BOB Trailers have become a popular choice for extended bike touring adventures. They have a large capacity, work well over a variety of terrain and are rugged. If they are damaged they can be welded back together by anyone with a gas torch, usually something that can be found even in remote villages.
BOB Trailer enthusiasts employ a variety of ways to get their BOB trailer, gear, and bike safely to their destination. This generally involves traveling with everything as checked-in baggage but can also involve shipping it ahead.
Traveling by airline with a bicycle and luggage is challenging. Extra charges at the ticket counter, abusive baggage handlers and packing and transporting all that gear generally make for at least a few travel headaches. Adding in a BOB Trailer to the equation can mean adding a third item to your already burdensome luggage. However the solution to traveling with a BOB trailer is to keep your total bag count to 2 bags. This is accomplished by either combining your gear in with your BOB trailer or using the CELLO system and packing your BOB and bike together.
The most affordable solution for packing your BOB is to utilize the box that it comes in. The best way to do this is to remove the fork and the wheels of the BOB and pack them in with your bike. With the BOB Ibex you should remove the rear dropouts and shock as well. The empty space inside of the BOB trailer is then available for packing your BOB DrySAK or other travel bag along with all of your travel gear.
While using the box works well on the way to a destination, unless you find a place to store your box, you will need to find another box on the way back. Another method to consider is to use your BOB Trailer as the packing container. With this setup, the BOB’s rear dropouts must be protected by wrapping them with foam and duck tape. You should do the same to the exposed fork yokes as well. This method may give you some trouble at check in, with all of the exposed metal, and involves a greater risk to damaging the trailer. This could be the solution for coming home without the BOB box.
Rather than exposing your BOB to the abuse of the baggage handlers, you might consider packing it in this large travel bag by Ortlieb the Big Zip. Not only can you fit your BOB inside, but there is additional room for your BOB DrySAK and other gear pack around the edges of the BOB. A good way to pack is to use your sleeping pad and sleeping bag as padding wrapped around the BOB. The Ortlieb Big Zip is not only rugged but also waterproof so you can use it for boating trips or to keep stuff dry on a roof rack or truck bed. The bag weighs in at 4 lbs. and can be rolled up and tucked in your BOB Trailer while you tour. For camping it works well as a dry place to store your gear giving you more room in your tent. Check out our instruction manual for packing your BOB into your Big Zip.
The deluxe way to travel with a BOB Trailer is to utilize the CELLO bike case by Wandertec. This setup is a rugged and secure bike case for both your BOB trailer and any standard framed bicycle. With the CELLO setup, the BOB Trailer and your bicycle are shipped together as a contained unit. You generally will carry all of your gear that is normally packed in the BOB in a separate bag on the side. Once again your total bag count should be 2. The CELLO bike case breaks down and folds away onto the BOB upon arriving at your destination. You can carry it with you quite easily on the BOB, though you may want to remove it and store it or have it forwarded ahead to another address.
In summary your choice in methods for how you travel with your BOB comes down to how often you travel and how much extra shipping protection you need or want for your BOB and bike. The cheapest option is of course the BOB box and a bike box. The Big Zip is a solid solution for your BOB and gear. However you’ll still need a box or case for your bike. The CELLO offers great protection for both your bike and BOB at a price comparable to other high end bike cases.