Now hockey equipment is big. It’s bulky, and it’s not fun to drag around an airport. But by hopefully bearing these tips in mind, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle, and your equipment will arrive in one piece, unbroken, undamaged on the other side.
Let’s take a look at some tips below.
Tip 1: Get a stick bag when flying
Firstly, the biggest question that came in when we were asking yourselves what you wanted to know about traveling with hockey equipment, specifically flying was about sticks.
The biggest recommendation I have when flying with sticks is to get yourself a stick bag even if it’s something that you don’t use during the regular season or practice. It’s something I’d recommend getting specifically for flying with. I don’t use the stick bag of the rink, but I use one when I fly.
Tip 2: Binding multiple sticks together
Aside from offering an additional layer and also somewhere for you to sneak last minute things into your bag like tape or scissors, it’s also great to be able to bind multiple sticks together and then put them inside the stick bag.
What I like to do here is even if I’m going with one stick or two sticks, I’ll always throw in an additional stick even if it’s an old stick that I don’t use. I might throw in two or three extras just to tape around together. What this does is that it adds a lot of rigidity to the stick because it’s a lot harder to break four sticks in one go than it is to break one.
So this is going to help to keep your sticks protected. It’s always a good idea to have the sticks that you’re scared of damaging right in the middle. I guess you could say this sandwich of sticks that you’ve got inside the bag.
But the important thing is to tape these sticks together, line up the shafts and the stick lades, and tape the bodies of the sticks together around the heel section of the stick and, of course, at the top of the stick by the butt. It keeps them fixed together inside the bag.
And it adds a lot of strength to them while they’re going through transit and helps to minimize the chances of your sticks getting damaged.
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Tip 3: Taping sticks together when traveling in a team
Another tip is if you’re traveling with multiple people, and you’re all carrying a couple of sticks, do the same thing, get stick bags. If it’s multiple stick bags or preferably a team stick bag, put all the sticks together tape them together before they go in the bag. Then put them inside the stick bag.
It is an excellent tip, and it means that you don’t have to worry about bubble wrapping or the stick blades, or you can take a precautionary step if you want to do that. This isn’t something that I usually do.
I have done it once or twice when I’ve been traveling without a stick bag. But so long as the sticks, you have multiple sticks bound together inside the bag. They stand a perfect chance of arriving at the other end without any damage that will be broken.
Tip 4: Photograph your sticks as they’re going into the stick bag
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s a perfect idea to photograph your sticks as they’re going into the stick bag. It’s a good idea to do this with all of your high-value equipment.
Because it means that if you need to chase up something being broken or damaged in transit with the airline or whoever it means that you’re going to have evidence of what the equipment looked like before it went into the bags before it was put on the plane.
So you’ll have something to prove the condition that your equipment was in before you traveled. It takes a couple of minutes. I promise it’ll save you a lot of hassle should anything go wrong.
Tip 5: Fasten your bag before check-in
From there, it’s on to the bag. The biggest bulkiest thing that you’re going to be traveling with now nine times out of ten, whether you’re flying domestic or international, the bag is going to go through oversized.
This is purely because of the dimensions decide the weight of a hockey bag, and mainly because of the straps that come attached to it. These are prime candidates for getting hooked on the machinery. That is inside the baggage carousels, and it can lead to your bag being lost, damaged, or even torn open. It is something that’s happened to me.
So what this means is that after you’ve been dragging your bag around the airport, looking for where you need to check it in. Chances are it’s not going to be going off behind the desk where you’d generally leave your bags to get taken away.
You’re going to need to drag it over to the oversize section, and that’s where it’s going to go. But before you do so, if this is something that you could do at home or on your way to the airport is get a bit of tape or even a bungee cord to try and fasten the straps or any buckles or anything that’s loose and hanging from the hockey bag to the sides.
This is just going to minimize the chance of it getting caught on any machinery. As it’s going through baggage carousels and whatnot at the airport to maximize the chances this thing is coming through on the other side in one piece.
Trust me, I followed all the rules. I’ve taken it back to oversized, and on multiple occasions, my bag straps have gotten hooked on some piece of machinery, and the bag has been split open. I remember arriving at Gatwick airport after a trip to Vancouver, and all I saw on the baggage carousel was pieces of my hockey equipment spilling out all over the airport. It was a disaster. So I’m giving you these tips to avoid this ever happening to yourselves
So as a side note, it means that if the person behind the desk that’s checking in your bag doesn’t say anything about it going oversized, I will bring it up because I don’t want my bag to go through the regular carousels and get stuck. So definitely mention that.
