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Winter is coming, and for millions of snow-loving enthusiasts, that means ski and snowboard season. With wonderful resorts to choose from worldwide, along with different vacation options ranging from resort hotels to heli-and cat-skiing to uphill alpine touring (AT) and backcountry skiing, the winter travel options are endless. It can sometimes be hard to choose where to go on a ski or snowboard trip, but it is always tricky to travel with the gear you need. The hardware is uniquely bulky, and even if you travel lighter and rent equipment, skiing and snowboard requires a lot of clothing that takes up a lot of space.

That’s why having the right luggage is essential for smooth travels for winter sports, and in many cases, once you arrive you will still want to use a pack on the mountain, especially for out of bounds pursuits like heli-skiing or backcountry skiing (where it is a safety necessity). I’ve spent more than 30 years skiing all over the world and have noted the best brands and features for winter travel accessories. Here are the best ski and snowboard luggage for the 2019-2020 season.



The Boundary Roller double ski bag by DaKine has been a bestseller for years, and easily carries two ... [+] pairs of skis and poles, plus boots and clothing in removable zippered bags, all with 360-degree padded protection. It rolls great too!

You should always opt for a two-pair ski bag, since it’s advisable to have two pairs of skis for different conditions (powder and firm snow, for example). But even if you carry just one, you are paying the same to check your luggage and might as well get your money’s worth. Plus, you can double up with your spouse or traveling companion. This classic by industry leader Dakine has been one of the bestselling ski travel bags for years, and it keeps improving to stay on top of the game. The Boundary Ski Roller holds two pairs of skis and one pair of boots (most ski bags do not!), plus poles, and still has room for apparel. They’ve thought of everything: it has removable internal bags for clothing and boots so they can send one portion of the bag to your hotel room and send the rest of your gear to the ski check. The end handles are designed to pair with other rolling luggage for one-handed operation. It features 360-degree padding to protect gear, a lockable main zipper, two external padded zippered pockets, durable over-sized wheels and compression straps.

Osprey has just about the best lifetime guarantee in the travel world - not that you are likely to ... [+] ever need it - and its high capacity, rugged, weatherproof rolling duffels are perfect for ski trips.

When it is time to haul stuff on an active vacation, I turn to my Transporter wheeled duffel from Osprey–literally the last bag like this you will ever need to buy. A top tier name in backpacks and expedition packs, Osprey is famous in the active world for its attention to detail, durable construction and resulting “All Mighty Guarantee” for “Any Reason. Any Product. Any Era.” Most so-called lifetime warranties have lots of small print exclusions, while Osprey’s is simple: “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge - whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it.” I haven’t tested this claim because my Osprey stuff has never needed repair. The Transporter duffels are lighter than bags that eat up your airline weight limit before you put a thing in it (the huge 120-liter model is just 8.5 pounds) but made of extremely durable and weather-resistant rubberized fabric, perfect for winter. It features overlapping rain flaps for extra protection, and oversized wheels for smooth rolling. A large U-zip opening makes packing and access easy, while internal mesh pockets help you stay organized. Dual internal compression straps keep contents in place and increase capacity, and a large external pocket provides quick access to smaller items. Multiple grab handles and lashing points make it easy to maneuver and secure to cargo racks. For a lot of winter sports clothing and gear, check out the biggest 90 and 120 liter sizes.

Sun Mountain is renowned sports gear bag company, and its Free Gilder has unique pop out legs and ... [+] wheels that turn it into a trolley you can push through airports without pulling or effort.

Sun Mountain has long been the nation’s premier maker of golf bags and a few years ago expanded into skiing and snowboarding. The result is the only line of bags that have heavy duty, pop-out, full rolling legs, supporting 100% of the weight and turning your bag into a trolley that you can push easily through airports, rather than drag behind you. The Free Glider is their snowboard model and holds two boards and two pairs of boots–with room to spare–is fully padded, and has really well-designed internal zippered clothing storage cubbies that are completely separated from the hardware.

Thule's RoundTrip Boot backpack has a host of great features you'd expect from the Swedish design ... [+] gurus at Thule, but the coolest one is the fold out mat that lets you change in and out of ski boots anywhere - like a parking lot, while staying cozy and dry,.

If you are flying to a hotel and just need to pack ski boots, any bag will do. If you need to change boots in the parking lot, or at the trailhead for a backcountry trip, it’s a different story, and Sweden’s Thule, known for moving gear, invented a stunningly simple way to keep your feet dry and organize all your gear. This spacious 60-liter capacity backpack holds boots, has a protected “safe zone” pocket for fragile gear like ski goggles, sunglasses and smartphones, plus two big outside zippered pockets for gloves, layers and other clothing. External webbing lets you easily attach skis, snowboard or helmet, and reinforced metal grommet holes on the boot compartment let water and moisture out. Zippers and pockets are all perfectly placed for access, and you can easily carry your boots on the plane. But the brilliant breakthrough is a fold down “welcome mat” you can stand on while changing in and out of your boots, something we should have thought of years ago - but did not.

