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July 24, 2021 10 min read

How Important is a paddle board bag?

Man carrying a blue backpack and a fishing rod

Are you questioning the importance of a paddle board bag

As a paddleboarding enthusiast, there’s a chance that you’ve seen your fellow boarders carry their SUP in a paddle board bag. It might seem like the only reason they use a paddle board bag is because it was included in their iSUP package or maybe they’re just trying to look cool. But is a bag really necessary?

Truthfully, paddle board bags provide a wide range of benefits and are much more than an easy way to transport your board to the water.

Let’s review the benefits of having a bag for your paddle board and how to find the right one for your SUP.

Reasons You Need A Stand Up Paddle Board Bag

Reasons for having an SUP bag

Paddle board bags are important whether you own an inflatable SUP or an epoxy/hard paddle board. We’ll review the benefits to each type of board.  

1. For Easier Transport 

You need to get your paddle board to the water somehow, and paddle board bags provide an easy way to lug your board across the beach. 

Epoxy Paddle Boards

Epoxy or hard boards are heavier and typically require a truck or roof rack to transport your board to the water. As you travel down the road, your SUP is subjected to flying rocks or debris that could chip the paint or scratch your board. Also, the blazing sun will damage your board and can cause it to crack over time. 

Enclosing your epoxy SUP in a heavy duty travel storage bag before you place it on your roof rack will protect it from flying rocks and shield it from the sun. A storage bag also provides extra padding to protect your board from a bumpy road while it's secured by straps.

A day bag is not as thick and padded as a travel storage bag, but is used to carry your epoxy SUP from the vehicle to the water. It is less cumbersome than the thick travel bag, while still making transport easy.

Pelican Boats PS1458 Deluxe Heavy Duty Rowing Carry Bag

Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable Paddle Boards are constructed from military grade PVC and built to be durable - but not indestructible. There are two types of paddle board bags that can be used to protect your iSUP.

The first type is the SUP backpack that is included in most inflatable paddle board packages. Your inflatable paddle board deflates and rolls up into the size of a sleeping bag to fit easily inside a backpack to throw in your trunk for easy transport.  There is also room in the bag to store your inflation pump, travel paddle, fins, and ankle leash. A SUP backpack has comfortable straps to carry your inflatable SUP to distant lakes or streams with ease.

Another type of protective bag is a SUP sock for your inflatable paddle board. This type is not used for transport, but for protection. When you take a break from the water, you don’t want to deflate your SUP or find a tree for shade after each use. A sock is a lightweight shield to protect it from damage by hot sand or UV rays - will discuss this more down below.

2. For Proper Paddle Board Storage 

Paddle boards are often not used year round, and at some point you reluctantly have to leave your favorite beach and store your paddle board. There are reasons to utilize a paddle board bag to store both epoxy and inflatable SUPs. 

Protection from damage 

A garage is not always a safe place for your paddle board. A padded storage bag can protect your paddle board from being damaged by the lawn mower or a falling rake.

Keep it clean

Paddle board bags also keep your SUP board dry and clean at all times. 

An inflatable paddle board should be dried completely and cleaned with warm water before storing it in the SUP backpack to prevent mold or an odor from developing. A backpack is compact enough to store on a shelf and takes up little space for storage.

An epoxy paddle board should also be stored in a bag. Dust will build on the board and cause damage to the paint over time. A bag also protects your epoxy from getting scratched or chipped if something falls onto your board. Similar to an iSUP, make sure your epoxy board is cleaned with warm water to remove any salt and then dried completely before storing in a bag to prevent mold. It is reasonable to leave the zipper partially open for extra ventilation.

3. Protect Your Board From Sun Exposure

Prolonged sun exposure to a paddle board can cause damage and is another reason to use a paddle board bag for its protection. 

Epoxy paddle board

The epoxy of a hard SUP will delaminate with extended UV exposure. The sun’s rays also fade the vivid colors of your board. When taking a break from the water, slip your paddle board into its storage bag or a UV SUP sock.

