Can I Fly with Snowshoes?

If you’re planning a trip to a winter destination that involves flying, you might be wondering whether you can bring snowshoes on your flight. After all, snowshoe poles or metal snowshoe crampons or cleats can be sharp and you might think pose a potential security risk.

The good news is that you can generally fly with snowshoes, with some exceptions. The bad news is that you may not be allowed to fly with snowshoe poles in your carry-on luggage. Keep this in mind before planning your next snowshoeing adventure!

Restrictions for Traveling with Snowshoes and Equipment

Be sure to familiarize yourself with national and international regulations as well as guidance from your airline before packing up your snowshoes.

Domestic Travel

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), snowshoes are allowed in both carry-on and checked bags in airports within the United States. However, the TSA notes that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”

Unfortunately, TSA security regulations do not allow ski poles or hiking poles to be carried in carry on luggage. While there is no explicit guidance for “snowshoe poles”, your equipment would most likely fall under one of these categories and it is best to bring a checked bag for these items.

International Travel

Flying with your snowshoe equipment outside of the United States might be subject to different rules. For instance, a winter trip to the Alps might require you to familiarize yourself with European Union regulations and also specific guidance from your country of destination.

In Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) technically allows passengers to transport snowshoes using carry-on luggage or checked baggage. However, CATSA also recommends transporting snowshoes in checked baggage if snowshoes contain crampons or spikes, which applies to most modern snowshoes. CATSA also has similar restrictions as the TSA against hiking and skiing poles in carry-on luggage.

Other Travel Considerations for Snowshoes

Beyond the regulations of whether you’re even allowed to bring snowshoe equipment on a flight, factors such as travel space, cost, and protection of your snowshoe equipment also might determine whether you should fly with snowshoes, along with the best method for doing so if you choose to bring along your winter gear.

Weight and Travel Space

Many seasoned travelers know that it is far more difficult to pack for a trip in the winter than the summer. Winter clothes are bulky and consume more space and weight in your suitcase.

Therefore, packing space is at a premium when it comes to flying with winter recreational equipment such as snowshoes. You might not have enough space to fit your snowshoes in your carry-on or even require another checked bag, which could incur an unexpected cost.

Each airline varies when it comes to the amount of luggage they allow passengers to bring, as well as the fees associated for additional luggage. Airlines even differ with respect to restrictions or certain handling fees for different types of sports equipment based on the size and weight of the equipment.

To avoid being caught by surprise with an unexpected charge at baggage, be mindful to research your airline’s rules and policies and aim to pack for your trip well in advance of your flight departure.

Protecting your equipment

Most airlines have policies that protect their liability in the event that sports equipment is damaged during a flight or while being transported. Therefore, be sure that your snowshoes and other snowshoeing equipment is well protected and secured.

While snowshoes are generally sturdy pieces of equipment, consider purchasing a specialized snowshoe carrying bag that will protect your equipment and also be handy on the trails. These bags are usually made from a tough nylon or cotton material and will also help prevent the crampons from the bottoms of your snowshoes from accidentally cutting or slicing other objects.

Flying with Snowshoes: Is it Right for You?

If you are dead set on flying with your personal set of snowshoes, it generally makes the most sense to transport them within your checked baggage for the easiest airport experience. This allows you to easily pack both snowshoes, poles, and other gear in a single bag without worrying about being stopped by airport security.

Depending on your personal circumstances, it might be more hassle than it’s worth to fly with snowshoes. Maybe you just don’t want to worry about the regulations, baggage fees, or losing space in your suitcase as a result of flying with snowshoes. If so, consider renting out snowshoes at a location on-site at your destination.