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HARD OR SOFT—WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Traveling with skis or snowboards can be tough, and the question always arises: what’s the best way to protect your gear?
Logically, a hard case is going to provide more protection if your gear has any risk of bumps or weather exposure (think traveling by air or road-tripping with your skis or snowboard strapped to the roof of your car). But there are still people who swear by a soft bag. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
Hard cases offer premium protection against whatever you put them through, whether that be careless TSA agents, the wind and rain while strapped to the roof of your car, or rattling around in the back of your truck bed. But a hard case can be, well, hard to store. There’s no rolling this one up and stuffing it in the back of your closet. Hard cases also tend to be heavier, as they are made out of a more heavy-duty material. While that could end up costing you more at the airport if you exceed the 50 lb. weight limit, many airlines only cover damages if you traveled with a hard case.
Soft bags, on the other hand, can be stored just about anywhere once they are folded up. Crammed under your bed, on a high shelf in the hall closet, even tossed up in the attack or stored inside other luggage bags, soft ski bags are easy to get out of sight when unpacking at home or in the resort/hotel room. Soft travel bags also tend to be made of lightweight fabric, making them lighter to carry, but not providing as much protection for your skis or snowboard during transportation. Do you trust throwing your expensive new skis into a fabric bag to be handled by TSA? Or are you looking for something to put in your backseat or stored in the garage at home and you want a little protection for it?
Overall, a hard ski or snowboard travel case is going to provide more protection. But, if you don’t expect your skis to ever travel in the cargo bin of an airplane or strapped to the roof of your car, then a soft travel bag for at home storage or in the backseat of your car might work best for you.
Regardless of what side of the “Hard Case vs. Soft Bag” debate you find yourself on, I think we can all agree “Duct Taped and Wrapped in Bubble Wrap” is a poor choice.
To make your own comparisons and judgments, check out a hard ski and snowboard travel case here and a soft ski and snowboard travel bag here.