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January 10, 2022 13 min read

Best Surfboard Travel Bags for Every Surfer

Man walking while holding a surfboard in a travel bag

Surfboard travel bags are essential for any surf trip. They make travelling easier, provide proper safe storage, and protect your board from unnecessary UV exposure. Ultimately, travel requires protection, and that’s where finding the best surfboard travel bags is an important task!

Choosing the right surfboard bag for your specific requirements will cut out travel stress and keep the stoke alive for every trip. You need to consider the materials, style of bag, shoulder straps, wheels or no wheels, and of course, budget. All of these factors have a part to play in the importance of the board bag.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help give you the facts so you can decide if you need a double board bag or a fish bag. Or maybe a coffin-type travel bag is the way to go! Here are the top eight surfboard bags that tick all the boxes for us at GILI, along with what you need to consider before buying.

GILI’s Top Picks

Best Overall
Pro-lite rhino surfboard travel bag
Pro-Lite Rhino Shortboard Surfboard Travel Bag

This bag from Pro-Lite is superbly designed, is comfortable to carry and use, and made from high-quality materials. While it’s not the cheapest bag out there, you’ll be blown away by the quality which is worth every dollar.

Why we like it:

  • Heavy-duty and durable construction, built to last
  • Fits two surfboards comfortably with included internal partition
  • Comfortable carry handle and padded shoulder strap

What we don't like:

  • No separate fin slot
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Best Budget
FCS day all purpose board bag cool grey
FCS Day All Purpose Board Bag

You can get a great surfboard bag for an affordable price. This all purpose board bag from FCS ticks all the boxes for us!

Why we like it:

  • Affordable price with no compromise on the quality
  • Expandable ‘fin wing’ for days when you decide to travel with fins still in 
  • Comfortable shoulder pad and carry handle
  • Contoured stretch fit to get the snuggest fit for your board

What we don't like:

  • Nothing, this is a great bag!
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Best Style
Grizzly bear brown wave tribe surfboard travel bag
Wave Tribe Surfboard Travel Bag

Despite the high price tag, this board bag is epic! It’s good for the environment and has the awesome feature of wheels – enough said! You’re sure to be turning heads with this surfboard bag.

Why we like it:

  • Eco-conscious design and manufacturing
  • Roller wheels for super easy transport through airports
  • Fits two boards comfortably, or three smaller performance type surfboards
  • External pockets for wax, leash, and fin storage

What we don't like:

  • Expensive!
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Top 8 Best Surfboard Travel Bags

Pro-Lite Rhino Shortboard Surfboard Travel Bag

Pro-Lite’s Rhino Surfboard Travel Bags are designed for day-to-day/indoor storage use and airline travel. The Rhino series comes in three different styles: shortboard, longboard, or hybrid/fish. All three shapes come in various sizes ranging from 6’0 to 10’6, so you can get the best fit for your board. 

This surfboard bag has a velcro secured expandable sidewall and gusset that adds 3” at the nose and 7” at the tail to carry two boards. An internal partition separates the two boards and stops wax being transferred to the top surfboard.

Pro-lite rhino surfboard travel bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’0 / 6’3 / 6’6 / 6’10
  • Fits 2 boards
  • 600 Denier Diamond-Tech ripstop Poly material on the exterior covers the 10mm of foam protection
  • Designed for performance shortboard style surfboards with a more pointed nose and pulled in tail

What we love:

  • Heavy-duty and durable construction, built to last
  • Fits two surfboards comfortably with included internal partition
  • Comfortable carry handle and padded shoulder strap

What we don't love:

  • No separate fin slot

Overall, this bag from Pro-Lite is superbly designed, is comfortable to carry and use, and made from high-quality materials. While it’s not the cheapest bag out there, you’ll be blown away by the quality which is worth every dollar.

Channel Islands CX4 Quad Surfboard Bag

Channel Islands is a well-respected brand in the surf community, so you can begin to imagine how good the quality and design of the CX4 Quad Surfboard Bag is. This is a coffin style board bag that unzips the top almost entirely, so you can maneuver surfboards in and out easily. The bag is designed to carry 4 surfboards. However, you could fit in 5 performance boards if needed. 

Along with the excellent materials used for the bag, Channel Islands have also included three internal padded dividers, corrosion proof zipper, and stash mesh pockets for keeping your fins in one place.

