As surfers, the board is our most prized possession and as such, we want to do everything in our power to keep it in pristine condition. While a ding is inevitable at some point, a solid board bag can help prolong the life of your board, and give you some peace of mind when traveling, whether it’s to your local break, a coastal roadtrip, or flying across the globe. When purchasing a bag, there are a few key factors I take into consideration: protection, durability over time, how transportable the bag is, and of course, the cost.
What Makes a Good Surfboard Bag?
The most important feature of a board bag is how well it protects your stick. Although there are different types of bags available at different levels of protection, I expect the bag to provide the type of protection advertised. For example, a day bag should provide ample protection for trips around town, but I wouldn’t expect it to hold up on an overseas flight. A travel bag, on the other hand, should keep a board protected on a long haul trip. Before purchasing a bag, I take into consideration what kind of travel I’ll be doing and then consider the features it offers.
Like surfboards, a good board bag doesn’t come cheap and as such I want one that’s going to last. Salt water and sea air are pretty rough on equipment, so you want to make sure you’re getting a bag that’s made from durable material. Although it’s possible to find bags at an agreeable price point, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t buying one that’s made from cheap fabric that’s going to quickly fall apart.
Ease of Use
Traveling with boards is a challenge, so features that make the board easier to transport are always appreciated. If it’s a shortboard bag, a padded shoulder strap is a plus. If it’s a longboard bag or a bag for multiple boards, wheels are a game changer. Full-length zippers are also awesome – there’s nothing worse than trying to shimmy a longboard out of a boardbag without a friend to hold the nose, especially if you made the mistake of putting your board in the bag while still wet.
After dropping a wad of cash on a new board, the last thing you want to do is shell out another couple hundred bucks on a bag. Cost is something I always take into consideration when purchasing new gear — my goal is to find a solid product at a reasonable price. But, it can be worth paying a little extra for a quality bag that is going to last and keep your board safe, especially when you consider the amount you can end up paying in repairs if your board gets dinged.
TLDR: What are the Best Surfboard Bags?
At Wave Tribe, the goal is to offer a bag that is stylish, sustainably made, durable, and offers the maximum protection possible—the brand hit the nail on the head with the Hurricane Chaser travel bag. In an effort to be gentle on the environment, the bag is made from high-density recycled nylon and hemp, which keeps the board about 10 degrees cooler than a traditional bag. Thoughtful exterior bag features include heavy-duty YKK zippers, a padded shoulder strap, heavy-duty handles, a zippered pocket, wheels, and breathable hemp. Interior features include 25 mm of padding on the nose and tail, a padded board separator to securely separate boards, and an interior pocket for stashing fins/leashes. The bag is available in nine different size options and is designed to comfortably hold two boards, making it perfect for overseas adventures. This bag recently accompanied me on a trip to Hawaii and it performed like a dream, with all of my gear arriving intact.
Available in five size options and two colorways, the Dayrunner cover is lightweight yet durable, making it ideal for transit to and from the beach. The bag features five-mm high-density padding, noncorrosive zippers paired with Velcro, an ergonomic shoulder pad, and an internal pocket for stashing fins or wax. Standout features include 3D rail protection that contours to the shape of the rail, an expandable fin wing that allows you to transport your board with or without the fin, and a contoured stretch fit that provides ventilation while simultaneously keeping the bag snug around your board. Although this bag is advertised as a day use bag, it is extremely well made and raises the bar for day use bags by being ultra padded and secure.
Upon first examination, Curve’s Boost bag looks more like a day use bag than a travel bag due to its compact design. However, upon taking a closer look,db I noticed 20-mm boosted nose and tail foam zones that provide added protection during transport. Additionally, the bag features a seven-mm foam core, a 600D water-resistant canvas base, heat reflective silver tarpee upper, fin slot with Velcro closer, and a detachable shoulder strap. An especially unique feature of the bag is the Tail Protection Strap System, a built-in strap that allows you to firmly secure the board inside the pack. Although the body of the bag doesn’t provide as intense protection as other travel options, the price is right and the paddling is sufficient — you just may want to wrap some towels around your board for a little extra cushion.
If you’re willing to spend a little more for the extra padding, the Curve Armordillo is an absolute tank with thick foam panels on the rails, nose, and tail. Buy the shortboard version here, and the longboard version here.
If you’re looking for a rugged bag that will keep your board safe during long-haul trips, look no further than the Creatures of Leisure x Roark Adventure-Ready bag. Designed for lightweight, compact travel the board comes in three size options that securely hold your board in place while offering maximum protection. Featuring Diamond-Tech fabric, 10-mm closed cell foam protection, an expandable sidewall, 20 percent more protection on the nose/tail, marine-grade corrosion resistant zippers, a padded handle and shoulder strap, internal compression straps, an aero mesh ventilation system, and a limited edition cover, the Adventure-Ready bag has everything you could want in a good travel bag and more. With style points to boot, the Adventure Ready bag is the one I’ll be reaching for on my next globe trotting adventure.
While it might not give the most protection, a boardsock can help reduce small dings that occur in transit, as well as keeping your car and board storage clean of wax. it’s certainly better than nothing!
The Roll-Top Boardbag is an awesome new product from San Francisco-based company Roew, that could stir up some major change in the surf-bag industry. Two revolutionary features stand out to me: the roll-top closure from which the bag gets its name, and the breathability. The roll-top makes so much sense you wonder why boardbags weren’t always made like this. Zippered boardbags are mostly non-adjustable (see the Db boardbags below for the exception to that rule), and another problem with zippers is that, eventually, all of them get corroded by salt water. The roll-top bag fixes both of these problems by introducing a roll-top design, similar to the top of a drybag, that opens wide to slide a board in and then can be rolled down to keep the board snug and secure in the bag. This also lets each size of bag accommodate a range of board lengths (shortboard, midlength and longboard).
Unlike a drybag however, this boardbag is breathable, meaning wet or dry you can shove your board in there without having to worry about a moldy boardbag or the pain of getting your wet board out of the bag later on. It isn’t the most protective option but it does have extra padding on the nose, and the lightweight design means it can be rolled up to the size of a yoga mat. With a commitment to eco-friendliness, this exciting new product is one I was stoked to get my hands on to test.
Check it out on Kickstarter.
This is a super-cool idea for a board bag, and like its brother, the Bunker, well designed. The main idea with the Shelter is that wiggle room can allow dings – so the tighter the fit, the more protected your surfboard is. To achieve this level of protection, Db introduced their length-adjustable system. Two clips on either side of the tail let you fold the back part of the bag around the tail of the board to accommodate boards from 5’3″ to 6’4″. This works best without fins attached, which makes sense, you probably won’t be leaving fins in for longer trips where you would want the tight-fitting protection anyway.
The Bunker is a pretty rad piece of equipment. The bag has a side handle that can be hidden to prevent it from being used (because side handles are prone to letting boards swing around) and a set of diagonal handles for a safe, two-handed carry, as well as its own set of built in wheels. Too bad you can’t ride it. The all black is a sleek look, and there’s a ton of padding in all the right areas, as well as harder “ribs” which help the bag keep its shape around the boards to prevent dings. The nose and tail are further protected by zippered packable areas that let you stuff clothes, towels, wetsuits, etc., around the nose and tail of your boards. The bag rolls up for easy transport and storage when it’s empty.
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