Why a post about how to carry a longboard ? If you’ve been longboarding for a while, you’ve probably been faced with this question.
A longboard can be quite bulky and there are many situations in which you need to get off it and carry it, be it for a few minutes or a few hours. That can be cumbersome, but luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your life easier.
Why carry a longboard ?
The following are probably the most likely situations in which you’ll find yourself needing to carry your board in one way or another.
- Walking uphill : if you ride downhill chances are you won’t want to kick push back uphill, especially on steeper hills Some riders like to do that for the workout, e.g. distance longboarders eager to improve their cardio resistance and skogging skills.Most freeriders and downhill racers, however, prefer to save their energy for the runs, and will hike (or hitch hike) back up with their board in their hands or on their back.
- Moving around the city : when cruising in urban settings you may come across areas which are off limits for longboards (and other wheeled devices). You have to pick up your board and walk, sometimes for a while. If you’re riding a bigger board such as a Dervish, just holding it in your hands can quickly be a hassle.
- Biking to a skating destination : you may choose to ride your bike to a skating place, perhaps because you want to get there faster or because the road to the place is too bad to ride your longboard on. You need a convenient way to carry your longboard while you bike.
- Longboard commuting : if you ride your board to work or school, as you get to your destination you typically pick up your longboard to walk down corridors or hallways, climb up stairs, get on elevators etc. In most cases you’re probably hauling a backpack as well.
- Longboard travelling : like city riding, when riding long distance on your longboard there are many occasions when you need to get off and carry your board around, e.g. when getting on a dirt path, gravels or cobblestone road, or a flooded area.
Different ways to carry a longboard
Even if you already know the different ways to hold a skateboard, things are a little different when it comes to carrying a longboard. Depending on your goal, there are a few ways you may carry your longboard :
- Carry it in your hands
- Carry it using a shoulder strap
- Carry it using a longboard backpack
- Carry it in a longboard travel bag
Carrying a longboard by hand
The most obvious method for carrying a longboard is to grab it in your hands and walk. This works fine if :
- You’re carrying it for a short time / distance
- Your board is not too long
- You’re not carrying much besides to your board
So if your deck is, say, under 35″, chances are you can easily grab it in one hand and walk around.
If your lonboard, on the other hand, has a bigger deck, e.g. a large pintail or a 40+” drop-though, you’re going to have to tuck it under your arm against your hip or thigh, like you would a surfboard. In doing so, make sure the grip tape always faces away from your clothes – else they’ll get worn out from the abrasion.
I personally carry my 36″ pintail like a surfboard most of the time, with the bottom of the deck resting against my hip (wheels facing in my direction).
Other ways to carry your longboard in your hands include grabbing it from the nose (with the board hanging), putting it on your shoulder, hugging it on your chest etc.
One carrying style is dubbed “the mall grab”, which is when you hold your longboard by the truck and let the board hang alongside your body. Be aware there’s a lot of hate for this carrying style among younger riders – for some strange reason.
Carrying a longboard using a shoulder strap
A shoulder strap / utility belt kind of solution keeps you hands free as you carry your longboard, and is minimal enough not to bother you when you’re riding.
It’s a convenient and cheap option, but it’s not as comfortable as a backpack – if you walk for a long time with your board (mall, store, building) your shoulders and neck may get sore, particularly if you don’t switch shoulders. Straps also don’t provide any protection for your longboard.
- Hands free
- Super lightweight
- No bulk when you ride, just forget about it
- Can carry longboard on your back or at your side (under your arm)
- Quick to tie up to the board (depends on attachment system)
- Can get uncomfortable with a heavy longboard
- No padding between the board and your back
- Grip tape can ruin your clothes, or underside gets them dirty
- No protection around the board.
You can use something as simple as a shoe lace to carry your longboard across you back and shoulders ! Of course that will lack some comfort, adjustability and strapping ease. You can also make your own longboard strap quite easily – check out this article for a simple DIY guide.
One that I personally like is the Mackar shoulder holder. Not only does it look cool, but the straps are thick and sturdy, it’s easy to clip on and off, and it has a couple of small pouches for carrying small items such as your mobile. At around $20, it’s quite inexpensive,
The Longboard Sling is a slightly more sophisticated although pricier ($30) option. Like most longboard carry straps it’s small and lightweight and keeps your shoulders and hands free. It’s made from tough climbing rope and has a neoprene comfort pad. Carabiner clips are used easy clipping on to the trucks.
Carrying a longboard in a shoulder bag
Longboard shoulder bags or “sleeves” are in between a shoulder strap and a backpack – offering more protection and comfort than the former, yet less bulky and easier to fold than the latter. They’re a bit like duffle bags for longboards. They typically have a single strap for carrying on one shoulder.
- Covers up your longboard, protects it from scratches and rain
- Easy to throw on a shoulder and walk
- Lighweight, easy to fold and stow away
- Typically thin protection
- Single strap may weight hard on your shoulder (for heavy longboard)
- Not always water resistant
This basic nylon shoulder bag (Amazon) priced around the $10 mark works fine for occasionally carrying your longboard. The good thing about this bag is its 47″ by 12″ dimensions – it will fit most longboards except really long dancer boards, with extra space for safety gear.
