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How to Pack for a Surf Trip to the Tropics

Packing for the tropics should be easy. You don’t need much. Still, many people tend to make some serious mistakes when packing for their first surf trips to the tropics. Packing too much can be cumbersome. Packing too little can be deadly. While it’s always tempting to utilize the ol’ “throw everything you own in your boardbag five minutes before you leave” trick, a bit of planning can be beneficial. The following tips should make packing for the tropics a little less stressful.

Pack Light
One boardbag and one backpack. That’s all you need. You don’t need many clothes in the tropics: two pairs of boardshorts and one pair of versatile walk shorts, five t-shirts, one pair of light long pants and one button down shirt for a night on the town, one pair of versatile shoes, flip-flops, and a light raincoat. That’s it. You want to save room for the more essential items.

Pack Smart
You can use most of your clothes as padding for your boards. This will free up space in your backpack for electronics, toiletries, and health items. Most tropical surf destinations are in the developing world, so locks and other travel-oriented security items are never a waste of space.

Pack Safe
Your health and safety should be your first priority when packing for a tropical surf trip. Pack ample sunscreen and bug spray in airline approved bottles. Make sure to bring hats and light clothes to protect you from the sun. Food is always questionable when far from home, so Imodium and an all purpose antibiotic are essential. A small first aid kit is always a great idea. Make sure you get the proper immunizations for your destination before you leave. Additionally, it’s always best to be prepared so pack a laminated copy of your passport and health insurance card.

Do Some Research
If you can get it there for cheap, you probably should. Make sure you pack all your hard-to-find essentials. This varies based on the destination. Remember, you can get an extra t-shirt anywhere, but a specific prescription, an electronic adapter, or even basic surf necessities may be hard to come by. The last thing you want is to miss a pumping, uncrowded dawn patrol because you’re scrambling around trying to borrow wax and a fin key.


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