Longboard vs. Skateboard – Which is Right for You?!
Nowadays, skateboarding and longboarding have developed into two very different coexisting cultures. However, the reality is that the origin of these boards come primarily from the same time period and similar groups of people. All the way back in the late 1950’s – early 60’s, surfers in Hawaii and California had already began bolting trucks and wheels onto various sizes of wood planks. While shorter planks offered more reactivity and response, longer planks offered increased stability and a “surf-like” ride. This period was simply the early development stages of what we now know as skateboarding and longboarding.
We’ve certainly come a very long way from the early days of longboards and skateboards. As you probably know, the skateboards and longboards of today now feature engineered, high-performance components. Years of development of urethane wheels, responsive trucks, high-speed bearings, and decks made from 7-plys of premium-quality maple, bamboo, and even fiberglass have created skateboards and longboards incomparable to the first boards. What do all these component developments and progression mean for you? Mainly, the “performance” skateboards and longboards of today are more fun than ever! But, this leads us to a very big question. Given the differences between these disciplines, which one is right for you?!
Skateboards and Skateboarding
Skateboard decks generally range from 7” x 28” (Children’s) to about 9” x 33” (large adult or pool/transition decks). The correct width for you is primarily determined by your foot size and personal preference. At the moment, it is generally agreed that a “standard” skateboard deck is around 8” x 32”. Wider decks offer more stability but are harder to flip, making them more ideal for ramp, pool, or skatepark skating. Thinner decks are more responsive and lighter, making them ideal for technical street skating, but they can feel too responsive or uncontrolled for skating transition/ramps. The size of skateboard trucks should generally be as close to the width of the deck they are mounted on as possible. Therefore, an 8” deck should have a truck with an 8” axle. Trucks are available in low, medium, or high sizes. Low trucks offer more stability and response, but high trucks offer a better turning radius and height for larger wheels. Skateboard wheels are generally between 50mm and 56mm. Smaller wheels are lighter and ideal for technical skating while larger wheels are faster and better for ramp/skatepark skating. Wheel hardness ranges from very soft (78A durometer) to very hard (101A to 84B durometer). Soft wheels offer a smooth ride on rough surfaces and are very sticky to the pavement while hard wheels are faster on smooth surfaces and offer slide-abilty for doing tricks like nose and tail slides.
The very first time you step on a skateboard, it’s nearly inevitable that you will feel very unstable. A standard skateboard is generally very responsive to turning movements (toe to heel pressure) as well as side to side movements (wheels rolling forward and backward). The result of this high-response is that it’s quite hard to learn to adjust for even the smallest body movements while on a skateboard. The general response from people when they first stand on a skateboard is that it’s “harder than it looks”. However, this difficulty and highly-responsive board creates a very unique experience. Skateboarding has an incredibly extensive number of tricks and styles the difficulty is why someone can practically spend a lifetime learning something new on it. As a rule, skateboarding is especially enjoyable for those who thrive on the act of progression and who like to continually practice to gain improvement.
Longboards and Longboarding
Longboard decks can differ in quite a lot of ways from “popsicle” style skateboard decks. One of the most obvious differences is the wide range of deck shapes and a generally larger size than a skateboard deck. There’s the classic “pintail” deck, decks with wheel wells, and decks designed with a “drop-thru” truck mounting system which allows the board to sit low with the wheels inside cut-out sections. In addition, longboards are made from different materials generally not found in standard skateboards such as bamboo or fiberglass. All these differences contribute greatly to ride performance, but we’ll try to sum it up. A traditional, stiff pintail deck offers a simple, entry-level ride that’s ideal for skating down the sidewalks and flat streets. Decks with a drop-thru system offer a more advanced and responsive turning system that allows for deep carves and high-speed turns while downhill skating. In addition, many longboard decks offer varying levels of flexibility. This flex allows the rider to lean into carves and turns for a more responsive ride. In general, Flex level 1 is for heavy riders 170 lbs. or more, flex 2 is between 100-170 lbs., and flex 3 is for smaller riders between 75-140lbs.
