How to Choose a Ski or Snowboard Bag

You may have heard of tunnel vision, but at ASO Mammoth we see something called mountain vision every winter.

When you’re planning a trip to Mammoth Mountain, it’s easy to put all of your focus on the terrain and snow. After all, it’s some of the best in the world. If you become too focused on the mountain though, you can fall victim to mountain vision and forget about other key parts of actually getting to the mountain. For us here at Mammoth Lakes’ best ski shop, that means we see plenty of people who either forgot some of their gear or fail to pack it well enough to prevent damage during travel.

We love helping Mammoth Lakes visitors, but if you want to avoid any surprises while traveling with your skis or snowboard then we have a short guide to buying a ski or snowboard bag below for you!

Buy Too Big Instead of Too Small

If you have to choose between a ski or snowboard bag that’s too small or too big then you’ll want to buy big. The first reason is that if your bag is too short then your skis or snowboard will get damaged more easily, Secondly, you can fit more gear like boots or a bulky jacket inside the bag if it has more room. If you’re flying with your skis or snowboard then how much you can fit inside of your bag makes a huge difference since most airlines will charge your ski bag as a checked bag. Plus, you’ll need the extra space to safely transport your gear if you’re traveling with more than one set of skis or two snowboards.

If a bag is too big then you can secure your gear with either padding or your soft gear like jackets and pants. Some bags also come with interior straps that fasten skis and boards down to keep them from shifting around during transit. You may not always have enough gear to fill up a ski or snowboard bag that has extra space, but interior straps can keep your gear safe even when there’s little else inside your bag.

Pay Attention to the Bag’s Mobility and Weight

If you’re unfamiliar with ski and snowboard bags then you’ll soon find out that they’re large, difficult to maneuver, and heavy when loaded with gear. Add in a crowded airport terminal or a long walk on snow-covered sidewalks and you can see why it’s important that your bag is easy to move. The best solution is buying a bag that has wheels so you don’t have to carry everything on your shoulders. If wheels aren’t an option, then pay attention to the carrying straps. If they don’t look comfortable to carry the bag with and there are no wheels then it may be best to consider another bag.

Consider a Hard-shell for Long Trips

It won’t take long to realize that a hard-shell ski or snowboard case offers the best protection for your gear. The issue is that hard-shells are even more difficult to move, store, and pack than a regular ski or snowboard bag. For that reason, we recommend using hard-shell cases only if you have reason to suspect that your gear will be handled poorly or are traveling long distances.

Avoid Putting Snowboards in Ski Bags

You may be tempted to buy a ski bag for your snowboard if you find a good deal. However, we recommend avoiding swapping bag types because ski bags are often too short to safely fit a snowboard.

Check out this video on how to pack your snowboard bag!

Read more on how to pack for air travel in this article by On The Snow.