Carrying lots of gear to the resort can be a drag. It’s made worse if you’re traveling long distances while wearing or carrying clunky ski boots. Walking through resort villages in ski boots can be especially treacherous, leading to slips, trips, falls, and general embarrassment.
Ski boot bags aren’t necessary to go skiing, but they make the journey a lot easier. They free up your hands, reduce ski boot sole damage if you’re walking through parking lots, and allow you to carry most of your gear on your back. With comfortable carry options and large capacities, they reduce the irritation of traveling with additional gear, and I review the best ones here.
My Review Process
For years, I hauled my gear up to the ski hill with my hands. And while it can be done, it’s always annoying and hurts your hands. Plus, if you forget one item, it'll send you all the way back to the car. Finally, at the behest of several friends, I got myself a ski boot bag and have never turned back.
The convenience,and capacity were too good to overlook for the relatively low cost. I now bring my boot bag everywhere. With cool designs, like backpack-style boot bags, adjustable straps, padded back panels, venting holes to drain moisture, and even heating elements, there are some truly great options out there.
In this guide, I’ve rounded up my favorite ski boot bags to save you the hassle of trying to carry all your stuff by hand. Let’s dive in!
The Element Equipment Boot Bag is my choice for the best overall ski boot bag. This model won’t break the bank and fits at least one pair of boots (up to US 14 shoe size) in its boot compartments. It can also handle some extra layers and features padded backpack straps. On top of that, it’s durable, water-resistant with PVC-coated polyester, and has a vented back panel.
This bag has plenty of space for one person's gear for a few days, but it’s not big enough for anything longer. However, the boot bag brings fantastic value by combining an attractive price with all its special features. You can also fit extra items like goggles, neck gaiters, and gloves in the boot bag as well.
If you need a boot bag with good storage capacity, comfortable shoulder straps, and enough durability for many ski seasons, I’d choose the Element Equipment Boot Bag.
The Dakine Boot Pack DLX 75L is my choice for the best ski boot bag backpack. Not only is this bag super well organized, making clever use of various pockets and interior organization, but the square shape makes packing easy. There are padded pockets for your ski helmet and more fragile items like goggles. The adjustable shoulder straps also create a comfortable carry.
While not the most expensive, it is annoying that different color options cost more. However, with a durable build featuring ripstop nylon and high water resistance, the bag is ready to handle the elements. When you combine that with a 75-liter volume and sternum straps, you get one functional and classy ski boot bag.
If you're looking for the best backpack option to carry lots of gear, I recommend the Dakine Boot Pack DLX 75L.
The Athalon Everything Boot bag is a burly beast and my choice for the most durable ski boot bag. This one comes chock full of useful pockets and fantastic internal organization, including a separate compartment for ski boots. There are also many carry options via various grab handles, hideaway straps and padded shoulder straps.
I wish this option felt more comfortable when filled; it's a bulky ski boot bag. Despite the plethora of carrying options, you’ll feel the weight when you fill this one up.
However, the peace of mind you get knowing that this dedicated ski boot bag won’t break on you is freeing. When you add that to a waterproof bottom with drainage grommets, you get a high-functioning and high-value ski boot backpack.
Family ski trips take a lot of patience & planning. Luckily, the DPS Daily duffel takes the space headaches out of the equation. Fans of duffels will love the immense 90-liter volume, fleece-lined goggle pocket, ergonomic carry handle, easy-access pockets, and durable construction. This behemoth can carry a week's worth of extra gear on top of your boots.
Now, if you fill up a 90-liter bag with ski gear, it's going to be heavy. You can sling this bag over your shoulder to alleviate some pressure, but its capacity means you should be aware of overstuffing the bag.
Having said that, if you need the space and ability to handle a family ski trip, the DPS duffel is more than up to the task. Along with the extra storage capacity, you get a large main compartment, separate side compartments, and shoulder strap padding for comfort through the highs and lows of ski trip travel.
If you want a bag that can heat your ski boots while you travel, the Kulkea Thermal Trekker is for you. This smartly designed boot bag features excellent organization, separate pockets for boots, an extra sling for a helmet, and padded shoulder straps. Best of all, it has heaters in the side pockets to help keep your boots warm, all while providing extensive storage space (69L).
Compared to bags with similar features, this one's a bit pricey. If you’re going for high value & a low price, that’s worth noting. However, the addition of the heaters to dry out damp boots makes it well worth the added cost. It is incredibly uncomfortable trying to jam your feet into cold ski boots. By keeping them warm, you guarantee easy entry on even the coldest days.