Next, longboard trucks are very different from skateboard trucks and are primarily made by different manufacturers. Again, the truck axle width should match the width of the board as close as possible and the baseplate of the trucks must be suited for your deck (standard or drop-thru style). Finally, longboard wheels are much different from skateboard wheels in that they are usually a very soft durometer and much larger. They are usually between a super soft 75A and soft-medium 88A durometer. In addition, sizes are generally between 56mm and 70mm. The large, soft wheels give the longboard the smooth and grippy ride they are known for which simulates a momentum-based, surfing-like ride. For those looking for a more “technological” approach to longboarding, it has become increasingly popular in recent years for skaters to ride an electric skateboard! This is a relatively new discipline that’s gaining great popularity as technological and design improvements are made. Electric skateboards usually have a pretty standard longboard design but with a high-performance motor attached to the wheels to eliminate pushing the board.
In general, the performance of longboards is not quite as reactive as a skateboard when first standing on them. The wide deck surface and large, soft wheels give longboards a much more comfortable ride. The increased overall weight means that longboards will not tend to “shoot out” from underneath you so quickly if your weight is slightly off-centered. However, there is one aspect that longboards undeniably reign superior to than skateboards: high-speed performance. The current world record speed on a longboard is 91 mph. Even if you don’t come near these speeds, longboards are great fun for those who are not so interested in tricks, but rather the intense adrenaline rush of racing down hills and carving through turns. If you’re looking to relax while cruising through town, just pack up your skateboard backpack with some essentials for the day, grab your longboard, and go out for some serious “sidewalk surfing”!
The Best Choice for Total Beginners
Whether a skateboard or longboard is best for you depends highly on your personal preferences and what you hope to get out of the experience. However, if you are purely concerned about getting outdoors and experiencing the feeling of riding on a board – longboarding is generally easier for complete beginners. A longboard will allow you to learn the feeling and motion of skating without the high reactivity of a skateboard that generally makes it difficult for beginners. After growing accustomed to the ride of a longboard, it will then also become much easier for you to adapt to a standard skateboard, should you decide later to try out skateboarding. Regardless of whether you choose a longboard or skateboard, there is one thing you can be sure to get with both – a whole lot of fun!
Skateboarding and backpacks simply go hand-in-hand. Chances are, every time you go skate, you’re going to need to bring along some water, a hoodie, skate tool, skate wax, and all the other essentials for a good skate session! Whether you’re skating over to your local skatepark, longboarding through the city, or commuting to work on your electric skateboard, a skateboard backpack is the best choice to bring along your gear. Nowadays, there’s a wide selection of backpacks with features such as skateboard straps, breathable mesh back sections, and padded shoulder straps that make them great for skateboarding. In addition, the prices of skateboard backpacks can vary quite widely, making it difficult to sort through all the options. That’s why we’ve done the sorting work for you and put together this list of the 19 best skateboard backpacks!
Here, you’ll find skate backpacks ranging from $25 to $140 with all the skate-friendly features you could dream of. In the end, we’ve put together a complete skateboard backpack buyer’s guide to help you make the best decision before heading out to skate
Even though Eastsport is not really a “skate brand”, we have to give them credit for this awesome backpack design at a seriously good price. This is the cheapest skateboard backpack on our list, but it’s definitely not lacking in features. One of the first things you’ll notice is how it uses Velcro for the skateboard straps on the front, allowing quick and easy access to your board. Inside, you’ll find a large compartment with a “tech pocket” that fits a 15-inch laptop. There are three zip pockets on the front for smaller goodies and two elastic net pockets on the sides offer space for drink bottles or skate wax. Next, the bag has a feature that’s critical especially on hot days, breathable, padded mesh sections on the back. The shoulder straps can be connected with a plastic clip in the front to keep the bag securely in place while bombing hills. If you need to quickly pick it up to run from the cops at a skate spot, it has a durable plastic handle on the top. All in all, the Eastsport skater backpack offers practically all the backpack features a skater could desire at an unbeatable price.
