Any surfer knows the value of good equipment. The boards you ride, fins you use, and wetsuits you wear have the potential to make or break any session and are one of the most essential factors for anyone who enjoys heading into the ocean to catch some waves.
If you’re a competent surfer and own your own boards, you’ll also know that surfboards are super fragile and are quite literally made with a glass outer layer. Nothing is worse than an unprecedented ding in a new board, and protecting your equipment is paramount. This becomes especially important once you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into your surfboard quiver and equipment.
Unfortunately, most airline baggage handlers are not surfers, which means they don’t understand the fragility of these pieces of luggage. It’s never fun to watch your boards fall out of airplanes and get thrown onto trolleys from the window of a plane, but trust me when I say that it happens.
Leveling up your travel bag game is the best way to protect your gear. Colloquially called ‘coffins’ in the surf world, surfboard bags are an absolute must if you’re traveling anywhere by plane, boat, bus or even a car. They offer a layer of protection for the most unexpected incidents and can save you a lot of tedious effort fixing dings after a long journey as well as your trip itself.
Most of the best surfboard travel bags are designed for heavy-duty protection, with padded side walls and extra cushions at the nose and tail of the board. They also offer a range of pockets and zippers to stash your surf goodies, like fins, leashes, wetsuits and bathing suits, wax blocks, sunscreen, Gopro and even towels.
Whether you’re backpacking around Hawaii on the surf trip of a lifetime or heading down to the local beach every night down that particularly unmaintained road, you need a decent bag!
In this article, I’ve searched high and low for eight of the best surfboard travel bags, ranging in price, size, and brand depending on your budget and how many boards you intend to travel with.
Quick Answers – The Best Surfboard Bags
- #1 DAKINE John John Florence Mission Surfboard Bag
- #2 Surfica All-Rounder Hybrid Surfboard Bag
- #3 DAKINE Daylight Noserider Surfboard Bag
- #4 DAKINE Recon Thruster Surfboard Bag
- #5 FCS Day Funboard Surfboard Bag
- #6 Pro-Lite Smuggler Series Travel Surfboard Bag
- #7 Creatures of Leisure Shortboard Day Use DT 2.0, Surfboard Bag
- #8 FCS -Classic All Purpose Day Bag
DAKINE John John Florence Mission Surfboard Bag
- Weight > 5lbs 5oz for a 7ft bag
- Material > Nylon
- Price > Price – $100 – $130
Surfica All-Rounder Hybrid Surfboard Bag
- Material > Tarplin skin, coil zipper
- Price > $100 – $145
DAKINE Daylight Noserider Surfboard Bag
- Weight > 4lb 15oz for a 9ft 6in board
- Material > Tarpaulin outer, coil zipper
- Price > $81 – $165
DAKINE Recon Thruster Surfboard Bag
- Weight > 8lb 6.4oz for a 7ft 6in board
- Material > Nylon outer, foam padding
- Price > $230
FCS Day Funboard Surfboard Bag
- Weight > 2lb 14oz for a 6ft 7in board
- Material > Nylon and padded foam rails
- Price > $140
Pro-Lite Smuggler Series Travel Surfboard Bag
- Weight > 11lbs for a 6ft 10in board
- Material > 600D Polyester
- Price > $270 – $285
Creatures of Leisure Shortboard Day Use DT 2.0, Surfboard Bag
- Material > Diamond tech materials, mesh, foam, corrosion-resistant zipper
- Price > $162
Classic All Purpose Day Bag
- Material > Tarpee material, easy glide zippers, foam padding
- Price > $115 – $120
These Are The Best Surfboard Travel Bags
There are only so many surf brands, and Dakine ranks high as one of the overall best surfboard bag companies in the scene. FCS is another brand that specializes in high-performance fin designs but also creates a mean surfboard bag design.
So, you’ve searched high and low and you’ve got the best surfboard for your ability and trip … so let’s take a look at some of the best surfboard travel bags on the market today:
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- Weight – 5lbs 5oz for a 7ft bag
- Material – Nylon
- Price – $100 – $130
If you’re familiar with any pro surfers, John John Florence would be one of them! Named after the Hawaiian prodigy, Dakine designed this surfboard bag to hold one single thruster (a board with three fins) surfboard. The board bag is made using nylon and 10mm foam padding to ensure it protects your board on the road.