Charcoal color channel islands surfboard bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’6 / 7’0 / 7’6
  • Fits up to 5 boards
  • 420D ripstop nylon with 10mm top/bottom and 20mm side padding
  • Wide fit to safely carry hybrids and fish shaped surfboards

What we love:

  • Can take a full quiver of surfboards, designed to take 4 in total with no fins
  • Heavy-duty materials used, including a corrosion proof zipper
  • Loads of storage pockets for leash and fins

What we don't love:

  • Sizes are limited

While the sizing options are limited to 6’6 - 7’6, this is still a great surfboard bag for traveling with multiple surfboards (as long as they are all within this size bracket). If your quiver has a shorter board in it, make sure you pack them correctly to avoid any damage to the smaller board. 

Dakine Mission Surfboard Bag-Noserider

The Mission Surfboard Bag from Dakine is a great choice for any surfer who wants a lightweight day-to-day bag to protect their valuable board during travel. The Noserider bag is perfect for longboards. Dakine also offers a Hybrid Mission Surfboard Bag and a Shortboard Mission Surfboard Bag option.

The wide choice of sizes is fantastic, so you can get the perfect fit for your board. Even though this is a longboard bag, the lightweight material keeps the weight down. This is helpful for when you’re taking your surfboard on an airline with weight restrictions. 

Dakine Mission carbon color surfboard bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 7’6 / 8’0 / 8’6 / 9’2 / 9’6 / 10’2 / 11’0
  • Fits 1 board
  • 600D diamond ripstop top for lightweight durability, 6.5 mm foam padding
  • Longboard shape board bag, hybrid and shortboard options also available

What we love:

  • Heat reflective and water resistant material to protect your surfboard
  • Zippered fin slot if you don’t want to remove the center fin
  • Wax/fin mesh pocket
  • Non slip padded shoulder strap with stash pocket

What we don't love:

  • The fin pocket is too small for most longboard center fins

We can look past the fin pocket issue and safely say this surfboard bag from Dakine is a great option. Sure, it’s not the cheapest, but the quality you’re getting is next to none. 

Wave Tribe Surfboard Travel Bag

If you’re an eco-conscious surfer, then this hemp surfboard travel bag from Wave Tribe will be right up your street! Hemp is a great material to use, as it keeps the heat out and is also safer for the planet. You can choose between the natural ‘grizzly bear’ brown or the blue for a color splash. 

You can fit three boards in the mini/hybrid style surfboard bags from Wave Tribe. They come with a padded internal separator and adjustable straps so you can secure your boards inside the bag.

Grizzly bear brown wave tribe surfboard travel bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’2 / 6’7 / 7’6 / 8’6
  • Fits 3 boards
  • High quality hemp & alloy sun reflective mesh with 13 mm of padding
  • Roller wheels and padded shoulder strap

What we love:

  • Eco-conscious design and manufacturing
  • Roller wheels for super easy transport through airports
  • Fits two boards comfortably, or three smaller performance type surfboards
  • External pockets for wax, leash, and fin storage

What we don't love:

  • Expensive!

Despite the high price tag, this board bag is epic! It’s good for the environment and has the awesome feature of wheels – enough said! You’re sure to be turning heads with this surfboard bag.

Dakine Tour Regulator Surfboard Travel Bag

Leave no board behind with the Tour Regulator Surfboard Travel Bag from Dakine. This board bag is mega with one stand-out key focus – carry all of the surfboards. Dakine designed this bag for surfers who want to take more than a couple of surfboards. 

Perhaps you have an insane world trip coming up, or you’re a pro heading out to a competition, this board bag is made for serious surfers.

Carbon color Dakine tour regulator surfboard bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’6 / 7’0
  • Fits up to 8 boards
  • 600D diamond ripstop material with 20 mm padding
  • Reinforced wheels and external panel for extra strength

What we love:

  • Enormous storage capacity
  • Internal compression straps to minimize movement inside the bag
  • External stash pocket to store and protect valuables from weather elements
  • Heavy duty and rugged bag

What we don't love:

  • Needs more storage pockets

If you’re in need to take a lot of boards on the road, then there is no other option. Get your hands on this big bad boy from Dakine, and you’ll be set-up for the road trip of your dreams.

FCS Day All Purpose Board Bag

You can’t go wrong with FCS. The brand is reliable, so you know what you’re getting with the FCS Day All Purpose Board Bag. Expect great build quality, good materials, and a solid design to protect your surfboard. 

This bag is for one surfboard only and is suitable for airline travel. It’s also lightweight so would be great for boat trip surf missions.  

