Paddle on a plane


I’m brand spanking new to packrafting, and am about to take my raft on it’s first plane trip. I’m wondering whether it’s best to take my paddle (a 4 pc fibreglass Manta Ray) as cabin luggage, or if it’s safe (and strong) enough to pack it in my checked luggage. Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks very much,


Mine’s survived multiple trips to NZ just packed inside my rucksac, although I do pack it with the shafts “protected” by the paddle blades.

Andrew A

Thanks Andrew. I’ll put it in the checked baggage and see how it goes.



Have a fantastic trip, wherever you are going. I’ve got a Splat paddle, and it has been bashed around horrendously, and has no sign of wear. The rafts are also almost indestructable (excepting bears, spiny rock fish and barnacles, if I recall properly). Again, I’ve scraped mine on so many rocks, and never had a puncture.

A new outdoor lifestyle awaits you. So many doors will open.


Breakdowns aka 4 piece = no problem
one piece however don’t fair so well. US air and American have broken 4 in the last 10 years. The bright side, they cover the replacement provided you report before leaving the airport. Moral of the story, inspect your gear before leaving baggage claim.

I’ve always been able to pack my 4-piece as carry-on luggage without problems. BUT, my 2 pieces have been problems. TSA calls them “club-like items” and makes me check them.

I can easily see folks with one-piecers getting screwed by the airlines with their “oversize” baggage rules. Since a one-piece paddle is about the same length (or longer) as a pair of skis, I know that’ll fall into the oversize category. They go by luggage dimensions, and anything big enough to hold long types of items (1-piece paddles, skis, rifles, etc.) inevitably ends up being oversize, which depending on the airline can be $100 or more one-way. Southwest’s fee isn’t bad at $50. The worst I know of is Delta, which charges $175 per oversized bag…and that doesn’t even include the standard checked bag fee that most airlines (excluding Southwest) have these days.

I have been using the Manta ray, and I beat the hell out of it, backpacking and rafting, it might last for just this years trip to Asia but as long as it lasts at least that long ill be happy, does anyone know if you can buy each part of the 4 separately I agree that the rafts are also strong but when strapped to the outside of ur bag with no protection or even just the chincy bag it comes in, it is more vulnerable to damage. I have since taken to sucking the air out and rolling it tight enough to fit in my NRS 10lt. bag, it provides good protection.