For the traveling skier or snowboarder, lugging hefty gear from plane to train to taxi to tram is a necessary evil, a torturous task demanded by the peripatetic pursuit of powder. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking off on an international odyssey or a quick weekend jaunt—whenever airplanes come into play on a ski trip, it pays to be prepared with high-quality, specialized travel gear. The following ski and board bags, duffels and packs will help you and your gear arrive at your destination in one piece and ready to shred.
Dimensions: 175 cm: 74 x 12 x 8 inches; 190 cm: 80 x 12 x 8 inches
There’s a reason why the wheel remains, alongside the rockered powder ski and the chairlift, one of the most important inventions in human history. The DAKINE Fall Line Ski roller bag sheds weight from your shoulders and enables skiers to slalom single-handed through customs, thanks to an ergonomic tow handle and tough urethane wheels. Available in two sizes (175 cm and 190 cm, depending on how long your skis are), the Fall Line is moderately padded, comes with a handy removable boot bag and fits two pairs of skis, plus all the essentials.
Dimensions: 166 cm: 66.9 x 13 x 8.3 inches; 181 cm: 71 x 13.25 x 9.5 inches
Gear Capacity: 166 cm: 117 liters; 181 cm: 150 liters
Material(s): 600-denier polyester with thermoplastic elastomer backing
Snowboarding is perilous enough on its own—don’t throw your back out before you hit the slopes by hauling your gear the hard way. Take a load off with the Burton Wheelie Gig snowboard bag (available in 166-cm and 181-cm lengths), a durable, 600-denier polyester roller bag designed to withstand all manners of battering from baggage handlers and prodding from airport security. Once you touch down, skate wheels minimize turbulence, webbing straps keep your boards secure, and handles and cushioned straps make games of trunk Tetris painless.
Dimensions: 45 liters: 20 x 12.5 x 9.5 inches; 60 liters: 25 x 13 x 10 inches; 90 liters: 28 x 13 x 13 inches; 120 liters: 32 x 17 x 13 inches
Material(s): 900-denier ripstop polyester with thermoplastic urethane laminate and a durable water repellent (DWR) finish
The beloved Patagonia Black Hole duffels aren’t exactly ski specialists: They’re indiscriminate gear haulers, available in a slew of sizes and handy across all four seasons. However, highly weather-resistant exteriors and cavernous, no-frills, divider-free interiors do make them especially tuned to the needs of the traveling skier or boarder. When your hotel check out is at 11am and you skied thigh-deep powder until 11:17, a gaping 90L Black Hole is the smart skier’s solution—chuck sweaty long underwear and dripping outerwear into the yawning depths, catch your flight home and deal with it on laundry day.
Dimensions: Small: 7.75 x 6 x 6.25 inches; Medium: 11.75 x 7.75 x 6.25 inches; Large: 14 x 10 x 6.25 inches
Material(s): Ripstop nylon
For well-organized travelers who cringed at the slapdash pack job described in the last sentence, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cubes: lightweight nylon compartments complete with see-through mesh windows that bring order to the deepest of duffels. For separating stinky ski socks from clean jeans, keeping small, easily misplaced items from disappearing into another dimension or compressing voluminous duds into packable bricks, Expandable Packing Cubes are a must. Grab a trio (or two) for a cheap, effective organizational strategy.
Dimensions: 16.1 x 16.1 x 13 inches
Gear Capacity: 63 liters
Material(s): 900-denier heathered nylon/1600-denier nylon
Unless you enjoy clomping around base areas like a gawky, two-legged horse in high heels, a ski boot bag is essential. A tough, padded ballistic nylon boot bag like the Swix Gold Lite Tri Pack boot pack is ideal for air travel, too, as it protects ski boots from turbulence and baggage handler-induced trauma. The Swix bag has three compartments: To refrain from ruining the rest of your clothes in transit, quarantine noxious, sopping ski boots in the two specially designed boot pockets, which are equipped with grommets that drain snowmelt, and stash extra layers and other essentials in the spacious (and dry) central compartment.