Traveling light is awesome: avoid having to check your bag in, avoid having to put your bag on top of chicken buses in countries like Guatemala and keep your energy to carry your surfboard.
Below is a list of what I thought is useful to travel for a year without doing it too rough, including surf gear further down the page.
LAPTOP & MUSIC
– Mac Book Air 11″, with a Crumpler computer case (http://www.crumpler.com/AU/Laptop-Bags/Laptop-Carrying-Cases/Goldschlagers-Carpet-10.html), it is big enough to fit your Kindle and hard drive, but keeps it all nice & tight.
– Shockproof 1 tb portable hard drive (link Buffalo Ministation),
– Ipod Nano, with Mini speaker X- Mini Capsule (http://www.amazon.com/X-Mini-II-Capsule-Speaker-Black/dp/B001UEBN42/ref=pd_cp_MI_1)
– Kindle touch with all your surf guides, travel guides, Spanish lessons, and books
– I only use USB cables with a tiny USB wall plug. In total I only need 3 cables + the Mac charger
– One unlocked cheap phone
So much choice! I would only recommend to take a GoPro camera, as well as your compact camera, just because you can make some amazing videos in all conditions, and it is tiny. http://gopro.com/
I also carry a Nikon Coolpix s9100, and it is absolutely perfect, with a 18x zoom, HD video, and enough adjustment to play with ISO, White balance and exposure. See review here http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_COOLPIX_S9100/. Don’t forget to get a spare battery. A generic one is enough and a 3rd of the price.
A small travel tripod and a waterproof bags, just in case.
Laptop + Music + Cameras + cables & Chargers + waterproof bags = 2.3kgs
If you have done a few surf trips you already know what works for you but here is a list of what I find useful (and enough):
– Two straps to put your board on roof racks or Buses’ roofs
– Suncure http://suncure.com/ to fix dings in the sun although I started using FCS Instant repair putty as it is easier, quicker and works without the sun too. It would still require a proper ding repair later for aesthetic reasons but it is not essential.
– FCS instant repair putty http://www.surffcs.com/us/products/hardware-and-accessories/accessories/fcsinstantrepairputty.aspx
– Spare fins, leg rope, fin key, duck tape, plenty of wax
– I carry only a full 3.2 sealed seams wetsuit, with chest zip as I find it warm enough in waters from 15° to 25° C. If it gets warmer I use a fancy stretchy pair of boardies with an inside short (lycra type) to avoid rashes.
– Zinc cream and one long sleeve rashie
The biggest question is what boards to take. On this trip, because I will be traveling a lot between countries, on buses, trains and planes, I decided to only take one board, instead of two (one for small mushy waves, and one for good standard conditions).
The Fire Wire Potatonator should work for both conditions, in 1.5 to 6ft waves. If it gets bigger, I will need to borrow a board, although I rarely surf bigger! I chose a 5’10” x 20 ¾” x 2 ½” ( I am 5’11 or 179cm and weigh 74kgs).
Think about the airlines
This length is also good if you fly with British Airways as it fits in a 6”7 bag which is the maximum length to fly without paying for Special/excess baggage. British airways: *Maximum dimensions: 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in)
Click on this link to see airlines restrictions on surfboards:
Check out my post about Bomb-proof board packing to learn to how to pack your board before a flight.
CLOTHING…All in dark colours so they look cleaner longer!
– Mini rain jacket bought at Aldi (similar to Lidle in Europe) for $9. It packs smaller than a tennis ball.
-A $10 poncho in case it pours down
– 3 t-shirts and one long sleeve one.
– 1 hoodie & 1 pair of jeans
– 1 pair of shorts
– 1 Patagonia down jacket in case it gets really cold. It packs tiny and can be used as a pillow. (It fits in my board bag to protect the tail of the board)
– One pair of tongs. If you have Havaianas like 80% of people, maybe mark them so they don’t get mixed up with your fellow travelers.
– 2 waterproof compressible bags to shrink your cloth down in your bag . 1 for warm cloth, one for summer cloth so you don’t unpack everything every time.
Shoes are important because they can weigh a ton, take a lot of space in your bag, stink up your bag, and take 2 days to dry if they get wet. Also only a few shoes can be suitable for everything: hiking, running, every day use…
I bought I think is the ultimate shoes: Nike Free Run 2.0 http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/product/free-run-2011-id-running-shoe/?piid=25841#?pbid=6211507 .
I even climbed Mt Rinjani in Lombok (3 days – 3740m) with them, and can work out the distance walked (and a few other useless info) as it links up to my Ipod via the Nike+ app… sounds silly but it’s actually pretty cool! Choose black ones so it doesn’t look to flashy and you won’t attract people with bad intentions!
OTHER USEFUL BITS & PIECES
– A fake wallet and old passport in case you are being “asked” for such things by dodgy people.
– Locks for your bag with a code and no key
– Main phone numbers (Visa Global, Insurance, main contacts) on a plastic card in your wallet, in your bag and in your board bag, in case one of the three gets stolen
– A small fold-able 15litre bag for day trips
– A water bag: takes less space than a bottle and is more practical with a backpack.
– A backpack rain cover
– Plenty of elastic bands to shrink everything down
– A silk mummy bag liner … warms you up by 5 degrees and prevent from bed bugs
– A travel towel that packs tiny.
– A head torch
– A couple of Zip tights and string to fix up things
Malayria tablets, although they seem pretty harmful for your kidneys but wise to take it if you go in the Amazon or in dense rainforest
Antibiotic for coral cuts that go pear shape.
Immodium & Motilium for gastro…
Aqua ear (good to prevent ear infection)
Aloe Vera cream
8kg / 32l BAG
All of this, apart from my wetsuit and winter jacket, fit in a 32 Litre bag which weighs 8kgs. Being a small bag, I never check it in in plane or in night buses and trains = Safer and more practical
TOTAL: 17kgs including bag, board and board bag