Windsurfing is the kind of sport that makes you travel with a lot of kit. There are many different bags that can really help transporting everything more comfortable. Since I carry 4 mast, 5 sails, and a lot of other stuff with me, I decided to do some research on the best bags.
What kind of windsurfing bags are there and how do they make travelling and storing kit easier? Several brands offer boardbags and large gearbags for masts etc. Moreover there are smaller bags for fins, tools and spare parts. Bags can be found in (online) shops by the names Windsurfing Travelbag, Quiverbag, Boardbag.
Since there are many kinds of bags it is easy to buy one, and later find out there was a better option. On the other hand, the large choice offers chances to find exactly what you need. Doing my research I found there is actually a lot to buying different windsurf bags. So, here is what I have learned.
Types of Bags
I have always used single board bags and large sail and mast bags. Since I am looking for new bag for the comming season, my research went much further than that.
In general I found 8 different bags and a hardtop roof solution. The car bag is the most ingenious solution I found. I think its really worth looking at. This is what I came across during my research online, asking other windsurfers and in shops.:
- Board bags triple board or double with space for masts etc (WorldCup bag);
- Board bags double board;
- Board bags single board;
- Gear bags (sessionbags) for large parts like masts, sails and booms;
- Mast bags;
- Gear bags / quiverbags for smaller parts like fins and tool;
- Duffel bags for (wet) wetsuits and clothing;
- Car bags (large bag to fit inside your car. Preventing dirt and water to get in to the cars upholstery)
- Hardtop roof solution for cars. (No more wet sails and suits in the car).
Board bags (Single, Double and Triple)
I am always surprised how vulnerable boards are when hit by a hard or sharp object. They withstand huge forces at the impact of landing a big jump. But if I hit the doorpost of my garage with a rail, it can crack. Even small cracks can be really annoying. Not only do they require professional repair to ensure the hull keeps its strength, it takes a lot of time too.
That is why I put my board in a padded board bag as soon as I get out of the water.
Board bag com in several models. Several brands like Mystic and ProLimit produce them. Simple versions are a bit like a huge padded condom with a zipper.
More advanced board bags can be reinforced at the bottom. They can be equipped with extendable handles and wheels. Nice, if you are travelling through long halls at airports.
Most important features of the board bag:
Number of boards that fit in. I have come across board bags that can hold up to three boards. They are a little rare though. The F2 worldcup bag is the one I found. With it’s 250/67/35 cm size they claim it can hold 3 boards or 1-2 boards with a few masts and sails. The Recommended Gear section has a page on board bags that shows a link to more info about this product if you like.
Although most board bags I came across can hold one board, there are a few double board bags from respected brands on the market. The ION ‘Core Double Windsurf Board Bag is a nice example’
Size. Length and width. Over the last decade boards have become wider and shorter. Making sure your new board bag fits your board easy is important. If you are sailing a board that is a bit older perhaps it’s a good idea to buy a bag that fits modern shapes too. Just in case you want to replace your board by a new one with the same (or a bit more) volume. The new edition could be a bith wider.
Padding: Padding means protection. If I had to buy board bags again I would go for extra thick padding. Cheeky is a brand that I only have heard of recently. They make bags with a 7 to 12mm padding. ION uses 8 mm padding on a single board bag and 5 mm on the double board bag, according to their website
Zipper: Ever taken your precious kit out of a garage after a long cold and wet winter? I have. Zippers were corroded so much I couldn’t open them. I try to buy large corrosion free zippers like the 270’’ Zipper on a cheeky windsurf board bag.
Extra Storage Compartment: Windsurf boards don’t travel alone. Mine need fins, screws, foot straps and an occasional screwdriver etc. Therefore extra storage compartments could come in handy. Experience thought me to only stuff soft kit in the board bags like foot straps. What is the use of thick padding if there is a hard object like a screwdriver punching holes in your precious board from the inside?
Gear bags for large parts: masts, booms and sails. When I started getting more gear, I bought a large bag with several compartments. At the bottom it had 6 tubes to put mast parts in. That created a stable basis. On top there was a large compartment for a few sails. Next to the sails, on the long end was extra room for suits, and a harness. Two special openings in the bottom enabled lashing straps. Easy for attaching the whole package on a roof rack. Two boards could be mounted next to it on the roof rack.
Nowadays there is a huge variety of gear bags. Also called session bags. The ProLimit ‘Session Bag Aero’ is an example. It can contain masts and sails. Depending on the exact type of session bag Prolimit offers bags that can contain masts up to 460cm or even 490cm. The wheelbase is optional.
Personally I feel the presence of loops or other openings to allow lashing straps for roofrack attachment are a valuable feature. Especially when they are constructed in a way that straps don’t crush the sails inside the bag when pulled tight.
