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Surf Trip Packing List – A Girl’s Guide to Packing for Indo

By August 2, 2017 No Comments
Surf Trip Packing List!!!  OMG, the day has finally come! We’re going on our annual Surf Trip to Indonesia.  I am counting the sleeps… Counting the sleeps until that first bite of nasi goreng, counting the sleeps until the smell of clove cigarettes hits my nose, counting the sleeps until my first warm water surf!  Hell, I am even counting the sleeps until I can start packing!
You know you’re excited about a trip when you’re excited to pack!
Every trip is different but I think I’ve got packing for an Indo Surf Trip down to a science. This is our 2 year old’s THIRD time to Indonesia. For mama and papa, we’ve been to Indo more times than we can count.  I’ve been with too much stuff, I’ve been with too few boards and I’ve had to buy extra luggage as well.   So here’s my Surf Trip Packing List, this list could be used for any hardcore surf trip – Costa Rica, Maldives, Mexico – you name it, but in particular, this Packing List should get you slotted in Indonesia.


  • 2-3 Surfboards – Quiver queries?  The ultimate riddle, Bat Girl? For me, deciding which boards make the cut for my trip is the hardest part.  Harder than dresses, harder than bikinis, harder than the 400 natural remedies I want to bring.  If I were going to Bali to party and surf, I’d only bring 2 boards – a regular short board and a set-up.  This trip, we’re spending 10 of our 23 days in the Telos Islands trying to get barreled.  Thus, I am packing my 5’5″ regular shortboard, 5’9″ step-up barrel board and 6’2″ DHD Sweet Spot Gun (for me).  Since our Surf Stoked Dad is on the trip and bringing 3 boards my quiver instantly doubles! Yay, variety is the spice of life!
  • Surf Suits – It’s winter in Australia, therefore, surf_trip_packing_listI am white AF.  My pasty skin is longing for the sun but not a sunburn so I’ll be packing several surf suits and even a turtle neck rash guard! In the last few years, I’ve been really proactive in covering up from the sun.  Call me a mom, I dare you.
  • Surf tights – You know what’s white, lying face up and about to burn? Your ASS.  All the cute surf suits in the world won’t save yo’ ass from the blistering sun as you paddle around all day.  That’s why you need some UPF rated surf or yoga tights.  You can basically wear any lightweight tights in the water with a rash guard to ensure you don’t get red butt.
  • Booties – Booties look really lame in pictures but are an absolute necessity when surfing in Indonesia to avoid cut up feet, infections and no more surfing.  Get them on the small side, the fit should be tight, not floppy.
  • Surf Hat – The nerd alert doesn’t stop there… This year, I’ll be sporting a surf hat. Like my dad and your dad but without the dad bod.
  • Sunscreen – If you haven’t noticed, there’s a theme going here: protect yourself from the sun as much as possible.  Hanging out in the sun all day in tropical countries will take the life out of you.  Sunstroke, sunburns, less energy are all possible in the Indonesian sun.  Thus, the cherry on top of all this other sun protection gear is a good quality, natural sunscreen and zinc stick.  I go for natural, non-greasy sunscreen like Little Urchin (Australia) and ThinkBaby (U.S.A.) plus a heavy zinc stick and I apply and reapply all day long.  For more on sunscreen, check out my post here.
  • Fresh leashes – You know you’re old trusty surf leash that you don’t remember buying, yeah, don’t bring that to Indonesia.  Surf leashes stretch and weaken over time and can and will snap at a moments notice.  Bye, bye board.  Hello razor sharp reef.  Also, look for regular thickness leashes rather than Comp leashes and a 7ft or longer leash is necessary if you’re going to handle the bigger stuff.
  • surf_trip_packing_list_indo

    Fins, Fins, Fins!

    Fins – Many surfers overlook the importance of fins.  Take some time to learn about your fins before you go on your Surf Trip. The stock standard fins that come with your board may not be the best choice for steeper waves and different fins can make boards feel completely different.  Plus, you want to have a spare set or two unless you lose one to the reef.  If you need convincing, take a walk around the rocks at Padang Padang in Bali at low tide and check out how many long lost fins you find.

