If you’ve just purchased your first or a new stand up paddle board, there are a few things you need to consider before deciding on what SUP board bag is best for you.
Inflatable board bags come in a backpack or small duffel bag form because the board can be deflated and rolled up.
Traditional SUP board bags, on the other hand, are similar to surfboard bags and fit the entire length of your board.
Transportation plays a huge part in deciding which board bag is right for you.
If you have an inflatable board, you’ll most likely be choosing between a backpack or a duffel bag.
If you’re planning to only visit bodies of water that are close to where you can park your vehicle, a duffel bag may be sufficient for you. However, if you’d prefer to explore remote locations where a trek is involved, a comfortable backpack with padded straps would be a better option.
Similar to inflatable SUP bags, traditional board bags should follow the same rule. If you’re going to be carrying your board over a longer distance, you’ll want to invest in a bag with a comfortable padded shoulder strap that is easy to carry as you walk. If you can park your car close to the water’s edge, a comfortable strap may not be needed.
Paddle boards come in many shapes and sizes, as do board bags. Getting a bag that is big enough for your board may seem like common sense, but is a regular mistake people make when purchasing a bag for the first time.
Flat water boards, for example, are wider than touring boards, and therefore would need a wider bag.
Your bag needs to comfortably fit over your board and not be strained while you try to zip it up. You know when you’ve packed too much into your suitcase, and you’re sat on top desperately trying to get the zip to go around? That’s exactly what you don’t want with your board bag.
Always buy a bag that is the same size or slightly bigger than your board’s length. If the bag is too big, the board could slide around and get damaged and if it’s too small, it won’t be fully protected.
Pockets can be useful in your bag to store things like your leash or fins.
Inflatable SUP bags may also have a pocket to store your pump, therefore eliminating the need to carry an extra bag or backpack.
Some SUP board bags can accommodate fins, meaning they don’t need to be removed after every use.
Take into consideration if you have a large single fin or multiple smaller ones, so when it comes time to purchase a bag, you can buy one with a sufficient fin slot.
Inflatable boards, however, have removable fins that can be put into the transport bag and transported alongside the deflated board.
Paddle boards can be hugely affected by the sun and shouldn’t be left in it for long periods.
SUP board bags are constructed with heat-resistant materials and air vents to help prevent heat damage to the board.
The color of the bag also makes a difference in how well your board will be protected. Many bags come in a shiny silver color because it is the best choice for heat protection. The shiny silver reflects the heat and keeps your board cool.
If you’d prefer a bag that isn’t silver, a light-colored option will do a better job of keeping your bag cool compared to a darker color.
Air vents are also an important factor to think about. Vents allow airflow in the bag, meaning humidity won’t build up and damage the board or create mold.
The foam lining of your bag is what will protect your board from any dings that may occur during transportation or storage.
Highly protective bags typically have 10mm of protective foam core on both sides that completely enclose your board.
Having this much foam protection, however, does add extra weight, so it’s important to keep that in mind if you want to carry your board over long distances.
Bags with less foam weigh less and tend to be a cheaper option, so when deciding what bag to get, weigh up the cost, weight, and protection level.
Before we get into the top 10 best paddle board bags of 2023, we’ve narrowed down our 3 favorites to make your decision easier.
The best overall bag goes to the GILI Inflatable SUP Rolling Backpack that fits all of GILI’s inflatable SUPs.
It comes in 3 colors, has padded adjustable straps, and heavy duty wheels that make transportation a breeze.
Extra pockets provide you with excellent storage options for your iSUP accessories, and this travel bag can easily be taken through airports and on planes.
Why we like it:
What we don't like:
The Abahub Premium SUP Board Bag takes our top pick as the best traditional SUP bag.
Its wide size means it can cover a large range of board sizes, its neoprene padded straps make it comfortable to carry, and has 4 air vents for ventilation.
Why we like it:
What we don't like:
Our best budget bag goes to the Retrospec Rambler iSUP Backpack.
At $29.99, this simple yet effective iSUP bag has a front zippered pocket for your accessories, carry handles on both sides, and adjustable straps.
Why we like it:
What we don't like:
As mentioned before, GILI Rolling Inflatable SUP Backpack is our best overall SUP board bag on the list.
Not only do you have the option to carry it on your back with padded shoulder and waist straps, but you can also use it like a suitcase and pull it along on its heavy duty wheels.
