When you take the leap from local surfer to traveling surfer, the first thing you need to add to your quiver is a properly designed and constructed surfboard travel bag. Here’s the cream of the crop plus some tips for picking the right bag for your specific needs.
Wheels or No Wheels?
The big accessory for surfboard travel bags in the 90’s was wheels. This way you could load them to infinity and never have to pick them up. Those days are long gone with 50-pound airline weight maximums. The wheels and reinforcements themselves sometimes add up 5-10 pounds before you even get the boards and gear in there. Most companies have replaced wheels with skid plates, as most of the time you’re just sliding the bag through a smooth tile airport anyway. It’s not like you’re running a marathon with the thing. Think light my friend….think light.
The Channel Islands Surfboard Travel Bags are well made bags with an emphasis on keeping the overall weight of the empty bag as low as possible to avoid oversize and overweight charges. These bags have a nice accessory feature built in that allow you to strap the bag onto any split roller style travel bag with wheels. This means you don’t need wheels on your board bag, just your standard clothing travel bag. Cool idea and available in double, triple and quad versions depending on the number of boards you are traveling with.
Creatures revolutionized board bags over the last several years with their line of Creatures Slim Fit board bags. The bottom line? Someone finally put as much emphasis into designing the bag as all the shapers do in designing their boards. The end result is a bag that fits the board better, is lighter due to less added material weight, and also helps you avoid the temptation of continuing to add stuff into the bag simply because you have more room inside it. These bags fit 2 or 3 boards and are designed to fit moderate hybrids (like a …Lost Rocket or Roberts White Diamond 2) or narrower. The fully packed bag is smaller, which makes traveling with it noticeably easier, and sometimes cheaper.
The Creatures Retro Fish template, takes the Slim Fit design and applies it to the wider, fuller nosed, thicker hybrids that are becoming THE go to board for a large number of surfers. This bag is the perfect multiple board travel bag for boards like the …Lost LayZboy and RV, or Vernor Mini Simmons and Roberts Dream Machine.
What if I have a mixed quiver of different types of surfboards? How do I pick the right bag?
You basically need to lay all your boards out and look at the max dimensions. Pay close attention to your longest board and your widest board. Also, take a look at the shapes of the noses on your board. It may make perfect sense, but you need to choose a bag that will fit your longest board, your widest board and not have the nose of your fish bulging out of the end. So if you have one wider board, say a …Lost RV and then several other narrower boards, get a wider bag that fits the RV and is also long enough to fit the narrower boards.
The Liquid Force Traveler Bag is a really well thought-out bag, with trick features, good construction, the right sizing and a great price. It fits up to 3 hybrid boards up to 6’3 x 21”, has built in padded board spacers, and wheels engineered into the back end of the bag for easy transport between flights. The wheels on this one don’t add that much extra weight, and the rest of the bag was designed to keep overall weight to a minimum.
When Dakine decided to “go slim” they did it with their world famous Dakine quality, style and features. The DK Regulator is for surfers who ride hybrids or narrower boards (no fatty’s here) and want a lightweight, well-made bag that will handle the abuse of airlines and tons of rough travel. This bag works great with moderate hybrids and narrower boards but fills up quickly if you have wider boards. We’ve beaten the tar out of this bag on countless trips and it’s always one of our favorites.
The Dakine World Traveler is the Grand Puba of surfboard travel bags. This is the bag that started it all and is continually improved every year. It has a generously full cut with rounded ends, so it fits wide boards, big tails and big noses with ease. It has extra area inside for stashing towels, wetsuits, fins, etc. If you have a ton of gear to take on your trip, this is the bag to choose. It has wheels to make transporting the weight easy, and if you pack it correctly, you can still keep your weight under 50 pounds. Be cautious though, this bag has the extra area to go well above 75 pounds if you’re a gear addict. This can be nice once you’re at your destination and want to throw everything in this one bag.
What’s all the talk about 50 pounds?
50 pounds is what most airlines allow for bag weight. SOME allow up to 75 pounds but that is rare. Even at 50 pounds, you will still be charged for oversized baggage, normally $75 up to $200 per bag depending on the airline. What you want to avoid is being charged for BOTH oversize and overweight as that will tack an extra $100 onto your bill or maybe even more. Pack your bag and weigh it with your bathroom scale before you finalize your gear list and head to the airport. If you get caught with a 55pound bag it’s normally pretty easy to shuffle the weight into another bag that you are checking or carrying on the airline. Have a great trip!
• Don’t forget to use promo code REALTRAVEL for free shipping on all Surfboard Travel Bags!