I have used an old ski bag. It really is only to prevent scratches. To ensure structural support, when other luggage is thrown on it, duct tape it to another paddle (breakdown - if you are bringing one). You can send it w/out a bag but I would wrap cardboard around the blades and shaft for support. Some countries luggage handlers like to toss them around and send them sideways through the conveyor openings. Thus making a dam for all other luggage to get backed up on. That is how mine broke going to Peru.