  • Swim Fins & Snorkel – I’ll be packing my DaFins so I can take pictures with my GoPro and do some snorkeling if the surf goes flat.
  • Ding Repair Kit – At the very least make sure you have Solarex that works for PU and Epoxy boards if you are traveling with both.  Better yet is a small kit that includes everything you need to fix a hole.


  1. Go Pro?/Camera Gear – I love taking photos and making videos while I travel.  These days my camera kit includes the  Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with a 50mm and 40-150mm lens, a GoPro Hero 5 with tripod and selfie stick and an iPhone 6. I also pack extra batteries and a heap of memory cards!
  2. Speaker – Gotta have music for pool parties and sunset sessions.  My waterproof Nixon Blaster is an essential item!
  3. Laptop – I am bringing an older MacBook Pro with lots of free hard drive space to load up the pictures and videos after each day.  If you aren’t super into photography, the laptop is something I’d leave at home – one less thing to get stolen, damaged and to carry.


  1. 1 Weeks Worth of Clothes – Disclaimer: this may sound crazy if you love clothes, but you only need one week worth of clothes, that’s it. Repeat after me, whether you’re going overseas for one week or six, you only need one week worth of clothes, particularly in hot climates like Indonesia.  You are on a surf trip so expect to wear more board shorts/bikinis/surf suits/rash guards than anything else.  When you are on dry land you really only need enough to get by for 7 days – underwear, shirts, shorts, a couple of nice dresses or playsuits – because laundry is dirt cheap and less is always more while traveling.  Plus, this allows you to carry less and bring back more if you so desire. I use one Kathmandu Packing cell  for each family member’s clothing and a sack for each person’s swimsuit collection.
  2. 1 Pair of Thongs, 1 Pair of Runners and 1 Pair of Nice Flats – I am only taking runners because I plan to hike the volcano is Bali and have heard you need real shoes.  Nice flats are fun for places in Seminyak but not a absolute necessity because there will be a whole bunch to buy.
  3. Sarong – Take one or wait and buy when you get there.  Sarongs are very useful.  I’ve used mine as a blanket, a scarf, a picnic rug, a satchel to carry beach stuff and a baby carrier.
  4. Books – I never leave home without a good book or two.  You’ll be doing plenty of waiting with and without a Wifi signal in Indonesia.  Need a book recommendation? Click here: http://audreyh21.sg-host.com/2017/04/11/reads-road-book-list/
  5. Backpack – I usually bring a backpack as a carry-on and then have one to use wherever we go – in particular when traveling by scooter (bike-bike).
  6. Reusable Water Canteen – Plastic use in places like Indonesia is gnarly and sad.   You’ll know what I mean when you see plastic bags, bottles, and all forms of waste floating pass you while surfing at some the world’s most beautiful beaches.  I bring my Hydro Flask even though we cannot normally drink the water from the tap.  You can fill up wherever filter water is available or buy the largest size plastic bottles and fill up as you go.
  7. Travel Insurance – An absolute necessity travel insurance has saved and lengthened my trip on many occasions.  Check with your credit card provider, many offer travel insurance as part of the terms of the card.
  8. Medi-Evac Insurance – Thankfully, I’ve never had to use it but for trips to remote parts of the world, I always buy Medi-Evac insurance from Global Rescue.  Basically, this company will come and rescue from anywhere in the world and put you on a helicopter, medical flight or regular flight back to a 1st world hospital.  I know it’s legit because I have had friends “test” the service and be evacuated from places in remote Fiji.  Don’t take chances, it’s only your life!
That may seem like a lot of crap but most of it is pretty essential when you are traveling to remote Indonesia and things like surf wax and sunscreen are unavailable…  I generally pack and then do an evaluation and cull a bunch of stuff.  I hate being weighed down by too many personal effects especially clothes I don’t need.  Normally, I live by the maxim that I probably don’t need X and if I really do, I can always buy it there.  Surf Trips like this are a little different because you will be living in isolation for lengths of time, that’s why a checklist like this Surf Trip Packing List comes in handy.
One thing I don’t leave home without (I take this stuff to work, I swear) is my Travel Remedy Kit…  Check it out here.
I am open to suggestions to make our trip better and this packing list complete, is there anything I left out that was a lifesaver for you on your last surf trip?

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