What To Pack for a Surf Trip

What To Pack for a Surf Trip

Surf trips are the dream of many surfers, with the potential to score perfect waves and visit new and exotic places. Packing for a destination surf trip is not as simple as throwing a few things in a suitcase. You’ll want to have the right gear on hand for your trip, whether it’s a cold-water or tropical spot. Let’s see what you should pack for your next surfing adventure.

All Destination Surf Essentials

No matter where you’re headed on your trip, there are specific surf essentials you’ll need to bring.

Surfing Gear

Surfboard: Your board choice can make or break your surfing vacation. You’ll want to check out the wave selection and bring the ideal surfboard for your level and expected conditions. If you’re planning on barreling beach breaks, having a responsive shortboard is best, while a longboard will work well on softer breaks. A fish surfboard is a versatile option that can work on many waves.

surfboard bag

Board Bag: A damaged surfboard can ruin your trip. Make sure you find a board bag that protects your surfboard and makes transportation easy.

Fins: Fins are a crucial part of your surfing setup. With interchangeable components and various sizes and shapes, you can modify your surfboard’s performance in no time.

Leashes: A strong and light leash will serve you well. Check the length and strength before buying to match your surfboard and personal preference.

Finkey: You’ll need a finkey or two on your surf trip in order to attach, adjust, and remove your fins. There are various fin systems, so make sure you have the correct key for the fins on your board.

Tool Kit: Having a tool kit with various surf-related items is crucial. You’ll appreciate these all-in-ones, which have wax combs, finkeys, and more.

Wax: Get the right wax for the water temperature of your destination. Cold water wax will perform differently than warm water wax in tropical climates.

surf backpack

Surf Backpack: You can find surf-specific packs, letting you choose between a waterproof backpack or a dry bag. You can organize your surf gear with the confidence of keeping it all safe and secure.



  • Sunscreen: A bad sunburn can keep you out of the water and on the sidelines as your friends catch wave after wave. Ensure you’re right there with them by protecting your skin. Opt for a reef-safe sunscreen if available.
  • Chapstick: Similar to sunscreen, chapstick can save your lips from sun and wind damage.
  • Pain Relief Balm: Injuries can happen, especially in unfamiliar surf spots. Make sure to bring a source of relief just in case.
  • First Aid Kit: You never know when a first aid kit may come in handy. Check that yours is equipped with bandages, gauze, and antibiotic cream or ointment for reef cuts.
  • Vitamin C Supplements: The best defense against sickness is a strong immune system, and having Vitamin C supplements can boost your defenses.
  • Tweezers: You may not need them every trip, but if you get too close to a sea urchin, you’ll be happy to have them.
  • Earplugs: Earplugs are the number one prevention against surfer’s ear, especially in cold water.

Travel Extras

surf luggage

Luggage: High-quality luggage is vital for your surf trip. You’ll want superior materials, reliable zippers, and ample space without weighing too much.

surf towels

Towel: Towels come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll want one that dries quickly and is a balance of thickness and weight.


mens fanny pack

Fanny Pack or Money Belt: These items are widespread in travel nowadays and for good reason. You can keep your cash and cards close and secure.

surf water bottle

Water Bottle: A good water bottle is crucial, as surf trips go hand in hand with exposure to the elements. Staying hydrated is key.

Weatherproof Camera: No pictures? It didn’t happen. Prove that the waves were as good as you say they were with a weatherproof camera.

Tide Watch: Some spots don't even break on certain tides. Get a tide watch that you can program local surf spots into, to ensure you hit the break at the right time of day.

Travel Laundry Detergent or Eco Sheets: Often, you arrive at your destination only to find that there is no way to do your laundry. Bring your own supplies in case your accommodations don’t provide them.

boys surf trip

What To Pack for Warm Water Surfing

A warm water surfing trip is the dream for many surfers. No wetsuits, no thawing out after your session - just you, your boardies, bathtub-warm water, and plenty of sunshine. Bonus: packing for these excursions is more straightforward.

Surfwear & Surf Gear

mens board shorts

Swim Trunks or Boardshorts: A reliable pair of boardshorts can be your best friend on a warm water surf trip. You can find many styles and materials today: check out our guide on “How To Choose Boardshorts”.


mens rash guards

Rash Guards: Rash guards not only protect you from uncomfortable rashes, but they also offer UV defense from the sun. Find out “How To Choose a Rashguard” in our dedicated guide.


mens wetsuits

Wetsuits: Most people don’t bring wetsuits on warm water surf trips, but some high-end wetsuits are designed with a low thickness rating (1mm), made specifically for tropical waters prone to wind and intense sun.


reef boots

Reef Booties: Reef surf boots come in handy on rocky breaks and keep your feet protected.



surf t shirts

T-Shirts and Tanks: Comfortable t-shirts and tank tops make relaxing before and after your surf sessions much more enjoyable. There is a wide variety of options with something for everyone.