My favorite part about the cover is its heat-reflective inner, which works together with well-positioned vents to dry the board, even from the inside of the bag. Pretty neat right? This also helps keep the board cool and protected from direct sunlight, which is necessary when traveling in tropical and humid locations such as a surf trip to Sri Lanka.
Ideal for trekking through airports, the bag has a removable padded shoulder strap and handle that can be taken off when you check your bag into the airplane hold. The board bag also features internal and external pockets to store your fins, wax, leash and even things like your GoPro.
- Material – Tarplin skin, coil zipper
- Price – $100 – $145
Surfica’s All-Rounder truly is just that – the perfect board bag for any occasion. Whether using it to travel from home to the beach or jump on an international flight to a surf destination in the tropics, this is one of the best surfboard travel bags created to transport your board as safely as possible.
Designed using closed-cell padding technology, you can rest assured you won’t open your bag up at the destination to find unexpected dings and scuffs. The bag itself is pretty resistant, made using a traditional surfboard bag tarpaulin skin material that is hard to scratch or tear.
Something you won’t realize you want until you need it, this board also has a removable padded shoulder strap so that you can transport the board without hurting your arm, and remove the strap before putting the board on the roof of a car or through an airport conveyer belt.
- Weight – 4lb 15oz for a 9ft 6in board
- Material – Tarpaulin outer, coil zipper
- Price – $81 – $165
There are only so many surf brands that make board bags, and Dakine ranks high as one of the overall best surfboard bag companies in the scene.
Crafted for longer boards ranging from 7ft 6in to 11ft longboards, the Daylight Noserider Surfboard Bag is made with a water-resistant tarpaulin outer and a thick foam insert to protect your board from dings and dents.
Since it is destined to carry heavy boards and equipment, the board bag has much-needed heavy-duty zippers that you can trust won’t split while on the road. The padded shoulder strap helps you carry the heavy board from A – B. I recommend this bag more as a daily driver to transport your equipment from home to the beach, and I don’t necessarily recommend it for international travel however.
- Weight – 8lb 6.4oz for a 7ft 6in board
- Material – Nylon outer, foam padding
- Price – $230
Available in both a 7ft and 7ft 6in size, Dakine’s Recon Thruster Surfboard Bag is one of the best surfboard travel bags designed for everything from local road trips to exotic surf trips across the globe.
The most important feature of this bag is its impressive foam padding, which is designed to protect your favorite boards from reckless baggage handlers and bumpy car rides. A padded divider separates and protects the two boards from one another. There are also a ton of internal and external pockets to stash your sunscreen, wax, leashes, and fins safely.
The bag is made using a tough nylon outer shell, which protects from scratches and scuffs. The material is also heat-reflecting, which means you won’t have to worry about opening your bag to find all your wax melted and congealed against the side of your bag! Eww!
As a surfer who likes to keep options on hand, the bag can comfortably fit two surfboards so that you can have a backup board in case of an emergency or if you want to mix things up.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉Buy on REI!
- Weight – 2lb 14oz for a 6ft 7in board
- Material – Nylon and padded foam rails
- Price – $140
Designed primarily for lugging your boards between home, car, and beach, this board bag is much more robust than it gets credit for. Made using a rigid nylon material that is durable but not overly heavy, I rate this board as one of the better options for airplane travel.
It’s also one of the lighter board bags on the market, which means you can stash more surf gear in without reaching your overweight limit at the airport.
I really like that our best surfboard travel bag has a stretchy panel that both allows for airflow and creates a secure fit around the rails of the board. Rails are usually the first part of the board to get damaged when traveling, but the foam rail adds further protection for unruly baggage handlers.
Take note that this bag has a broader shape, ideal for wide fish boards and funboards. I often size up with a wide board bag which allows me to fit two small surfboards snugly into a one-board bag.
