There’s nothing worse than frothing for a surf only to find your board has developed a nasty case of storage dings. Even if your stick’s older, finding out that it’s suffered during its time in your garage, board shed or under your bed, can ruin your day. If your board is new, or new to you, seeing a ding, no matter how small, can be a real heart sinker.
With that said, these dings are easily avoided with the proper care. Every surfer should invest in some sort of board bag for most, if not all surfboards to avoid these problems. Not only will a good bag keep your board safe in storage, it’ll also help your board last longer in general, cutting down on getting-out-of-your-apartment-for-dawn-patrol dings, parking-lot-asphalt-scratches, and other such calamities. A solid board bag is a definite must.
What Are the Best Surfboard Bags For Your Budget?
Dirt Cheap: The Board Sock ($30-40)
Cheapest True Surfboard Bag: Curve Supermodel Surfboard Bag ($40-58)
Well-Padded: Dakine Daylight Surfboard Bag($74-150)
Extra Features: Pro-Lite Resession Day Bag ($78-127)
Best Single Bag For A Quiver: Roam Day Light Plus Surfboard Bag ($78-100)
The Most For Your Money: FCS All Purpose Surfboard Bag ($125-180)
The Best Budget Travel Bag: Roam Coffin Surfboard Bag ($196-250)
Finding the best board bag can be daunting, and expensive. For this guide, we took a look at the most affordable surfboard bags we could find, so you can avoid the pricier options but still buy with confidence. Whether you’re just looking to keep the sun off or something more substantial that you can pack a few boards in, there’s an option in your budget.
Easy on the Pocket Book
Pros: Cheap. Lightweight and packs down small.
Cons: Not a ton of ding protection and can be difficult to wiggle onto your board.
The board sock is definitely the cheapest option out there. But, like so many other things in life, you definitely get what you pay for. Or rather, you won’t get what you didn’t pay for.
Board socks are good for protecting your board from sun and light scratches. The sock cover is lightweight and easy to store when you’re not using it, and keeping your board in a board sock is a huge help when it comes to keeping your home clean of wax.
The reinforced nose on this board sock from Ho Stevie! gives peace of mind when it comes to the most delicate part of your board. However, since the rest of the sock is just a piece of fabric, it doesn’t offer much protection from larger dings or dents. If you’re worried about taps against a wall or other light impacts, the board sock can help. If you want a bag that can actually protect your board from more frequent jostling, a board sock won’t cut it. But your board will get some limited protected and at a very low price-point.
Cheapest True Surfboard Bag
Pros: Dirt-cheap for a true board bag. Reflective material will keep board cool, even in direct sunlight.
Cons: No wax/fin pocket, very thin padding. No expandable fin area,
For just $10 more than a surfboard sock, Curve’s Supermodel is a full-fledged surfboard bag, albeit one with zero frills and minimal padding. Prices start at $40 for a 5’6″ bag and go up from there, but stay reasonably priced – the extra-wide, 10’2″ longboard bag is still only $58 – an absolute steal. The bag is also made in a variety of sizes and shapes, so whether you’re looking for something that will fit your mini-simmons or your gun, it’s likely you’ll find a match.
All of the bags feature a (non-removable) shoulder strap, carry handle, reinforced nose and tail, and are made from a semi-reflective silver tarpee to keep your board cool. The shortboard bags feature side-zippered access to the main compartment (as seen in the photo above), making it easy to stash a wetsuit, towel, or other gear, and longboard bags feature a velcro fin-slot.
Again, there’s no dedicated wax/fin pocket, and the padding is pretty thin at 1/8-inch (three millimeters). And depending on the board it might be a tight fit if you want to keep your fins on. However, Curve does offer a 12-month warranty on all components and workmanship, and has great customer service for easy returns if the bag and your board don’t play well together.
Pros: Solid protection for daily use with 1/4″ (6.5mm) padding and removable shoulder strap.
Cons: Only one pocket located on the inside of the bag. It can be a little tight depending on the board and whether you leave your fins on.
The low-cost, no-frills Dakine Daylight bag is one of the most cost-effective bags on the market. And, just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice, as the Dakine Daylight provides excellent protection for day-to-day use. The heavy duty tarpaulin cover is heat and water resistant so you can keep your board reasonably well protected from the elements. You probably won’t want to get in the habit of leaving this bag with your board inside in your car all the time, but a long search for waves in a hot car presents no problems for this bag.
The quarter-inch (6.5mm) padding provides a solid layer of protection. The bag comes in three shapes: shortboard, hybrid, and noserider, to fit almost any sized board. If you’re looking for a bag that you can put your board in for any sort of day trip, the Dakine Daylight has you covered.
There is a small pocket for fins and wax, but it’s on the inside and is pretty small – fins and some wax will fill it up quick. Even if you choose not to carry your fins and wax in the bag’s pockets, you’ll find this board bag’s pockets a little tight for anything else.
On that note, this bag is a little tight for boards. Though it can fit a standard shortboard with the fins in, you’ll notice that it fits much better when you take the fins off. And while taking your fins out is generally a good idea for avoiding finbox-damage, taking them out and putting them back in for every session can be a bit of a headache.
Check Price for the Daylight Shortboard Bag (5’4″ – 7’0″) on Amazon and Evo.
Check Price for the Daylight Hybrid Bag (5’4″ – 7’0″) on Amazon, Evo, and Backcountry.
Check Price for the Daylight Noserider Bag (7’6″ – 11’0″) on Amazon, Evo, and Backcountry.
