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Most board bags available are not designed with our typical Alaskan surf trip in mind. There are two major issues we’ve encountered with many of our board bags.

If the bag has a plasticized fabric these often fracture in extreme cold temperatures. The material becomes brittle and breaks like a sheet of ice – strange and disappointing!

The second common issue is zippers seizing up entirely or just becoming very difficult to move. This usually results from dirt and especially saltwater buildup on the zippers. It would be easily remedied by constant cleaning and zipper care, but realistically that’s just not going to happen. The worst thing for the zippers has to be sitting on the back deck of the m/v Milo on a 5 week surf adventure with frequent saltwater spray and then extended sunny/windy periods.

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Chris Edwards, owner/founder of Wayward Stock Co contacted me recently to ask that I try out his new bag design and provide some feedback. When I checked out the design online I was excited to give it a try since it appeared to address two of our most common board bag issues. I explained that we were just getting ready to head out on a 5 week boat based surfing adventure and it would be a good opportunity to test the bag out.

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When the package arrived I was immediately impressed with how small the box was. The bag certainly packs down more than the average surfboard bag. The presentation was very nice with stylish product tags and a note card.

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Here’s the basic specs for the Roll Top Board Bag from the Wayward Stock website:

  • Variable Length Roll Top Closure (Fits boards up to 6’8″)
  • 600D DWR Coated Magnatuff™ Polyester Shell
  • 200D Nylon Oxford Cloth Lining
  • Padded Interior Walls
  • Carry Handle and Adjustable Nylon Shoulder Strap
  • Velcro Side Stash Pocket
  • Made in WA

Two of the boards I was taking on the trip each fit nicely into the bag (one at a time, not both together). Unlike some other board bags I’ve used, this one does not have an expansion feature around the fin area. Which, in my case, was unnecessary and lacking the extra zipper and material helps keep it light and simple. One of the main goals behind the product design. I have since tried a few different boards in the bag and been pleasantly surprised at what a large range it will fit while not seeming absurdly large for a small shortboard either.

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Roll it up

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and click the buckle

 

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I’ll admit I was a little skeptical on the roll top concept but after using the bag a few times I really like it. One of my biggest frustrations with board bags lately as been trying to get my board in and out of them while strapped into a stack of boards/bags on a rack. The challenge starts with trying to get the zipper undone enough, fumbling around trying to pull on a zipper with 5mm lobster gloves on is not very enjoyable, especially when it’s under two other boards and straps. It also seems that  I always try and get the board out without opening the zipper far enough so it turns into an extended battle of pulling on the zipper, pulling on the board, pulling the zipper some more and often ends with giving up and disassembling the whole stack of boards to get mine out. Which is not always easy since the boat is rolling in the swell and the wind is often blowing. With the roll top feature it’s heaps easier – just loosen the straps on the pile a little, unbuckle and unroll the bag and slide your board out. I’d go ahead and call it revolutionary.

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The full width open tail design makes it very easy to slip your board in and out of a stack of boards without having to move them all. Much appreciated feature!

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In general use the bags streamlined and simple design is really nice. There’s less stuff to get hung up on things when walking by trees, through doors, or climbing up and down ladders. It also plays well with other boards and bags nicely on the rack taking up the least amount of space while still protecting your board. Simple is light, no extra zippers or handles adding weight, this would definitely be my first choice of bags to access a hike in surf spot with.

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Final thoughts – Great work Chris and Wayward Stock. Board bags are often an afterthought for us on our surf trips with so many other major logistics to work out so it’s particularly nice when the bag you are using is reliable, simple, and an actual pleasure to use. This bag design gets out of your way so you can get surfing quicker and put your stuff away easier when you are done. The padding seems adequate but not overdone. Several other surfers tried it out on the trip also and like the design as well. The colors and material are low key and fit our Alaskan aesthetic nicely. Muted earthy colors,  and a tough feeling canvas that was made for the Pacific Northwest more than a tropical island. The construction of the bag looks durable and I expect this bag will be enjoyed on many more Alaskan surf adventures in the future. I know which bag I’m taking for our next fly-out surf trip.