Dakine is well-known for quality, action-sports oriented products – and it’s for a good reason! They’ve been around since 1979 so it only makes sense that they know a thing or two about creating great gear. The Wonder skateboard backpack allows you to take advantage of the quality design and materials used by Dakine at a reasonable price. This bag is available in a wide range of colors and with 15 liters of space, it’s an excellent bag for bringing along your daily necessities without being too bulky. Your skateboard definitely won’t fall out, thanks to the buckled skateboard straps and elastic band system that can be used to tightly secure the board to your bag. Two net pockets on the side give you quick access to drinks and a small zip pocket found on the top of the bag offers quick access to your sunglasses, skate tool, etc. The Wonder skate backpack is perfect for day trips to skate spots and offers great quality at an excellent price. It’s no wonder the wonder backpack made our list!
If you’re looking to take a step up from the Dakine Wonder backpack, look no further than the Atlas. While the Wonder backpack is excellent for day trips, the Atlas offers slightly more storage space, making it a great choice for bringing along a weekend’s worth of gear for a skate trip. It has a similar design to the Wonder bag but with some slightly beefed-up features. Adjustable Velcro straps in the front keep your board in place, there’s a spacious zip-pocket on the front and a large main compartment with a separated inner pocket. Like the Wonder, you’ve got a sunglasses pocket on top but unlike the Wonder, the net pockets on the sides have been replaced with durable, zip-pockets with metal zippers. The Atlas comes in wide range of colors and pattern options, including some special designs featuring only contrast-color metal zippers, a feature that’s not often found on other skate backpacks. As always with Dakine, the Atlas backpack offers a great design with quality that’s sure to last through many skate trips – all at a very reasonable price for a brand name bag!
There are two things you can always count on with gear from Volcom – unique style and excellent functionality! The Volcom Substrate backpack is no exception. If you’re a fan of the unique Volcom style, this backpack leaves nothing to be desired. The front of the bag features a Volcom stone patch embroidery and the diagonal-cut seams at the bottom give it a classic Volcom look. On the comfortably padded back section, you’ll find a huge Volcom stone has been stitched in the center. It doesn’t just look good though, it’s got all the necessary features for skate-functionality. Durable skate straps with clips are found in the front, there’s a large main compartment with a tech pocket, and the whole front section offers a slim pocket that’s perfect for small laptops. Finally, you’ll find a stylish, diagonal cut zipper on the front that’s perfect for a skate tool or some wax. The Volcom Substrate backpack is an excellent choice for those looking for a practical bag that also looks super dope!
Who could possibly make a better skateboarding backpack than one of the oldest and most legendary skateboarding companies in the world – Santa Cruz Skateboards! It’s pretty simple to understand why this backpack made our list as it was basically built from the ground up for skateboarding! The SC guys know what they’re doing, which is why the Plaza backpack features breathable, padded sections on the back, comfortable shoulder straps, and quick-access Velcro board straps on the front. Notice how the Santa Cruz logo patch is found on the outside of the board straps, keeping it in view when your board is strapped up. It’s the details that count! At 17 liters, the Plaza backpack features a large main compartment as well as a smaller front zipper pocket for your skate tool and essentials. Excellent size for day trips without feeling too bulky. Plus, with this backpack you know you’re not only getting a super awesome bag, you’ll be supporting a truly skater-owned company that you can be proud of!
Ahh, the classic! The Element Mohave backpack is a staple inside and outside of the skateboarding community. This skate backpack has been around for years and is a true best-seller. If this bag wasn’t exceptionally good, it wouldn’t still be around – but it is. With the iconic Element “tree logo” embroidered proudly on the front, this bag offers style, quality, and an exceptional designat a reasonable price. The total storage volume amounts to 30 liters, leaving more than enough room for a weekend skate trip. It has a padded, breathable mesh back section for comfort, wide shoulder straps, a huge main compartment, and stylish, diagonal-cut side pockets. Strap your board on with the front straps and don’t be afraid to throw the bag down on the ground, thanks to the durable material along the bottom of the bag which helps it to last much longer. The Element Mohave backpack is iconic and an excellent choice to bring along on any skate trip.
Simple, stylish, and durable Vans quality! If you’re looking for a classic skate backpack design, look no further than the Vans Skatepack Backpack. The name of this backpack alone tells you it was built for skateboarding! Like many great skate backpacks before it, the Skatepack features Velcro board straps on the front for quick access to your board. The Vans logo patch on the front stays visible even when your board is strapped up. Inside, you’ll find a large main compartment for your clothes, laptop, etc. It allows the perfect amount of space for a short weekend trip or a day trip. The front and sides of the bag offer you easy access to your skate tool, wax, phone and other small goods, thanks to the two spacious zip pockets and open side pockets. The Skatepack is an excellent choice for those searching for a minimalist design capable of fulfilling all the requirements for the perfect skateboard backpack.
