Bulky ski gear is no match for these tried-and-true ski bags.

By Sam Lauron
January 31, 2020
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Courtesy of Amazon, Ebags

Seasoned skiers and novice skiers may have wildly different experiences on the slopes, but if there’s one aspect of a ski trip they share, it’s the unpleasant hassle that is traveling with ski gear. Despite being a necessary part of any ski trip, the awkward (and often inconvenient) process of schlepping your skis through the airport, around the mountain, or in between destinations is enough to make you question your decision to go skiing altogether. Not only are the skis themselves cumbersome, but throw in the ski boots, a helmet, and the rest of your mountain gear, and you’ve created a minimalist traveler’s packing nightmare.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to ease the burdensome task of hauling all of your ski essentials to the mountain, the solution is a good ski bag. Finding the right piece of luggage to transport your skis will make a world of difference in your experience.

When it comes to finding the best ski bag to travel with, there are a few key components to keep in mind. First, consider the size of the bag. Are you bringing one or two pairs of skis? Many ski bags can accommodate up to two pairs (different ski runs and snow textures call for varying types of skis, after all), so think about how much space your gear will require. Even if you plan on bringing a single pair of skis, many seasoned travelers advise opting for a roomier bag since you can use any extra space for bulky jackets, snow pants, and boots.

Another feature to take into account is the mobility of the bag. If you’re anticipating any layovers during your trip, you’ll want a ski bag with wheels so you can easily zip from one gate to the next. In general, roller ski bags tend to be a good idea for travel since they make maneuvering your luggage that much easier — the last thing you want at the airport is to be slowed down by a heavy bag on your shoulder. And if you do decide to go with a bag that’s not equipped with wheels, you’ll want to choose one with a comfortable carrying strap that provides plenty of cushion.

Before selecting a ski bag, it’s also important to check out the baggage policy for the airline you’re flying. Most airlines count all ski equipment, which includes one pair of skis and a pair of ski boots, as one piece of checked baggage. For some airlines, however, you may have to bring your ski boot bag on the flight as your one personal item.

With these considerations in mind, we’ve outlined the 10 best ski bags for winter travel, below, based on glowing customer reviews from avid skiers. Whether you’re new to the slopes or have been skiing for ages, a high-quality ski bag is an absolute must — and with any of these top-rated options, you’ll arrive at your destination hassle-free and be ready to hit the slopes before you know it.

Best with Wheels: High Sierra Wheeled Double Ski Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

This spacious double ski bag from trusted outdoors brand High Sierra is top-rated for its lightweight construction and sturdy wheels, an ideal combination when you’re handling luggage in busy airports or hotels. Your skis will stay in place thanks to the interior straps, but if you’re still concerned with potential shifting, there’s also plenty of room to pack clothing and use it as an extra layer of padding.

To buy: ebags.com, $120 with code TRAVEL (originally $190)

Best with a Removable Boot Bag: Dakine Fall Line Ski Roller Bag

Courtesy of Ebag

With plenty of space and other travel-ready features, it’s no wonder this well-rounded piece of luggage is Dakine’s most popular ski roller bag. The bag can carry up to two pairs of skis at once, includes a removable boot bag (one of the very few bags that offers this handy addition), and has an external zippered pocket for easy access to smaller gear like goggles and gloves. Plus, the tow handle can latch onto a rolling suitcase, allowing you to seamlessly glide through the airport with all of your belongings in one hand.

To buy: ebags.com, $145

Best Fully-Padded: Best Select Sportbags Double Ski Bag with Wheels

Courtesy of Amazon

Best for skis up to 190 centimeters in length, this double ski bag can carry two pairs of skis and still leave enough room for clothing or additional gear. The fully-padded bag protects your skis from end to end and even includes a padded interior divider that provides extra cushion. While this bag may be on the larger side, the roller wheels and webbing handles make maneuvering it a breeze. Plus, if you’re able to fit all of your gear into one bag, you can utilize any leftover space to fit additional belongings.

