Updated February 2022
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Buying guide for Best ski boot bags

When you’re heading out to the beach, you might only need a blanket, sunscreen, and a bathing suit, so packing is fairly easy. But when you're going away for a winter adventure, packing becomes a bit more involved. You need luggage for both you and your gear, and to protect your ski boots, you need a quality ski boot bag.

The best ski boot bag is durable enough to withstand rugged handling. Additionally, you want something vented so it won't develop odors when you pack wet boots inside it. If you'll be flying to your destination, a ski boot bag in an uncommon color will make it easier to identify at baggage claim.

Learn more about the features found in top-quality ski boot bags and get some winter packing tips.

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Ski gear is awkwardly sized and bulky. Using the proper travel bags for skis and boots is the easiest and safest way to transport your gear however you travel.

Key considerations

While there are many important aspects to consider when purchasing a ski boot bag, two are of top concern: size and style.


In general, ski boot bags are a one-size-fits-all item. Most come in a three-dimensional trapezoid shape so there’s room for the calf section as well as the toes. However, not all ski boots are the same size. Before shopping for a bag, measure the height and length of your boots. Before purchasing a bag, make sure to check the dimensions to be absolutely certain that your ski boots will fit inside.


Ski boot bags are designed to transport and protect ski boots, and there are a couple of different ways to do that. The first is more of a cross between a small duffle bag and luggage. This style of bag is carried by a reinforced handle or shoulder strap. The other prevalent style more closely resembles a backpack. Typically, these ski boot bags have shoulder straps and possibly a chest strap and waist strap as well.

Wheels and a telescoping handle on a ski boot bag can save a great deal of wear and tear on your neck, shoulders, and back. You don't want to be injured before you even take your first run.




When you're returning home from a ski trip, no matter how well you clean your ski boots (and you should be thorough), they’re going to have some residual moisture on them. As soon as you zip them up in your ski boot bag, all that moisture will be trapped in a dark environment and be very inviting to mold and mildew. To combat this, good-quality ski boot bags have openings that allow the water to drain and/or evaporate, thus greatly reducing the chance of mold and mildew growth.


Material: The material used to make your ski boot bag needs to be weather resistant and rugged. A tear-resistant polyester is a good choice. Look for something with a dense weave so it can hold up to the abuse of transit. Also, keep an eye out for a model with reinforced seams.

Zipper: A ski boot bag is only as good as its zipper. Look for a model that has a large, rugged zipper. One that can accommodate a small padlock is ideal, not just for security reasons but also to be certain the zipper doesn’t come undone in transit. Additionally, it’s important not to overfill your bag because the extra pressure on the zipper can make it fail prematurely.

Padding: If you’re flying, you want your ski boots to have as much protection as possible to withstand rough treatment by baggage handlers. Look for a bag with plenty of padding inside. If you're traveling by car or truck, thick padding isn’t quite as vital.

Exterior extras

Some of the more expensive ski boot bags have a reinforced handle, small exterior pockets, lumbar support (for backpack models), and/or a location to place your phone or MP3 player. While some of these extras are handy, others aren't as functional as you might like them to be. If you feel swayed to purchase a ski boot bag based on one of these selling points, make sure that it’s something you’ll actually use.

Though rare, some ski boot bags have wheels and a telescoping handle so you can wheel your ski boots through the airport rather than carry them. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from, look for a model with these features.

Interior extras

If they fit your budget, the extras found inside a ski boot bag can be much more beneficial. Some of these include a separate compartment for each boot, additional room for a helmet, or even straps to secure your boots inside the bag. At the highest end of the price range, you can find heated bags that dry your ski boots after they've been packed. While handy, this feature can double the price of the bag.


A dark or neutral color ski boot bag might be the best option for hiding stains, but it’s not ideal for quickly identifying your bag on the airport carousel. Decide which is more important to you  — hiding stains or being easily identifiable — and make your purchase accordingly.

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Before flying, read and understand the airline’s rules for reporting lost, damaged, or delayed baggage. If something goes wrong, it's much easier to get results when you already understand the process.

Ski boot bag prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable ski boot bags cost between $25 and $45. These may not have a lot of bells and whistles or be the most rugged, so these bags are usually best for the casual skier who won’t be traveling often.

Mid-range: From roughly $50 to $90 is where you can find ski boot bags suitable for frequent skiers. These models may feature a more durable build with reinforced handles and extra padding, as well as vents that allow for drainage and more efficient drying.

Expensive: For most skiers, it isn’t necessary to spend over $100 for a ski boot bag. The pricier models may be larger to better accommodate a helmet and other gear. Additionally, some of the most expensive bags may have heated compartments for the boots. Before purchasing, make sure you'll actually use the features that are offered on these more expensive models.

When flying, resist the temptation to pack your ski boot bag with clothing and accessories. While you might be able to slip a few smaller items inside, if the airline determines you're not adhering to the guidelines, you'll be charged extra.



Packing for a winter vacation can be challenging: the clothing is bulkier and there's more of it. Consider the following tips before packing for your ski vacation.

  • Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute to decide what to take. Start making your list a few weeks ahead of your trip. That way, you'll have ample time to shop if you need to.
  • Know your space limitations. Consider taking items of clothing that can serve double duty or feature special properties (odor repelling) so you can wear them more than once. Pack only the essentials. After creating your packing list, reconsider everything you’ve written down to make sure you truly need it. If you're having trouble, separate everything into two categories: essential and preferred. If you run tight on space, start eliminating the nonessential items.
  • Use the space inside your bags efficiently. You can pack items inside your ski boots and helmet. When used correctly, compression bags can squash even bulky items down to remarkably small dimensions. Also, packing cubes are a space-efficient way to travel and help you stay organized. Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Folded clothing takes up more space and is more likely to get wrinkled.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothing. Don't waste precious luggage space on bulky items like a heavy sweater.
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Don't stress if you see your luggage at baggage claim but not your ski gear. Often, oversize equipment comes out much later than regular luggage.


Q. What is a ski boot bag?

A. If you were a musician, you wouldn't think of traveling with your instrument without putting it in a case to protect it from damage. A ski boot bag serves a similar purpose for some of your most important ski gear. During travel, the bag can help protect the boot buckles and bindings from damage. It can also help keep the boots from getting scratched or gouged and protect them from spills.

Q. Can I check my ski boot bag on a plane?

A. Yes, a ski boot bag counts as one checked bag. However, if you're flying with skis (or a snowboard), airlines give you a break because the two items (ski bag and ski boot bag) only count as one checked bag. The details of how large your ski boot bag can be as well as how much it can weigh and exactly what can be inside of it vary from airline to airline. Be sure to check the regulations before you get to the airport.

Q. Can I bring my ski boots on the plane as a carry-on?

A. Yes, some skiers prefer to bring their boots on the plane to ensure they won't get lost in transit. However, ski boots are large, heavy, and awkward to maneuver through the confines of a plane. Additionally, you might need to sacrifice packing some personal items that may be more important to keep on hand while flying, and you're wasting one of the few luggage benefits an airline offers by taking your boots as a carry-on instead of a (potentially) free checked bag.

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