September 18, 2023
surf travel bag

Guide to Choosing a Surf Travel Bag

When you aren’t surfing at your local break, it’s important to have a good surf travel bag for both local day trips and extended surfcations. But, do you have the best surf travel bags to easily transport your board and keep it safe from dings?

In this post, I’ll share with you the best surf travel bags, how to choose your surfboard bag size, and how to pack a surfboard for airplane trips.

Consider this your guide to the best surf day bags and best surf travels bags for any occasion!

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What is a Surf Travel Bag?

Quite simply, a surf travel bag is a bag sized for a surfboard to allow for both easy transport and board protection during travel and storage.

Surf travel bags come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on your needs, the type of surf travel bag you need will vary. For day trips to the beach in the car or on a bike, a light surf day bag is all that as needed. Alternatively, trips on an airplane or overseas require a heavy-duty surf travel bag for protection. That’s the key right there. Surf travel bags are most important for protecting your prized board. With that said, they also typically come with shoulder straps to make carrying your board easier.

best surf day bags
Knit surf day bags like this one from Dakine are great for day trips or transporting in your car.

In summary, the best surf travel bags for you will vary based on how far you are traveling to surf. More on this later. In the next section, first figure out what size surfboard bag to get.

What Size Surfboard Bag Should I Get?

Okay, you’ve found a surfboard bag you like. Now, it is a good time to ask yourself what size surfboard bag should I get?

To begin, you always want to find a surf travel bag that easily fits your board size. For example, you don’t want to purchase a board bag that is shorter in length than your board. This will result in a tight fit or your board not fitting at all! Alternatively, you don’t want to buy a board bag that’s too large. This will cause the board to be loose in your bag, harder to transport and overall, not as good protection.

Fortunately, board bags are also measured in standard board lengths. To begin, measure your board from nose to tail. This will allow you to choose the appropriate surfboard bag size.

what size surfboard bag should I get
Measure your board from tip to tail to size your board bag properly.

Going back to my previous example, for a 6’2 board – you could get a board bag sized up to 6’5. However, you don’t want to go above that because it will create too much loose space in the bag. Furthermore, you don’t want to go below the size of your board because then it will not fit.

Ultimately, length is most important. Width and thickness of your board come into play more when choosing a style. For example, a board bag for a fish will come in a fish style whereas shortboards will come in a standard size bag.

Now that you know what size surfboard bag to get, check out a few of my favorite surf travel bags in the next section.

The Best Surf Travel Bags for Any Occasion

So, you’ve found the perfect surfboard for yourself. Now, you’ve got to take care of your baby! Good news, board bags are available in all shapes and sizes depending on your mission. For example, a day trip to a local beach vs flying by plane to a far off destination overseas call for a different type of surf travel bag.

Best Surf Day Bags

A surf day bag is perfect for a short trip to the beach. The right surf day bag you need will depend how careful you want to be with your board. I personally really like the knit sock style covers. They are super light, easy to store, look cool and offer just the right amount of protection. My favorite surf day bag style is below.

Stevie Ho Day Surf Bag

best surf day bags

This knit surf day bag is perfect for adding some extra protection to your board while driving around or simply storage around the house. It also comes with added nose protection and you can even take it the beach for a day to help prevent the wax from melting.


  • Light, easy to carry and fold up for storage.
  • Inexpensive
  • UV shielding


  • Not for airplanes, cushioning is not thick

Dakine Daylight Surf Travel Bag

surf travel bag

This bag is perfect for day trips if you are looking for something with a little more padding. Plus, it comes with a shoulder strap so you can be hands free while carrying your board.


  • More padding for extra protection from bumps or falls
  • Shoulder strap for easier carrying
  • Stash pocket for other small items like surf wax


  • Pricier than the knit bags
  • Not as easy to store

Best Surf Travel Bag for Flying

Traveling by air is a whole new ballgame. Knowing how to pack a surfboard for airplane travel is important but you need to have an upgraded surf travel bag. The best board bags for airplane travel are larger and they have significantly extra padding and thick straps for trudging through the airport. In my opinion, the best surf travel bag for flying is also from Dakine.

Dakine Recon Surf Travel Bags

surf travel bag

The Dakine Recon surf travel bag is a big, bad boy to fly your boards. It’s a heavy duty board bag that offers great protection and can fit up to two boards.


  • Extra thick padding and UV protection for the longest of trips
  • Padded shoulder carrying strap
  • Fits two boards


  • Bulky
  • Expensive

How to Pack a Surfboard for Airplane Travel?

Packing a surfboard for airplane travel properly is critical to ensure your board arrives to its destination safely. Airport operators are notorious for throwing bags around. Sometimes, even when you have the best surf travel bag; it’s not enough. As such, follow this tutorial on how to pack a surfboard for airplane travel.

  1. Remove all the wax from your board. Plane storage gets hot. To avoid your surf wax dripping everywhere and making a mess on your stuff, remove your wax first.
  2. Also remove your fins. Most of the higher end surf travel bags have a fin pouch. If your bag doesn’t have one, wrap them in some bubble wrap.
  3. Insert your board into your surf travel bag with proper orientation, tip to tail. There should be an obvious tip section of your board bag. The tips of board bags have extra padding to protect this delicate part of your board.
  4. When packing two boards, be sure to place the padded separator section that comes with your bag in between each board.
  5. For added protection, I know many surfers that wrap their rails in foam. I on the other hand will typically just use towels, clothes or even a wetsuit to shore up extra protection around the rails.
how to pack a surfboard for airplane
Larger bags like the Dakine Recon have this separator to provide extra padding when packing boards for longer travel

Follow these steps on how to pack a surfboard for airplane traveling and you will be sure to have your board(s) arrive to your destination in one piece!

Best Surf Travel Bags Wrap Up

In conclusion, the best surf travel bag will vary based on how far you plan to travel. Obviously, the smaller surf day bags are perfect for staying local while a surf travel bag is a must for flying. If you have found this story useful, I hope you will consider purchasing a surf bag through the hyperlinks as we earn from qualifying Amazon purchases. For more gear reviews, check my Surf Gear Guide and subscribe to ensure you have the best gear each year.

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Gavin Bechtold

Gavin has been living and surfing in San Diego for over a decade. He loves the ocean and is lucky to call San Diego home.

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