Some brands offer special mast bags. Masts, especially those with a high (90-100%) carbon percentage can be vulnerable when hit by hard objects. If a 100% carbon mast is dropped at the tarmac, little cracks can occur inside. They can be the reason for a breaking mast during hardcore action on the water. A long swim could be the result.
Therefore special mast bags are an option to consider. Mainly if you don’t have a gear bag to protect them. They are like a long padded sleeve that can keep to mast parts nicely together and protected.
Gear bags for small parts
When arriving at the beach it is nice to have all the needed parts at your fingertips. I have seen many windsurfers with a nice little bag to stuff like:
- Mast extensions;
- Mast bases;
- Fins in padded compartments
- Extra ropes
- Screwdriver and multitools
- Spare screws and other parts
in one compact bag. The ProLimit ‘Gear Bag’ and the ‘Gear Bag Formula’ are examples. The first can contain fins up to 30cm. The formula can contain fins up to 80cm. 5mm padded fin compartments can protect the precious fins from damage by either inside or outside (hard) objects.
Personally I like going on a multiday windsurf trip. Being at the same spot for a couple of days gives me the chance to really get to know the spot and the opportunities it offers to improve my windsurfing.
This of course requires to take a few extra clothes and other items with me. Of course I could take a suitcase. But there are e few pretty cool, water resistant duffel bags that can be easier to carry.
I guess this is a matter of personal choice but here is a list of features I value when selecting a duffelbag.
- Water resistant;
- Large, heavy duty zipper;
- Heavy duty outside materials;
- A few inner compartments;
- Retractable handle;
I must admit that I had never seen them before doing my research for this blog. Though I had wondered a lot about how to solve the ‘salty water- cars upholstery’ problem. My best solution until now, was a big piece of plastic that I folded around my cars inner space. For some reason it always leaked a bit of dirt or water in my car.
That is yesterdays solution I guess. Mystic has a special car bag in their website. The flap can be zippered loos and pulled out of the trunk like a big tongue out of a mouth. Really put a smile on my face when I saw it. If you want to check it too, click here for the direct webpage. Water and dirt proof. Velcro’s to attach it, air vents and zipper closure.
Hardtop Rooftop Cargo Carriers
One of the things that can really be annoying for you, or your spouse, is the wet salty smell in your car after a windsurf trip. Wetsuits, or shall I say wet suits, can leak water in your cars upholstery. So do wet sails and harnesses. I know from experience that the salt welt smell is hard to get out of a vehicle unless I was in a hot sunny destination where I could leave the windows open all day.
The best solution I have found is to either put wet stuff in a hard shell plastic box or crate. Since sails take a lot of space in a car I have done some research on hardtop rooftop carriers. I have used them with friend on a sailing trip once and I found them ideal. Most versions I have come across are not long enough for sails.
But, there is good news! The ‘Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box’ has the length to carry rolled up sails. They claim it can carry ski’s up to 215cm/84,6 inch. The largest size of this type of box I found on Amazon, was L 93″ x W 37″ x H 20″ . I guess that is sufficient for a few sail, wetsuits, harnesses and even some other gear. The Recommended Gear section has more info on it including links. You can also find more infor on a Thule rooftop carrier. This one has an internal space of 172cm (69 x 31.5 x 15 inch / 175x 80×38 cm).
How to transport windsurfing equipment? Windsurfing equipment has quit a lot of volume. It also consists of many large and small parts that are all essential. Parts can be vulnerable to impact by hard or sharp objects. Since some parts are big it is not always easy to carry everything in a car. Windsurfers have come up with several solutions. Using special padded gear bags or board bags can make sure everything is protected when being transported. Hard or soft top covers can be used to store equipment on a roof rack.
How do I store my windsurfing equipment? Actually there are two reasons to store windsurfing equipment. Storage when not used. In a garage for example. And storage while travelling. In both cases it is nice to be able to quickly find all the necessary parts when needed. Protection of the gear is also important since some large and expensive parts are vulnerable when hit by hard or sharp objects. Therefore special padded bags are available. Often equipped with various features like wheel, padded inner compartments and loops to attach them to roof racks.
What kind of board bags can I use for a windsurf board? There are several options when it comes to board bags for windsurfers. Bags for a single board protect one board with their inner padding. They also make carrying the board easier with their straps or handles. Double or triple board bags are also an option. They can be used to carry, store and protect boards and gear like sails. Special gear bags are available for large windsurf parts like masts, booms and sails. In case the windsurfer wants to put everything in a car even a special car bag can be found. This bag is folded over the interior of the vehicle to protect it from dirt and salt water.