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You’ve invested big bucks in your skis. So how do you protect your investment during travel? Ski bags, of course. Our goal at The Adventure Junkies is to help you choose the best ski bag for your travels. That way your skis will arrive safe at slopes. Bags also limit scratches to ski tops, dings to metal edges, and gouges in bases.

It’s important to choose a bag beefy enough to handle your mode of travel, be it by air or by car. If you have a quiver of skis, you’ll want a bag to fit them. We’ll give you an overview of the best ski bags on the market and provide you with considerations and reviews to help choose the best ski bag for your pocketbook and needs.

For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Ski Backpacks.

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FELLOW SKIER?

Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your skiing friends.
From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone.

 

 

 

Quick Answer - The Best Ski Bags

  1. Sportube Series 3
  2. Sportube Series 2
  3. Transpack Jet
  4. Dakine Single Padded
  5. Athalon Single Padded
  6. High Sierra Deluxe Single
  7. Dakine Boundary Roller

 

 

 

Comparison Table - The Best Ski Bags

PictureNameBest ForStyleSki Pairs FitWheelsMax Ski LengthPriceRating
Sportube Series 3Airline travelHard3Yes183cm$$$4.3
Sportube Series 2Airline travelHard2Yes211cm$$4.8
Transpack JetAirline TravelHard2Yes203cm$$$4.6
Dakine Single PaddedCar TravelSoft1No175cm or 197cm$$4.4
Athalon Single PaddedBudgetSoft1No180cm$4.5
High Sierra Deluxe SingleBudgetSoft1No180cm$4.5
Dakine Boundary RollerLong JourneysSoft2Yes180/200cm$$$5.0
PictureNameBest ForStyleSki Pairs FitWheelsMax Ski LengthPriceRating

 

 

 

Reviews - Ski Bags

Sportube Series 3

Specs
  • Best For: Airline travel
  • Fabric: High density polyethylene hard shell
  • Max Ski Length: 183cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 3
  • Style: Hard
  • Wheels: Yes

BEST FOR AIR TRAVEL OR CAR TOP CARRIER

DESIGN: Molded plastic in two telescoping parts, locked together with TSA-compliant wire pin, with wheels

PROS: Durable, adjustable 107cm-183cm, fits multiple ski combos: three pairs of skis, two adult skis and two children’s skis, two snowboards, one pair of skis and one snowboard, or two pairs of ski and boots

CONS: Heavier than fabric bags, may need to pay weight overage fees with airlines, will not fit skis longer skis

Sportube Series 2

Specs
  • Best For: Airline travel
  • Fabric: High density polyethylene hard shell
  • Max Ski Length: 211cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 2
  • Style: Hard
  • Wheels: Yes

BEST FOR AIR TRAVEL OR CAR TOP CARRIER

DESIGN: Molded plastic in two telescoping parts, locked together with TSA-compliant wire pin, with wheels

PROS: Durable, adjustable 122cm-211cm, can fit two pairs of skis or one pair of skis and a snowboard with bindings removed

CONS: Heavier than fabric bags

Transpack Jet

Specs
  • Best For: Airline Travel
  • Fabric: High density polyethylene hard shell
  • Max Ski Length: 203cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 2
  • Style: Hard
  • Wheels: Yes

BEST FOR AIR TRAVEL

DESIGN: Molded plastic in two telescoping parts, locked together with TSA-compliant wire pin, with wheels

PROS: Durable, adjustable 115cm-203cm, interior straps and bands for securing skis, ergonomic front handle for wheeling, cell foam padding to protect tips and tails, can fit two pairs of skis or two snowboards

CONS: Heavier than fabric bags

Dakine Single Padded

Specs
  • Best For: Car Travel
  • Fabric: 600 denier polyester
  • Max Ski Length: 175cm or 197cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 1
  • Style: Soft
  • Wheels: No

BEST FOR CAR TRAVEL

DESIGN: Full zippered, lightly padded with tarp-lined sides, shoulder straps

PROS: Lightweight, comes in two lengths

CONS: Durability

Athalon Single Padded

Specs
  • Best For: Budget
  • Fabric: High-density polyester with waterproof backing
  • Max Ski Length: 180cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 1
  • Style: Soft
  • Wheels: No

BEST FOR CAR TRAVEL

DESIGN: Full zippered, lightly padded with exterior compression straps

PROS: Lightweight, inexpensive

CONS: Less durable, might not fit ultra fat or longer skis

High Sierra Deluxe Single

Specs
  • Best For: Budget
  • Fabric: 600 Denier Duralite polyester
  • Max Ski Length: 180cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 1
  • Style: Soft
  • Wheels: No

BEST FOR EASY ACCESS

DESIGN: Main u-shaped opening and padded center with compression strap

PROS: Function, value

CONS: No wheels, durability 

Dakine Boundary Roller

Specs
  • Base Fabric: 600 denier polyester
  • Best For: Long Journeys
  • Max Ski Length: 180/200cm
  • Ski Pairs Fit: 2
  • Style: Soft
  • Wheels: Yes

BEST FOR LONG JOURNEYS

DESIGN: All-around padded protection, compression straps, two exterior zippered pockets

PROS: Fits two pairs of skis, one pair of boots, poles, outerwear

CONS: Price

 

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKI BAGS

SOFT OR HARD

Ski bags can be soft or hard-sided. Soft bags are made from cloth fabrics while hard-sided bags are made from plastics. Both are designed to protect skis from beatings during travels.

