8 Best Ski Bags for Travel this Ski Season
Ski bags are essential for traveling on ski trips, because quite frankly, they are the only way to be able to fly with your gear. Additionally, ski bags are great for storing all your ski gear and keeping it together during the offseason. Finding the best ski bag for your needs can alleviate quite a few headaches and can make it easy and painless to travel and enjoy your favorite ski destination.
Ski Bag Comparison Chart
|Ski Bag||Capacity||Wheels||Style||Length||Price Range|
|Thule RoundTrip Ski Roller Bag||2 Pairs||Yes||Padded||192 cm||$$$|
|Athletico Diamond Trail Padded||1 Pair||No||Padded||185 cm||$$|
|Amazon Basics Double||1 Pair||No||Padded||184 cm||$|
|KULKEA Double Roller Ski Bag||2 Pairs||Yes||Padded||195 cm - 205 cm||$$$|
|Sportube Series 1||1 Pair||Yes||Hard Case||212 cm||$$|
|Athalon Single Padded||1 Pair||No||Padded||180 cm||$|
|High Sierra Deluxe||2 Pairs||Yes||Not padded||185 cm||$$|
|Dakine Boundary Ski Roller Bag||2 Pairs||Yes||Padded||200 cm||$$$|
Best Ski Bags to Travel With This Season
Best Rolling Ski Bag for Air Travel
Available in four different colors, Thule’s ski bag has wheels on one end to make carrying it around a piece of cake, and it is padded to make certain your skis are always as protected as they should be. There are two removable, padded sleeves to help you stay organized, and there is even a zippered compartment in case you wish to store hats, gloves, or other items that you’ll need when you get to the slopes.
It can also accommodate two pairs of skis and keep them both safe, and the padded inside divider can be used as a standing pad in case you want to change in or out of your ski boots. While on the pricier side, this ski bag is a great quality bag that can fit you and your partners skis together plus additional clothes and gear, so it will pay for itself pretty quickly if you fly often and makes traveling with your skis so much easier.
- Holds up to two pairs of skis.
- Extra-sturdy wheels that last.
- Removable padded sleeves to help you organize your things.
Best Ski and Boot Bag Combo
This Athletico ski bag is perfect for both snowboards and skis, and you can even put a pair of boots in there if you like. It is made out of sturdy 600D polyester material that is water-resistant and can therefore take a lot of abuse. Rugged and built to last, it even comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and the heavy-duty wheels mean you can easily transport it wherever it needs to go. On the inside is a waterproof thermal layer to protect your skis or snowboard, and the internal straps make sure everything you pack inside of the bag stays secure until you get to your destination.
- Very reasonably priced.
- Water-resistant and very durable.
- Can accommodate both skis and snowboard.
Best Cheap and Affordable Padded Ski Bag
Amazon Basics does just that – the basics. This is a ski bag without many extra features. It is designed in a way that gets the job done, at an affordable price, without anything fancy.
1680 denier polyester fabric is durable and will stand up to being tossed around and used consistently. There is a waterproof backing that helps nicely contain moisture or melted snow after a day of skiing so that your other luggage or car seats don’t get wet.
Amazon Basics’ ski bag is fully padded, which is a fantastic feature at this price point because you will still have moderate protection of your skis using this bag.
Best Double Ski Bag with Wheels
Kulkea nailed it with this double rolling ski bag. The bag is fully padded from top to bottom, with compression straps and easy loading handles for easy of transport.
The internal design is well thought out with multiple storage compartments and little straps here and there to store other ski gear, clothes, your poles, and more. You can tell they really thought out what people would be traveling with and how they would pack for ski trips.
Also, the “Mammoth Mouth” zippered opening for the bag is surprisingly nice. This opening design helps the bag retain some of its structure while packing, which makes it easier than the typical straight top to bottom zipper.
Best Hard Case Protective Ski Bag
The Sportube is super high quality and actually comes in multiple variations (1, 2, and 3) that allow for transporting up to three pairs of skis. It is made with inline skate wheels to make transporting it from one location to another a breeze, and the main compartment is padded to keep those skis nice and safe regardless of how you’re carrying it. A three-year manufacturers’ warranty comes with your purchase, and at the two ends you’ll find a sturdy plastic covered with extra padding.