Most bags have reflective coloring or light colors to provide a radiant barrier and protection from the sun. Using a bag beats dragging your SUP to the shade of a tree after each use. 

Inflatable paddle board

As mentioned above, your SUP backpack is ideal for transport and storage, but a paddle board carry bag or UV SUP sock can protect your inflatable when it’s sitting on the beach on a sunny day. With long term sun exposure, inflatable paddle boards can rupture and the colors will fade. 

There are times when you don’t want to haul your whole backpack across the sand, and this is when you can inflate your board by your vehicle and transfer your iSUP to a day bag. This makes it easy to carry your SUP across the beach but also provides protection from the sun.

Choosing the Right Paddle Board Bag for Your Board

Blue and green paddle board bag

There are many great reasons why having a paddle board bag is important to protect your paddle board, but you need to find the right bag for your particular board.

Inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable SUP are more versatile than epoxy/hard boards because they transport easily in a SUP backpack and can deflate to a small size for storage. Storage bags for inflatable paddle boards have certain features to store, transport, and protect your iSUP.

Inflatable paddle board bags are mainly made into a backpack design. This design allows you to carry and move the board with ease. The bags also come with adjustable straps which make it more comfortable for you. 

Your SUP backpack carries more than just your board. It also has enough space to hold a travel paddle, inflation hand pump, fins, ankle leash, extra gear, and your personal items. It’s easy to hike your inflatable paddle board to distant locations when all your gear is contained in your backpack.

Epoxy Paddle Boards

To find the best paddle board travel bag, day bag, or SUP sock for your epoxy paddle board you need to consider a few specifics. These same principles apply to sizing a day bag for your iSUP.

Board Size and Width

Paddle boards vary in their overall size based on the activity they are designed for. An all around boards will have a rounded nose and wide deck, while a touring board will have a long, narrow design with a pointed nose. Find a paddle board bag that fits your board’s shape.

Always purchase a bag that is slightly longer than your SUP. A smaller than necessary bag will stretch the zipper and break its watertight seal needed to adequately protect your paddle board. But - do not buy a bag that is too large that your gear bangs against your board as it flops around within the extra space. You want a snug fit.

Ease of Use

The good thing about inflatable paddle boards is their ability to deflate and get rolled up into a small bundle that is easy to carry. Inflatable paddle board bags usually come in a backpack style, making it easy for you to carry over long distances. 

When transporting your epoxy board from the truck to the water, you want a bag that is easy to carry. A bag with shoulder straps will make longer distances easier without having to place it down repeatedly. 

Consider the Fin Setup 

Considering fins of your paddle board

There are two fin setups associated with paddle boards. The permanent fin setup is mostly found on hard boards and some inflatable boards have a removable fin setup

Removable fins on inflatable boards are easy to store by simply removing them and tucking them inside your SUP backpack fin pocket.

Since the fins of an epoxy board often cannot be removed, you need to ensure your fins fit within your bags design without being damaged.

Foam Lining

The foam lining is one of the most important parts of your paddle board bag. It is meant to offer the required insulation against bumps and dents, thus guaranteeing your board’s longevity. 

Usually, you will find about ¼” layer of foam protecting the most vulnerable areas of the board such as the ridge, the nose, and tail.

However, as much as the padding is important, the foam lining also comes with extra weight, weighing down your bag and making it heavier. Add that to the weight of your board and gear, and you might end up having a lot of weight to contend with. 

The alternative is to get a bag with less foam padding, hence lighter. This will enable you to carry your board with ease. 

You can always opt for the heavier lining if you have a means of transport such as a car because then you won't have to worry too much about the weight. The lighter foam is most suitable for padders who wish to carry their bags by themselves. 

Choose a Reflective Outer Lining

As mentioned above, heat and direct sunlight are not good for your board. It can crack the outer layer of the board’s coating or lead to a pressure buildup at the core of your inflatable board. Your bag’s outer lining prevents this from happening. 

The lining creates a radiant barrier that keeps the bag’s interior cool, thus protecting your board from damage. This, in turn, keeps your board cool at all times. This is what makes it possible for you to leave your board out in the sun and not worry about it getting damaged.

