Traveling with an inflatable SUP: How much space do you need?


Over the years, inflatable paddle boards have improved tremendously, and have become, for many, the preferred style of board to buy and ride, particularly for a beginning paddler. Let’s remember, the goal of riding a paddle board is to have fun, and a part of that fun is how easy getting to the activity is. As you plan for a trip with your board, I’ll help give you some specifics on how much space you’ll need for your inflatable paddle board.

Inflatable paddle boards can be folded down to roughly 2 feet by 3.5 feet for easy traveling. Boards come in different sizes, so the dimensions will vary a bit. It is important to fold your paddle board properly to not put any additional strain on the board components like the fin box.

Below are some tips for folding your board, and some additional info to help you travel with your SUP.

Best way to fold up your paddle board?

As you roll up your paddle board, you need to pay close attention to the fin area, also called the fin box. You need to make sure the fin box stays flat and you aren’t rolling the board to the point that you are putting pressure on the seams around the fins.

As you fold the board, you’ll want to start at the nose and pause before you get to the fins. Then before you completely roll the board, fold the fin box area over so it remains flat and you can stack the rest of the rolled board over on the folded fin box section. See the video below for a great demonstration.

Should you fold your paddle board up with the pump inside?

If you watched the video above, you saw the board rolled up with the pump in the middle of the board, which can make rolling the board easier, and make carrying the board and pump in your travel bag much easier. Some pro shops do not recommend this though. Rolling the pump in the board can damage the board deck material as the board and pump rub together while in the travel bag. My belief is that it’s ok to roll the pump up in the board strictly for traveling, but for general storage, I would keep the pump and board separate.

Can an inflatable paddle board be taken on an airline?

You definitely can take a rolled up paddle board on an airline flight. The boards are not going to roll up small enough to be a carryon bag, or stored in the plane cabin’s overhead compartment, but it easily can be a checked bagged for your flight. Maximum carry-on bag sizes in the US are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. With a rolled up iSUP being roughly 12 x 20 x 36 inches, you’ll certainly need to check the board with your other large luggage.

Can you store your iSUP inflated?

According to Sean Scott of New Forest Paddlesports Company, you can store you iSUP inflated, even in an outdoor metal box. On a recent episode of the SUPfm podcast, Sean talked about the practice at his shop of deflating the boards to around 12-14 psi every evening when being stored in their outdoor storage box. They reinflate the boards in the morning when needed.

If you are storing your paddle board indoors, or somewhere that has steady moderate temperature, you can leave your board inflated for weeks with no problem.

What is the easiest way to deflate a paddle board?

The easiest way to remove the air from your paddle board is to use an electric pump in reverse. This will cut way down on the time it takes to deflate your board. Without an electric pump, you would just lock the valve on your board in the open position and push on the board to get the air out. Be careful at this point of the surface your board is on. It is best to use a soft surface, like grass or even sand, over a hard concrete path or road. This will prevent unnecessary scrapes and scratches to your board deck and seams.

Should your paddle board be stored in a carrying case?

You should only store your paddle board in a carrying case when traveling if possible. The recommendation from the pros I’ve talked to is to store your board partially or fully inflated or rolled loosely to avoid additional wear and tear on the board.

Ben

Hi there! My name is Ben and I am the creator and editor of this site. I am on my own personal journey towards health and wellness, and want this website to be a place to share the best information possible to help others on their own path to wellness.

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