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A surfer needs a surfboard travel bag just like a guitarist needs a guitar travel bag. Aside from making your travel more convenient and comforting, a bag protects the surfboard from heat, UV, rain, and other forms of damage.
Now for me, it was essential to make the right investment, for I was someone that would use it on an everyday basis. So I spent a fair share of time researching the bags, their design features and flaws, the material they are made of, and so forth. And my results? Well, you can read all about them down below.
Travel Bags Comparison Chart
Best Surfboard Travel Bags Reviewed
1. Dakine Noserider Bag
Dakine is a notable name in the world of surfboard travel bags. This particular Dakine bag, the Surf Daylight Noserider, is the best among best surfboard travel bags. The bag can be purchased in two color options, the White and Stencil Palm (we suggest that you go with white, it looks much more elegant.)
The bag is made of tarpaulin, a material that gives it protection against heat and water. It also has the 1/4-inch foam padding around the edges that protects your surfboard from impacts. Oh, and I also liked the fin pouch. Admittedly though, I feel that the pouch should be larger because I that it can fit a big fin.
The bag is also quite spacious, with enough room for your towel and an extra shirt. And speaking of room, make sure that you order the right size. For the Dakine Noserider, you have anything from 7 to 10 ft, which should cover virtually all surfboards.
What I liked the most was the shoulder strap. The strap was both cleverly designed and comfortable, fixed on one side and well padded. It also seems quite sturdy, and I believe it should endure years of service. And, the bag has a single wide opening, which allows you to get the board in and out of the bag without too much hassle.
Essentially, the only thing I didn't like was the fin pouch. I mean, the pouch is sturdy, it has a durable zipper resistant to rust and is well sewn-in, but it should have been more spacious. That aside, this bag delivers on all fronts and is a perfect choice for surfers that need an everyday surfboard travel bag.
2. Curve Surfboard Travel Bag
If you value protection more than anything else for your surfboard, then go with the Curve Surfboard bag. Both tail and nose areas are padded with 3/4-inch foam, ensuring that your board enjoys maximum protection from impacts.
The core itself is padded (7mm thick) and covered with durable 600D Polycanvas, fabric that is known for its sturdiness and elasticity. The bag also features a Tail Protection Strap System, which wraps around the tail and fixates its position. There are two benefits to this design:
- The TPSS keeps the surfboard safe and firm inside the bag and prevents it from sliding from side to side
- The TPPS ensures that the board doesn't stand in the way of zippers, which allows get the board in and out rapidly
The zipper is smooth, durable and resistant to corrosion and designed to meet the everyday needs of surfers. There is also the added-in fin compartment with Velcro closure that can fit fins of all sizes. Most importantly, this Curve surfboard travel bag offers protection from extreme sunlight and UV lights.
What I didn't like was the fact that this bag doesn't unzip all the way down, making it a bit harder for you to get the board in and out of the bag. Thankfully the zipper works like a clockwork, so this shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
While it doesn't look as stylish as Dakine, the Curve Surfboard Travel Bag offers a bit more protection. This doesn't mean that Dakine bags can't protect your boards, merely that Curve invests more of their resources into safety and protection.
3. Dakine Thruster Bag
The Dakine Thruster bag is in a lot of was similar to the Noserider. Both are made of durable tarpaulin, and both use sturdy coil zipper. And both have fin pockets, the difference being the fact that Thruster fin pocket fits all-sized fins, while the Noserider felt a bit undersized.
But though they are made by the same manufacturer (and have the same color patterns), the Dakine Thruster does feature slightly more advanced design. It is intended for short surfboards that are up to 7 feet long and features a slightly curved nose tip.
The curved nose tip ensures that the bag fits surfboards of all types and also makes it easier for you to access and store the board. Both ends are padded with 1/4" foam and help protect the board during travel.
While this bag does protect your board from the direct sunlight, you shouldn't overexpose it to sunlight. Why? Well, the fin pocket is waxed for more convenient storing. But, note that if you keep the board under too much sunlight, it will melt the wax and beat the whole purpose of smoother storing.
The shoulder strap is durable and comfortable. It is thick enough to protect your board on a day to day basis but thin enough that it doesn't take too much of your space or cause discomfort while you are traveling. I also loved the Thruster's shape which should match surfboards of all shapes.
