Boat bags when flying

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Boat bags when flying

Post by Warren »

Just looking for advice on using boat bags when flying with kayaks. Do people tend to use them?

How about putting kit inside your boat? Do you seal the cockpit at all?

chickle chives

Post by chickle chives »

If you do want I boat bag I heartily recommend Canyongear. Flew my sub 7 to canada as my only piece of checkin baggage in one of their bags.

Ian F

Boat Bags

Post by Ian F »

We tried using body bags (don't ask) for flying our Chronics to Canada. But not being able to grab the cockpit/deck loops made handling difficult, so we didn't use them in the end. We just tied the kit in and left the deck open.

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Post by ol »

Boat bags can be great for flying, you will probably tend to get asked less questions at check-in.
The downside is they can actually add weight to what precious little allowance you already have. The Wavesport bag for instance looks great and even has little wheels on the back to help you wheel it along,
I can't find how much it weighs but i am sure it will weigh a couple of kg's at least.

I flew easyjet and BA with my boat, both times i strapped my large and light stuff in the boat, paddle kit, lightweight tent, sleep bag etc and left the cockpit open. If you put your deck on, chances are someone will lift the boat by the cockpit and implode the deck and not be able to put it back on, it may get lost.

I had 2 sets of paddles which i taped together and thats all, logic being that a baggage handler may be more careful if he can see what he is handling, unlike a false sense of protection afforded by a padded paddle bag(not to mention more weight).

Someone on a previous thread posted a link to a company that custom makes bags, it could perhaps have been Canyon Gear as above, not sure.

Guy i met at the airport told me he was flying with one airline(???) who catagorically stated he could not fly with his kayak, he went away, wrapped it in a sheet and taped it up, and then checked in no questions asked, so yes, some sort of cover often helps a lot....

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Boat bags

Post by Chris Bolton »

I put my boat in a bag flying from Manchester to LA via Philadlephia. It was worth having when checking in, but was damaged by careless "security checks".

The bag had velcro flaps to allow the end graps to be used for handling. When changing flights at Philadelphia it was inspected by the security agency. This was after I had checked it back in, so I wasn't present. They decided to remove the bag (they didn't need to remove it to look in the cockpit) and ripped it off without releasing it from the end grabs. I'd put my C1 paddles inside the boat to protect them, but one was damaged by the inspectors trying to remove it without understanding how it had been put in. To even have a chance of compensation I had to fill in a 4 page form in triplicate, and get 3 separate quotes for repairs. (It wasn't worth the effort)


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Post by flea »

A £5 tarp (or cheaper!) and a few strips of gaffa tape work well. Then tie round 2 straps to use as a handle/shoulder strap. Paddle can be strapped on if you have a 2-item limit (i.e going to/via US). Tarp can then be used as a ground sheet, and you have your straps for tying on cars.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

There is a potential problem with snazzy boat bags. The better the bag is at making a large oddly shaped kayak look like a large oddly shaped bag, the more likely the chance that you will be charged .

Don't ask me how or why it works, but it's usually possible to blag your boat on for free due to the whole novelty factor...the check-in staff have no idea what to do with a kayak, they try phoning for help, checking their computer, etc...and in the end just give in and let you take it free of charge. Like last Sunday...

Make your boat look like a very oversize and overweight bag, and check-in attendants have no problem mentally processing that...your credit card please, Sir...
Mark Rainsley


Post by Shell »

Use a surfboard bag everytime i go and just lie to them saying its several boards.

On a couple of occasions when i have mentioned its a kayak and they've kicked up fuss i explained how i specifically asked on the phone regarding this problem and the girl said it would be ok due to the short length of the yak..........haha it has worked far!!!

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Pretending your kayak is...

Post by Chris Bolton »

Thanks, Mark, I hadn't heard that. I've only flown with a boat once, and it was nerve wracking. It must get less stressful when you get used to it.

I emailed the airline "Will you take my windsurfer?"

They emailed back "We won't take your kayak"


tom saffell nli

Post by tom saffell nli »

never seen a need to use a boat bag personally - just more weight and another thing to get trashed. (and it costs to buy)

my tactic:

get some cardboard from your local super market
get a roll of brown parcel tape
put as much kit in boat as you think you can gte away with
turn up at airport
get it weighed, take stuff out if need
get them to agree to a weight
place cardboard on cockpit
tape cardboard in place
put a strap (or rope) from grab loop to grab loop, with enough slack that the boat can be easily lifted by it (i found this VERY useful for my onward journey)
give them your boat
hope they dont trash it

I dont tape paddles to boat, as i think this makes them more likely to get trashed. i have a paddle bag, and i wrap an item of clothing round each paddle as padding.

when i last flew i put two layers of cardboard on, and it was way more than enough, one would have worked, but better to be safe. (two layers were still firmly attached upon arrival at Manali)

BA have tape at the checkin desk that you can use if needs be - certainly no point wasting gaffa tape.

as to whether a bag 'disguises' the kayak and makes it more likely to get on, i would say 'no' - it turns your kayak into a 'big bag' and they know what to do witrh big bags. for BA anything upto 3m is officiallly allowed anyhow.

btw - paddled the upper Indus yesterday - nice section

tom saffelll

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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Doug has a Wavesport bag and recently flew to Switzerland for the Euro comp. The boat, bag and kit came to about 23kg and Ryanair's limit was 20kg. It was nodded through without any extra charge by the young lady at the check-in desk. Doug did admit that it was indeed a kayak in a bag.

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Post by ol »

So......... to sum up,
yes it is a good idea, and no, it is not a good idea. Take your pick.

Not so sure i would be that worried about a couple of baggage handlers damaging the boat loading it in a plane when it is regularly thrown down rocky ditches and seems to come off okayish, paddles maybe.

It seems that its a luck game really, you never know what kind of jobsworth you may encounter on the day and experience will probably only help to lessen the pre-flight anxiety......

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Post by ChrisMac »

I have flown several times with my boat in a Canyon Gear bag and never had any problems. Airlines seem to know what to do with a big bag and have, todate, never been charged for being over wieght. I find that getting to the airport early seems to do the trick.

The bag itself is standing up to airline abuse very well and I would recommend one to anyone .

magictom nli

Post by magictom nli »

My tuppence worth,

boat bags are well worth the investement for many reasons. To start with I disagree with Mark´s idea that flying with a boat has some kind of novelty value... check in staff have seen it all and I´d much rather get charged for flying my boat than have them simply refuse carriage.

It´s a good idea to look up, or find out by e mail, your carriers baggage restrictions before you book. If they say they won´t fly a kayak but will fly a windsurf for a nominal fee ( American say they charge $75 each way but failed to charge me last week) then I´d rather bag it and accept the charge, such is life.

Also boat bags man that all the extra stuff you´ve squeezed into you boat will stay in your boat and will be less suceptible to light fingers... all your kit arrives with the boat.

Lastly... a good boat bag ( you can guess whose I use) stops you looking like a tramp at check in... they will deal with you in a more professional manner and not treat you like a travelling scumbag kayaker, which of course we are! Airlines like bags... they don´t like cardboard boxes.

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. »

a good boat bag ... stops you looking like a tramp at check in
It'll take more than posh luggage to stop ME looking like a tramp...

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