The Nike SB Courthouse backpack is actually named after one of the most legendary skate spots in history – The Los Angeles Courthouse! Considering this backpack is named after a skate spot itself, it’s safe to assume it’s a pretty good skateboarding backpack! While it may not be the biggest option in terms of size on our list, the Courthouse is possibly the best backpack to wear while skating through the city and searching for spots. It features a padded, mesh back section with Nike SB logo stitching, thick shoulder straps, and a reinforced section on the bottom for durability when tossing it on the ground. It has a large main compartment with an integrated, net pocket with a zipper on the inside. The very front of the bag can be opened by a vertical zipper along the left side which tucks away neatly under the Velcro board straps. For those looking for a bag to wear while skating from spot to spot, the Courthouse is your best bet.
After proving themselves with the classic Mohave backpack, Element has seemingly outdone themselves again with the even more advanced Jaywalker skateboard backpack. Improving upon the successes of the Mohave, the Jaywalker ups the ante with an updated style and even more features. It still has a massive 30-liter storage space like the Mohave, but it comes with things like a RipStop 600 polyester bottom section which adds considerable strength and durability to the bag. In addition to the padded, breathable back section, a one really cool feature to note is the metal hooks attached to the thick shoulder straps. These hooks allow you to easily attach your keys or other objects to the straps so you can access them without taking off the bag. The top of the bag is fitted with a stylish, diagonal-cut zipper that opens to the large main compartment and the zip-able side pockets give you quick access to smaller goodies. The Jaywalker is the step up from the iconic Mohave backpack and is a premium-quality option for those who need a good size skateboard backpack to use on trips.
The Vans Planned Backpack is the mid-range option just between the original Vans skatepack and the Vans Authentic III skatepack. The Planned backpack is a super economical choice between the options from Vans as it offers improvements from the original skatepack at quite a lower price than the premium Authentic III backpack. Strap your board in with the Velcro straps, separate your gear with the two large main compartments, throw your skate tool and wax in the zip-able side pockets, and if you still need extra room, open up the smaller front pocket. Like other more premium skateboard backpack options, the Planned backpack also has a thick, reinforced bottom section to increase durability. A simple Vans logo patch is found on the front of the bag and there’s a classic Vans label flag on one of the shoulder straps for style. This backpack is probably the best mid-range option on our list and it offers ample space for weekend skate trips with all the features you could desire.
The Dakine Lid skateboard backpack breaks away from most of the other styles in our list with it’s large, “lid” style top opening. This style of the backpack has gained popularity in recent years for it’s practical, an easy-to-open design that can give the bag a bit more space inside. With 26 liters of overall storage space, the Lid backpack offers more than enough room for a weekend skate adventure with its spacious design. A cool feature of this bag is the padded, breathable mesh lining on the inside of the shoulder straps. You can kiss sweaty shoulders goodbye as you skate through the summer heat! The sides of the bag are fitted with large zip pockets capable of holding a small bottle and the bottom of the bag has a thick, reinforced section so you never have to worry about throwing the bag down on the ground. Of course, you can strap on your board with the durable board straps with clips. TheDakine Lid is the traveling skateboarder’s best companion!
As the old saying goes, “Ride the best, f**k the rest”! Independent Truck Company has been producing some of the best skateboarding trucks in the industry for over 40 years. With experience like that, they definitely know a thing or two about what skateboarders need! The Independent Transit backpack is one of the few bags on our list that features horizontal board straps. Therefore, your board will stay evenly horizontal with the weight evenly distributed across your back when it’s strapped in. In addition, it features a comfortably padded back section, wide padded shoulder straps, and the whole bag is made out of durable outer material for strength. If that wasn’t enough, any fan of Independent Trucks wouldn’t be caught dead without this backpack considering the sick Indy patches and logo details found throughout the whole design. You can bet that the skaters on the Independent team use this backpack when going on skate tours, and you can too!
