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After 20 years of just slinging ski boots over the top of my backpack and flinging them unprotected through airport metal detectors and into overhead bins, I finally cottoned on to the convenience of a dedicated ski boot bag. I now firmly believe that no skier should be without one.
On that topic: Should you fly with your skis, or demo when you get there?
Whether you just travel back and forth from your local resort or fly across the world to chase pow, a ski boot bag designed to protect your most precious piece of ski equipment from the elements and keep all your essentials in one place can be a gamechanger. And during summer storage, a boot bag keeps critters from bedding down in those cozy foam liners.
Here, our favorite, tried-and-true ski boot bags that get the job done, whatever the adventure.
Dakine DLX 75L Boot Pack
This boot bag won’t fly as carry-on, but it’s our favorite weekender option because it fits everything but the kitchen sink and is one of the most wearable backpacks on this list. With a 75-liter volume, the DLX can fit your boots, helmet, goggles, extra goggles, gloves, extra gloves, and even your outerwear if you put your mind to it. A dedicated, tarp-lined boot compartment is accessible via a back zipper panel—also tarp lined, so when it’s unzipped and folded onto the ground it doubles as a changing mat. The dedicated helmet compartment is generous and fits much more than just your helmet. Two large zippered side pockets and two cargo pockets on the top and front complete the package. [$125; dakine.com]
Kulkea Käydä Travel Backpack
The Käydä is a little pricey, but it’s the most travel-savvy boot bag on this list. If you’re prone to flying across the country or overseas to chase storms, the Käydä makes a great travel companion thanks to its carry-on size, smart organization, and versatility. Its main compartment is designed to snugly fit one pair of ski boots and features a ventilation window to keep things fresh; toiletry pockets accommodate your travel necessities; a front compartment will fit a change of clothes in case your checked bags don’t make it; and a dedicated laptop sleeve, detachable five-liter travel kit, and expandable zippers to give you just a little extra volume to fit whatever else you might need are icing on the cake. [$280; kulkea.com]
Thule Roundtrip Snowsports Duffel 90L
This roomy option is great for long-haul trips because it doubles as a duffel and a ski boot bag. Stash a boot in each of the side pockets (if you have a small boot size, you might even be able to squeeze a pair of boots into each), then fill up the main compartment in the middle with everything you need for your trip, minus the skis. Because it’s a Thule bag, you can trust this duffel to hold up under travel duress. The one downside is it’s a large bag that you will inevitably pack to the gills, so it will be a heavy sucker and not the easiest to lug around via the shoulder strap. But for car trips that’s no biggie, and if your ski trip involves airport schleps, get yourself the Thule Roundtrip ski bag and attach this duffel to that one via the compatible carry system. [$170; thule.com]
Transpack Heated Boot Pro
It’s not the trendiest boot bag, but the Heated Boot Pro gets the job done, especially for skiers prone to cold feet. This backpack has heating elements built into the main boot compartment that will warm your boots en route to the resort via a 12 volt car plug or at the condo before you hit the slopes via a standard wall plug. With a 37-liter volume, it’s one of the more compact bags on this list, but it will still fit your helmet, accessories, and extra layers thanks to multiple pockets and compartments. The downside: It’s not the most comfortable or ergonomic backpack, but because it’s smaller, it’s not a huge load to shoulder. [$200; transpack.com]
Related: The best travel bags for skiers
SporTube Cabin Cruiser
Again, it’s not the sexiest boot bag on this list, but in this case, function beats fashion. The Cabin Cruiser is a 35-liter wheeled, carry-on bag that fits your ski boots and outerwear snugly in a padded center compartment to ensure those essentials arrive at your destination with you. Attach your helmet to the front of the bag via the helmet hammock and then simply remove it when it’s time to place the bag in the overhead bin. The additional external, zipped pockets are great for stashing travel docs and items you need on-the-go. You just can’t beat a wheelie boot bag when ski trips involve cross-concourse schleps. [$240; sportube.com]
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