It comes in 3 amazing colors and has extra pockets for your iSUP accessories. Do you regularly forget your fins while packing up your board? If you can see “fin pocket” at the top of your bag, then you need to grab your fins!
The bag is big enough to store your board, pump, leash, fins, and even your wet gear once you’ve finished paddling!
The Retrospec Rambler iSUP Backpack is a fantastic option if you’re sticking to a budget.
Its simple yet effective design has enough space for both your board and accessories and can be easily carried on your back.
It comes in 2 colors and has a durable nylon shell to help protect your board from damage.
The Thurso Surf Inflatable Backpack comes in grey and has a top handle, side handles, a set of wheels, and shoulder straps for easy transportation.
It’s made of premium nylon and has a long heavy duty zipper down the edge of the bag, making it easy to pack and unpack your board.
Storage pouches on the front and sides have enough space for all your paddle board accessories, and it also includes a built-in paddle pouch.
The Isle iSUP bag has padded straps and side handles for easy and comfortable transportation.
Its front zippered pocket has enough room for all your paddle board accessories and additional room for water or snacks.
It has a large zip and adjustable straps along the front so you can make the bag smaller or bigger depending on the size of the paddle board inside.
The last inflatable board bag on our list is the South Bay Board Bag, which is extra large, comes in black, and has large wheels for easy transportation.
It also features padded shoulder straps and a sand-proof zipper.
Side rail mesh netting can be found on both sides of the bag, allowing the air to flow and dry out the board inside the bag.
The Abahub Premium bag made our top traditional SUP board bag because of its many amazing features.
The bag is made from a durable 600D water-resistant outer shell and has nickel-plated zippers to increase durability. Its heavy duty material makes it a top-quality storage bag for a wide range of stand up paddle boards.
Its wide size coverage fits boards up to 10’9 inches x 33 inches and has 2 x 4 inch air vents for ventilation. 5mm foam padding lines the bag, making it a good option for SUP travel as your board will be properly protected.
The bag also features 600D nylon reinforced nose and tail protection that protects your board from any accidental bumps or dings.
A large external pocket, inside fin pocket, and a flexible tail section that accommodates your fins make bringing your SUP accessories simple and convenient.
The next stand up paddle board bag on our list is the Curve SUP Bag.
It is a silver reflective material made out of a 600D water-resistant polycanvas base and has 10mm of waterproof shock absorbing foam core that will help keep your board safe and protected.
The Curve SUP has an integrated paddle holder and built-in paddle cover so you can store your paddle on the outside of the bag and prevent damage to your board.
It has a detachable double adjustable padded shoulder strap and an adjustable fin slot, meaning you don’t need to detach your fins every time you pack your board away.
The Pelican Boats SUP bag fits boards up to 11’9 inches in length and has a comfortable shoulder strap and handle.
When not in use, the storage bag can fold up and be as small as a shopping bag and the outer pocket gives you enough space to store your fins and paddle accessories.
This paddle board bag is made of thin material and is good for short-distance travel.
Specifically, for touring and round nose-shaped paddle boards is the BIC Sport HD Bag.
It has a reflective deck that reduces heat exposure and durable 600D nylon material in its nose, tail, and rails for extra board protection.
In case of any bumps or dings, the 5mm foam padding found throughout the bag will keep your board protected and safe.
The travel bag features a paddle holder and an extended zipper to help make getting your board in and out easy.
The BOTE travel bag comes in different sizes to fit a large range of boards.
It has two zippers, a padded shoulder strap, and carry handles at both ends, making it convenient for SUP travel.
The bag comes in a two-tone black and grey with blue detailing and reflective backing to keep your board protected from the elements.
As a rule, you should purchase a board bag that is the length or slightly bigger than your stand up paddle board.
Having a bag too small means your board won’t be properly protected and you could run the risk of breaking your board bag when trying to zip it up. A bag too big will mean your stand up paddle board can move around and get damaged in transportation.
Some bags are made from heat reflective materials and feature multiple integral air vents to prevent heat from building up inside.
You can leave your SUP board in its bag at the beach as long as it’s out of direct sunlight.
If left in the sun, heat can build up inside the bag and cause damage to your board. The best thing to do is put the bag in the shade and leave it open to allow proper ventilation.
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