The design of DC’s The Breed backpack is just as iconic as the Element Mohave. With years of experience under its belt, The Breed takes all the best features you could want in a skateboard backpack and combines them into one super stylish bag. Everything about the back and shoulder sections of this bag is designed for comfort and breathability while out skating. The thick shoulder straps are fully breathable and have no hard seams to irritate your shoulders and the breathable mesh continues throughout the whole back area. There are two spacious side pockets with zippers, a quick-access pocket for your skate tool on the front, and the bag opens up to a huge main compartment with inner zip pockets inside. The bag also proudly displays the DC shoe company brand with a large, embroidered DC logo on the front and a quality, rubberized logo patch at the top. The Breed skateboard backpack offers a super sleek design, performance features, and premium quality at a reasonable price.
If you’re not a fan of the Nike SB Courthouse backpack, perhaps the Embarca backpack is what you’re looking for! It’s yet to be known whether “Embarca” is referring to the famous San Francisco skate spot Embarcadero, but that’s reason enough to take this bag with you on your next skate trip to EMB! Speaking of skate trips, much like the Courthouse backpack, the Embarca is also an excellent choice to wear while skating through the city. The design has a comfortable and functional ergonomic fit with shoulder straps and back section that holds your back for ease of movement. The front of the bag features durable Velcro straps with a Nike SB logo patch on the top strap for style. The large main compartment offers ample space for your gear or laptop and a horizontal zipper is found on the front, a contrast from the vertical zipper design of the Courthouse bag. Overall, the Embarca is a step up from the Nike SB courthouse backpack and is a quality choice as a day trip or short weekend companion.
Who would have thought a snowboarding company could make an amazing skateboard backpack?! Well, Burton did! The Burton Kilo backpack is actually so well made that it’s earned an Amazon’s Choice award for all the high ratings it’s received online. The people have spoken and they’re saying this backpack is legit! The Kilo is loaded with every feature a skateboarder could possibly desire. From skate straps with buckles to four huge external accessory pockets, it certainly isn’t lacking in space. The giant main compartment features internal organization pockets including a 16.5” laptop pocket. The wide shoulder straps with center locking strap and the padded back section ensure comfortable wear. Burton didn’t spare on style though. The quality leather logo patch on the front of the bag gives it a truly premium look. Even though Burton may not be a truly skate-oriented company, they have done an exceptional job creating a backpack for their skateboard brothers with the Kilo backpack!
Welcome to the big leagues. Vans presents the Authentic III Skatepack Backpack – the top-of-the-line model in the Vans Skatepack series! The Authentic III skatepack features similar characteristics to its predecessors but with a few premium additions. Mainly, the Authentic III is designed for comfort as it has ergonomic shoulder straps and a soft, padded mesh back section that offers breathability to keep your back dry. Both of these features give the backpack a comfortable fit during movement such as ripping through the streets on your board. If you need to stow your board, strap it up with the durable Velcro board straps. It’s definitely not lacking on space either. The Authentic III features two large main compartments with top zippers. The main compartments also have inner organization pockets and some of the color options have a classic Vans checkerboard pattern on the interior fabric. This skateboard backpack offers more than enough room for weekend skate trips and the premium design is sure to offer you comfort and durability through many adventures.
The Nike SB RPM Backpack essentially sets the standard for high-end skateboard backpacks on the market today. The RPM is the cream of the crop when it comes to design, durability, functionality, and style. The feature list is long as it includes basically everything a skater could desire in a backpack. Something that especially sticks out is that the whole outer shell is made of water-resistant 600D polyester, meaning that even if you’re caught in a summer downpour, all your gear will stay perfectly dry. If you have to run from the cops at a skate spot with it, don’t worry about sweating as the whole back section and shoulder straps are lined with a breathable mesh fabric which features a style Nike SB stitching. Space is no issue, thanks to two huge main compartments with interior pockets including a net pocket with zipper. Finally, the bottom of the bag is covered with a textured polyester material that resists scratches or scuffing. This bag is a higher priced option on our list but it is a great example of “you get what you pay for”. The RPM backpack will undoubtedly last you through countless skate sessions and trips with its super durable design. We wouldn’t mind taking it on a trip ourselves!
