The school summer holidays are here, the sun is out and the surf is pumping! So where better to spend some time than on a surf camping trip in the UK or Europe? I spent my summers as a child camping and surfing around Cornwall, Devon and Wales in particular, so here are my top tips on what to take with you!
As the main purpose of your camping trip is to surf, the first things to organise are your surf equipment. If you are lucky enough to have your own surfboard, make sure it is protected on the journey by a robust surfboard travel bag or sock, and pack it out with soft things such as your towel, dry robe or hoodie. Make sure you have plenty of surf wax of the correct temperature for the water (cold or cool in the UK) and put this into your surfboard bag too so you don’t forget it! Double check your fins and leash before you go to make sure they are in good condition. If you are thinking of buying your own surfboard this summer, check out our guide to buying your first surfboard here.
Your wetsuit and swimming gear should be next on the list. By July, the sea temperature in the South of the UK should be warm enough for a 3/2 mm full length wetsuit. I still wear a rash vest underneath and take my wetsuit boots in case I want to be in the water for a long time, but mostly don’t wear them. Pack a bikini, swimsuit or boardshorts for underneath or for a quick dip in the sea. Don’t forget a towel or dry robe for after your surf! I also always make sure I have a trug tub or changing mat with me too as they are so convenient for putting wet kit in and getting changed into to stop things getting sandy. A dry bag or few are also really useful to protect important things from getting wet on the beach or to put wet things in.
So the other side of this trip is the camping side of things. Whether in a campervan, caravan or tent, camping does need quite a bit of kit, and it is easy to get carried away and bring everything you think you might need, packing the car as full as it can go! On the other hand, a good surf camping trip doesn’t need to over complicate things, with surfing being the main priority. Getting back to basics might be just what you need.
A tent is pretty important if you aren’t in a van or caravan. Then a sleeping bag and comfortable sleeping mat or airbed so you can get a good night’s sleep ready for surfing the next day! A light or head torch are always useful to find your way to the loo in the night, and some camping table and chairs bring some comfort to your set up, especially for breakfast and in the evenings at the campsite. A washing line or clothes rack is really useful to dry your wetsuit and towel ready for the next day, and don’t forget some warmer clothes for in the evening too.
A small gas stove is useful if only to boil some water for a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, and I think a summer camping trip is not complete without a BBQ on the beach or in the campsite. Don’t forget your reusable coffee cup, water bottle, cutlery and plates.
And no surf camping trip is complete without some time just chilling on the beach too! The art of making a good beach camp to come back to after your surf is definitely worth it, especially if there is a group of you together. A pop up beach tent or large umbrella is great to create some shade on the beach, to protect your skin from the sun. A rug is good to sit on and stop things getting sandy while you read your book in the sun or eat your sandwiches. Beach games are also good additions to your surf camping trip, such as frisbee, beach cricket and beach bats. Most importantly, don’t forget sun cream (at least factor 30), a sun hat and sunglasses to protect yourself on the beach. If the sun is particularly strong and you are in the sea a lot then I would definitely recommend solid zinc sun cream for your face as it doesn’t wash off as easily.
THE KIT LIST
- Surfboard Bag
- Surf Wax
- Rash Vest
- Bikini/ Swimsuit/ Boardshorts
- Trug for wet things
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Mat/ Airbed
- Head Torch
- Camping Lamp
- Table & Chairs
- Washing Line for Wetsuit
- Cool Box
- Reusable plates, mugs, cutlery
- Water Bottle
- Gas Stove/ BBQ
- Matches/ Lighter
- Beach Tent/ Parasol
- Sun Cream
- Warmer clothes for the evening
- Dry Bags for wet gear