A Guide to Traveling for Nerf Events with LiPos & Blasters

With Ragnarocktoberfest quickly approaching, I figured this would be a great opportunity to overview some tips I've acquired over the years while traveling with Nerf gear.  Traveling to events is an amazing way to meet a lot of Nerfers in one place. Hauling your equipment around with you can definitely be a hassle; from blasters to LiPo Batteries, there are a lot of potential TSA headaches that could arise if you haven't done your research when it comes to traveling with your Nerf gear.   

FLYING WITH NERF GEAR

As the Nerf mod hobby grows the events are becoming more frequent throughout the year.  However more often than not, the large events require a plane ride from where I'm located in the state of Washington. When you fly, your batteries, blasters and tools all have specific rules to follow. Certain gear must be in your checked back while others must be in your carry-on bag.  Take it from me, it can be a stressful and expensive mix-up to make.  I've nearly missed a flight and have had to upgrade baggage on more than one occasion.

When flying, LiPo Batteries must be brought as carry-on only.  The batteries must be at storage charge, and I recommend a LiPo bag. These precautions reduce the risk of fire, as batteries with a higher charge have more energy potential to cause a fire. While it is not currently required for your battery to be at storage charge,  I highly recommend your LiPo to be at storage charge or at least be below a full capacity charge while traveling. Again, LiPo Batteries must be in your carry-on and cannot go beneath the cabin. Do not I repeat, Do NOT place your LiPo batteries in your suitcase!  

As far as battery limits go, TSA and the FAA only limit the size of the battery, not the quantity. Batteries are limited to 100 Watt-hours.  This is simple math of your voltage (Volts) multiplied by your capacity (Amp-Hours).  My largest pack is a 5Ah pack at 12.4 volts. 5x12.4= 62 Watt-hours. This pack is enormous, and does not fit in most Nerf blasters. You can also carry up to two (2) 101-160 watt-hour batteries, but again this figure does not really apply to Nerf mods.
Remember, 1000mAh = 1Ah.
 
flying with Lipo Batteries outofdarts
While this video is up-to-date at the time of posting, I highly recommend reading the pages linked below, since laws regarding batteries may evolve over time.
 

 

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/lithium-batteries-more-100-watt-hours 

 

Next, let’s talk about blasters. DO NOT store your blaster within your carry-on baggage, or it will be confiscated or refused. I’m sorry to say that I learned this the hard way. I attempted to bring parts of a blaster (A HIRricane). This was refused at TSA and I was forced to pay $50 to check the blaster, all WITHOUT a suitcase to put it in! If I hadn’t had pre-TSA, I would have missed this flight to EndWar completely.

Blasters should be packed inside your checked bag, with no batteries inside. I like to wrap mine in bubble wrap and then put my clothing along the outside of the bubble. This ensures the safety of the blaster. Hard sided suitcases are much better at protecting your blasters, but you can always use a box inside a soft-sided bag if needed. Once you've got your blasters packed into your suitcase to check (not your carry on bag) you do not need to declare that you have a Nerf Blaster inside your bag once you've arrived at the airport. TSA and the FAA do not consider Nerf blasters an item you need to declare. If you try to do so, you will waste both their time and your own as they they take extra precautions if anything is declared.

 

DRIVING WITH NERF GEAR

 

Next, let’s talk about driving.  When driving, it’s much easier to pack all your gear securely. Similarly to flying, I also like to consider the packing of my blasters and use enough packaging material, (clothing, bubble-wrap, etc.) to reduce the impact of the road.  You’ll want to keep Lipo Batteries in a LiPo safe container, and again at storage charge. Keeping these batteries separate from the rest of your gear is a great idea. I like to bring my batteries inside whenever I leave the car, unless the outside temperatures are below 70 degrees. 

Never leave your LiPO battery bag in a hot car. This is not only dangerous, but heat will degrade the lifespan of your batteries. It’s a good idea to also consider your 3D printed parts at this point. If you’re in hot weather, a car can easily hit 150 degrees in the summer. This can be enough to warp your 3D printed parts.  I’m happy to say that this is fairly rare, even with the thousands upon thousands of 3D printed parts we have sold. If you have a lot of 3d printed parts, it’s best  to keep those in a quick-access bag along with your Lipo batteries. This will allow you to bring them inside with you when you make any prolonged stops along your journey. 

When you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to think before busting out your blasters in a public place. Does your blaster look anything like a firearm? If so, use extra care when transporting it in public places so you don't alarm innocent bystanders. Do not bring blasters and tactical gear out in public in places you don’t need to.  Having awareness of your blasters in public places as the hobby grows will be incredibly important to keep in mind within the community.

Lastly, there's tons of things to remember for a Nerf event so I've always got lists on lists before a big event to make sure I don't forget anything I'll need for gameplay. I hope this was helpful to all of those traveling!  I hope to see you at an upcoming Nerf event. If you have any questions, or other helpful tips you've gained while traveling with Nerf gear shoot us a message!