For almost any activity you'd want to do, there's a backpack designed to handle the gear you'll need to bring. Lugging a skateboard around has never been easy and bringing it with you when you travel might seem like a recipe for disaster. However, with the right backpack, you can bring your board with you wherever you go without sacrificing the features you need in a travel backpack. Understand what to look for to make sure your next backpack purchase covers all of your bases for skateboarding and travel, and then get out there and explore on four wheels.
Securing your Skateboard
Backpacks with specially-designed velcro straps for skateboards are ideal, and thanks to the growing popularity of the sport, they're becoming more and more common. Almost every major skateboarding brand produces a backpack, and the two rectangular velcro straps on the face of the backpack serve well to secure your board safely and securely so you can focus on getting around. Bring your skateboard with you when you shop for a backpack to ensure that the width of these two velcro straps is wide enough to accommodate your particular style of board.
Backpack materials are becoming increasingly lightweight. The use of sail cloth, parachute cloth and ultralight materials like cuben fiber is not uncommon in travel backpacks. However, a skateboard and travel backpack needs to strike a line between light weight and durability. Ensure that the backpack you choose has enough toughness on the face fabric to withstand the occasional brush with your grip tape. Lightweight materials may abrade from having a skateboard strapped on and ultimately fail as a travel backpack.
Make sure the backpack you decide on fulfills all the travel needs you anticipate. Compartmentalized interiors allow you to organize and separate different items, allowing you to pack and unpack quickly. External pockets for water bottles, keys, wallets and MP3 players make using your backpack on a plane or bus much easier, and the quick access to frequently used items ensures you'll never be inconvenienced. Look for additional options like zippers that can be locked for security and handles on the top or side for carrying the backpack like a briefcase.
A skateboard is not a lightweight object. Bring your board and the weight you expect to carry while traveling with you when you shop for a bag so that you can check the padding of the shoulders and the back panel of the backpack for any discomfort. Make sure the backpack is the right size for your torso length by checking with the manufacturer or salesperson. Finally, you may want to try filling the backpack and riding around on your skateboard to see if you'd be comfortable moving around a city with the weight of your clothes and accessories on your back.
Max Roman Dilthey is a science, health and culture writer currently pursuing a master's of sustainability science. Based in Massachusetts, he blogs about cycling at MaxTheCyclist.com.