surfer style shorts

Shorts: Chill out in style on your warm-water destination trip. Whether you prefer traditional or hybrid shorts that work in water or on land, you’ll see plenty of choices.


hats for surfers

Hats: Hats are fundamental in sun protection and keeping cool when you’re out of the water.


surf sandals

Flip Flops and Sneakers: The right footwear matters on a surf trip. Will you be lounging around a resort or roughing it through the jungle? Choose flip flops, sandals, or sneakers accordingly.


mens briefs

Moisture-Wicking Underwear: In tropical and warm climates, moisture can infiltrate - well, everywhere. Find a good pair of moisture-wicking underwear to stay cool and dry.

surf hats

Surf Hats: Surf hats are specially designed to keep you shaded and shielded from the sun while in the water.

Additional Items

  • Sunglasses: Keep your eyes protected, even in the blazing sunshine, with a solid pair of sunglasses. 100% UV protection is key.
  • Mosquito Repellent: Mosquitoes are no joke. You’ll want a repellent that works to keep you free from itchy bites.
  • Aloe Vera Cream: Whether you need reef rash relief or get a cut, make sure you have aloe nearby.
surf air trick

What To Pack for Cold Water Surfing

Cold water surfing trips have become increasingly popular. The main reason? Fantastic waves and fewer crowds. You can explore unknown frontiers and find isolated breaks to call your own. Just make sure you pack accordingly.


mens surf fullsuit

Fullsuits: Today’s full wetsuits are prime for temperatures 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and below, providing warmth, flexibility, and performance. They come in a wide range of thicknesses and styles. Check the water temperature at your destination and choose the right fullsuit for your trip so that you can stay comfortable for longer.

Check out our “Wetsuit Thickness Guide” article for an in-depth breakdown of the right suit for you.

mens surf springsuit

Springsuits: Springsuits are ideal for cool water that’s around 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and above. They provide less warmth but greater flexibility and range of motion than fullsuits.

If you’re not sure which wetsuit is for you, read our guide on “How To Choose a Wetsuit”.

hooded wetsuit for men

Hooded Wetsuits: In icy water, a hood can do wonders. These wetsuits come with a hood that you can roll down, giving you convenience and more control over your warmth.

mens surf jackets

Surf Jackets: Surf jackets are ideal for conditions that require a little more than board shorts. If there’s a breeze or you want more protection, surf jackets can be the solution.

Wetsuit Accessories | 55°F (13°C) & Below

wetsuit booties

Wetsuit Booties: When the water is especially cold, booties can be an excellent addition. As an added advantage, they protect your feet from rocks and such.

wetsuit gloves

Wetsuit Gloves: Your hands get cold quickly in chilly water. Gloves can add extra hours to your sessions, making your cold water surf trip even better.

mens surf hoods

Wetsuit Hoods: Much of your body heat escapes from your head. Trap it in and stay warmer longer with a quality wetsuit hood.



mens fleece jackets

Hoodies and Fleece: Pulling on a warm hoodie or fleece after surfing provides much needed warmth.


mens jackets

Jackets: Pack a jacket for those cold surf checks and post-surf relaxation outdoors. Sometimes a hoodie isn’t enough, and you can easily find a vast range of warmth and styles. Packable jackets are great when your luggage space is limited.


mens technical layers

Performance Layers: In cold climates, layering is essential. A good moisture-wicking shirt and leggings can absorb sweat and keep you warmer.

mens sweatpants

Sweats and Leggings: Putting on a dry pair of sweatpants or leggings after surfing can be phenomenal and can double up as a travel outfit.

dockhand style beanies

Beanies: Beanies provide instant warmth, letting you stay outside longer, enjoy the cooler weather, and recharge between surf sessions.


mens neck warmers

Neck Warmer: When the wind is whipping and you're checking the frosty lineup, a good neck warmer will do you wonders.

mens winter boots

Sneakers and Boots: Sturdy, warm boots and sneakers are the perfect choice for after-surf comfort.


mens socks

Warm Socks: Socks are not all created equal. Find warm, cozy, and breathable socks to pack before you head off on your trip.


mens gloves

Gloves: Keep your extremities warm, starting with your hands.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Hand Warmers: When on land, produce heat on demand with handheld hand warmers. Add them inside gloves for ultimate warmth.
  • Thermal Insoles: You can wick away moisture and keep your feet toasty with thermal insoles, giving you a surprising heat and comfort boost.
  • Moisturizer: Cold, dry weather can dry out your skin. Bring along some lotion and avoid cracking and drying.
  • Flask: Whatever you can do to keep yourself warm. That flask can lift your spirits and relax you in the cold.

Being prepared for your next surf trip will pay off. Whether heading to a reef break in the tropics or a deserted, frigid coastline, packing the appropriate gear will make all the difference. Grab your stuff and enjoy the trip.