Soft-sided ski bags usually have strong exterior fabrics made from polyesters or synthetics. If polyesters, look for those at least 600 denier. The higher the denier, the tighter the thread weave and therefore the tougher fabric. Lower deniers are thinner fabrics that can be easily abraded; higher deniers are more resistant to rips and tears.

Better quality bags will be padded and lined on the interior with water-resistant fabrics to prevent the absorption of snow and allow for easy wiping out. Non-padded ski bags are best used for car trips rather than airline travel that subjects both the skis and bag to rough baggage handling.

Hard-sided ski bags are made from lightweight plastics such as high density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE forms a hard shell that protects the skis. For car travel, you can lash them to roof racks. For airline travel, they offer the sturdiest protection. Padding, even clothing, helps to prevent skis from rattling around inside hard-sided ski bags.

 

WHEELS

Some ski bags have wheels on one end. These are usually bags designed to fit two or three pairs of skis and therefore heavier. Wheeled ski bags allow the user to carry the front end of the bag while the back end rolls on wheels. Choose a bag with sturdy wheels with rubber, similar to those on inline skates. If you are looking for ease of transport, wheels will make hauling your ski bag through airports and large hotels much easier.

 

NUMBER OF SKIS

Most bags are made to fit one, two, or three pairs of skis. In a bag designed for three pairs of skis, families can often fit two pairs of adult skis plus two pairs of child skis. Some bags can also fit one pair of skis and one snowboard, although you may have to remove the bindings on the snowboard. Ski bags also fit poles in special compartments or alongside the skis.

With multiple skis and poles in a bag, the gear can clunk against each other during transport, sometimes causing damage. Well-padded bags include interior padding that goes between pairs of skis and poles. But you can also create your own padding with ski clothing: parkas, gloves, mitts, pants, hats, and even helmets. (Be cautious about using goggles for padding to avoid breaking lens or scratching them on metal edges.) Savvy air travelers often eliminate a bag and extra luggage expenses by cramming their ski bags with all of their gear; however, ski boots usually do not fit in ski bags.

 

SKI LENGTH AND WIDTH

When shopping for ski bags, note the length. The bag must be longer than your skis, so you’ll need to know the exact length of your skis. Be sure to convert bags sold by inch lengths into centimeters, since skis are measured in centimeters. (Multiply the inches by 2.54 to figure out the centimeter length.)

Keep in mind that bags are not stretchy. If your skis are 186cm in length, they will not fit a bag that is 185cm in length. It’s better to have excess room in a ski bag rather than having one too short. You can always fill in the extra space with gloves, hats, pants, and parkas.

Some soft and hard-sided bags are adjustable. Check the minimum and maximum length of the bag to be sure it will accommodate your ski lengths.

Narrower ski bags may not fit ultra fat powder boards nor tall bindings. For these skis and bindings, you may need to purchase a ski bag designed for two pairs of skis in order to fit the one pair.

 

COLORS

Most ski bags are black to resist showing dirt, grime, and grease. Unfortunately, when flying, your black ski bag may get lost in a sea of black ski bags. To help with quicker identification on luggage racks, you can tie on a colorful piece of webbing or put a ring of bright tape around one of the straps. A few bags come in colors that help the bag stand out from the crowd.

Some ski bag companies also make matching boot bags. While matching luggage makes it easier to keep track of bags, the appearance of the bags should be secondary to the quality of gear protection they offer.

 

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR STRAPS

Nylon straps serve two functions with ski bags. On the inside of the bags, straps keep skis and poles from sliding around or shifting inside the bag. On the outside, the straps serve to compress the contents zipped inside, thereby preventing damage from gear rubbing on gear. Sturdy, durable bags have interior and exterior compression straps. Budget bags tend to have minimal straps.

 

ADDED SKI BAG FEATURES

Higher end ski bags have added features: pockets, handles, and carrying straps. Pockets provide places to tuck extra ski gear: socks, gloves, mitts, neck gaiters, under layers, hats, skins, beacons, probes, and shovel. But be wary of using pockets for goggles as they may not provide enough protection. (Hint: wrap your goggles in a hat and place inside your helmet.)

Handles help in lifting the bags in and out of vehicles. Most hard-sided ski bags come with multiple plastic handles. Soft-sided bags use nylon webbing for handles. Higher end and wheeled bags will have padded handles for easier lifting and hand comfort.

Shoulder straps aid in carrying bags longer distances through airports. Added padding on shoulder straps makes them more comfortable. Hard-sided ski bags often have a webbing strap to aid in pulling on wheels.

READ MORE

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About The Author

Snow Sports Expert

Becky Lomax is a writer and photographer who covers skiing, hiking, and backpacking. She is based in Montana where she skis several days each week in winter. The choice of downhill, backcountry, cross-country touring, skate, or Nordic classic depends on snow conditions. Having skied many of the big resorts in the western U.S. and Canada, she knows a good day skiing is any day she’s gliding on the boards.

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