- Weight – 11lbs for a 6ft 10in board
- Material – 600D Polyester
- Price – $270 – $285
With two options in a 6ft 6in and 6ft 10in length, this board bag is optimal for shortboards. Most airlines will stipulate a strict maximum two-board travel policy. However, three boards are better than two, and sometimes you need to keep all your options on hand on a surf trip. The bag is designed to fit three boards, with one being hidden from airport security under a hidden flap / false bottom. Cheeky!
You can also be sure to keep all your surf equipment in one place using the convenient pockets. The pack features a large external pocket that can fit a wetsuit and an inner pocket designed for smaller items like your fins, leashes, and blocks of wax.
For peace of mind when traveling by plane, the bag is protected with a 600D polyester foam layer and an extra reinforced nose and rail guard around the zipper.
- Material – Diamond tech materials, mesh, foam, corrosion-resistant zipper
- Price – $162
Creatures of Leisure crafted this trendy surfboard bag for those itching to get into the surf every day. It’s their range’s go-to bag for daily use and it’s perfect for any weather, come rain or shine.
As one of the best surfboard travel bags on the market, the Day Use DT 2.0 is made with durable materials combining mesh, foam, and nylon, providing ultimate protection for bumpy car rides and accidental knocks and bashes.
My favorite thing about this bag is its aero mesh ventilation system, which protects the boards inside the bag from heat and direct sunlight, keeping boards cool and allowing airflow to dry the boards, even from within the bag.
- Material – Tarpee material, easy glide zippers, foam padding
- Price – $115 – $120
FCS is one of the most well-known international fin brands, but this company also knows how to make a good quality board bag. Ranging in size from 5ft 9 to 6ft 3in, the Classic All Purpose Day Bag is designed for precisely that – everyday use.
With 5mm padding and an ergonomic shoulder strap, the bag will protect your boards just as much as it will protect your shoulder from discomfort while transporting the bag. One of the biggest draws of this bag is its non-corrosive zippers, which can withstand years’ worth of saltwater droplets without getting rusted or stuck.
|DAKINE John John Florence Mission Surfboard Bag||5lbs 5oz for a 7ft bag||Nylon||$100 – $130|
|Surfica All-Rounder Hybrid Surfboard Bag||–||Tarplin skin, coil zipper||$100 – $145|
|DAKINE Daylight Noserider Surfboard Bag||4lb 15oz for a 9ft 6in board||Tarpaulin outer, coil zipper||$81 – $165|
|DAKINE Recon Thruster Surfboard Bag||8lb 6.4oz for a 7ft 6in board||Nylon outer, foam padding||$230|
|FCS Day Funboard Surfboard Bag||2lb 14oz for a 6ft 7in board||Nylon and padded foam rails||$140|
|Pro-Lite Smuggler Series Travel Surfboard Bag||11lbs for a 6ft 10in board||600D Polyester||$270 – $285|
|Creatures of Leisure Shortboard Day Use DT 2.0, Surfboard Bag||–||Diamond tech materials, mesh, foam, corrosion-resistant zipper||$162|
|FCS – Classic All Purpose Day Bag||–||Tarpee material, easy glide zippers, foam padding||$115 – $120|
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Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Surfboard Bag For Travel
There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination on a long-anticipated surf trip to find that your boards have been damaged along the way. Finding a place to fix a board or doing it yourself is tiring, expensive, and honestly heartbreaking if you have to fix a brand-new board.
Not only are surfboards expensive pieces of equipment, but they are also pretty much covered with a thin layer of fiberglass, which can be quick to break. This is why it is so essential to purchase the best surfboard bag for travel, to protect your fragile gear from dings while traveling via plane, boat, bus or car. It might not be on every backpacking packing list, but as a surfer it’s essential.
There are various board bags designed for traveling, some with space for multiple surfboards and other equipment. Some more technical bags (not featured on this list) even have wheels to make your travels with a large and bulky item a bit easier. It might not sound like a main priority, but be sure to pick a good quality surfboard bag before your next surf adventure to avoid any disappointment or frustration.
Clean Line Surf sells a wide range of board bags and ‘coffins,’ ranging from basic sleeve protectors to high-tech travel bags with wheels and space for up to five surfboards. Browse through this site to check out the reviews on some of the featured products.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!