Perhaps I'm a little unusual in that I avoided even using a bag for quite a while. No, really. All these homemade kites lying around here, stacked against walls, hanging from walls like pictures. Our house is something of a wood-and-plastic kite museum. And yet, we tend to go out with just 1 or 2 kites at a time, depending on conditions. Three at the most.
A person once asked me 'how many kites have you actually made?'. Back then the answer was something like 40 or 50. Including not-so-successful prototypes. These days the answer would probably be well into triple digits :-0. Again, including prototypes that are flown a couple of times and then discarded.
When the weather's good and you have the time, it's great to get out with a kite or 3. But what about on bad weather days? Then it's time to pull out...
"Kites Up!" - my downloadable kite-flying board game! Apart from towing indoor kites, doing a spot of imaginary flying is the next best thing :-)
Back to bags now...
For at least a couple of years I was in the habit of using a 30cm (12") tall calico shopping bag to carry...
- winders (20 and 50 pound line)
- digital camera
- wind meter
- spring scales for observing line tension
- sun hat
- repair tape
- hammer and stakes for anchoring a reel (200 pound line)
The big garden hose reel was carried separately of course, if it was
needed at all. And the kites were just rolled up and sat nicely between
the handles of the bag, as I walked out to the launch area.
More recently, a builder's carry-bags have replaced the calico bag. See the most recent one above and an older one below, photos taken from above.
The major advantage of these bags was the multitude of pockets of various sizes and shapes. Absolutely ideal for keeping most of the bits and pieces neatly separated and easy to find.
And the handles still come in handy for holding a rolled up kite or two while walking to the launch area.
Builder's carry bag
... has pockets inside and out
Out of curiosity, I have done a little research to see what kinds
of bags are out there. How are people are using them? Here they all
And Other Power Kites
Such as soft stunters and traction parafoils. Being soft
construction, the bags for these can be quite compact rather than long
and thin as for sparred kites.
A new traction parafoil or surfing inflatable kite is sold
with a bag of course, and it usually includes flaps or compartments for
storing the various accessories needed. The latest products are designed
to be as light as possible, while still being rugged enough for the job. Sometimes compression straps are included, to squeeze the whole thing down to a more manageable size.
What if you have multiple kites and the purpose-built bags seem rather expensive?
Sniffing around a few forums led to the discovery that an economical option for many kite surfers is the golf bag!
Some are too heavy, but others are actually well-suited to carting
around a load of gear. Stories abound of how people get past airport
scrutiny... Some go as far as including a golf club or 2! The weight is
the main issue though.
Another trend is the sale of a kite bag that swallows entire boards as well! Not so compact but at least everything is together.
If the kite is old and second or third hand perhaps, the original
bag might have gone missing. Hence some kiters make their own, from
hard-wearing materials such as Cordura or Nylon. A few of the keener
ones have even drawn up plans and published them online.
Nylon and polyester are also good choices for sewing thread.
These materials are far less prone to rot in moisture, like cotton for
Sparred Stunt Kites
The keenest of these guys like to travel with an entire collection
of kites. Roll-up bags are the norm here, with pockets to keep multiple
kites separate, and often extra smaller pockets for accessories. Modern
touches include Velcro flaps to keep things secure and a padded
shoulder strap for convenience. Also, if the pockets are made of mesh at one end, dry sand and debris can easily drop out. Very helpful!
Now there are bags and there are top of the range bags out
there for well-heeled stunt fliers. Bags that are, and I quote
"beautifully embroidered". You can spend more on one of these bags than I
would spend on a very good single-liner! But I guess it's not
surprising since competition-grade stunt kites are priced in the 100s of
dollars. A fully packed bag could be worth several thousand.
Other kiters are not so fussy, and are content with a long thin
bag that everything can just be tossed into. Probably practical enough
for just a couple of kites and minimal accessories. A winder, some
Besides the fit-all style of roll-up kite bag, some are
purpose-designed for a series of stacked kites. I suppose the entire
stack would be sold with the bag.
Again, some people have published plans online for these bags.
Are you the DIY type? If not overly fancy, a bag can be made in less
than a day, for low cost.
Single Line Soft Kites
Like the steerable parafoils, these kites can pack down to a very
compact size for transport. Although most would come with a bag when
sold new, there are a few options for substitute bags. For
example, those clear-plastic quilt storage bags available in department
stores. Another much smaller plastic bag can be used for any extra bits
Simple 'stuff bags' would be ideal for this kind of kite as well.
Sparred Single Liners
A roll-up bag
A roll-up bag
This is a bit closer to home for me. Roll-up bags are used by many single-line fliers too. Makes sense, if you are in the habit of going out with several kites for each flying session.
In fact, it appears the roll-up kite bag is used interchangeably
for both stunt kites and single liners. Both types of kites break down
to long thin packages after all.
The photo of the roll-up bag is courtesy of Ross Goodman.
Laid out on the grass, a kite bag like this is also handy as a
work-bench, in case small repairs or mods need to be carried out. It
makes it harder to lose small bits and pieces like rolls of tape or
Some good quality single liners are sold with their own carry-bag.
My ideal bag? Perhaps a 1.5 meter (5 feet) long thing, zipped along its length. With padded
compartments for digital camera and wind meter. Another compartment for
small bits and pieces, mainly repair tape. Perhaps also an internal
fold-over Velcro strap to secure a couple of line winders. Maybe the
broad-brimmed hat could get tossed in there as well! Sure looks a bit
weird driving along wearing one of those :-)
Question: Do you need to own and use a kite bag to be
considered a 'serious' kite flier? Slightly tongue-in-cheek question,
but I guess the answer might be Yes. Ooops, better get cracking on that DIY kite bag design...
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...
"Kites Up!" is my downloadable board game. It's a PDF file which has all the documentation for the game plus images for all the components. Tokens, cards, the board itself and so on. Anyway, just click that link to see more info :-)