4. FCS Surfboard Travel Bag
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Ideal for surfers who are traveling to their next location to catch a big wave, this surfboard travel bag from FCS has been designed with safety and portability in mind. This means that users won’t have to worry about their boards being damaged when they store them in this bag for travel, and since there is ample room for more than one board, this bag is perfect for surfers who want to have an option when at the beach or who are traveling with someone else and need to pack their board as well.
The heavy-duty and long carrying strap can easily be adjusted to the right length so that it works well with surfers of all heights and statues. Thanks to the carrying strap and the sturdy handles, it’s relatively easy to maneuver this bag and the enclosed boards, even in tight conditions or around a lot of people without accidentally knocking into them. By wearing the carrying strap and holding onto the handle, a surfer can easily keep control over the bag and hold it close to their body while traveling.
The downside to carrying a surfboard or two in this manner is that they can be very heavy, and not all surfers will want to struggle with carrying their boards. While carrying them is fine in tighter and cramped conditions, the lack of wheels means that there isn’t a choice to pull the bag when there’s more space.
Thanks to the compression straps and included tie downs, there won’t be any worry about the board banging around in the bag and possibly being damaged. Additionally, while many surfers opt to pad their board with towels to ensure that it isn’t damaged in transit, this bag features a nose cone that is designed to protect the nose of the surfboard. By offering this additional protection in the bag, FCS provides its users peace of mind that their board won’t be damaged even on longer flights.
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5. DaKine World Traveler Surfboard Bag
Surfers who love to travel and want to bring multiple different boards to choose from when they are surfing will love the space that this DaKine surfboard bag offers them. Unlike other surfboard bags that have enough space in them for multiple boards, but don’t offer additional features to make them easy to use, this surfboard bag is a great option for long trips, multiple surfers to share, or for surfers who like to have a selection of boards to choose from when they get to the beach.
Thanks to the durable 600D polyester outer fabric, surfers can rest assured that their boards will be protected when they are in this bag. Not only is the bag large and spacious, but with both internal and external compression straps, there is very little concern about the packed surfboards bumping into each other or getting damaged. By carefully cinching the straps down, users can easily pack their boards with confidence.
Unlike other surfboard bags that don’t have wheels, this DaKine bag comes with durable wheels that are attached securely to the structured hull. The durable structure of the hull, as well as the high-quality wheels, make it significantly easier to travel with multiple surfboards. While it can be a little tricky to navigate through busy areas rolling this bag, the soft shoulder strap and handles allow surfers to carry their boards when necessary.
By putting handles on the top and the side of the bag, DaKine has worked hard to ensure that all surfers will be able to easily control their surfboards and handle the bag. Thanks to the two padded dividers and high quality closed cell foam padding, there is very little concern about the surfboards being damaged in this bag. Additionally, thanks to the corrosion proof zipper, there is little concern about the bag falling apart even after exposure to salt water.
6. Pro-Lite Rhino Surfboard Travel Bag Single/Double-Shortboard
While this bag is great for carrying just one board, the sewn in padded divider ensures that if you carry two bags that they won’t bump or bang into each other. This ensures that wax doesn’t switch boards and that they are both in great condition when it comes time to get on the water.
When only carrying one board you can easily rely on the collapsible gusset to protect your board and prevent it from moving around too much during transit. This keeps the board snug and prevents it from shifting position when on the road.
Thanks to the impressive 10 mm foam protection, this bag can easily protect boards while during transit in a car or on a plane. The bag not only has enough room for a large board or pair or boards, but also has large storage pockets on the exterior of the bag. These pockets have drainage that will ensure that you don’t have crust building up on your shorts.
Made from a durable 600 denier polyester, this board bag is designed to withstand picks, tears, and rips. It won’t become damaged when on the road, ensuring that any boards you have stored inside will also be safe and protected.
Not only will your boards be safe from damage, but there is a vent in the bag that allows for plenty of air flow around the board. This prevents overheating which could easily damage the board. Additionally, there is a rail guard located around the zipper that will help to protect the board from being nicked or damaged.
Buying a surfboard travel bag is the best way to ensure that your board is safe when you are on the go. If you want to travel to surf and are going to bring your board with you, then you must make sure that you choose a bag that will keep your board safe when traveling. Knowing what features to look for and how to choose the right bag for your needs will ensure that your board is protected and will decrease the likelihood of damage. Travel bags offer many benefits over traditional day bags, making them easier to use and offering you plenty of protection when traveling.