The Dakine Ledge backpack has made our list primarily for its excellent versatility to be used for photographers or filmers. Many times, skate filmers and photographers must keep up with their crew while skating through the streets holding a camera bag. Ditch the satchel-style camera bag for this premium-quality Ledge backpack! The Ledge is also one of only two skateboard backpacks on our list with horizontal board straps. In addition, the section of the backpack that skateboard grip tape is touching when it’s strapped in has been covered in a durable, textured polyestersection that won’t wear out from abrasion. The large front flap opens up to a huge, 25-liter main compartment and the flap itself has an easy-access, fleece lined phone or sunglass pocket. The left side pocket has an elastic band closure for drink bottles and the right side has a flap closure for protection. All-in-all, the Ledge backpack goes above and beyondwith features not seen in other bags and is an especially good option for filmers and photographers to carry their gear as well.
By now, you may have scrolled to the bottom of our list to see the prized skateboard backpack with the highest price point we’ve selected. Well, honestly you might not have even heard of this brand but don’t worry, we hadn’t either. In addition, they seem to have little connection to skateboarding. So, what gives?! It turns out that this brand “Skunk Bags” has been absolutely killing it this whole time and they just happen to have possibly the most practical, performance skateboard backpack on the market. What’s so special? The Nomad skate backpack is actually constructed of anti-bacterial silver nylon fibers and it features an integrated carbon filter air flow system. Why does it matter? Because you can throw your filthy, sweaty shirt, knee pads, socks, or whatever other disgusting skate gear you have in this bad boy and you won’t smell a thing! This is particularly life-changing during skate trips where you have to keep your dirty clothes in your bag for several days. In addition, don’t worry about even the worst storms because the whole thing is waterproof, including the zippers to the front pocket and laptop pocket. Plus, if you really have something to hide, it even features a combination lock on the top, something we haven’t seen in any other skate backpack on the market. So, we’ve saved the best for last – and the best is the Nomad skateboard backpack from Skunk Bags!
Skateboard Backpack Buyer’s Guide
Skateboard Backpacks are designed to offer special features that cater to the needs of skateboarders. Given the naturally active nature of skateboarding and the unique demands that skateboarders have while out in the streets, a quality skateboard backpack must be designed to suit these requirements. Lucky for us, both skateboarding companies and several action sports-oriented brands have done an excellent job creating performance skateboard backpacks within a wide price range. However, the products from all these brands have many different features and designs, meaning there can be a lot of info to dig through to find just what’s best for you. That’s why we’ve put together this skateboard backpack buyer’s guide – to help you pick out the perfect skateboard backpack for you!
Step 1: Understanding what you need!
As with any purchase decision, you should simply start with asking yourself what you will really use the backpack for. Are you using it mainly to wear while skating through the city to look for spots? Will you wear it to school every day? Do you want to be able to bring camera equipment along with you? Will you be using it to go on skate trips that last several days? Questions like these are what will determine the ideal size, level of durability, and specific features that are best suited for you. Below you will find more information on these specifics to understand your perfect backpack.
The ideal skateboard backpack size for you.
The size of backpacks is generally measured in liters. Moreso, the size of a typical backpack will range from about 15 liters to 30 liters. But what does this really mean? Here are some examples to help you understand these sizes when buying online. First, an example of a 17-liter skateboard backpack is the Santa Cruz Plaza backpack on our list. Generally speaking, this backpack size will fit a small laptop or tablet and they often feature one main compartment. Bigger is not always better when it comes to skateboard backpacks because this size bag is perfect for skaters who will wear the bag frequently while skating places and who do not need to bring a weekend’s worth of gear with them everywhere. If you use your backpack for this, a larger bag will become a nuisance as excess space also means more weight and less move-ability. On the other end of the spectrum, we could go up to the 30-liter range of backpacks. An example of this is the Element Mohave backpack on our list. As you could guess, more space means you can bring more stuff along and a 30-liter backpack is capable of carrying a full-sized laptop as well as a weekend’s worth of clothes and gear. They often have more than one main compartment and ample pocket space for the necessities of a trip. Of course, if you’re looking for something with more room than a day bag but less than a travel-size bag, you’ll want to look around the 22-27 liter range of skateboard backpacks.