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Tip 6: Check if the airline allows sporting equipment
While on the subject of bags, it’s a good idea to check if the airline that you’re flying with allows any sporting equipment to go through for free. This is something that I’ve noticed with some of the Scandinavian airlines and also the Canadian airlines.
It’s worth checking because if you’ve got a bag full of hockey equipment and the stick bag, which counts as an additional bag. It means that you might not be charged for them if the airline allows you to check-in sports equipment for free.
If you caught what I said about the stick bag counting as an additional bag, that’s just how it goes. Even if the sticks aren’t inside a bag or they are in a bag, you’re going to get charged for an additional piece of luggage. Or it’s going to count towards one of the checking bags you already have.
For example, if there’s two of you traveling internationally, you’ve got one check-in bag one hand luggage bag, and you have a hockey bag, a stick bag, those are going to count as to check-in bags.
So bear that in mind that’s why it’s a great idea to find out if the airline you’re traveling with allows sporting equipment to go on for free. Because if you have any other items that need to be checked into separate bags, you’ll still have an additional check-in suitcase that you can use.
This is the other reason why if you’re traveling with multiple people, it’s a good idea to consolidate all of your hockey equipment, especially the sticks, and send them through as one check-in bag.
Because you usually have about thirty kilograms to be able to check-in your luggage with and four or five sticks is not going to be anywhere near 30 kilograms. So it’s a good idea to consolidate your sticks. All in one bag and let them go together.
Again, coming back to the point if it makes all of the sticks much more rigid because they’re together less chance of them being broken in transit. So that’s always an excellent idea.
Tip 7: Adding extra pad inside the bag
Something else I’d like to do with my hockey bag is normally, I’ll have quite a lot of space inside there, so I’ll add a duffel bag inside my hockey bag where I’ll put either my skates wrapped up in either some towels or some jeans or any items of clothing that I don’t need.
Just to add a little bit of extra padding inside the bag because you need to keep in mind, the bags are not going to be handled very softly, and in there are instances where they might be very heavy, very big baggage put on top of your bags.
Therefore, it’s worth making sure that you do everything that you can to protect the valuables and the things that could get damaged in transit that are inside your hockey bag. For me, that’s my skates, my runners, and also the helmet advisor.
I like to make sure I put them somewhere inside the bag that they’re padded with either clothes or whatever I can get to pad them up. Just to make sure that they don’t get damaged while they’re in transit.
Tip 8: Adding pads around anything that could get damaged
Also, wrapping up the visor on your helmet or even the cage. Adding a bit of padding around anything that could get damaged is always an excellent idea.
Of course, any skates you have inside your bag. It’s still an excellent idea to put blade covers or plate protectors on them. Just to make sure that they don’t get dulled or cut against any pieces of material or other pieces of hockey equipment you have inside your bag.
This doesn’t sound like a huge deal. But if the bag that you’re traveling with is a hockey bag you’ve had for a while, it’s pretty beat up. It might have small little tears or cuts inside the bag or rips.
I would suggest not using that kind of a bag because your bag is going through the airport. Sometimes they might not be as delicate with it as they should, and the last thing you want is a small tear or a small rip opening up and some of your equipment to go missing or anything to be damaged. So definitely bear that one in mind.
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Tip 9: Using wheeled hockey bags
If you’re looking for a bag to travel with, I would honestly recommend getting a wheeled bag, wheeled hockey bags always do much better at the airport than standard carry bags, they have a very soft base. Whereas, the wheeled bags have a very stiff base, which works a lot better at the airport.
And it also works well not having to throw your hockey bag over your shoulder and walking up and down airport terminals. It’s a lot easier to be able to drag your hockey bag behind you, so picking a wheeled bag up for traveling with if it is an option would be recommended.
Hopefully, this post has given you a few tips that you should consider when you’re flying with your hockey equipment if there are any tips that we haven’t mentioned that you use, and you often fly with your hockey gear, please leave them down below in the comment section.
Because I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from being able to pick up some of the tips that we haven’t covered in this post.
There’s always thank you very much for reading it. If there’s anything you want us to share that we haven’t already, leave your comments down below. And we’ll try and make that happen as best as we can. Thanks for reading guys, and Puck Drawn Hockey ‘ll catch you in the next one, peace!