If you plan on traveling with your skis, having a quality ski and snowboard bag is a must. When you fly with your skis, they can be passed through several different sets of hands between the baggage handlers, conveyor belts, luggage trucks and storage compartments; your treasured pieces of gear need protection during all this.

There are several different styles of Ski Bags and Snowboard Bags to choose from, and this buying guide will break them down for you to make an educated decision.

Different Styles of Ski and Snowboard Bags

One of the first things you need to consider: what style of ski bag do I want?

Wheeled Ski Bags are often the most convenient to haul long distances. This style of bag uses a durable set of wheels at the bottom and a robust handle on the opposite end that allows you to pull your gear through the airport. This style is typically one of the largest style of bags capable of carrying multiple sets of skis.

Wheeled Ski Bag

Wheeled Snowboard Bags are again very convenient and an easy way to transport your board. The same principles of the wheeled ski bag apply here. These are usually the largest bags available and can be capable of carrying multiple boards, especially once you remove the bindings.

Non-Wheeled Ski Bags have the ability to carry one or two pairs of skis. This style of ski bag is not quite as easy for you to move through the airport, and may be better suited for road trips or shorter trips where you may not be hauling a full assortment of gear.

Non-Wheeled Snowboard Bags are a little easier to carry than a non-wheeled ski bag simply because of the shorter length. These bags typically can only accommodate a single snowboard, but leave you some extra space for other gear or clothing.

Hard Case Ski Bags offer your gear the most protection possible. This style of ski bag is made from a plastic that is incredibly durable with the ability to last for years. The one small disadvantage to a hard case is the fact that they do not leave much space for packing any other things you need other than skis and poles. These cases are adjustable in length to accommodate nearly any size ski. If you have planned enough a head, shipping a hard case is always an option.

Hard Case Ski Bag

Ski and Snowboard Bag Padding

Fully Padded Ski Bags have padding that fully wraps the entire cargo space. This style of ski bag offers you the most protection short of a hard case.

Partially Padded Ski Bags offer some protection for your gear. This padding may be just in the tip and tail area which are crucial points where you do not want damage to your gear.

Ski Bags Without Padding do not offer much protection from mishandling. This style of bag works best for road trips, light travel or storage.

Snowboard Bags without Padding are sometimes referred to as board sleeves. Like the non-padded ski bag, they also do not offer much protection.

Ski and Snowboard Sizing Tips

Another important thing to consider when choosing a ski or snowboard bag is whether the bag is going to be long enough for your equipment. Just like skis and snowboards, bags are always measured in centimeters. To accommodate your gear, you should select a bag that is equal to or longer than the longest set of skis that you are going to be traveling with. Some ski and snowboard bags are adjustable in length, allowing you to extend the length of the bag. This makes for a great option if you are going to be carrying different size skis or have different people using the same bag.

Ski and Snowboard Bag Features

There are a few different features to be aware of when considering a ski or snowboard bag:

Interior gear straps are a nice option to have, especially when carrying multiple sets. These straps allow you to secure your gear inside the bag to prevent it from clanging around into each other and potentially leaving chips, scratches or worse.

Exterior Compression Straps are usually found near the tip and tail of the bag to keep it securely wrapped up tight. Sometimes if you have a bag that is considerably longer than the skis you can sometimes fold up the material and tuck it under one of the straps.

Padded Straps make carrying a heavy bag loaded with gear much easier and more comfortable.

Pockets can be found on some of the larger ski and snowboard bags. This makes carrying any little extras you may want to bring with you on your ski adventure easy and convenient. We never recommend traveling with your ski boots inside your ski bag, though. Oversized luggage is often lost, and while you can always rent skis at the airlines expense, skiing in a rented boot that isn’t fitted for your foot is never fun.

Tips and Tricks for Packing your Ski and Snowboard Bag

When it comes time to pack for your vacation, if you follow these few tips and tricks your packing won’t be nearly as problematic:

  1. Unzip the bag fully.
  2. If your ski or snowboard bag has detachable shoulder straps, unclip one end. This makes it easier to pack.
  3. Always unclip any compression straps whether they be internal or external.
  4. Shake the bag out from any dirt or debris
  5. Use Velcro Ski Straps to prevent your skis from banging into each other, causing chips or scratches.
  6. If you are using a non-padded bag, you can wrap towels around their gear for protection.
  7. Only pack equipment that you can rent. Oversized luggage is prone to getting lost. We recommended that you travel with your ski boots in a carry on so you will always have them when you show up at your destination. Boot Bags like Transpack Boot Bags are approved by the TSA for a carry on.
  8. Adjust the length of your bag if this is an option. Most snowboard bags do not have this feature.
  9. Place your gear inside the bag and tighten up all compression straps to keep gear secure.
  10. Always keep a nametag or business card on or in your bag incase it gets lost. Try not to include your home address.
  11. Always weigh your gear bag to make sure that it conforms with your airlines weight and size restrictions.

What are the Differences Between Ski and Snowboard Bags?

The majority of ski and snowboard bags use the same materials, have the same features and the same principles. The major differences between the two is the dimensions. Ski bags are usually longer and narrower. Ski bags can range in size from 165cm to 210cm long, whereas snowboard bags are typically shorter and wider.

Can I use a Snowboard Bag for my short skis?

You most certainly may, but you could find it a bit cumbersome to carry just a single pair of skis in a snowboard bag. Snowboard bags are typically 3 times the width of a ski bag. If you have shorter skis, we recommend searching for a shorter ski bag.

Can I use a Ski Bag for my Snowboard?

Snowboards will not fit in a single ski bag. They are much wider than a single pair of skis. Some double ski bags may work for snowboards, but the are much longer and more difficult to carry. Although it seems convenient, packing skis and snowboards together in one bag is not very easy.