For those of us that need to fly to MN, the airlines now want our right arm to take our paddles as luggage. Even worse taking them home again will require giving up our left arm. And that will make paddling on next year's trip really hard.
I've had a lot of trouble finding a paddle shipping case but this year realized that a snowboard case would work. We got one made by Sportube which easily holds our 4 paddles (two straight, two bents and holds our PFDs and that all-important boat sponge as well. So no more using two lamp boxes from U-haul that get crunched on the way there making it tough to get them shipped back.
One warning, fedex ground labels don't stick to plastic very well so put clear tape over them and make sure your name and phone number are on the inside. No problem with this case but the labels did fall off two rubbermaid actionpackers. But fedex opened them up and found our number and called and we got our gear. Strangely, we also got shipped three other actionpackers that had lost their labels but weren't ours. Guess they forgot to put their name and number inside.
Hope this helps someone. After all I think there are about 3 other people on this forum who live outside of driving distance.
There's nothing at all wrong with a hard-case. In fact, very good.
But if you're looking for a cheaper solution, then just go to the hardware store and buy a package of bubble-wrap, and wrap up the paddles, and then put them in a cardboard enclosure. Cut-down a cardboard ski box, or make a box from some cardboard.
I handle roughly a thousand pairs of skis per year, shipped in/out, and I've found that bubble-wrap combined with a bag or box is perfectly good if you're shipping by FedEx or UPS. (yes, really a thousand, it's a business thing). FedEx, in particular, will ship items in a bag, and in fact FedEx will provide a bag for free. Don't expect an airline to treat them as well as UPS or FedEx.
The bubble wrap will cost about $3 for a roll, and that amount will be plenty.
I have a couple Zav carbon paddles, and wouldn't blink at the thought of bubble-wrapping them and sending them FedEx in a plastic bag to meet me at my arrival.
If you've already got a hard case, then rest easy. You'll be fine with that. Best of luck!
I agree that bubble wrap and a cardboard box is a successful and cheaper solution. Been there, done that. Just decided that the hard case would be easy and quick and would be easy to ship home from Ely. Have had to patch up the cardboard boxes for the return trip in the past.
Gun cases: looked, wasn't sure they were deep enough for bents. Maybe just didn't find the right one.
Living close to Ely. Yeah, would be cool in many ways. Will console myself with having seen a pod of blue whales while on the way home a couple of weeks ago.