis or boards on a multi-layover flight to Japan for an awesome powder skiing trip, you might want to cough up the dough to keep those boards and skis protected properly.

I would say that ski and snowboard cases for travel are not the place to save money on gear. Get a bag that’s going to actually pad, protect, and keep your gear safe. Don’t skimp here.

Choosing Based on Where You Store Your Gear

This might go without saying, but let’s consider where you’ll store this ski or snowboard bag. I’ve alluded to the different options throughout this article but let me break it down here:

  • Airline Transport – I feel most comfortable using a hard sided case for this due to the likelihood of throwing, tossing, dropping, and getting caught up in some machine somewhere.
  • Off-Season Storage – If I’m looking for a bag that just has to keep spiders and dust out of my bindings during the summer months in the attic, I’ll probably save money and go with a cheap soft sided bag.
  • Car Travel: Roof Top – For rooftop car travel I would just a hard sided case. These can help to keep salt spray from driving on winter roads off your ski or snowboard bindings which could otherwise cause corrosion.
  • Car Travel: Interior – In this case I would go with a soft sided case because it will be easier to pack inside the car. You also don’t necessarily need a super-rugged case because it’s protected and lovingly packed by you!

FAQs For Ski & Snowboard Travel Bags

Q: Do airlines carry ski and snowboard bags?

A: Yes they do! Pretty much every airline is going to be able to carry your ski bag without a problem. Unfortunately, where the issue arises is in the realm of price. It costs a lot to fly with your skis, and that sucks!

When you’re planning to fly with your skis check luggage limits and prices because skis can sometimes be counted as a free piece of checked baggage, or they might cost $75+ to check on with you.

Before you settle on a flight, do the math and figure out which airline is going to be the best deal once you consider the cost of a ski boot bag and a ski case.

Q: Which king of carrying bag is the most protective?

A: If you’re an anal freak of protecting your expensive skiing or snowboarding equipment like I am, you probably want the best. That’s why I exclusively use the Sportube series of bags.

These hard sided cases are very durable and provide complete protection for your gear. There’s even foam at the tip and tail of the case which prevents the skis or snowboard from being able to slide around in transit.

I get nervous letting baggage handlers move my expensive equipment around because we all know how gentle they are with baggage. I’d rather carry a Sportube than pay for a new set of bindings.

For carrying in the car or trailer, a soft sided bag might be just fine. Since you know you’re not going to be beating them up these soft bags will be easier to move around and cheaper anyways.

Q: Is it worth it to buy a bag with wheels?

A: Oh yes it is! I can tell you from firsthand experience that you need wheels on your ski bag. Particularly if you’re carrying more than one set of skis or a couple snowboards, they’re too damn heavy and bulky to carry around the airport.

Wheeling your bag around might look a little dorky but it’s a thousand times more enjoyable and easier to manage.

Q: Should I individually pad my skis or boards when packing them together?

A: Yes. I think you should, honestly.

Here’s why: if those ski or board bindings jostle, rub, or bang together they can get thrown out of tune or ruined altogether. That’s a potentially very expensive problem if you have to replace them. It’s still expensive, and a waste of your time, if the least that happens is that you need to get them re-adjusted by the local tech.

I personally hate when I have skis packed together and the bindings are digging into each other. At the very least, just wrap an old cloth rag around the bindings of each ski and hold it in place with some tape or a rubber band. Done.

Q: Can I fit extra gear in my ski or snowboard bag?

A: For hard sided cases usually it’s hard to fit much else in there. However, I have been known to shove things like gloves and other small packables into the empty space around my ski bindings when packing them into my Sportube.

That said, if you want to carry gear in your snowboard or ski bag, going with a soft cases that has extra storage compartments is definitely the smart move. Soft bags tend to be made with more storage than hard cases, just because it’s easier to design them that way.

Most of the time I find that between my luggage and my boots bag I have plenty of room and don’t really need to shove things into my ski case anyways.

Conclusion

It’s easy to just look for the cheapest ski or snowboard bag when choosing. I recommend, however, that you look more deeply at your needs and equipment.

For frequent travel and lots of gear, a double bag with fully padded protection would be the best choice. For others, a simple single ski bag for summer storage does the trick for stashing in the attic.

Look for locking zippers and wheels to accommodate air travel and security. To top it all off, don’t forget to consider growing room for your next board or skis!


I hope this guide was helpful in picking the best ski and snowboard travel bag to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a bag I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and be safe out there!

Please check out our reviews on Ski Jackets, Pants, Ski Base Layers, Socks, and Gloves

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Casey Fielder

I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I’m a huge fan of punk rock. I have launched several start-ups. (or business ventures) When exploring the backcountry, I usually carry less than 10 pounds of gear. Years of experience have taught me to pack light. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing.

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