Packing List: Surf Trips and Music Festivals

Packing List: Surf Trips and Music Festivals

Accept the filth. That’s got to be the motto. And the heat, you have to accept the heat.

Music festivals and feral surf trips. There’s a lot of similarity between the two.

I just recently spent 7 days at bonnaroo, a big music festival in Tennessee. It’s also in the middle of summer. The heat. Accept the heat. Hydrate. That’s an important word and concept. Hydrate!

I was in a tent for 7nights up there at bonnaroo. I’ve also lived in a tent for months at a time in central america on extended surf trips. I can accept the filth and quite happily do.

While I was up there, partying, not sleeping, listening to damn good music, dealing with the heat, drinking water, finding shade, dealing with 85,000 other people, and having the privilege to use only porta-potties for a week, I thought about the similarities between surf trips and music festivals.

Here’s a rundown of some things that can make that feral surf trip, rural camping, and music festivals a bit better.

Hydrate:  I think this is probably numero uno (besides wet wipes). You absolutely have to stay properly hydrated. That’s especially relevant when you’re surfing your ass off for 6 hours per day in some tropical heat, or partying your ass off in some middle america summer heat.

Water, and then some more, and then probably a bit more. Something that makes this even more efficient is some type of electrolyte powder. You can also use some sea salt.

What I generally do is use a combination of sea salt, a salt substitute (because it’s potassium generally), and a bit more pickling salt (pure NaCl – that’s sodium chloride for those that didn’t do to well in chemistry).

I generally put a couple pinches of that mix in my water. You can also just buy an electrolyte mix, but the homemade mix will definitely do the job. Squeeze some oranges or lemons in there as well and you’re sorted.

At bonnaroo, I was probably drinking at least 15 bottles of water per day. The hydration part is no joke. When people start throwing booze, heat, and drugs into the mix, some nasty shit can happen to your body. I saw a couple people fall out and have to get carried out unconscious. Drink water.

Wet-Wipes: I haven’t ever taken these on a surf trip before, but for a music festival where taking porta-dumps are necessary, these moist little towelettes are the bomb!

Now that I’ve become acquainted with how wonderful these wet-wipes are, they will definitely be going into my surf trip bag. Whether its to clean off your hands, or your ass, they’re worth it.

Greens Powders: If you’re traveling or music-festivaling (I made that word up), you’re likely not eating as you normally do.

Throw some heavy partying in there and now there’s even more of a reason to get your vitamins and supplement your diet. Greens Powders offer an easy source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, that are otherwise probably missing in your diet.

Mix it into some water, throw it back, and get on with your day. This is the one I’ve been using lately: Green Vibrance

Knife:  Have a good knife with you. This should be basic traveling knowledge. The leatherman multi-tools are legit.

Sunscreen:  I would hope that this is self-explanatory. There is something I think you should consider though. Your skin is one of your largest organs, and it’s permeable.

 What you apply on you skin gets absorbed into the body. Logical thinking would conclude that you should be aware of what your rub on your skin, and there’s some gnarly stuff in commercial sunscreen.

Badger is a good one I’ve used in the past. Here’s a good rundown of things you should look for. Sunscreen Report
A brand I’ve used a lot traveling is this one: Badger Sunscreen

Big-Ass Hat:  These can be a hassle to travel with, but they’re entirely worth it. Or whatever surf travel destination you end up at, by a local big ass straw hat.

Canned Sardines: Whenever I travel I take a couple cans of these with me. Try to find them in Olive Oil, NOT canola, safflower, or some other low quality vegetable oil.

These little fishies are an exceptionally nutrient dense snack and high in protein which is usually a bit deficient in a traveling or music-festivaling diet. Throw some hot sauce on em’ and you’ll be killing it.

Ear Plugs: These are cheap and absolutely worth it. Helps you to sleep on planes, when people are still partying outside your tent or hostel, or when you’re surfing some rank ass post-rain surf.

ZipLoc Bags: I always have a few of these in my bag. They will get used at some point, and they take up minimal space. Bring a few.

Quality Rain Coat:  Sometimes you want to be dry. A good rain jacket will last few years, and they generally take up minimal space.

Lemon Deodorant: Feral surf trips, nobody is caring about the smell. The same probably holds true for music festivals. But if you’re still wanting a deodorant, I’ve found that the best natural and cheap deodorant is lemon.

Seriously, just rub some lemon in your pits. A thin slice, rub it around, let it dry, and no kidding, it seriously works. I’ve gone through a bunch of “natural” deodorants, and honestly find a lemon has been the best.

Long Sleeve Shirt: Some type of breathable long sleeve shirt, you’ve gotta have one. Nice to keep the sun off, and not necessarily have to be lathered in sunscreen sweat grease filth. Score some style and opt for a button up floral print.

Duct Tape: This will get used at some point, without a doubt.

Good Boardshorts

That’s the list off the top of my head.

Bonnaroo was a great time. Flying Lotus, Run The Jewels, SBTRKT, Between the Buried and Me, and Sylvan Esso were the top shows I saw up there. Flying Lotus’ visual show is insane, and absolutely worth checking out at some point if you get a chance to see him live.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some good additions to the list so please let me know what I’m missing.


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  • What green powders are you into? I'm currently using Athletic Greens (www.athleticgreens.com), which I am a fan of.
  • Good list - 2 absolute essentials missing for me would be Vaseline(seriously!) and a head torch
  • cathalg good call on both.  essentails

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