The hard shell case is quite different from most other ski bags because it isn’t as pliable and so you have to pack your skis more deliberately. Obviously, however, you are provided increased protection and peace of mind over your ski gear being damaged or not.
- Technologically advanced materials for extra sturdiness.
- Comes with a three-year warranty.
- Extra padding to keep skis super safe the entire time.
The Athalon padded ski bag is another good budget option that is still effective. This particular bag fits skis up to 180 cm, but there are other Athalon options that provide a longer length for people with bigger skis.
Overall, this carrying bag is compact, lightweight, and has a durable feeling polyester material. The usual adjustable compression straps and carrying handles that come with most bags are included.
This ski bag is fully padded from top to bottom and does a good job providing additional support and protection for your skis. We would advise using clothes and such as additional padding just in case, but for the price it is hard to beat.
This High Sierra bag is for 2 pairs of skis up to 185 cm. The large U-shape opening provides easy access for packing and unpacking. Internal divider panels and hold-down straps keep gear organized and in place during transit.
While the bag is not fully padded, the center does have some additional padding specifically for protecting ski bindings that tend to protrude a little more.
Adjustable compression straps on the exterior bag provide an additional way to keep gear in the ski bag in place, while the webbing handles are long enough to be used as a shoulder strap when rolling the ski bag is not an option.
The Dakine ski roller bag comes in two different colors, one of which is a unique camo design. It is available in two different sizes and provides 360 degrees of padded protection so that your skis remain safe and secure the entire time. There is a boot bag and outerwear that are removable for your convenience, and the bag can fit up to two pairs of skis. This bag is both attractive and durable, and the larger size of 200 cm can even hold a pair of boots as well as the skis. It is the perfect accompaniment for your next skiing trip.
- Two different sizes available for your needs
- Larger size holds boots in addition to the skis
- Provides 360 degrees of padded protection
More Ski Carrying Bags
What to Consider When Buying a Ski Bag (Buying Guide)
Ski Bag Capacity - Single vs. Double
Ski bags generally come in sizes that can accommodate a single pair of alpine skis (single), or sizes that can carry two pairs of alpine skis (double). You could even use a double bag to hold one pair of skis and then pack all of your ski clothes into. Double bags are great for additional storage or if you frequently travel with a partner, in which case you could store both your skis in one bag. On the other hand, single ski bags are often cheaper and lighter, which may be more suitable if you are traveling solo or traveling on the lighter side.
Ski Bag Size - Length and Width
Every ski bag comes in different dimensions and it is important that you take note before purchasing yours. Obviously, you need your skis to fit inside the ski bag so the first step is knowing how long your skis are. If you don’t already know, most skis have it printed somewhere on the top sheet of the skis. If not, simply measure them. Match that up with the specified length of the ski bag you are looking at to ensure that they will fit okay. It is probably smart to leave at least a few centimeters of wiggle room.
Soft Shell vs Hard Shell
Most ski bags are made of pliable exterior fabric, usually some variation of nylon or polyester. In addition to being lighter for carrying, soft shell ski bags are more flexible when packing your items and can sometimes be easier to work with as far as fitting additional items into. However, having a soft exterior means that external impacts can potentially damage anything inside if not properly secured or protected.
Hard shell ski bags are less common, but provide a much higher level of protection for your ski equipment. This is especially true for air travel, when employees may carelessly toss your bags around when loading and unloading. Hard shell ski bags can provide additional peace of mind in the traveling process, especially if you frequently travel by air for ski trips.
Padded vs. Unpadded Ski Bags
On a similar note, some soft shell ski bags come with additional padding (padded ski bags) that helps protect your ski gear. Typically, padded ski bags simply have a layer of foam or similar material between the external and internal fabric layers. The additional cushion provides more comfort over your ski bag being handled. Another trick for protecting your skis whilst inside a soft shell ski bag, is to wrap it with your clothes or other soft items that you can fit within the bag.
Wheeled Ski Bags vs No Wheels
Rolling ski bags (ski bags with wheels) are a lifesaver for airport travel. The ease of handling these bags is significantly better than ski bags without wheels. Sometimes the walk from baggage claim to rental car can be longer than you would think. Slinging a heavy bag over your shoulder while carrying other luggage gets old real quick.