FCS day all purpose board bag cool grey

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 5’6 / 5’9 / 6’0 / 6’3 / 6’7
  • Fits 1 board
  • Lightweight ripstop material with 5mm high density padding
  • Contoured stretch fit with extra ventilation 

What we love:

  • Affordable price with no compromise on the quality
  • Expandable ‘fin wing’ for days when you decide to travel with fins still in 
  • Comfortable shoulder pad and carry handle
  • Contoured stretch fit to get the snuggest fit for your board

What we don't love:

  • Nothing, this is a great bag!

You can get a great surfboard bag for an affordable price. This all purpose board bag from FCS ticks all the boxes for us!

Pro-Lite Wheeled Coffin Surfboard Travel Bag

Can’t decide which board to take? Then take them all with Pro-Lite’s Wheeled Coffin Surfboard Travel Bag! This big travel bag can take up to four surfboards and comes with padded internal dividers and compression straps, so you can secure your boards for travel.

There are multiple interior storage and fin pockets, so you can keep all your surf gear together. Pro-Lite also put in some mesh vent panels to allow airflow, keeping the boards cool through transit.

Sport type Pro-Lite wheeled coffin surfboard bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’6 / 7’0 / 7’6 / 8’0 
  • Fits up to 4 boards
  • 600 Denier poly with 10mm foam padding
  • Wheels, padded shoulder strap, and external storage pockets

What we love:

  • The wheels are a game changer
  • Good amount of padding for surfboard protection
  • Ventilation panels to allow airflow
  • Great storage pockets to carry all your extras

What we don't love:

  • Expensive!

Ok, sure, the price tag is high. But this coffin bag from Pro-Lite is kind of like 4-in-1, so it’s worth the money!

Creatures of Leisure Shortboard Double Board Cover

This Shortboard Double Board Cover from Creatures of Leisure is one of the premium bags available for surf travel. With the higher price tag, you get top-quality materials, build quality, and thoughtful design. 

As a coffin bag, you can ensure you pack your surfboards properly and minimize all risks of dings whilst traveling. Choose between three sizes and three colors.

Black lime Creatures of Leisure shortboard bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Sizes: 6’0 / 6’7 / 7’0
  • Fits up to 2 boards
  • Diamond-Tech Fabric, as well as 10 mm closed cell foam padding
  • Quality airflow system to keep humidity and moisture levels low while traveling

What we love:

  • Iconic and stand out design Creatures of Leisure are known for with three color choices
  • High-quality materials for the best durability
  • Fits either 1 or 2 boards comfortably and safely
  • Good ventilation system to allow moisture to dry while traveling

What we don't love:

  • Limited sizes

While there aren’t as many sizes to choose from as other brands, you know you’re getting a top-quality surfboard bag from Creatures of Leisure. 

What To Consider When Buying A Surfboard Travel Bag

Orange surfboard on top of the blue surfboard bag

So how do you go about choosing between surfboard bags? There are some key features you should be considering before buying a travel bag. From what style you want to what shape you need, these important aspects will narrow your choices and help you find the best surfboard bag for you and your boards.

Size, Shape, and Style

Size does matter when it comes to surfboard bags. For the best protection, you need a bag that is fractionally bigger than your surfboard, so the nose and tail aren’t getting crushed but it’s also not moving within the bag. 

If your surfboard is 5’10, then you should aim to get a bag between 5’10 and 6’0 (the extra size would allow you to pack towels and other soft items.) 

The shape is equally important. Generally, there are three shapes to choose from:

  • Shortboard - pointed nose and narrower overall bag
  • Hybrid/fish - wider bag with a rounded nose
  • Longboard - wide and long bags with a rounded nose and cutout fin slot

Surfboard bag styles also vary. You can get single bags, double bags, and even quad (or more) bags, depending on how many surfboards you need to travel with. Day bags are simple and often more lightweight. Coffin bags unzip the whole top to allow easy access to the interior, great for longer and more intense surf trips with all your gear packed inside.

Materials and Durability

Good materials equate to good durability. At the end of the day, you want your surfboard travel bag to last for more than just the journey. Airlines are notorious for being heavy-handed with luggage, and surfboards are no exception. Having top-quality materials will save your precious boards from unwanted damage through transit. 

Look out for 600+ denier ripstop material. Ideally, you want breathable panels to allow some airflow; surfboards go into the bags out of the water, so you don’t want moisture getting trapped inside to go moldy. 10 mm of foam padding on the nose is desirable, along with reinforced rails and tail panels for board bags with multiple boards. 

