Skiing is a gear-intensive sport. Boots, poles and skis need their own bag or bags for transport. Then you have to deal with the rest of your stuff: insulated clothing, baselayers and midlayers, socks, goggles, helmets, and sunscreen and the clothers and shoes you'll want to wear once you're off the slopes. The list goes on.
You need a big bag to carry all that stuff—preferably one that's not too heavy as airlines aren't known to bend the rules when it comes to baggage overage charges. Here are our top picks for getting you from home to the hill.
Dakine Spit Roller 100L: If you’re the skier who is always tearing everything out of your bag looking for your socks, gloves or goggles, Dakine’s Spit Roller 100L is for you. One zippered mesh compartment holds the big stuff, while the opposing side has a full 3,000 cubic inches of mesh zipped organized storage in three compartments. That's right—you can see what's in there without even unzipping. Jam extras between the two zippered sides if necessary. Several external organizer compartments hold little stuff you need to get to quick. It’s a tad heavy, but the organization is worth it. 6,000 cu. in, 11 lbs, $205, dakine.com
North Face Base Camp Duffel: When you’re pretty sure that United, Delta or American won't let you on board because your gear weighs more than you, skip the rolling wheels and retractable handle. Instead, give yourself the best shot you have at avoiding luggage fees by packing this body bag-sized duffel. Made from a rubbery feeling material, the Base Camp Duffel is made for expeditions: ready to be kicked and battered by the flight crew, or strapped to a yak and hoofed up a mountain. FYI, Yaks prefer bags without wheels. Four compression straps cinch down your puffy jackets and make it look like you’re carrying less than you are. Minimal organization includes internal mesh pockets and an ID pocket. The Base Camp Duffel is wheel-free, but it does have shoulder straps so you can carry it on your back. 9,460 cu in, 4 lbs, 15 oz, $170, thenorthface.com.
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Wheeled Duffel 36: When you want every bell and whistle, as well as a whole lotta space, Eagle Creek’s Gear Warrior Duffel is for you. It’s all about flexible storage: a large compartment holds the bulk of your gear, while a secondary compartment separates gear from clothing, and a third compartment sequesters dirty laundry. More pockets inside and out give you flexible organization. There are lashing straps galore on the outside, including one to tote a carryon, and a strap near the handle holds your ski helmet while you rush to make your flight—the helmet strap doubles as a bottle opener. And, in case you find yourself wheeling this beast on the road in the dark, it has reflective stripes. Not the best at organizing? Eagle Creek has a link on its website showing you how to pack this bag using its Pack-It Cubes. 6,200 cu in, 8 lb, 14 oz, $310. Eagle creek.com