Do you really need a super durable backpack?
While a tough and durable design is nice, the reality is that not everybody truly needs a backpack that’s built to go through war. Many skateboard backpacks have special material features that help them withstand travel or harsh daily use. But, these features come at a price and when you’re trying to make an educated purchase decision, you shouldn’t pay for more than you truly need! Here are some tips. If you plan to bring your backpack to the skatepark every day and set it down on the asphalt ground frequently, consider a bag with a reinforced bottom section which is often found in more premium-level bags. If you’re going to wear the bag from home to your school locker every day and it’s not often out in the elements, you probably don’t need to pay more for this feature. Do you pick your backpack up by the top handle all the time? If not, you probably don’t need a top handle that’s reinforced with plastic, or maybe even no top handle at all! Do you drive or ride the bus every day? Maybe high-tech water-resistant fabric isn’t important for you. Understanding your personal requirements will help you understand how much it makes sense for you to spend more on these features.
Features cost $. Make sure you understand what matters for you.
When considering features, we’ve decided that skateboard straps are sort of a given if you’re searching for a skateboard backpack. This is largely the key feature the distinguishes a skateboard backpack from a standard backpack, so the only thing to consider here is whether you want a bag with vertical or horizontal board straps. This is just a personal preference. However, there are many other features that differ widely between bags, here are some key points to consider. First, a bag with two main compartments can make a big difference. Do you need to separate your clean clothes and dirty clothes while on trips? If not, this probably isn’t that important and will make a difference in the price of the bag you need. Do you bring your laptop or books places? This will help you understand if you need a laptop or “media” pocket. Do you carry your sunglasses or cell phone in your backpack? Some bags feature a special top pocket that’s lined with anti-scratch material for sunglasses or phone screens. Do you live someplacehot or plan to wear the bag while skateboarding? A mesh-lined back section or shoulder straps can make wearing your bag more comfortable in these situations but this feature often comes at a price. Finally, do you plan to go on trips where your bag is filled with dirty clothes for a period of time? If so, maybe the higher priced Skunk bag on our list is actually worth the investment for how you will use the bag.
In conclusion, finding the perfect skateboard backpack to suit your needs will really come down to being realistic about your personal use of the backpack. Bigger is not always better, many people do not always need military-grade materials and strength, and maybe you don’t really need a sunglasses pocket on the top of the bag. However, backpacks are something that we often use for several years and that impact our daily lives. Therefore, it absolutely makes sense to put some thought into the purchase and consider making an investment into a backpack with fitting quality to our needs.
How to clean skateboard bearings: 5 steps to speed and longevity!
Cleaning your skateboard bearings doesn’t just make them faster, it also saves you money! Proper care and maintenance of your skate bearings can help them last months or even years longer. Cleaning your bearings is the best thing you can do to ensure long-lasting performance. Depending on where and how often you skate, a cleaning is probably in order every 4-8 months or so. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this guide will show you how to clean skateboard bearings, plus a few extra tips you might not have known!
What you’ll need for proper clean skateboard bearings:
– Skate tool or 5/16” (8mm) socket/wrench
– Non-water-based solvent (Acetone or carburetor cleaner)
– Skateboard bearing lubricant
– Sewing needle or similar object
– Clean jar or bottle
– Generic dish soap + water
– Paper towel or rag
– Pen (optional)
Step 1: Bearing removal
Before we begin, note that cleaning your bearings is also a great time to rotate all of your wheels. A full wheel rotation means both flipping the wheels to the other side (wheel graphic outside to graphic inside) as well as putting the bottom left wheel on the top right side of the board (and so on). A simple trick to make this much faster is to use a pen and write the initials of where the wheel should be placed at the end of the rotation/cleaning. For example, write “TR” (Top Right) on the bottom left wheel. Then, when re-assembling, you instantly know where the wheel should go. The pen will simply wipe off the wheels after a few minutes of skating.
Begin by unscrewing the axle nuts with a skate tool or 5/16” socket/wrench. Be careful not to push the tool into the actual shield of the bearing as this can damage or misshape the shield. Once unscrewed, remove the wheel from the axle, paying attention to the axle washers that may be between the nut and bearing. It sucks to lose these washers as they simply add space between your bearing and nut to help protect the bearing.
