When you’re getting ready to hit the slopes, you take a lot of time choosing the right gear. From finding the best jacket to choosing the right boots, it’s an expensive endeavor. So it’s important to make sure that gear is safe. Not to mention, there isn’t anything quite as frustrating as getting ready to hit the slopes after travel only to find that your gear has been damaged en route.
That’s why it’s crucial to research the best bags to keep your gear safe. There are plenty of options out there from ski boot bags to ways to carry extra gear like goggles and gloves. To help you out today, we’re going to take a look at some of the best ski bags to keep your skis and poles safe.
How To Choose A Ski Bag – Buying Guide
Soft Vs. Hard
Choosing between a soft ski bag or a hard ski bag is, in the end, a point of preference. Each bag has its own pros and cons.
Hard cases are going to protect your skis better. A hard case doesn’t have as much give, so it prevents anything from directly pressing on top of your skis. This means that if you’re traveling with a lot of gear and are worried about your skis getting caught up on the bottom of the pile, they’ll be safer in a more durable bag.
The downfall of hard cases is that they’re rather bulky. They don’t have the same flexibility as soft ski bags.
Hard cases are typically made from high-density polyethylene or, shortened, HDPE. These are also handy because if you’re taking a drive to the slopes, they can be lashed to roof rack in a pinch.
It’s also worth noting that soft ski bags don’t sacrifice durability for their give – they’re still going to protect your skis and a quality choice will last you quite a while. The flexible body is also going to be easier to transport thanks to the reduced bulk in weight. This lightweight option can be especially helpful if you need a ski bag for air travel.
When you’re choosing a soft ski bag, you’ll want to pay attention to denier. This refers to how tightly woven the threads are. The higher the number is, the more tightly woven the threads are. You’re going to want to look for a denier of at least 600 with polyester fabric. With that in mind, you’re less likely to run into tears or punctures.
You can also purchase a ski bag with wheels. A wheeled ski bag is usually made to carry two or three pairs of skis. The tradeoff for extra space is bulk but the wheels are there to help carry that bulk for you. You carry the bag but the front handle while the back end rolls on wheels. So, it’s important to choose a bag with sturdy wheels – rubber wheels are best. The wheels should have the same style as a pair of inline skates.
Number of Skis
We already mentioned that wheeled ski bags are typically made to carry two or three sets of skis. If you have multiple sets of skis to carry, you’ll want to pay attention to ski bags that can carry more than one set of skis. This will save you money compared to buying an individual ski bag for everyone. You’ll also want to check to see the size of the skis that it’ll hold. If you’re bringing a pair of adult skis and child skis, you might not need as big of a bag. The manufacturer should specify the number of skis the bag can hold as well as the size of the bag.
Ski Length and Weight
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you purchase a ski bag that’s sized to fit your needs. To make sure you find the right bag, you’ll need to take the length and width of your ski into account. Skis and ski bags are typically measured in centimeters, so you’ll want to convert them from inches if you use the American system. You can manually do this by multiplying the number of inches by 2.54 but it’s much easier to simply use an online inches-to-centimeters conversion tool.
Remember that ski bags aren’t made to stress, so you’ll want to be careful in your measurements. Most bags are made with different ski sizes in mind but if you’re worried about the fit for your skis, it’s better to get a bag that’s a little big rather than too small.
Another answer to size worries is adjustable bags. Adjustable bags are available in both soft and hard cases. Still, you’ll want to check the minimum and maximum bag lengths.
If you’re also looking for a bag with the potential to carry your snowboard, you aren’t going to want to purchase something narrow. The best choice is to pick up a bag meant to hold multiple pairs of skis.
Color, at the end of the day, comes down to personal preference. If you choose darker colors like black, you’re going to see less dirt and grime build up on your bag. Unfortunately, a standard black bag might easily get lost on a flight when it’s stored with several other ski bags.
There are two ways around this. For one, you could get a uniquely colored bag. Alternatively, you could use bright tape to mark the strap of your bag to easily set it apart from other similar bags.
Most ski bags will have nylon exterior and interior straps. The interior straps are used to hold your skis and poles in place. This adds extra security against the skis and ski poles getting damaged from jostling around.
Exterior straps are compression straps meant to prevent gear from rubbing and clashing against other gear. High-quality bags tend to have both interior and exterior straps but bags made to cater towards lower budgets don’t typically include them.
There are plenty of additional features you can opt for when you’re choosing a ski bag. The main feature that most people look for is extra storage. Some ski bags have additional pockets to hold gear like hats, gloves, socks, neck gaiters, and even probes, beacons, and shovels. The pockets don’t always provide enough protection for goggles but you can wrap them in a hat or cloth to keep them safe.
You can also look for features that can help you transport your skis. Handles will make carrying your bag easier. With soft-sided bags, you can expect a strap made with nylon webbing. Most hard-sided ski bags include plastic handles in their design. Higher-end bags might have padded handles to help with lifting. Wheeled bags usually have this feature as well.
If you don’t want to carry your bag in your hand, you’ll want to look for bags with a shoulder strap. These are usually included on soft-sided ski bags and options with padded shoulder straps are going to be more comfortable to carry.