To buy: amazon.com, $110

Best Heavy-Duty: Athalon Wheeling Double Ski Bag

Courtesy of Ebags

Equipped with a waterproof exterior, a reinforced bottom, and inline skate wheels, Athalon’s ski bag is strong and durable, to say the least. You can count on this bag to maintain its sturdy shape throughout any type of travel and stand up to harsh weather conditions. These heavy-duty features mean it can be easily transported through snow or on uneven surfaces, a major plus when traveling to the mountains or anywhere with rocky, hilly terrain.

To buy: ebags.com, $186 with code TRAVEL (originally $260)

Best for Single Skis: Thule RoundTrip Ski Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Transporting a single set of skis is often less of a hassle, thanks in part to convenient bags like this one. The fully padded, durable design of Thule’s single ski bag makes it highly-rated among skiers. Measuring at 192 centimeters in length, it can carry one pair of alpine skis or two pairs of Nordic skis, making it large enough to fit what you need without being hard to handle. On the inside, a separate compartment for the poles keeps the skis and poles from rubbing against each other, providing an extra layer of protection against wear-and-tear. What’s more, the exterior has a curved zipper that allows the gear to easily be packed in and compression straps to ensure everything stays safely secure.

To buy: amazon.com, $130

Best Value: High Sierra Single Ski Bag

Courtesy of Ebag

High Sierra’s bag has garnered praise among reviewers for being the best bang for your buck. The versatile main compartment offers enough room for one pair of skis and a few pieces of gear — eliminating the need for additional baggage — and at just $65, the price really can’t be beat. One drawback to note, though, is that there’s only one panel of padding around the center, so this bag may not be the best option if you prefer something more heavy-duty that fully protects gear. However, some reviewers say minimal padding is still enough to protect the bindings, and the included quick-release compression straps keep skis in place.

To buy: ebags.com, $65

Best Weather-Resistant: Athletico Diamond Trail Padded Ski Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Perhaps the most appealing feature of Athletico’s ski bag — which is available in two lengths, 170 centimeters and 185 centimeters — is the water-resistant polyester exterior that protects ski gear from the mountain’s elements. Having a winter-friendly, weather-resistant ski bag is essential for keeping all of your belongings dry while trekking through snow. Reviewers also say they favor this bag for the convenient full-length zipper and the fully-padded lining that ensures skis are kept snugly in place.

To buy: amazon.com, $70 (originally $90)

Best Hard-Case: Sportube Series 1 Ski Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

The extra layer of protection that comes with a hard-case ski bag is important when traveling on longer flights — with a solid case, you can reduce the chance that your skis will get damaged in transit. Sportube’s sleek and minimal plastic case, complete with a handy locking feature, is perfect for safely transporting a single pair of skis and poles. And although it’s lightweight enough to carry, the bag’s streamlined designed is also equipped with wheels and a pull handle should you choose to roll it instead.

To buy: amazon.com, $145

Best Boot Backpack: Athalon Everything Boot Bag

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Athalon’s Everything Boot Bag has nearly 900 positive reviews from customers, making it one of the highest-rated boot bags on Amazon. This all-encompassing backpack lives up to its name and can fit a pair of boots, a helmet and goggles, gloves, ski clothing, and more, according to owners of the bag. Other thoughtful features include adjustable, cushioned shoulder straps, a multitude of different-sized pockets to safely store all of your belongings, and ventilated boot compartments on either side of the backpack. This handy addition ensures your ski boots get extra airflow — because no one wants to deal with sweaty, smelly ski boots after a long day on the slopes.

To buy: amazon.com, $70

Most Versatile: Thule RoundTrip Boot Backpack

Courtesy of Amazon

If you opt for a smaller ski bag, it’s usually a good idea to get a boot bag to go with it so you can transport your snow shoes and other essentials. In fact, this backpack has built-in loops that easily attach to Thule’s matching ski bag for seamless transportation of both at once. Another standout feature of this boot bag is the functional and versatile construction: After you unzip the back panel and lay it on a flat surface, it turns into a handy standing mat that allows you to change out of your boots no matter where you are (just don’t forget to wipe it down before packing everything back in).

To buy: amazon.com, $110

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