Having a good surfboard bag can be as important as the surfboard it contains. Without protection from a quality boardbag, any frequently transported board will simply deteriorate into a dinged up piece of crap, at which point it doesn’t matter how nice it was to begin with.
Db is a luggage company from Norway that upended the ski and snowboard luggage industry ten years ago when it created length-adjustable and compressible ski and snowboard bags, and in 2021 they delved into the world of surfboard bags, coming out of the gate swinging with team riders such as Sage Erickson and Jordy Smith. Board bags haven’t seen meaningful innovation in years, and Db wants to change that by introducing new features such as length-adjustability on the single-board day bag, The Shelter, and packable protection areas on the multi-board air-travel luggage, The Bunker. Recently, I got my hands on both of these new products. Here’s what I think after a couple of years of using their bags to their utmost potential:
The Bunker ($399)
Wheels! Gotta love ’em.
Packable protection areas at the nose and tail of the boards
Lots of stash areas for fins, wax, etc.
Intended to fit an entire quiver of 3-4 shortboards
Only fits boards up to 6’6″
The Bunker is a pretty rad piece of equipment. The guys at Db put a lot of thought into the design of this guy and it shows. For example, they went so far as to do research on baggage handling and interviewed a bunch of baggage handlers to find out what the best and safest handle placement would be. Apparently, the common side handle is a bit dangerous, especially in the hands of a non-surfer, as it is prone to swinging motions that causes nose and tail dings. Makes sense. It’s still a convenient handle to have, so the bag has a side handle that can be hidden to prevent it from being used by baggage handlers 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.
As stated above, the bag is intended more for a full quiver, and if you’re trying to take just one board you might have a bit more room than you would like in the bag. However, an easy fix is to just make the bag your suitcase and fill the empty space with clothes, wetsuits, whatever really. It also will only work for shortboards, fitting (just barely) boards of 6’6″ in length.
Buy here on Db’s website.
The Shelter ($199)
Provides incredible surfboard protection for a daily-use board bag
Rolls up small (considering the amount of protection included)
Enough protection to fly with in a pinch
Need to remove fins for the tightest fit, and for fishes.
All black can get a little hot if left in the car all day
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. However, that can be a bit of an inconvenience as a daybag when one might rather leave the fins in. For most thrusters, the board bag is able to zip around the fins, but then folding the tail-end of the bag and attaching the straps isn’t quite as sleek as with the fins removed. Another sore-point is with fishes, as the larger, more spread-out fins on some keel-fins can make zipping closed with the fins in impossible. That said, you can’t have it all, and it makes sense that it’s a sacrifice that needs to be made for the tight fit that allows the bag to be used for single-surfboard travelers.
Buy here on Jack’s Surfboards and here on Db’s website.
Want more great surfboard bag options? Check out our full review here. For more awesome gear reviews on The Inertia, click here.