Day bags are worth the extra cash for a few reasons. Aside from protecting your board from minor dings, scratches, and the sun they also make it easy to carry your board and extra gear to and from the surf. We stock over 40 surfboard day bags and after receiving input from both employees and customers, we’ve come back with the 5 we believe are the best. These bags will keep your board safe so you’re not stuck doing ding repair when you could be surfing.
What is a Day Bag?
Day bags are a lightweight cover for your surfboard. For the most part, these bags offer a lot of protection but usually not enough for flying. If you need a bag to withstand the abuse of airline travel, check out our review of the best travel bags.
Boards come in all shapes and sizes and all of these bags are available in different cuts to accommodate shortboard, fish/hybrid, and longboard shapes. These bags are listed with the simplest and lightest options first. Scroll below to see our sizing recommendations for each brand.
“Affordable & Built to Last”
Pro-Lite is without question the OG of the board bag game and has been doing it longer than anyone dating back to the early ’80s. As the name implies (think recession) this bag has been scaled back to offer the most value when money is tight. If you just need a bag for day trips, the Resession is a great choice and one that will actually stand the test of time.
Often with some of the lighter, more bare-bones style bags, they skimp out on durability and some essential features but the Resession is great because even with only 3mm of padding it still has a shoulder strap, an accessory pocket, a reinforced nose, and a strong non-corrosive zipper.
Pro-Lite’s bags are top notch and even their most basic offering is solid. The Resession is available in a fish cut for boards wider than 21” and a longboard cut.
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Channel Islands Feather Lite
“Lightest Bag Out There”
The CI Feather Lite bag is the least expensive bag on this list and also the lightest. If you need a bag for quick trips or just general safekeeping these bags are a great deal. This bag is very basic, however, so if you’re looking for some storage pockets or even a shoulder strap, I’d look elsewhere. What it does have though, is a waterproof shell with a heat reflecting bottom to keep your board cool in the heat, a reinforced nose, and a handle. There are a few other bags out there as simple as this one, but the Feather Lite is just a step ahead in overall quality.
The coolest extra feature of this bag is that the zipper’s pull tabs have two CI leash ties attached in case you need one. It’s worth noting that these bags do run snug. So I wouldn’t try to fit a retro fish or anything too wide into the shortboard bag. They also run about 2” short, so if you have a 6’2” I’d go with the 6’4” bag.
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“Best All-Around Day Bag”
The Session is Pro-Lite’s top day bag and the shop favorite. Starting with the padding, the Session has a thicker 5mm of foam around it with durable ripstop nylon on top. Day bags can have a long life but usually will get retired after a series of rips combine, so this is a welcome feature. There’s a shoulder strap for easy transporting and a stash pocket where you can store the strap along with a bar or two of wax and some extra fins.
Like all Pro-Lite bags, the zipper is sturdy, smooth and has reinforced padding around the zipper fixture to protect the board’s rail from the zipper. There’s also a vent and heat resistant material on the bottom of the bag to keep it all cool and make sure the wax stays on your board.
These bags really do last a long time and it’s not uncommon for employees or customers to bring in Pro-Lite bags that have lasted well over a decade of use. The Session is available in shortboard, fish/hybrid, longboard and even grom sizing which is noteworthy because there really aren’t many bags out there for kids.
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The Dakine Daylight is for sure the most plush bag on this list and that includes the entire bag. The strap, handle, and overall bag have more foam padding than your average day bag. Like a lot of the bags on this list, it has a wax/fin compartment and reinforced nose area.
I like that Dakine chose to make this bag all white with the exception of two small sections. White reflects more light than any other color, which means less heat from the sun is absorbed so the bag stays cooler. That makes sense to me and makes me wonder why more bags aren’t just white…
Dakine lists this bag at ¼” padding which equals about 6mm of padding. This is the one bag on this list that, in a bind, you could probably fly with on a shorter trip to Hawaii or Mexico and be alright.
The fit of this bag is a little more forgiving and the shortboard version will fit most wider “hybrid-style” boards.
Dakine also now offers this bag in a Plate Lunch version with some Hawaiin-influenced graphics and a John John Florence pro model. Sometimes with signature gear, there’s not a huge added difference (except the price) but the JJF bag is 100% worth the extra cash. Dakine outfitted it with a strong ripstop material on the top of the bag for longevity and a chunky 1/3″ (8mm) of padding for the ultimate in day bag protection. The cut of this bag is slightly more narrow though, so it’s best used for normal (sub 20″ in width) shortboards. If you like the Daylight series of bags but want something a little more rugged, the JJF bag is the way to go.
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Pro-Lite Josh Kerr Quick Strike Double
“Perfect for Road Trips”
The Josh Kerr Quick Strike is designed to hold two boards which makes it a great pick up for any day where you don’t know what to bring or if you’re missioning up or down the coast. This bag easily fits most shortboards and hybrid style boards and has an internal divider so the wax doesn’t get caked on the bottom of the second board.
Aside from the usual Pro-Lite features like a shoulder strap, padded nose, and marine grade zipper, there are three vents on this model to make sure the board you end up leaving in the bag isn’t dying of heat stroke while you’re riding the other one.
This bag and all of Pro-Lite’s bags are cut 3” long to accommodate a slightly bigger board in case of an emergency and this one, in particular, is a little bit wider than most day bags. So if you’re bringing a shortboard and a chunky fish or step down style board, you should be all good.
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Josh Kerr Quick Strike Double Shortboard – $151.95
The forgotten red-headed stepchild of surfboard bags, board socks are great because they still offer a bit of protection from dings and the sun while remaining super light, easily storable and inexpensive. The Pro-Lite Sock is the top dog in the sock category for its wide easy-fit cut, and fin guard to prevent the fins from cutting through the bottom of the bag. For storage or daily use, socks are a practical choice and they also look cool.
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Day bags are definitely a worthy investment, especially considering how long they can last. Hopefully, you now have enough information to choose one that makes sense for you. While these are the 5 bags we believe are the best, we do carry a much wider selection of both day and travel bags at the shop. As always, if you have any questions about bags or any other gear, feel free to leave a comment, shoot an email to email@example.com or give us a call at 1-888-546-6176.