Padded Carry Strap
Carrying surfboards, even for short distances, can be difficult if you don’t have a padded carrying strap. Handling the heavy weight of the surfboard can easily cause you to have shoulder or back pain, which is why you want to look for a strap that is designed so that it won’t cut into your shoulder when you’re using it. Thicker straps that are padded will reduce any shoulder or back pain, making it easy to carry your board through the airport and to the beach.
While you want to bring your wax with you when traveling with your bag, you don’t want to have wax already on your board, especially in hotter weather. Rather than worrying about where you put your wax or having to spend money when you get to your location to buy new wax, having a wax pocket makes it easy to keep it on hand. This separate pocket holds your wax and will protect the rest of your bag from accidental damage if you do run into any problems with your wax starting to melt in the heat.
Extra Nose Protection
No matter how careful you are when you’re traveling with your surfboard, chances are good that you may accidentally drop the board or knock the front of it against something. This can be a huge problem, especially when you’re flying, as other people may not be as careful with your board as you would like them to be. Rather than worrying about the condition and safety of your board or trying to wrap the nose on your own, simply opt for a bag that features extra nose protection. This will help to prevent the nose from being cracked or damaged and give you peace of mind when traveling.
How large your bag is will determine how many boards you can bring with you on your trip. While some people are perfectly happy only traveling with their favorite board, if you want to have more choices over what you are going to ride when hitting the waves, then you need to look for a bag that has more room. It’s important to remember, however, that adding more boards will add a lot more weight and put more strain on you and on your bag. Because of this, you need to make sure to choose a high-quality bag that is built to last and features a padded shoulder strap so that you can easily handle the increase in weight.
While standard day bags won’t come with wheels, if you are going to be traveling long distances and don’t want to have to worry about trying to carry the bag every step of the way, then you need to buy a travel bag that has wheels. These will add to the final cost of the bag, but will make it much easier to navigate when traveling, especially when you are trying to find your way through a busy airport or make your way down a busy street. Look for wheels that are high quality, securely connected to the bag, and move easily so that they won’t jam on the go.
Should I keep wax on my board before putting it in the bag?
If you are only going to be going a short distance and your board isn’t going to be in your bag for very long, then you can keep wax on it without any problems. However, leaving wax on your board when your board will be exposed to a lot of heat can be a problem. This will result in the wax melting off of the board and pooling inside of your bag, which can be very annoying and damage your bag.
Why does the zipper matter so much?
The last thing that you want to deal with is a broken zipper when you are far away from home. A high-quality zipper will allow you to easily open and close your bag without worrying about whether or not it will jam or break. YKK zippers are the best in the world, but you need to make sure that they are plated with gold, nickel, or silver. Metal zippers will easily rust when they are exposed to salt water and will cause your bag to fall apart.
Why is tarpaulin such a great option for a surfboard bag?
It’s easy to find surfboard bags that are made out of a variety of different materials, but that doesn’t mean that they are all high quality or that they are going to offer you the support and care that you need. It’s best to look for a bag that is made from polyester or tarpaulin because these bags are going to be less likely to rip or break down due to exposure to sand or sun. Tarpaulin, in particular, is incredibly heavy duty and will help to deflect a lot of heat away from your board so that your board won’t warp when stored in the bag.
How do I take care of my bag?
Taking care of your surfboard bag is important if you want to make sure that it will last for as long as possible. Make sure that you take time to wipe down the bag every once in a while to remove any grime, sand, salt, or wax that may collect inside the bag. Any wax that has started to build up needs to be removed immediately so that it won’t cause damage to the bag.
If I had to recommend only one item for regular day to day use, I would go with the Dakine Noserider bag. While it is a more premium surfboard travel bag, it is also the one that offers a lot of comfort for you and protection for your board. If you don't like Dakine, then opting for Curve should be your best alternative, especially if you value security more than anything else.
If I was looking for a travel bag for airline useage, then without a doubt I would go with the DaKine world traveler bag. And remember, no matter which travel bag you buy, make sure that it matches the size of your surfboard!
Related: Best Surfboard Rack for your SUV
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.