Anyone who’s traveled with ski gear knows this: it sucks. Schlepping one or two pairs of skis, poles, boots, a helmet, goggles, gloves, jackets, ski pants along with everyday clothing and travel needs (not to mention après ski attire) in and out of cabs and airports almost dulls the allure of foreign snow and untraveled terrain.

Almost. Successful navigation of the portion of the journey that exists between your front doorstep and that of the ski chalet relies on a key item: the ski bag.

This guide to the best ski bags for travel provides information on the seven best ski bags available, with information on each model's key features such as capacity, pockets, the material they're made of and how durable they are. We also provide tips on how to pack a ski bag and how to make traveling with one as seamless as possible.

Best Overall Ski Bag

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Dakine Fall Line Ski Roller Travel Bag
amazon.com
$144.95

Dakine’s most popular ski roller bag is also its most versatile. The sleek, lightweight hauler boasts enough room for multiple pairs of skis and all the gear you need for everything from a weekend jaunt to a weeklong mountain adventure, and it’s available in two lengths, 175cm and 190cm, to accommodate just about any length of skis. Smart design features include 360-degree padded ski protection, a lockable main zipper, a removable boot bag, a tow handle that pairs with a rolling luggage bag for easy cruising through the airport and a handy external pocket for stashing key items like travel documents, reading material, keys and cookies.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus one pair of boots, poles and outerwear
Weight: 6 pounds 3 ounces
Material: 600D polyester ripstop with water repellent finish, Bluesign-approved material

Best Designed Ski Bag

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Db The Djarv Snow Roller
backcountry.com
$268.95

The foundation of this bag is an array of ABS “rib cages” and internal rails that, when it’s packed with skis, provide rigidity and protection while maintaining a reduced weight. A pair of hook-equipped straps let you adjust the total length to accommodate skis as long as 200 centimeters. Internally, there’s enough space for two pairs of skis and pretty much everything else you’ll need except boots (you should pack those as a carry-on anyways). But the best part about the bag might be that when it’s empty, you can roll it up into a compact wad that’ll fit under your bed or in the top of your closet.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: 8 pounds 6 ounces
Material: 900D PU-coated polyester, ABS

Best Budget Ski Bag

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Salomon Extend 2P
amazon.com
$95.00

Salomon's Extend 2P ski bag offers space for two skis plus gear and convenient adjustability at a remarkably low price. One end has a spiral of a zipper that adjusts the bag's length from 175 to 195 centimeters, making it adaptable to a wide range of ski sizes, and compression straps cinch everything secure for easier carrying. The tradeoff in price is that the Extend doesn't have wheels, so it can get unwieldy when fully packed, and only its bottom is padded (the top is a rugged polyester fabric).

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: 2 pounds 10 ounces
Material: waterproof 450-denier (top) and 600-denier (bottom) polyester

Best Organized Ski Bag

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Evo Roller Ski Bag
evo.com
$139.95

Evo is more known as a gear retailer than a producer, but it’s likely that selling so many ski bags made by other companies gave it a pretty good idea of how to make one. The Roller’s standout feature is organization — an interior pocket spacious enough for boots as well as an exterior one for other small items, a divider for pole protection and a main compartment that fits two pairs of skis. Compression straps keep everything in place, and two handles allow for multiple haul methods. When it's empty, a nifty strap keeps it folded in half, making it easier to shove under a bed or into a closet.

