Goin’ Surfing? Bring These Necessities…


by Justin Fricke, aka JustinTheWeekendWarrior

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.

  1. T-shirts: typically about 3 or 4 are all that’s necessary.
  2. 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.
  3. Shorts: About 3 or 4 pairs are all you need.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Toiletries: You still need to bring them so you don’t stink so bad that no one wants to hang out with you.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?