As someone who needs to travel to surf I have developed 5 rules of packing. Thanks to them I always take exactly what I need.

I travel with a cabin bag only and I don’t wait long to check in at the airport. I can move around between selected surf spots easily. I’ve put those rules in a short video. Check it out!

And below is a little supplement. My explanation of those rules and a detailed list of items I usually take on a surf trip and the ones I let myself to leave at home. I consider this list as a starting point of every surf trip that is supposed to last couple of days.

Rule no 1: Check the required cabin bag

Most of the budget airlines have their preferred sizes of carry-on bags. For example, Ryanair airlines approve bigger carry-on bags than WizzAir.

Rule no 2: Pack only one piece of each kind of clothes

After couple of trips I know that this is enough. Especially when I take my favorite pieces of clothes. Of course this rule does not apply to socks and underwear. Here you should take more than one, like 4-5 pairs. After all, they say there’s always room for one more pair of socks in a suitcase.

Rule no 3: Take multifunctional clothes

I love that kind of clothes. The ones I have and are featured in the video are classic and functional which is consistent with my style philosophy.

Rule no 4: Roll up the clothes tightly

This way of packing is one of the best I have tried. Having the clothes rolled up means that they don’t take up so much space. You’ll be surprised hove much more items you can put in the suitcase using this technique.

Rule no 5: Put some (especially warmer) clothes on you

A sweatshirt, jeans and shoes can take a lot of space in your carry-on suitcase. Putting them on you gives more space in your suitcase and keep you comfortable during the flight (air-condition on board of a plane).

A picture showing different clothes ready for packing for a surf trip

Here’s the list of items I usually take on a surf trip:

  • a hooded sweatshirt
  • a pair of jeans
  • a pair of hybrid shorts
  • one warm and waterproof parka
  • a beanie
  • 3-4 t-shirts (one of them long sleeved)
  • a checked or a jeans shirt
  • sweatpants
  • flip flops
  • a pair of comfortable sneakers
  • cosmetics (only the basic ones: toothbrush, a small bottle of perfume, a deodorant, a sunscreen)
  • phone charger
  • an iPad or Kindle for reading
  • 4-5 pieces of underwear
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • a wetsuit

And here are three items that can be easily left at home.

1. Your own surfboard

In my opinion the pros of leaving your board at home are as follows:

  • you don’t have to pay for additional luggage at the airport
  • you don’t have to worry that your board won’t match the local conditions
  • you’ll get to rent different boards and try something new

2. A Wetsuit

Although I usually try to take a wetsuit it can be left at home. Surf schools rent wetsuits and I used rented one during my trip to Somo, Spain. The only thing you have to pay attention to is if they disinfect them after every session. For extra protection put swimming trunks under a rented wetsuit.

3. A beach towel

Of course you’ll need one, but having more space in your bag for clothes is more important. You’ll buy one at a local store.

Thanks for reading. Now go surf!


video produced by Łukasz Gaffling

cover photo by Voytech