For even more organization, Evo makes a Deluxe Snow Roller that has more pockets as well as more durable fabric and other protective features. It goes for $199.95.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: not specified
Material: 600-denier PU-coated polyester

Best Full-Featured Ski Bag

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Backcountry Double Ski & Snowboard Rolling Bag
backcountry.com
$199.96

Like Evo, Backcountry combined its years of experience selling ski travel bags (and amassing consumer reviews on what works and what doesn't) with the knowledge of its in-house gear nerds to create the best one it can imagine. The Backcountry Double is full-featured, with room for two skis plus gear, a length that adjusts from 154 to 200 centimeters, lots of padding, sturdy wheels and a waterproof lining. There's also an exterior zip pocket and two interior zip pockets on the lid.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: 7 pounds 10 ounces
Material: tarpaulin (exterior), nylon, polyester, Spandex (interior)

Best Hard Case Ski Bag

Sportube Series 2
avantlink.com
$229.95

If maximum protection is what you’re after, Sportube’s hard-sided ski carriers are the way to go. It’s made of polyethylene with padding at both ends to protect tips and tails and uses a design that’s both adjustable and lockable. There aren’t any pockets for compartments for small things, but you can still stuff plenty of clothing and gear down between the two pairs of skis that this thing holds. Additionally, if you think you might opt to ship your skis rather than carry them on an airplane, this hard case is the way to go.

Sportube also makes a version for traveling with one pair of skis for $169.95.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: 12 pounds
Material: polyethylene

Best Streamlined Ski Bag

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Db Slim Jim Ski Bag
avantlink.com
$128.95

When a single pair of skis is all you're carrying, and simplicity is what you're after, look to Db's Slim Jim Ski Bag. Like the two-ski Db Ski Bag, it has a collapsible ABS construction that, combined with a hook-and-loop system, lets you adjust the bag's length from 108 to 210 centimeters. That makes it perfect for any length of ski, and the whole thing rolls up for easy storage when you aren't using it. There's a decent amount of space for clothing and accessories, but not boots, and rugged wheels make it easy to haul through baggage claim.

Capacity: two pairs of skis plus gear
Weight: 3 pounds 11 ounces
Material: 500-denier tarpaulin, 900-denier polyester (exterior), 600-denier polyester (lining)

What to Know About Ski Travel Bags

Beyond having the right bag, there are a few key things to know about traveling with skis.

Choosing and Packing a Ski Bag

Ski bags are unwieldy pieces of luggage that typically hold one or two pairs of skis with bindings, but some hold three. The size of the bag you choose will depend on the type of ski trip you’re going on, how often you travel with skis and how you prefer to pack. Unless you’re a travel minimalist, we recommend that in most cases you pack into a bag that can hold two pairs of skis. Bringing two pairs to your destination — a narrow-waisted pair for hardpack and a wider pair for powder, for instance — will give you options in case the weather doesn’t behave as predicted. But even if you only own one pair of skis, a two-ski bag is a good option because the extra space can be used for all the rest of your gear, plus clothing, so you won't have to bring another bag and can save money on airline baggage fees.

There are also a few handy things to remember when packing your ski bag. Use Voile or Velcro straps to keep each pair of skis secure and help prevent them from getting damaged. Pack them tip-to-tail inside the bag to maximize use of space. And again, ski bags aren’t only for skis — you can likely fit all of your ski clothing in the remaining space, which will provide additional cushioning for your bindings, brakes, tips and tails.

Tips for Navigating the Airport with a Ski Bag

Unless you plan to rent equipment at your destination, resign yourself to the fact that the carry-on-only ski trip doesn’t exist. You can still save yourself from getting gouged at the airport though. First, pack as much clothing and gear in with your skis as possible. Second, on most airlines, you’re allotted one carry-on, and one personal item in the airplane cabin — your ski boots are that second item. This will not only save a ton of space in your luggage but also, in the case that anything gets lost or delayed, means that you’ll still have your boots if you need to buy a pair of rentals for a day while you wait for your luggage to arrive. (The airline might even cover that fee for you.)

Lastly, know your airline’s baggage policy — most of them, including American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest and JetBlue count a ski bag and a boot bag as one piece of checked luggage. Some airlines are more strict than others as to what a “boot bag” is, but it’s not implausible that you can get away with checking an extra bag of clothing this way (it more than likely depends on the mood of the attendant checking you in). Typically, the combined weight of the two bags will count towards that of a single bag’s maximum weight allotment, which is usually 50 pounds.

Now all you need is the bag.