Pros: Good features such as two pockets, removable shoulder strap, a zipper rail guard, and a bit of extra room in the tail to keep fins on (maybe).
Cons: Thin padding (3mm).
If you’re looking for a board bag for carrying your board and gear with you while also providing some level of protection in storage, the Pro-Lite Resession board bag will serve you well. Sometimes you just need a bag that will free up your arms when you go to the beach and keep your board out of the sun. In these areas, the Resession bag is an excellent choice. As was already mentioned, the Pro-Lite Resession bag is very good for carrying your board, and just transporting it in general. The bag is easy to carry and offers a good level of protection while your board might be bouncing around.
This bag has good storage pockets. As a day bag, the Resession does an excellent job of providing you with space in the bag to carry your other needs. With internal and external pockets, you can carry a spare set of fins to switch to and any wax, tools, or other gear you would need.
The zipper on the Resession day bag is made of noncorrosive material. This might not sound like that big of a deal, but goes a long way towards extending this bag’s life. Most of the time the lifetime of a bag will depend on how long the zipper will last. And for this bag, the zipper will last you a long time. Plus there is a guard around the zipper so you won’t have to worry about it rubbing up against your board.
However, the padding on this bag is definitely on the thin side. At only 3mm it’s substantially less than other bags such as the Dakine bag. There’s enough padding in this bag to prevent some of the minor scuffs, but it is still possible to ding your board while it’s in this bag if you are careless.
Best Single Bag For A Quiver
Pros: A bit of a looser fit to hold different-shape boards.
Cons: No pockets.
If you’re the kind of surfer who has a quiver of boards but the finances for only one bag, the Roam Day Light Plus Surfboard Bag is ideal. With it’s slightly baggier shape, you can fit a wide variety of different shapes in it, making it ideal for day trips when the waves are right on the edge and you may need a different board than you expected.
The Roam Day Light Plus bag is relatively well padded especially when it comes to day bags. With 5mm of padding throughout the bag, the protection is legit. If you want to take your board on a plane, the roomier fit allows you to stuff extra padding in, like a board sock.
However, that extra space in the bag can also be seen as a negative. If you’re dead set on having the snuggest fitting board bag for your stick, this definitely isn’t the bag for you. Your board will wiggle around in this bag a bit which may increase the chance of finding some small crack on your board’s rail.
Though we mentioned that there’s ample room in the main compartment, there are no extra pockets. If you’re looking for a spot to store wax and maybe an extra set of fins, you’re out of luck. You can store them in the main compartment with your board, but who knows what might happen while they’re bouncing around in there.
The Most For Your Money
Pros: Great features, expandable tail area to fit any board with fins on, good padding.
Top-tier surfboard bags come loaded with extra padding and innovative features, but can get you into the $200-plus range if you’re not careful. If you’re looking to get into the upper tier of bags, but don’t want the extra cost, the FCS All Purpose Surfboard Bag offers top-tier protection and innovation without the top-tier price. This bag is more expensive than some of the others, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
The fit on this bag is ridiculously good. You won’t have to worry about your board sloshing around, whether you like to store your board with the fins in or out. You can even change the depth of the tail to make sure your board sits snug at all times.
Not only does the FCS All Purpose Surf Bag have 5mm of high density padding to keep your board safe, it also eliminates all the seams that might otherwise be in the padding. What this means for your board is that there are no weak points in the bag. You don’t have to worry about setting your board down on the rail where all the padding comes together since the padding of this bag fully envelopes the board.
Unlike the other bags on this list, FCS’s isn’t made entirely out of reflective tarpaulin. This bag stays cool on the inside and works to remove moisture so your board stays drier and gets less heat damage. Unlike other bags, this FCS board bag won’t get all gross and muggy just from putting a wet board in it a couple of dozen times.
All that being said, this bag is expensive. Yes, it is a more solid bag than any of the others on the list, and yes, it’s cheaper than most top-tier bags, but you might not actually need all of the features. Furthermore, this bag is made for a snug fit. If you’re riding high performance boards, there will be no problem. But if you’re riding long grovelers, go for the funboard-shaped bag.
The Best Budget Travel Bag
Pros: Ten mm of padding. Plenty of space for other gear
Cons: Overkill unless you’re traveling with multiple boards. No wheels like some other travel bags.
Sometimes, traveling down the road just won’t cut it when it comes to your search for waves. If you’re going to travel on a plane, your usual day bag won’t cut it. Between airline baggage handlers and your extra travel boards, traveling requires more from your bag than a normal day at the beach. Fortunately, there’s a bag out there that’ll let you keep your cash for the travel itself.
The Roam Coffin can fit up to four boards. And, it has the straps to keep them all where they’re supposed to be. The 10mm of padding is all that you need, but this bag recognizes that everyone wants to pack a little more padding for peace of mind. These bags run a little long so there’s space for you to fill in the cracks with clothes or wetsuits to keep your bag limit down and your boards extra safe.
The Roam Coffin Surfboard Bag is also well-designed when it comes to storing other essentials beyond your boards. With seven internal pockets, there’s plenty of space for all the tools, fins, wax, and other gear you’ll need to make sure that your boards are ready to surf when you get to wherever it’s firing.
However, unless you’re planning on traveling with multiple boards, this bag is obviously overkill. If you’re just spending the day at the beach or looking for storage for your board, you’ll find this bag excessive. Furthermore, the Coffin is designed to be dragged from the front. Though your boards will stay safe and your shoulder will thank you, dragging this bag will cause it to wear out quicker. Something to think about, as there’s always different options to consider with whatever bag you end up choosing.
Check Price on Evo.
Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.