You have airbags in your car, and airbag backpacks for avalanches are the latest and greatest winter ... [+] safety innovation. Hopefully you will never have to deploy it, but if you do, Black Diamond's JetForce Tour is a great choice.

In recent years the biggest safety innovation for backcountry travel has been the avalanche airbag pack. In the event of an avalanche, the biggest danger for those heli-skiing, cat-skiing or traveling outside ski area boundaries in winter for any kind of pursuit, you pull a handle and it activates an inflatable airbag that helps keep you on the surface and prevents being buried. This is a major safety breakthrough akin to airbags in cars and has already save numerous lives. It would be foolish and irresponsible to go into the backcountry without one. First generation airbag packs (and some still on the market) used bulky compressed air cartridges, which you cannot fly with, while the newer technology is fan based, instantly driving air to inflate the bag. Gear centric sites like OutdoorGearLab.com and many others have consistently chosen the lineup from Black Diamond, a venerable mountaineering and outdoor gear company.  The JetForce Tour uses the Alpride E1 airbag system, an electronic, turbine-based fan system. As a result, the JetForce Tour is cartridge free, making travel easy, and it charges via a micro USB and two AA batteries. The system is compact and simple to use, and at 26-liters capacity, there’s plenty of room for extra layers, food, water and emergency gear. It has an easy access dedicated pocket for other avalanche gear (probe and shovel) and comes with a leg-loop to keep the pack from being pulled overhead in an avalanche.

From a day of resort skiing with water and your lunch to carrying skis or a board plus layers and ... [+] safety gear up a hike, DaKine's Mission Pro 18 is the ultimate do-it-all winter backpack.

Lots of skiers and snowboarders want a pack for days at the resort, to carry a hydration bladder, a layer or two, lighter or heavier glories, extra goggle lenses and most importantly, lunch. But on another day, you might be hiking and need more gear. For the typical resort day, you want a low-profile pack that won’t interfere with riding the chair, and other times you want to be able to strap your skis or board on and fit an avalanche shovel and probe. The DaKine Mission Pro 18 is the perfect size for compromise without compromising. It holds everything you need in a streamlined package and also has some features competitors lack, like a fleece lined protective goggle pocket, full support from padded hip belt and sternum strap (with integrated safety whistle) and my favorite, a neat insulated shoulder strap you can run your hydration tube thorough.to keep it for freezing. If you want to use spine protection, the pack has a dedicated sleeve for DaKine’s optional insert.

If you are driving to the mountains, it is hard to beat this classic from boot bag innovator Transpack. The heated bag plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter (or regular outlet) and gets your boots toasty before you put them on. Not only is this comfier, but it makes the plastic shells more pliable and ready to perform. The bag has lots of room for extra gloves, goggles and layers. It also has an efficient external helmet sleeve and doubles as a full blown travel backpack for carry on, check in or taking anywhere in the world.

Sportube pioneered ultra-protective, rolling, hard-shell ski bags, and the Series 3 handles multiple ... [+] snowboards or skis with ease.

Sportube pioneered the hard-shell ski bag category for when you really want to protect your gear. If you have custom skis that can run into the thousands of dollars, or just really like your stuff, this is the Fort Knox of travel gear. We’ve all seen luggage come off the carousel busted up, and stuff being tossed around by baggage handlers on the tarmac, creating a need for the Sportube. But the Series 3 is the first model that holds a snowboard–actually it can hold two, plus boots–and can also take up to three pairs of alpine skis, plus poles. It is set up for you strap to a car top rack for full protection while driving or when you arrive and rent a car. It has quality wheels for easy rolling and is also shipping ready if you want to send your gear to your destination via FedEx or UPS.

Frozen Princess School Bags

New Zealand's Kathmandu Outdoors is one of the bigger gear retailers in the world, and recently ... [+] expand into the U.S. market with its high quality, well priced items like this rolling duffel.

When you travel heavy in tough environments, (like a ski trip) a rolling duffel is the way to go. You get maximum packing volume at minimum weight with wheeled mobility and long-term durability. If you also like a lot of bang for the buck, turn to Kathmandu Outdoor. Founded in New Zealand more than 30 years ago, this is one of the most popular outdoor gear brands in Australasia and Europe, where they operate full-service retail stores. They just started selling in the United States. I’ve been testing this bag for over a year and it has held up great. It’s perfect for all the ski clothing you need, as it’s a monster at 100-liter capacity, though still very light. Unlike most duffels, it has a three-sided zipper lid and opens like a book to make access and packing more organized. The main compartment is deep and perfect for sports travel, where you can stow gear like ski boots, shoes and helmet, while the lid has several deep and spacious organizational zippered packing cells built in. It’s got large wheels, telescoping handle and easy access documents pocket on the outside, both internal and external compression straps for really packing things in, and six different grab handles for lifting, carrying or securing it any way you want.

I am the NY Times Bestselling author of Real Food, Fake Food and have been traveling the world as a journalist and passionate fan of all things fun for 20 years. I have

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