It’s winter in the mountains and the snow has been epic. Airports everywhere are filling up with skiers on their way to resorts around the world. Everyone is anxious to spend their days in search of some fresh cold-smoke blower pow. When skiing is your life, your gear is important to you. That’s why it’s critical to find the best ski bag for flying.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your final destination only to find that your binding has broken in transit due to a faulty bag. Fortunately, we’ve done some research on your behalf to make purchasing your next ski bag easier. Here’s some helpful advice on finding the best ski bag for flying.
What to Look For in the Best Ski Bag For Flying
Like all things in life, there are a range of prices when it comes to purchasing ski or snowboard bag for flying. You have to determine for yourself what your overall budget is and how frequently you’ll be using your ski bag for travel.
If this is the one-and-only ski trip you’ll be taking in the next five years, then it may not be worth it to you to purchase the same bag as the pros are using for their life on the road.
There are multiple options to consider when searching for the best ski bag for flying. First, you must choose between a hard-sided or soft-sided ski bag. There are pros and cons to both. Soft-sided bags have the versatility of being easy to store when not in use. They also tend to be less expensive than their hard-sided cousins.
However, if you really love your gear, some of the lesser quality soft-sided bags are not very forgiving during travel. When deciding on which bag to purchase, consider the length of travel and the number of transfers between aircraft. Choose a bag that will hold up to even the grouchiest of baggage handlers.
Even if the bag says it can fit ‘all types of skis and bindings’, chances are good that it can’t. Be sure you’re purchasing a bag with the proper dimensions for your gear. Measure your skis for length but also height and width.
AT bindings tend to take up more space in travel and a backcountry ski setup will have much different dimensions than those hand-me-down skis you got from your older brother. Don’t set yourself up for failure and disappointment by neglecting to take the time to really understand the dimensions of your setup before you purchase a bag.
Also, consider if you are packing gear for more than one person. If multiple people will be sharing the same bag, there are options available to fit this need as well.
Additional Gear Storage
Hats, goggles, helmets, gloves, boots, avi-gear, ropes, harnesses, ice axes and crampons. All of this gear is going with you and you need to be able to stash it safely. Some bags are better equipped than others to handle this extra load. Think about your equipment list before purchasing a ski bag to be sure you have chosen a model that can accommodate any extra storage needs you may have.
Not all ski bags are created equal. Usually, if you’re going to the trouble of schlepping your skis halfway around the world, chances are high that this isn’t your only piece of luggage. It can be really nice to have a set of wheels on your ski bag to help you move this awkward piece of equipment from place to place during your travels.
Fabric is important to consider when choosing a ski bag for travel. A rip-stop fabric is the optimal choice when choosing a ski bag that is appropriate for flying. Also, it pays to have a bag with an easy to manage closure system.
Options range from zipper closure to buckles and locks. Either way, the TSA will likely need to inspect your ski bag. Be sure that the system you choose is one that they won’t have trouble closing either! Certainly the best ski bag for flying is one that can actually get your skis to their final destination without popping open along the way.
Some airlines will charge extra for soft-sided vs. hard-sided cases. Be sure to check with your airline to see if they have any specific regulations when it comes to traveling with your ski gear. Often, even when using a hard-sided ski bag, the overall weight for your bag and gear should not exceed the 50 lb. requirements of most major airlines and therefor will not require payment of an over-sized bag fee.
So now that we’ve determined the necessary elements for really assessing the best ski bag for flying, let’s get on to the results of our search.
The Best Ski Bag for Flying
The Amateur Class: Single Use or Infrequent Travel
Winner: High Sierra Deluxe Double Ski Bag
In our search for the best ski bag for flying, we found that for relatively short and infrequent trips, the High Sierra Deluxe Double Ski Bag is more than adequate to get the job done. With a price tag of under $75, it is the perfect choice for skiers on a tight travel budget.
High Sierra Deluxe Double Ski Bag Highlights
- 420 Denier Duralite®
- Main compartment with durable three-quarter length, self-repairing nylon-coil zipper holds two pair of skis up to 185 cm
- Quick-release fully-adjustable compression straps
- Heavy-duty webbing
- Comes with poly bag and with full-color insert card packaging
This bag is made from a diamond rip-stop duralite fabric and is built with enough space to hold two pairs of poles and skis up to 185 cm in length. It contains an interior padded divider designed to protect bindings during transit. The roomy design accommodates a small to moderate amount of extras including hats, gloves and goggles.
Due to its minimalist design (soft-sided shell, short handles and a lack of wheels) it is not an ideal choice for more complicated or frequent travel but is a perfect choice for that trip out west to visit your best friend from college.
The Weekend Warrior: Semi-Regular Air Travel
Winner: Dakine Fall Line 190 cm
For those skiers who travel at least once a year, the Dakine Fall Line 190 cm is our top pick for the best ski bag for flying. With a moderate price tag ($129 retail), the Dakine Fall Line comes equipped with enough space to accommodate two sets of skis, poles and boots plus some additional space for a few extra pieces of gear. The bag itself is constructed of 600D Polyester rip-stop fabric and comes equipped with urethane wheels and lockable zipper cars, making it ideal for airport travel.
Dakine Fall Line Highlights
- Fully padded ski protection
- Zippered exterior pockets
- Full length zipper with locking zipper cars
- High quality urethane wheels
- Duel end carry handles
The World Traveler: Regular Travel in Demanding Conditions
Winner: Dakine Concourse Double 200cm
For international and extended destination travel, the Dakine Concourse Double 200cm travel bag tops the list as the best ski bag for flying. Although this bag is not inexpensive (Retail for this bag is $224.95) the Dakine Concourse Double 200 cm comes with all the bells and whistles a world traveler is looking for.
Dakine Concourse Double Highlights
- Fully padded ski protection plus removable padded divider for poles
- Three interior pockets hold boots, outerwear, etc.
- High quality urethane wheels
- Duel end carry handles
- Locking zipper cars
This bag is equipped with enough space to accommodate two pairs of skis (plus poles) in length of up to 188+ cm. The design incorporates several storage compartments dedicated to holding up to two sets of boots plus any additional gear you may need on your next epic adventure (crampons, rope, harness, avi gear etc.…).
Built with urethane wheels for easy transport between locations and a lockable zipper, this bag is designed to effortlessly get you and your gear wherever you need to go. And its 600D Polyester rip-stop construction just about guarantees that it will hold up even under the most abusive travel situations.
So there you go, some handy advice on finding the best ski bag for flying. No matter what your travel needs, these bags have got you covered. No more excuses, it’s time to get out there and shred. Happy travels and may the pow be with you.