Every year, I’m fortunate enough to go on a weeklong surf trip with just a bunch of dudes. And this year’s no different. We’ve been to Costa Rica once, Nicaragua twice, and we’re going to El Salvador this year for a second time. When we started doing these trips in 2010, I thought it was tough to pack for a weeklong surf trip because we try to reduce our cost by not checking any bags and only bringing a duffle bag and backpack full of clothes and personal items. After a few trips, I realized that there were only a few things that I needed and couldn’t live without.
- T-shirts: typically about 3 or 4 are all that’s necessary.
- Tank tops: Everyone in Central America wears them like a t-shirt so might as well fit in. Plus it helps reduce space in your bags. I usually bring about 2 or 3.
- Shorts: About 3 or 4 pairs are all you need.
- Swimsuits: You only need about 2 or 3 pairs and you can use the clean ones as shorts to make sure you have a clean pair of shorts to go home in.
- Hammock: There are plenty of places to hang your hammock and relax. Last year in Nicaragua, the power went out for part of the trip so I chose to sleep outside in my hammock instead of sweating all night in my bed inside.
- Sunscreen and bug spray: The sun and mosquitoes are both brutal in Central America, so I always throw some in my board bag because they’re not allowed on the plane.
- Toiletries: You still need to bring them so you don’t stink so bad that no one wants to hang out with you.
- Hat, sunglasses, etc.: You may not need these items, but I like to have them to keep the sun off my head and out of my eyes. They also help prevent sunburn, which is a horrible experience on a surf trip.
- Passport: Bring this, and make a copy so that when you go on boat tours or go to a town, you don’t have to bring your passport and potentially lose it.
You’ll notice that I left out bringing surfboards. The reason I did that is because you really don’t need to bring your surfboard. That’s more or less a luxury and quite frankly, it’s slightly cheaper to rent a board than pay the bag fee. If you choose not to bring your boards, you’ll have to make sure in advance that there’s a place near where you’re staying that sells sunscreen and bug spray. However, if you do choose to bring your boards you can usually pack some extra items/clothes in your board bag and lighten your load that you personally take on the plane.
What things do you always bring with you on trips?
by Justin Fricke, aka JustinTheWeekendWarrior