SUP Beginner Tips,  Tips

Packing an Inflatable Paddle Board

Tips for packing an inflatable paddle board.

To Start:

  • Clean and dry your board. Learn how to clean and care for your paddle board.
  • Remove fins and any other items.
    • If you keep your leash on be sure it’s left out away from your board. Otherwise, the leash will create a coil indent in your deck pad.
  • Take as much air out of your board as possible.
    • When letting the air out of a board full of air it will be loud. This is totally normal. Some manual pumps and most electrical pumps will help deflate your board. 
    • Most board valves are at the tail or rear of the board. If you didn’t deflate the board with a pump leave the valve open and in the down position and lightly roll from the nose to the tail to get out as much air as possible.
  • Once the board is fully deflated place the valve pin in the upright position and seal the valve.
    • This way when you go to inflate the board on your next adventure the valve is ready to go and you don’t make the mistake of pumping the board and losing air when you remove the pump hose. 

Roll or Fold?

It is a bit of a debate on if you should roll or fold your board. Both are outlined below and have their pros and cons. The important thing is to avoid any creases or tight spots in the PVC to help elevate wear, tear and damage to your board. Test which one works best for you and your equipment.


  • Place your pump (manual or electrical) at the nose of your board.
  • Roll around the pump from the nose to the tail.
  • Rolling around the pump will help create an even roll to avoid any creases or tight spots.
  • The end of the roll is the trickiest as you need to ensure the fins or fin box(s) are flat with no pressure points or stress on the edge of the fin box(s)
    • If the roll doesn’t land perfectly with a flat fin box unroll the board so you are able to tuck the end of the fin box back into the board before continuing the roll.
  • Rolling not only protects your pump but is an efficient way to utilize the pace of the paddle board bag: you don’t need to struggle to get the pump in after the board and there is plenty of room in the top and bottom of the roll for other equipment.
Rolling paddle board


  • Start at the tail (back) of the board and fold in the section of your board with your fins or fin box(s). Ensure that it’s a flat surface and there are no pressure points on your fix box(s).
  • The first fold creates the folding size. Continue to fold the board from the tail to the nose.
  • The benefit of folding is you’re starting with the length of the fin box(s) and sticking with it for the duration of the fold.
  • Although folding your board might be easier and takes up less space you still need to find room for your pump. Plus your fins/fin box(s) are laying against your deck pad which will create an indent over time.

folding paddle board


  • Lay down a tarp to help keep your board clean and avoid packing any debris.
  • Never fold or roll your board too tight as this will create creases and vulnerable points.
  • Have a towel or cloth handy when rolling or folding to wipe off any excess debris or water. Don’t leave a wet board or equipment packed up longer than needed.
  • If you are carrying the board on your back tucking the tail of the board and fin box(s) into the roll will eliminate any fins or fin box(s) jabbing you in the back.
  • Put your paddle in your board bag first followed by your board and add in any gear last.

don't put pressure on fin box
folding inflatable paddle board fin box
Rolled paddle board with pump

How do you pack your inflatable paddle board? Share in the comments below.

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