When it comes to protecting your skis, you’re going to want to consider a ski bag with padding. This helps to keep your skis and poles from jostling around too much and it can help add extra protection from other objects pressing against soft case ski bag.
If your ski bag doesn’t have protection, a tip that many use is to pack clothes in the bag around the skis. This helps to add an extra layer of protection during car or air travel.
Q: Flying with skis: what are the rules?
The specific rules for flying with skis can vary from airline to airline. Generally, you’re going to need a ski bag for flying like the ones we’ve looked at here because almost no airline is going to allow you to check loose skis.
There are two basic situations depending on the airline. First, an airline may allow you to check the ski bag just like you would any other luggage. They may count the ski bag and a ski boot bag as a single piece of luggage. The amount you have to pay for a checked bag can vary but some airlines allow you to have one or two bags checked without an extra fee.
The second option is checking your skis as sports equipment. This happens when the airline doesn’t accept your skis as standard luggage. If this is the case, you’ll need to pay for a sports equipment fee. This is usually around $50 to $60. For instance, Ryanair charges a ski equipment fee that will let you carry your ski equipment as long as it meets the 20 kg or about 44 lb requirement. The airline charges you 50 EUR – about $56.95 USD – if you pay after booking or once you get to the airport. You’ll have an easier time if you check your ski equipment earlier during booking. This also helps you save since it cuts the cost down to 45 EUR or about $51.26 USD.
Since we’ve mentioned that airline to airline policy differences, let’s take a moment to consider some of the major airlines.
American Airlines allows skiers to check a boot bag with boots, live preserver, and helmet as well as skis up to 126 inches as a single piece of luggage. However, if the boot bag is more than 45 inches or holds anything that isn’t specified in the list above, you’ll need to pay an excess fee.
British Airways, on the other hand, ski bags can be counted as regular luggage. If it weighs more than their allowance or exceeds 75” x 29.5” x 25.5” or 190 cm x 75 cm x 65 cm.
If you have a bag with skis and poles as well as a ski boot bag, Delta Airlines will allow you to count it as one piece of luggage. This is free unless the combined weight doesn’t break the 50-pound limit. If it does, you’ll need to pay an excess baggage fee.
JetBlue has a unique policy in which you don’t have to worry about size limits but overweight fees still apply. All of your ski equipment has to be stored with the right ski bags or they won’t be counted as part of your equipment but rather just as luggage.
Southwest Airlines allows you to split your skis, poles, and boots even if you need to split them up between two bags. If they’re packed into the proper bags, they count as part of your regular luggage but you don’t have to worry about oversize fees but overweight fees still apply.
Lufthansa allows you to check your ski bag normally which is free as your first checked bag unless you’re flying Economy Class Light. Send only the first bag is free, it’s a good idea to look for a ski bag big enough to store extra items such as boots and clothes. They don’t have a size restriction but there are fees for overweight baggage. Their limit is 32 kg or approximately 70.5 lbs.
Some airlines don’t have specific rules for skis outlined on their website. Spirit Airlines is an example of this. If you’re flying with them, it’s a good idea to call ahead and inquire how to fly with your skis.
Q: How to pack skis for air travel?
Since skiing equipment can be easy to damage while at the same time it can damage your other luggage, you’ll want to pack your skis right before traveling. The last thing anyone wants to do is add to the cost of air travel with damaged luggage or skis.
The first rule of traveling with skis is to pack them in an airline ski bag. Skis shouldn’t be thrown into just any bag that will fit them. Top-rated ski bags are made to fit and protect your skis specifically, so they’re the best choice when you’re getting ready to travel. Not to mention, most airlines won’t allow you to travel with skis unless they’re properly stored.
The biggest thing to concern yourself with after that point is ensuring that your bag meets any weight limits an airline might have. If you’re worried about meeting weight requirements, a soft ski bag is comparatively lighter to a hard ski case. If it’s allowed, pack some clothes around the skis for extra padding. You should also put covers over the ends of your poles to prevent them from damaging any other luggage you might be carrying.
Finally, you’re going to want to make sure you label your ski bag properly just like any other piece of luggage to make sure everything stays in the right hands. This means grabbing a luggage tag and putting your name, phone number, and even address to get them back if they get lost in transit.
It’s also a good idea to pick up a luggage lock to make sure no one can unlock your bag aside from security and you. Just make sure the lock you use is TSA-approved before heading to the airport.
Q: Can I fit extra gear in my ski or snowboard bag?
This depends on the snowboard and ski bag you choose. Some are made to just hold skis while others are made to be more all-encompassing options. These usually hold smaller pieces of gear like gloves, hats, goggles, and clothes. Most bags don’t come with a specialized pocket for goggles. To combat this, many wrap their goggles in their hat and store them together. This will keep your goggles from getting scratched.
There are also some ski bags that come as part of a “combo deal” in which you get another travel item. Usually, the pairing is a ski bag and a ski boot bag.
Globo Surf Overview
Ski bags help to make sure that your skis and poles get to the slope safely. You have plenty of options in sizes and styles. Picking up any of these ski bags will help you safely transport your skis to and from the slopes no matter how long that journey is.