The Essential Surf Trip Packing List

Surfer walking with surfboard

The world opening back up means more surf trips. Whether it’s the beautiful warm beaches of Hawaii or the adventurous rugged wedges in the Nordic Seas, surfers are on the move to hunt down epic waves. That means you'll need your gear dialed in. Through years of experience traveling the world to all different surf destinations, we’ve been able to compile a thought-out, surf-specific gear list preparing you for your next swell-driven adventure.

Surfers really only need a few things to feel ready in the water. A bathing suit or wetsuit, a board, a leash, fins, and wax. Maybe a pack to keep all those things in order. To get the most out of your trip and feel extra prepared follow this Surf Trip Packing List to find our recommended “go-to” products.

The Major Essentials

Anyone that travels knows that a key element to smooth sailing is the right type of luggage. Surfers tend to have a lot more than the regular person. Between bathing suits, regular clothes, maybe wetsuits, surf accessories, and boards, it is quite the load. Having your gear dialed in and organized is key to a successful trip.

NRS Dry Bag

Dry Bags are a great “two in one” pack to bring on a surf trip. You can stuff a ton of clothes, bathing suits, or a full wetsuit into a 30L dry bag. Once you arrive at your surf destination empty your belongings, take what you need for a day at the beach with no need to worry about any of it getting wet. Dry bags are easy to transport and clean, have plenty of room for snacks and are the best beach bag in our experience. We highly recommend the Dakine 32L Cyclone Rolltop Drybackpack.

Dakine Dry Bag

Travel Board Bags are essential to protecting your boards while traveling via airplane, boat, or taxi. Choosing the right board bag is based on the shape and size of your board. The number of boards you want to bring can make an impact on whether you choose a single board bag or one of the large coffin bags that can transport 3-4 boards. Pick the right bag, leave extra room for a bit more padding/protection, and fly confidently to your surf destination. Give us a call to help you pick out the best bag for your trip.

And a quick tip - double-check your airline's surfboard policy! It will help you narrow down how many boards to bring or what type of board bag to use. That way you’re not caught in a situation where you're paying way more than expected to fly your boards.

Surfboard Bag

Rashguards or Neoprene jackets in tropical conditions will protect you from the sun, getting cut on the reef, and keep you warm when you least expect it. If there is one thing we've learned from traveling to surf tropical destinations, it is that the weather can be unpredictable. Rain and wind will storm an island making the conditions a bit colder than expected. A neoprene jacket can make a world of a difference. Having a rash guard will protect you from the sun during those 2 hour-long sessions. Ladies, a rash guard or neoprene top will be a lifesaver when you’re dodging waves with that brand new bikini on. No flashing is required!

Wetsuits might be necessary if you’re traveling to a cold water destination. Do some research to figure out the current water temperature. Knowing what thickness of wetsuit to bring could save you chilly surf sessions or maybe some weight in your luggage. If you’re not sure, give us a call and we can help you narrow down the best suit for the climate you’re headed towards.

The Unsung Heros

Your board is obviously one of the most important items to a successful surf trip. But don’t forget about the other essentials to go along with it. Not having replacements or options for unexpected conditions can really put a damper on the trip you’ve been planning for.

Surfboard Leash


Leashes keep you and your board safe. Assuming that you’re going on a surf trip to experience a new type of wave or build your skills as a surfer probably means that you’ll want a couple of leashes to feel comfortable charging swell. Challenging yourself in new surf could result in a broken leash and less time in the water. To avoid spending a ton of time out of the water or having to ask your buddy to borrow his leash, simply pack an extra. Leashes don’t take up a ton of room and can easily be stuffed in your luggage.

Fins are essential to your wave-riding experience. As we've mentioned before, you’re probably going on a surf trip to push yourself and grow as a surfer. So, make sure to have that extra pair of fins with you that will work for conditions you might not be prepared for. Bringing a range of fins can also diversify your surfing experience without bringing a whole extra board.

Odds and Ends

The little things go a long way when you’re on a trip. You never know if you’ll run your board onto a reef or if the sun is strangely strong in a very cold place. Having these small accessories easily accessible during your surf adventure will make a difference at the end of the day.

Wax is crucial to anyone paddling out. We’ve found that it can lead to great friendships when shared with another surfer that just pulled up to the break. You can never have enough of it and when you need it most it seems to be missing. Don’t forget to pack a wax comb and box too. Both will help your wax last longer and help you stay organized.

Surfboard Repair


Surfboard repair kits are compact and easy to fit in your luggage. You want to feel confident paddling out in a variety of conditions whether it’s an area with shallow reefs, big boulders, or simply navigating through the airport. Having a repair kit on hand will keep your mind at ease to send it in any condition.

Sunscreen is an underrated item you’ll need on your surf trip. Even if you’re headed to the chilly coastlines you’ll want that extra sun protection. Don’t wait until you get to your destination. It could be sold out or crazy expensive and nothing is worse than not being able to surf because of a gnarly sunburn.



Tie Down Straps are great to have on your trip. Bringing a pair of tie-down straps and pads can offer you a lot more comfort during your travels. You never know what features your rental car will have so it’s better to have the option to throw your boards on the roof if necessary. It will allow for more room to carpool with your buddies or pack more gear for your day at the ocean.

Ear plugs will protect you from developing surfer's ear. You’ve probably been planning this trip for a long while so you might as well be safe as possible. Don’t forget to throw in a First Aid kit as well. If you’re traveling to more remote destinations, you’ll want your own backup materials just to be on the safe side.

Binoculars will help you spot those waves that you’ve been on the search for. Or your buddy is out past the second reef, and you want to watch them catch the sickest waves of their life. Maybe you see spouts on the horizon, so you finally get to spot that whale you’ve always dreamt of. Binoculars can make your trip that much more exciting to see things you haven’t seen before.

Tie Down Straps


It’s Time To Get Packing

It’s finally time to scratch that travel itch, so get started on planning your next surf trip. Understand what you want to make your surf trip about. Maybe it’s riding small waves and getting a nice tan. Or maybe you plan on charging bigger, badder waves than you have ever charged before. Either way, double-check the gear you already have, triple check your pack again, and then make sure to grab whatever else you might need to have the most epic surf trip of the season!

Use our list to narrow down exactly what you need for that upcoming vacation and don’t hesitate to contact our team for any other questions you might have. Email us at or call us at 1-888-546-6176.