Obviously, there are a ton of other situations where the ease of use and handling of wheeled ski bags makes traveling with your ski gear infinitely more manageable. On the other hand, ski bags without wheels are usually a fair bit cheaper and may be better if you don’t frequently go on ski trips, or if you are just looking for a basic cover to keep your car dry or something.
Additional Ski Bag Features
Ski bags can be ultra simple, but others have minor useful features that can make a big difference when handling.
Carrying straps – especially useful for skis bags without wheels, you will want solid carrying straps preferably with a shoulder pad so that you can comfortably carry the bag over your shoulder.
Handles – an accessible handle to let you easily pick up your bag to put on the airport scale, or load into the car helps. Side handles are useful for this purpose of if you want to carry the bag by your side for a short distance.
Pockets – some bags come with additional external pockets that you can stash gloves, hats, or other small items in. This helps keep your items organized, especially if you plan on packing the bag with all your ski trip clothes
Internal/External Straps – straps on the inside of your bag can be useful in tying your skis down to keep them from jostling around, meanwhile external “compression” straps can help keep the bag tight and streamlined so that your items don’t shift.
Internal dividers/organizers – if your ski bag has any kind of internal dividers to help organize gear, that can be tremendously helpful. The nicer you can keep all your stuff organized, the less frustrating your packing and unpacking process will be.
Internal structure – padded ski bags with wheels can also have some kind of structural reinforcement to help retain some kind of shape for your bag when your are wheeling it around.
Determining what you need a ski bag for will go a long way in helping you narrow down what kind of bag you need.
Air Travel – for frequent flyers and ski trips requiring air travel, ski bags with additional protection and with wheels are certainly the most appropriate, though usually a bit pricier.
Off Season Storage – you may want a ski bag just to avoid rust, dust, or the general degradation that comes along with shoving your gear into storage. In this case, you probably don’t need much outside of the most basic ski bag that can accommodate all your gear. Consider bags with additional room to fit all your ski clothes in so that you can store everything in the same spot.
Car Travel – ski bags are still beneficial for weekend warriors and simple car trips. Being able to throw your skis, or a pair of skis, plus your poles into a bag makes carrying them to and from the car easier. Plus, if you don’t have a roof rack and keep your skis in your car, having a bag will provide a place to lay the skis so that the dirt and water don’t get all over your car seats.
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Ski Bag Tips and FAQs
How do I protect my skis inside the carry bag?
You can purchase ski bags with protective qualities ranging from having a hard, external shell to being nicely padded. Additionally, try wrapping your ski gear in clothes or additional soft items that can be fit within your ski bag for additional security. If possible, strapping your gear together will help avoid it from shifting around too much and can further reduce the likelihood of gear getting damaged.
What kind of ski bag is the most protective?
Hard cased ski bags are the most protective, however durable padded ski bags can still do a great job at protecting your ski gear.
Do airlines allow ski bags?
Yes. All airlines in the U.S. will allow you to travel with your skis as a checked luggage. Most major airlines consider a ski bag and boot bag together to be one piece of checked luggage, which follows the normal checked baggage policy.
Are ski bags with wheels worth it?
Yes. Ski bags with wheels are much easier to travel with, haul around airports, and handle. You may not think paying for a bag with wheels is worth it at first, but you will understand just how valuable it is when you have been walking a mile in a crowded airport with a ski bag full of gear slung over your shoulder and a couple suitcases in your hands.
Can I put extra gear into my ski bag when flying?
There are conflicting reports around whether stuffing ski carrying bags with clothes and other items is allowed for air travel. In general, most airlines don’t explicitly state that you can’t and you should be fine as long as your bag falls within the allowable weight limit and isn’t stuffed so tight that security isn’t able to go through it.
Skis and related equipment can be a pain to travel with – they are awkward, can get dirty or wet, and even have sharp edges that can damage your car or clothes! A ski bag is a great investment for anybody who frequently hauls their ski gear around. Even a cheap bag in the back of your car can help keep from your skis getting the car wet or dirty. For air travel or longer ski trips, a ski bag with more protection and maybe even some wheels will make traveling with your equipment much less of a hassle.
Either way the benefits of ski bags far outweigh the headache of not having one, so finding the best ski bag to fit your needs is a worthwhile investment.
Good luck and happy travels!