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Packing your Kiteboarding Gear for Air Travel
Packing your Kiteboarding Gear for Air Travel

Packing your Kiteboarding Gear for Air Travel

Packing your kiteboarding gear for air travel
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How to Safely Pack your Kiteboarding Gear for Air Travel

Why wait for the wind to pick up for a short season at your local kite spot, when you can travel to a more exotic location that is known for good wind most of the year? Sometimes you can’t drive or take a van to a new kite spot, on those occasions you will need to take a commercial flight. This limits the kite gear you can take and forces you to make some decisions on what is essential for your next kite trip. This post is what I have learned while packing my kiteboarding gear for safe air travel over the last few years.

What do you count as essential kite gear? Do you ever leave home without a foil?

Kiteboard Gear Bags

If you are kiting on your home turf or are traveling abroad, either way at some point you will need to transport your kite gear to the beach. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to kiteboarding related gear bags and luggage. It seems like every kiteboarding brand sells their own version of gear travel bag.

Bags, Bags, Bags!!!

Kite gear bags and accessary bag options are extensive! You may hear terminology such as: kiteboard golf bags, padded surfboard bags, foil storage bags, duffel style bags, day bags, surfboard socks, compression bags, dry bags, and the list goes on and on …

Golf Bags?

The travel golf club bag was originally sported as a way to travel with kite gear without an additional baggage fee at the airport. In the past, golf bags were not usually assessed with an additional fee for oversized luggage. The “Golf Bag” nowadays is a popular option that allows kiters to wheel their kite gear through the airport with ease. It can be checked as a sporting goods bag without any tom-foolery. Be honest, don’t pretend to be a professional golfer. Act like a professional kiteboarder instead!

Kite Gear Weight?

Inevitably, you will have to check your kite gear bag at the airport to travel abroad, but as long as the bag is under a certain weight and size you normally will not have to pay an excess or overweight baggage fee for most airlines.

However, always check the airline baggage policies of the particular airline you are flying before you get to the airport. Baggage expenses may vary. Keep in mind that some airlines are even considering weighing passengers prior to flights for safer air travel.

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The 50-pound (or 23-kilogram) weight limit seems to be the threshold for most airlines on checked bags these days. This is a big limiting factor for what kites and gear you can bring on your next kite trip. Oversized or overweight bags may cost you an extra $200 or more on your flight, so try to pack your kite gear so that it is safely under the 50-pound threshold.

The Kite Gear That I Pack…

Normally I can pack the following items in my 150cm Mystic Kite Golf Bag (wheeled) and weigh in near 48-pounds:

To keep the weight down on my main kite gear bag I tend to pack my wetsuit, wetsuit booties, rash guards, and other accessories in an additional checked duffel bag or carry on.

Packing your Kiteboarding Gear: Protect your Kite Board!

The first step in packing your travel bag is to protect and pack your kiteboard (twin-tip, surfboard, or foil board). This essential piece of kite gear is usually the first one to go in the bag.

#1- Fins Off!

I start with taking the fins off of my tin-tip board, otherwise you may find some damage to your bag and/or board, such as fin wear on the board bag itself or broken fins or fin boxes. Usually, I place my fins and other hardware in a plastic bag that I tuck into my helmet to avoid scratches.

NOTE: You will have to bring some extra tools (small screw driver or an Allen wrench) for re-attaching the fins.

#2- Use Padding

Unless you have a twin-tip that breaks down further, you will need to take some extra precautions to protect and pad your board.

Kite Noodles?

I use a couple of lightweight inexpensive pool noodles that I found at the local dollar store. Just cut a line down the side or split the noodle on one side. Then wrap it neatly around the edge of your twin-tip. Use some painters tape or masking tape to help hold the foam noodle in place.

Note: You can also use the original packaging that your board came in to help protect it if you bought it new.

And Voila!!! You have safely protected the edge of your twin-tip from dents and divots of the punishing baggage carousel for less than $25. Plus, you have a couple of pool noodles to float around on at the beach while you wait for the winds to pick up. Genius!

#3- Pack Around Your Board

After I have the fins off and the board properly padded, I keep the foot straps and grab handle connected to the board. Then I pack items around the board, using kites and an impact vest to protect the topside of the board.

Typically, I try to place the control bar and kite pump in between the foot straps. I use the grab handle to help keep things in place. Also, I take the kite pump inflation hose off so it doesn’t get any unnecessary kinks or hose breaks.

What is your favorite kite-board to travel with? Twin-tip, surf-board, or foil-board?

Packing your Kiteboarding Gear: Protect the Kites

Finally, its time to pack your kites. Depending on the overall weight of your bag and gear, you may be limited to a couple of kites. However, if you are an efficient at packing your gear you can take more.

Compression Bags Help!

One way to shed some weight is to use compression bags instead of the standard bags that come with your kite. Most compression bags have a draw string at the top and one carry handle. Making them lightweight and super efficient for packing.

My greatest weakness is in neatly packing the following: kites, sleeping bags, and tents. I am not good at it! Too often, I opt for the loosely roll and stuff method. Kite packing requires patience.

Tip: pick a larger sized compression bag to make packing your kite easier and to avoid compressing your kite too tightly.

How do you safely pack your kites?

Packing Kiteboard Gear with Compression Bags
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There is a noticeable size and weight difference between the two.

Traveling to new and exotic kite destinations around the world is one of the best reasons to kite. However, getting your gear there safely is also an important part of kite travel. After a few trips abroad, these tips and tricks for packing your kiteboarding gear have made traveling with my kite gear easier.

What helps you prepare for your next kite trip?

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Safe kite travels everyone. ~ KiteBikeVan

Packing your Kiteboarding Gear for Air Travel
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