Now, you must pry the bearing out of the wheel. This takes a little muscle, so don’t be afraid to put some strength into it. Place the wheel just onto the tip of the axle, so that the axle’s just inside of one bearing. Use careful force to twist the wheel to one side, pulling the bearing out of the wheel. Repeat this process for all bearings.
Step 2: Bearing shield removal
This step is the most delicate task of the process. When removing the bearing shields, it’s important to be careful not to bend the shields, especially if you have rubber/nylon shield bearings. If you have bearings with shields on both sides, it’s best to remove both sides. There are several types of bearing shields:
Bearings with metal shields will have a C-ring locking mechanism. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Simply use a needle to find one of the ends of the C-ring along the outer edge of the bearing. Pry under the ring with the needle to remove the C-ring and the shield itself should then be free to fall (or be pried) out.
Bearings with rubber/nylon shields, start on the inside of the shield and carefully place the needle under the shield. Gently pry up and around the bearing, making sure not to bend it too far out of shape. The shield should remain flat throughout the process, don’t pull up in one spot.
Once the shields are off, they should be placed in a small bowl of hot water and dish soap, not hard solvent. The reason is because the solvent will dry out and destroy the rubber/nylon compound of the shields. With your fingers, simply rub the dirt off with the soapy water, being careful not to bed the shields. Do the same for metal shields, just be sure to immediately dry them afterwards to prevent any rust forming.
Step 3: Cleaning your skateboard bearings
The moment you’ve been waiting for, getting all the dirt and grime out of your bearings! There’s two ways to do this:
The easy way: With all shields removed, you can now see the steel balls aligned in a plastic cage. The bearing is now open and can be effectively cleaned. Use a jar or bottle (just be careful with thin plastic as the solvent can destroy it) and fill it part-way up with solvent. Drop the bearings into the solvent-filled bottle. What you will try to do is simply move the solvent around and through the bearings, so any dirt/debris is flushed out of them. There are specific bearing cleaning bottles to help this process, but you should generally be able to flush the dirt out just by shaking them up in a jar and letting them sit in the solvent a moment. Then, take the bearings out of the solvent and let them dry on a paper towel or rag.
The hard way: This method is really only recommended if your bearings are completely caked full of dirt/grime and if you have prior experience cleaning bearings. You will follow the same steps as above, but you will remove the plastic/nylon shield that holds the steel balls in place. To do this, very carefully push (not pry) the nylon cage away from the steel balls. The balls should remain in place as they are locked into an inner and outer race in the bearing rings. Once you have pushed the cage out, you should now be able to align the balls on one side of the bearing and they should fall out.
Step 4: Re-lubricating and re-installing shields
Now, your bearings are shining like new and all your shields are sparkly clean. Don’t get too excited yet, the next step is critical. You must apply a skateboard bearing lubricant to the bearings. Failing to do so will result in insanely fast bearings for a few minutes and then your bearings completely seizing up and being permanently destroyed. It is strongly advised to use only a skateboard bearing lubricant as generic lubricants don’t have the correct viscosity for skateboard bearings. Apply two to three small drops onto the steel balls inside the bearings. Do not drown the bearings in lubricant as the lube will go all over your wheels and attract dirt and grime to the bearing while skating. After applying lubricant, carefully press the bearing shields back into place on the bearing. Again, be careful not to bend the shields as a bent shield will cause friction inside the bearing while skating.
Step 5: Re-installing bearings into wheels
One last step and you’re ready to skate. Place one bearing onto your truck axle with the shield facing down. Now, take a wheel and place it over the axle and onto the bearing. Apply steady and even pressure on all sides of the wheel directly down onto the bearing. The bearing should slowly pop into place inside the wheel. Press down until the bearing is completely into the center of the wheel and will not go further. Remove the wheel, apply an inner wheel spacer if you have it, and repeat the process on the other side of the wheel. Do this for all four wheels and you’re ready to re-install them on your trucks. Remember to put your axle washers on each side of the bearing before carefully screwing the axle nut back on, making sure not to damage the shields with the tool. That’s it!