The stronger the outer material, and the thicker the padding, the better the protection for your surfboard.

The best surfboard bags will last for years, especially if they’re handled carefully and looked after. Sure, the high-end bags cost more money. But it’s worth it for the durability.

Make sure your travel surfboard bag also has a good quality zip on it. There is nothing worse than a poor-quality zip busting on you mid-travels. 

Capacity

How many boards will you be taking on your travels? Perhaps you can’t choose which stick you want for the trip. Or maybe you’re expecting a killer swell that could end up snapping your boards. Either way, if you think you want to take more than one board, opt to get a double board bag.

Portability

Comfortable carry handles and padded shoulder straps that adjust are a must when it comes to surfboard bags. You need to be able to easily move the bag around. 

Some of the larger board bags even have wheels on the bottom to give you a helping hand. This is great for manoeuvering around an airport, not so great across a beach after a boat crossing in Indo!

You also want to make sure there are some pockets in the bag; either a mesh interior pocket or a zippered exterior pocket. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of a pocket! Storing your fins, wax, and leash in your surfboard bag means you won’t forget anything for your trip.

Price

And, of course, there is a budget to think about. Quality doesn’t come cheap, so it is down to you to work out where your budget lies. 

All we suggest is don’t go for the cheapest options; you’ll only be disappointed after it lets you down and you need to replace the bag.

How To Pack Surfboards For Travel

Man unwaxing a surfboard before putting on a surfboard bag

After you’ve got an appropriately sized surfboard bag, you’re ready to start packing for your upcoming surf trip! Packing gets easier with the more experience you gain. Here are some top tips on how to pack a surfboard for travel:

  1. Remove fins (if possible). Fins can easily get caught when the bag is being handled, either snapping or causing damage to the board. 
  2. Remove the wax. Not essential, but melted wax is a nightmare in a surfboard bag. If you’re flying to the tropics then you’ll need to use different wax anyway. 
  3. Use foam pipe insulation on the nose and rails of your board. Simply cut it so the pipe can fit around the rails, giving your board a bumper. Secure in place with duct tape.
  4. Wrap the nose and tail. These areas are highly likely to get dings, so wrapping them in a towel or bubble wrap is always a good idea.
  5. Use a board sock(if available). This gives your surfboard another layer of protection within the travel bag.
  6. Pack out your bag with clothes and towels, if you’re flying long distances. Not only is this a good way to spread out your luggage weight, but it also adds extra cushioning and protection to your surfboard. 
  7. Add “fragile” and “top load only” stickers to your bag! This may help remind luggage handlers that surfboards are precious cargo. 

FAQ’S

🏆 Are surfboard travel bags washable?

Surfboard travel bags can generally be washed. However, you will not be able to wash them in a washing machine. You will need to hand wash only with a sponge and detergent. Make sure you allow the bag to dry completely before use to stop any mold or mildew. 


👍 How important are vents and meshes on a surfboard travel bag?

Most surfboards will be put into the bags still with some moisture on them or on the wax.

Vents and mesh panels on surfboard travel bags allow air to circulate through the bag. This is important to keep the humidity down, allow your boards to dry, and stop any mold or mildew. 


🏝️ Do surfboard travel bags come with warranties?

Most of the well-known and premium surf brands that sell surfboard travel bags will provide a warranty period with their products. The length of these warranties will vary, so be sure to check directly on the product that you’re considering purchasing.


❓ Can you leave your surfboard waxed when traveling?

You can travel with your surfboard waxed up. If you’re only traveling a short distance or staying within the same climate, keeping your board waxed will save you time on the other end (which means more time in the water catching waves). 

However, if you’re traveling from cold water to the tropics, it’s highly recommended you remove the wax before traveling. Cold water wax will melt in the high heat and humidity, going all over the inside of your surfboard bag which is difficult to then remove. 


📦 How to make a surfboard travel bag last longer?

To increase the lifespan of your surfboard travel bag, you need to do your best to avoid saltwater. This is a challenge as surfing generally takes place in the ocean! Try to rinse off your surfboard before putting it back into the bag. Saltwater will damage the material, seams, and zip on the surfboard bag.

Abi Leach
Abi Leach

Surfer, paddle boarder, and ocean lover. She loves traveling and discovering new destinations all across the world. When she's not writing, she's exploring the outdoors and enjoying fresh air.


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