Surfboard Air Travel Bags Buyers Guide
Air Travel Bags Versus Day Travel Bags
If you fly your surfboards by airplane then your standard day bag just doesn’t cut the mustard. Air travel surfboard bags have a tougher outer layer as well as increased padding throughout and can accommodate one to several boards depending on the type of bag. All of this translates to a bag that costs more than your typical day bag but guarantees your boards show up in one piece.
Caution: Airline restrictions on size and weight
Always check with your airline before bringing surfboards on any flight. Each airline has its own set of rules and restrictions and it can be very expensive to bring boards or even prohibited. Surfline has a great breakdown of board bags charges by airline. Use this as a guide but always call the airline to check.
Rounded or Pointed Nose?
When selecting your bag always check the specification to determine whether it's a pointed nose or rounded nose. A longboard style will be a full rounded nose bag and a shortboard style will be pointed nose bag.
This will hold one board. Most longboard/mini longboard bags will have a fin slot (double check on this feature especially if you have a glassed in single fin), shortboard bags will not. In the case of fun shapes and fish shapes, check the specifications of each bag. Most single travel bags will function just fine for day use. If you like the extra padding and heavier zippers and straps...go with a single travel bag for everyday use...a little heavier, but more protection.
Double bags hold two boards. Always check the specifications of each bag to see the different bells and whistles each offer. Some have a center piece for extra padding between boards. Others have Velcro on the tail to expand the volume of the bag. Some even include a changing mat.
Coffins are the most popular multi-board travel bags in use today. They come both wheeled and non-wheeled. If it has wheels it will be heavier but unless you like dragging a coffin around the airport. Just keep in mind how mobile you want to be on your next trip. However a word of caution on coffins, especially with the heavier multi board wheeled coffins. Always take heed of your airline weight limitations before your journey so you don't get stuck with a bag too big or too heavy that they refuse to take it or charge a fee for the extra weight. Coffins typically come with a divider or two depending on the model. Typically, a double coffin will have one divider. A triple or quad will have two dividers or day bags, or a combination of both. Check the specs.
Wheeled Coffin Bag
Wheeled coffins have wheels and make the journey thru the airport a lot easier on your neck and back. If you have a direct flight and you will not need to be very mobile, it may not make sense. But if you have lots of connection flights and will be doing a lot of moving on your feet then having wheels if a blessing. Again, take note of the size and weight of your bag. Having wheels will always add more weight and it's a good idea to check with your airline(s) before your journey to make sure you do not exceed their size and weight limitations.
Other features to consider on Travel Bags
All bags use varying pocket designs...pockets inside for gear and fins, and pockets outside for straps and gear. Coffins usually have straps incorporated on the inside to strap your board down after stacking. Some bags have rail straps for cinching the side walls tight to create a smaller profile.
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