For a lot of us, air travel is necessary to reach the slopes. When it is, opt for the Sportube Overheader Boot Bag. This smaller bag won’t reach the lofty capacity of the DPS duffel, but you can fill it and stay within the carry-on requirement for most major airlines. The bag also comes with a convenient helmet carry sling.
The internal space is a bit tight on this one, which is fine if you’re just packing ski boots and some small gear items. However, for larger trips, you may want more than 44 liters of space. Having said that, the convenience, durable design, and padded shoulder straps make the Sportube Overheader boot bag an attractive option for the traveling skier.
Price hunters rejoice! The Athletico ski boot bag is my choice for the best budget ski boot bag. Not only is this model offered at a great price, but it also has separate ski boot pockets alongside a large main compartment for extra gear items. On top of that, it also includes a drain hole in the bottom to help you shed extra moisture from the ski boots.
The internal organization, while easy to figure out, doesn't feature as many pockets as other options on my shortlist. However, if you're looking for an excellent budget option that can carry your boots and help drain snow/moisture from them, this is an awesome pick.
Ski Boot Bag Buying Guide
Before you settle on a boot bag, take a look at my buying guide. Several important factors will help determine which size, shape, capacity, and price range your ideal option fits into.
Boot bags feature generally affordable prices when compared to other ski gear items. You can find stellar deals on bags that cost between roughly $40-100. There are also more expensive options that include heating elements or have larger storage capacities. A fair price range for these boot bags is $150-200.
Comfort can be measured in a few different ways. Although, with ski boot bags, one of the first things I look for is whether or not the bag has padded straps. If it’s a backpack-style bag, you want your shoulders to feel the extra comfort afforded with padded straps. Sternum straps, belt straps, compression straps, and a vented back panel also help increase support and airflow.
Bags that have a rigid shape also tend to hold their shape better when weighed down with gear. An example would be the Dakine Boot Pack DLX 75L. Some flexible bags can feel a little awkward when loaded down because the distribution of weight inside the pack makes it list to one side. I also look for a sling or bungee cord addition that can hold a ski helmet.
Storage Space & Organization
Boot bags are large items. There are smaller versions that hold your ski boots and not much else, but many emphasize extra volume. A great example is the DPS Daily Duffel, which can fit up to 90 liters of ski gear! They are usually made with a central storage area where you can pour in a lot of ski gear, while the sides have a compartment for boots.
The organizational structure of the bag is important as well. Side pockets for ski boots with ventilation holes for dripping out moisture are fantastic. Keeping ski boots separate from a main compartment also allows you to store ski pants, jackets, and extra layers without having to deal with damp gear. Exterior storage pockets and accessory pockets are also great to have.
Larger bags can obviously fit more ski gear, but be wary of overstuffing a 90-liter bag; it’s going to be very heavy. Additionally, carry-on requirements vary between airlines, so the largest bag may not be the most convenient for travel. If you’re worried about air travel, the Sportube Overheader is great for flying.
Portability refers to how easy it is to lug these bags around. The smaller boot bag models, like the Element Equipment Boot Bag Deluxe, are great for their portability and padded shoulder straps. Bags with larger dimensions, like the DPS Duffel, are portable in that they can be carried multiple ways, but filled up, they are heavy & a bit cumbersome.
For long trips, the largest bags are great, but they are tough to drag around. Portability will also take a hit if the bag doesn’t fit the dimension limits of a carry-on bag for air travel.
I find the backpack-style ski boot bags generally offer more portability than other varieties. Ski boot backpacks also stand a better chance of fitting in the overhead bin or under the seat on airplane flights. They don’t offer the most space, however, so it's important to take that into account if you're packing for a long trip or multiple people.
Boot bags need to be able to take a beating from travel to and from the ski resort, so durability should be top of mind. Most come with water resistance (including all on this list) and a variety of carrying straps. Durable materials like ripstop nylon and high-density polyester bottoms help keep boot bags working for longer.
There are several points on a boot bag that can fail over time. Zippers that catch or are difficult to slide are definitely worth paying attention to. You should also look for any instance of loose stitching or fraying shoulder straps. And while bags like the Kulkea Thermal Boot Trekker are delightful, the heating element can fail over time if you’re rough with the bag.
At the end of the day, all the bags on this list can deal with a bit of abuse. However, nothing lasts forever. To get the most out of your boot bag, it's worth being gentle with whatever option you settle on.
My choice for the best overall boot bag is the Element Equipment Bag Deluxe. It combines a great price with good internal storage capacity and comfortable padded straps. If you want the best backpack-style boot bag, the Dakine DLX 75L is unmatched.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.