You can use this bag for air travel, first wrapping up the longboard in a blanket or similar to protect it from shocks and rain. It’s easy to fold and stow away due to the soft fabric. The bag ships from China, so you’ll need a bit of patience.
A bit more expensive in the $20-30 range, but with more features, is this 43″ shoulder bag (good for longboards no more than 41″). It’s made of thick waterproof mesh and is fully washable. It also has a single strap, adjustable so you can wear it on one shoulder or across the body. The strap does not have any pad for comfort, though.
Here again my personal preference goes to the Mackar brand with its longboard shoulder bag. Priced in the $40-50 range, the Mackar feels really robust with its 1000D quality fabric (vs 500D for the above models), bottom padding and ample pouch on the outside.
Unlike other shoulder bags, the Mackar has 2 adjustable straps with reinforced attachments. Its 41″ length can accomodate longboards up to 39″ long / 13″ wide. Overal, this bag looks good and feels durable. It ships from China though, which is not to everyone’s taste.
Carrying your longboard using a backpack
Backpacks are a classic among street skateboarders since their board’s size allows for easy and comfortable strapping onto a backpack.
Things get trickier for longer boards though. If you’ve tried carrying a 40-ish” board strapped to a backpack, you probably know there’s not much comfort in the longboard hanging and swinging low, hitting the back of your legs as you walk.
On the other hand, if you’re going on a longboarding day trip or even long distance ride, a backpack is a must for carrying stuff such as helmet, safety pads and gloves, extra trucks and wheels, skate tool, water bottle, hoodie etc.
One easy hack for carrying your longboard on a well padded backpack is just to pass the board across the shoulder straps, with the bottom of the deck against your back. This can actually be quite comfortable, as long as you don’t try to walk through narrow doorways.
- Comfortable, padded double straps
- Carry your gear and parts inside
- Provides extra padding if you fall on your back
- Not so good for longer boards (swings against legs)
- Sweating from contact on your back when it’s hot
- Heavier and pricier than a shoulder strap or shoulder bag
Surprinsingly, there aren’t that many backpack options specifically designed for longboarders. One such product is the Skate Home longboard shoulder / backpack, made by a Valencia, Spain based company specializing in quality handcrafted skateboard-inspired furniture and accessories.
This backpack is a higher end product built for durability. It has 2 sturdy straps for attaching your longboard (and extra gear) to it, with the bottom strap tying around the truck. It has a large pocket and a smaller one for stowing things, and a broad, adjustable, padded shoulder strap.
Finally, one product I found, the Deck Hook, provides an improved way to attach your longboard to your backpack. It uses a magnet-based clipping system that lets you hang up your board in seconds, faster than with straps.
It works with any longboard and backpack, and is super easy to clip on / off. It keeps your board from swinging and bumping into your legs. It’s strength tested and can also be used to hang your longboard on the wall or off a bar.
Just clip a Deck Hook onto a heavy duty backpack such as the Burton Kilo (Amazon) or equivalent, and start day tripping comfortably and reliably.
Carrying your longboard in a travel bag
Longboard travel bags are much bulkier and more expensive than the previous options,
Did I say “may”? Well, some longboarders do succeed in taking their board on the plane as carry-on. It all depends on the airline, how early you check in, how bulky your board is (decks over 38″ are typically not accepted as carry-on), whether it’s partly disassembled, etc. See this article for more about flying with a longboard.
Now if you do have to check in your longboard, you can always wrap your board in a blanket and stuff the whole thing into a cheap shoulder bag, as I mentioned earlier. If your board is high-end, though, e.g. a Loaded Icarus or Tesseract, you may choose to invest a bit of cash into protecting it.
Here again, there aren’t that many options when it comes to longboard travel bags (of course you can use a snowboard travel case but those are generally significantly bulkier).
The Sector 9 “The Field” bag (Amazon) is a nice quality option for traveling. It’s big enough to fit a 40+” longboard and a helmet (there’s a special pouch for that), knee pads, elbow pads, clothes, shoes, and more – or, two 45″ longboards (no helmet) and some additional stuff.
The bag contains a removable inner shoulder bag (although it’s not the greatest quality). Perhaps the biggest strength of this bag is that it actually converts into a smaller backpack. Also, the shoulder straps and backpack straps are nice and strong. Figuring out how to use the conversion options (straps, rings, components) is a bit of a hassle, though.
When not overstuffed, the bag will fit across the trunk of most cars. Be aware it’ll generally be considered too long for carry-on on most airlines.
So we’ve looked at a wide spectrum of options available to you for carrying your longboard, ranging from grabbing it in your hands, to using basic or premium shoulder straps, shoulder bags, backpack strapping, all the way to multi-function air travel bags/cases for your longboard(s).
Of course the best option of all is to forget about carrying your longboard altogether and just ride it! I know, not always feasible … I’ve noticed that the more I take my longboard with me, the more I start riding it in situations I wouldn’t have dared to before.
Whatever you do, do not ride in airports, office buildings, and no-skate zones! Also, if you’re going to strap your longboard on your shoulders or backpack, remember to hang a helmet on it – you’ll hardly feel the difference.