Note: Even with a bag, it’s still advisable to not leave your board out in the sun for too long.

If your bag does not have a reflective lining, ensure the colors are light to reflect the sun’s rays rather than a dark color to increase the heat absorption.

Ventilation

GILI SUP Bag

Humidity can cause problems, so it’s important to ensure that your bag is not entirely closed off from any form of airflow. 

Humidity allows the build-up of mold. It can also cause water damage, especially if you plan on storing your board in the bag for a long time. 

The best way to avoid this is to look for a bag with enough ventilation. Proper ventilation allows air to circulate within the bag, which reduces the chances of humidity build-up. 

The good thing is that most bags will come with some form of ventilation. You will find small meshes or vents on the side of the bag. Some bags are built using breathable fabric, which allows air to circulate. 

Concessions for Extra Gear

You’re likely to carry your board and your gear at the same time. It helps to have everything in the same bag for convenience and to prevent fifteen trips back and forth to your vehicle. 

Get a paddle board bag that will comfortably handle your board, gear, and accessories simultaneously. 

Bagging your Paddle for Extra Protection

Your paddle and paddle board go hand in hand. Your paddle, just like any other piece of gear or accessory, requires proper handling and storage. Adequate care prevents it from being scratched, bent, or worse, broken. Many bags offer enough space for your paddle and your board together. 

Find a bag that will comfortably accommodate your paddle so that you don't have to worry too much about taking care of it. 

A Water-safe Zipper

Zippers help keep everything together, and as long as you have a working zipper, you can rest assured that everything is secure inside your bag. 

When looking for a bag, find a corrosion-resistant one that will withstand water and sand exposure. Most bags come with a durable zipper that protects from water exposure. 

Taking Care of Your Paddle Board Bag

How to take care of a paddle board bag

Like your board, your paddle board bag needs proper care. The best way to care for your bag is to ensure that it is clean at all times. This promotes its longevity and that of your board. 

There are also some general best practices to adopt to ensure you take proper care of your board and bag. These are: 

  • Keep it dry at all times. Never put a wet board inside the bag. Don’t let the water pool at the bottom of the bag. This will create the perfect conditions for mold to set in. 
  • Never leave your bag out in the elements for too long. Just like the sun can damage your board, it can also lead to damage to your bag. 
  • Protect your bag from physical damage.  While your bag is meant to protect your board from mechanical impact, among other things, it’s not immune to tears, scratches, and holes. Do not subject your bag to excessive yanking or bumping, as this might cause damage. 
  • Carry your bag correctly. This will protect you from injury and also help maintain its longevity.  

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read our guide, hopefully you’ve developed a bit of understanding about the importance of a paddle board bag!  

It is more than just a simple accessory - it’s a vital tool that will aid in the care, maintenance and longevity of your board, as well as making your life a little bit easier too.

FAQ’S

🏆 What is a paddle board carry bag?

A paddle board carry bag is used to carry your epoxy paddle board from your vehicle to the water or on short journeys. It is not as thick, padded, and heavy duty as a SUP travel bag, but provides more protection than a SUP sock that is mainly used to cover your SUP on the beach to protect from sun and sand.


👍 Should I keep my paddle board outdoors?

You should not store your paddle board outside where it is exposed to rain, dirt, and sun. A paddle board bag can provide protection with a waterproof zipper and vents, and then you could use a paddle board rack in the shade. It is not recommended to store your paddle board, even with a bag, in the sun due to risk of damage to the board.


🏝️ What size paddle board bag do I need?

Your paddle board bag should be slightly longer than your board. Consider the gear you hope to include in your bag and if the fins will fit, and aim for a snug fit. If you purchase a paddle board bag that is too big, your gear can shift during transport and cause damage.

Jay Regan
Jay Regan

Chief Paddler - Jay has been surfing and paddling for over 5 years. When he's not dreaming up new stuff at GILI, he's writing articles about paddling, out paddling, or often traveling.


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