flying with paddles

I’ll be flying with some friends from Canada to Baja via US early next year for a longer trip and we’d like to take our own paddles with us, so the question is how to deal with the paddles at the airports. Checking them in wouldn’t be smart given how they are handled.

Perhaps it is possible to take them in the plane and let them with the attendants?

Can anyone share their experience and advice?


Plastic gun case - checked of course

– Last Updated: Oct-25-08 12:51 AM EST –

Very unlikely you'd get to carry on a paddle anywhere, at least not in the US. Even 4 piece paddles that would fit in a carry-on likely wouldn't pass screening.

The plastic gun cases can be found pretty cheap at places like WalMart, or online. Foam lined and pretty tough - plus they automatically get treated a bit better than some other baggage. Just make sure the dimensions will accommodate your paddle halves - accounting for blade angle and twist.

Try a product called “Sport Tube”

– Last Updated: Oct-25-08 6:45 AM EST –

It is marketed to the skateboard crowd and comes in various sizes. In essence it is two telescoping ABS tubes. It's length can be adjusted to meet your needs. If you purchase one of the larger sizes there will be plenty of room for your paddles which you can wrap with your PFDs, kneeling pads and any other soft stuff. I carry my demo Dogpaddles in one all the time and I'd have little concern about about them on a plane, unless of course they loose the whole thing.

Marc Ornstein
Dogpaddle Canoe Works
Custom paddles and cedar strip canoes

Hard-shelled Golf Case
I have found that hard-shelled golf cases work great.

They can carry my entire sea kayaking kit, including: pfd, water shoes, helmet, safety gear, and two TAP paddles. These cases also do no attract undue attention.

There are many good ones out there.


Don’t they get in the way of your wings?

you’d have to, like…

…flap really really hard.

Rejected by TSA
TSA made me check my 2 piece carbon paddle, I checked it in the "frree-be: tyvek dust cover. It made it fine.

I wouldn’t do it again though, Great ideas here.

How much is the oversized charge
Seems like the air lines are charging exorbitant fees for almost anything these days.

I have a cheap, long, narrow and very scruffy looking duffle sort of a bag. I wrap the blades in a towel and put the paddle in the duffle and secure it with duct tape and string. I just check it and have not had any problem in about a dozen flights. I use the same bag for either my one or two piece paddles.

another option
I flew with 4-carbon fiber ZRE from US to Canada a few years ago…they wouldnt let me carry on so I went to one of those UPS/Fed Ex type shipping stores and they made a box to fit the paddles and filled with foam/padding etc. I then just check them and saved the box for the return flight too.

Flying with paddles
I have a paddle bag made by Current Designs that i have flown with. Check it as baggage . You can by it from Current Designs direct. E-mail me if you need their address. Vaughn Fulton

in my experience
you have to check them now.

Don’t know what the musician does with his Stratavarius.

Ski Bag
I have a bag for cross-country skis that is reinforced on both ends. Holds up to four one piece paddles with no problem wrap the blades with bubble wrap and tape together. Paddles seem to be much stronger than you might expect. No issues after checking them several times.

golf club hard case for me
I was able to fit two two-piece 210-220 wing paddles and a ton of luggage (seat and base, pump, some tools, and clothing for a week in 5-15C weather) in a hard case designed to accommodate a bag of sticks when I went to Europe this year.

My K2 partner used a collapsible snowboard hardcase which held two paddles and a ton of gear.

Here’s our solution
We have not been allowed to take paddles as carry-on since 9/11. The TSA considers them to be able to be used as a weapon.

We purchased an NRS paddle bag (it’s fairly well padded) and we put my wife’s carbon Werner and my 2 piece GP in it. We wrapped the paddles in some towels as well and then checked the entire thing as sports equipment.

I would think “Wings” would work much better… L