Last week, I went on a short trip to visit some old college pal. While I was packing for my things I remembered to bring my lacrosse stick with me so I could play a few games there. Which led me to wonder for players who have to travel for games again after the pandemic, whether they know the policy on traveling with their lacrosse sticks and the best practice of bringing lacrosse sticks on planes.
The short answer is you can travel with your lacrosse stick on a plane. In 2013, the TSA (transportation security administration) announced that lacrosse sticks are now allowed in checked bags but not in carry-on bags.
Hence, in this post, we will talk about if you could bring lacrosse sticks on airplanes and how to pack your lacrosse stick to avoid potential damage.
Traveling with your lacrosse stick
For younger players, you probably didn’t know there was a time when lacrosse sticks weren’t allowed on the plane, not even in checked luggage. First, it’s due to its size, particularly a defense shaft that is 60 inches long. Second, even in the cargo area, it’s considered dangerous. For the longest time, players weren’t really a fan of this policy. After some back and forth the TSA finally came to an agreement with the community that all sports involving sticks are allowed on the airplanes.
Hence, as aforementioned in 2013, the TSA revised its policy. Paraphrasing the announcement, it goes along the lines of TSA will now allow toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage.
There are two main reasons behind this policy shift. One is to align more with International Civil Aviation Organization standards which allows sporting gear like sticks on the plane. Another is to spare officers the energy and time in order to focus more on finding higher threat items such as explosives.
So to remind you again, your lacrosse stick needs to be checked in just like your other larger suitcases. So if you are traveling with your lacrosse stick, remember to go to the airport a little early as it will take longer to go through the check-in process.
Things to watch out for when checking in your stick
Before leaving your lacrosse stick to the airline correspondent, make sure you know whether it’s tagged as normal-sized luggage or oversized luggage. If oversized, you will need to go to the specific oversized counter to pick it up.
If your lacrosse stick is considered oversized luggage, you might also need to pay an additional fee. But again double check with the staff at the counter to make sure your lacrosse stick will safely and securely arrive at the destination. It’s totally normal to be a little lost and unfamiliar with the process the first time doing this. Luckily it’s pretty simple so after doing it one time, you will know exactly what to do going forward.
Read also: How to clean your lacrosse head
How to pack your lacrosse stick the right way
Now you have a basic understanding of the process. Let’s go over how you should actually pack your lacrosse stick so that it fits and doesn’t get damaged. Once you hand your lacrosse stick to the airport workers, you have to be confident that no matter how they handle the luggage, your stick is safe.
I strongly recommend you invest in a lacrosse specific travel bag (see some recommendations soon). First of all, a stick can range from 42 to 60 inches. This means you would need to find luggage that is at least 42 inches long to fit your stick. To reduce its length, one good practice is to take off the head from your shaft. Once you remove the head, the shaft comes out to be about 32 inches which could then fit in a medium sized luggage.
If you have more than one shaft, tape them all together for the best security. Then make sure to wrap them with wrapping paper or bubble wrap. I have used clothes to wrap my stick before. It’s not as great as using professional wrapping to help absorb shock and secure the stick. In addition, using some towels is also a great option.
Best Lacrosse Travel Bags
If you need some suggestions on which travel bag to buy, here are a couple of great travel bags I used before or really like. If you want to learn more detailed suggestions for both women and men, see this post.
Lacrosse Stick Bag
I am always a fan of traveling with a stick bag. It’s very easy to carry around and it fits your lacrosse stick perfectly. Especially if you are going for a quick practice, a stick bag is a perfect option without needing to bring all other stuff. If you are going to air travel with the stick bag, it will be checked in so definitely make sure to wrap your stick with foam or bubble wraps.
Lacrosse Duffle Bag
For players who frequently travel, duffle bags are probably the most popular option. Just like a normal duffle bag, you put all your lacrosse gear in the bag and be ready to leave. It makes a great everyday travel bag and also a great carry-on bag. I particularly like this Maverik product for its big storage space, double zippers and quality materials. You wouldn’t worry about it ripping since it’s super durable.
Lacrosse backpack makes a great option as an everyday travel bag. However, it’s not an ideal option if you are going on a plane. So I put it last simply for this reason. That said, if you are in high school or college, a lacrosse backpack is, in fact, a better option. Not only can you put lacrosse gear inside but also your laptop and notebooks.
Now you have learned the best practice to travel with your lacrosse stick. As the world returns to normal and people start to travel more often, remember to put aside some time ahead and pack your lacrosse equipment with care. Lacrosse sticks are expensive, so it’s in your best interest to safely secure them.
Most important of all, have fun. It’s always exciting and new to play at a different field and location.