Keys to Skate Trip Success
Road trips are the heart of skateboarding. Get out of your usual spots and find somewhere new to grind your trucks and slide your wheels. Eat new foods, climb new mountains, and dive into some icy water. Skate trips are about the journey as much as they are about skateboarding. Road trip mishaps make great stories, but some things aren't the best to figure out on your own. Take some tips from our experienced crew of road warriors and get your next trip on track.
There's a fine line between winging it and suffocating the freedom of road life. Budget, set the dates, get your shifts covered, and establish a general route, but don't over think it. Establish priorities with the crew but be flexible. You can't always get to everything you want. Remember why you're out there. Enjoy the moment, and try not to stress about the timeline.
WHAT TO BRING:
- Tent - Don't waste money on hotels. A hammock can be a great alternative in the right climate.
- Sleeping Bag - Warmth.
- Knife - The world's best tool.
- Wallet - Don't eff this one up.
- Toilet Paper - This is your ticket to shit. Dig a hole and let it drop.
- Socks - Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks.
- Skateboard - This one seems pretty obvious but we've seen people forget it. It's always a good idea to bring an extra deck. You don't want to be the guy that snaps his and can't skate until you find a town with a decent skate shop.
- Positive Attitude - This is the most important. Long days, lack of sleep, and zero personal space wears on everyone. You're bound to hit some hiccups along the way. Don't be bummed if things don't go as planned. No matter what, remember why you're out there in the first place. Enjoy the little things and skate, skate, skate.
You're gonna want this stuff:
- Pillow - You might think of this as an essential item, but over the years, pillows have always been on our list of most frequently forgotten items. There's lots of ways to improvise. My favorite is to roll up your pants, wrap them in a hoodie, and stick them in your sleeping bag stuff sack. Firm, but functional.
- Sleeping Pad - A night on hard ground isn't bad once you've knocked back a few brewskis, but it wears on your mind and body after a while.
- Head Lamp - Flashlights are good and all, but its pretty convenient to have everything in your line of sight illuminated without losing 50% of your hand function. Plus, night sessions.
- Packs & Bags - Your school bag can get you there, but a legit backpack or travel bag helps you fit more and stay organized.
- Pants & Shoes - All day skate sessions will blow out your gear faster than you'd expect. Bring extras.
- Cooler - Food poisoning is a real thing. Nothing is worse than losing control of your bodily functions, especially when you're in the middle of nowhere. Avoid fast food as much as possible and cook your meals over the campfire. Your bowels and taste buds will thank you.
- Car charger - These days, your phone is your guide to life. Keep it alive. If you're filming and shooting photos, a power inverter will come in handy for charging batteries.
- Biodegradable Soap - Showers are hard to come by. With the right soap, a little creek is all you need. Dr. Bronner's is our favorite for tingly goodness.
- Camping Stove - Some things aren't easy to cook on a fire. Propane burners can whip up a meal (or coffee) anywhere, anytime.
- Cargo Box - Rocket box, roof tube, whatever you call it, extra space is always helpful. Digging through boards, scraping your knuckles on griptape, and reorganizing the trunk every time you need to get into your bag sucks. Keep your boards and camping gear up top makes life on the road far more pleasant.
- Camping Chairs - If you've got space, a comfy seat makes happy feet.
- Walkie Talkies - These are good fun if you're traveling with multiple vehicles. If you're skating downhill, they might save your life.
- Random Accessories - We've compiled a huge list of road trip accessories from coffee mugs to dice, that may come in handy during your journey.
Whether you're in a luxury RV or an '88 Corolla, you can make it work. I've spent two weeks with four dudes in a Mazda Protege. Bigger can be better but it'll ding you on gas mileage. Pile in what you've got and get on the road.
- Crashing with a local is always first choice. Local knowledge, less bugs (usually), and maybe even a shower if you're lucky.
- Camping is a close second. If you're doing it right, you're not paying 30 bucks to camp in a field next to RV's, barking dogs, screaming kids, and pit toilets. National Forest camping is free, quiet, and secluded. If you're having trouble finding a spot, ask a skatepark local or a gas station attendant. They might also be able to point you in the direction of a swimming hole where you can wash your stanky body. Freecampsites.net can also offer some decent advice.
- Stranger in a big city? Hostels are the way to go. They're a fraction of the price of a hotel and you might even meet some friendly European coeds.
- Walmart is not the most comfortable option, but the lights are on all night and you can legally camp in the parking lot if you have an RV. If you arrive late and get up early, you can get away with whatever sleeping arrangements you need. Use the dumper in the morning and get the hell out of there.
- Cheap hotel rooms for "two people" aren't bad if you split it four ways. You probably won't want to do it every night, but a mediocre bed and a luke warm shower is worth a little cash after a week of sleeping in the dirt.
DON'T BE THE GUY:
- Who yard sales his gear all over the car. Nobody wants to dig through your extra skate gear and crusty socks to get to their tooth brush.
- Who forgets the essentials. Your friends' sympathy only goes so far. Check the list and pick up what you're missing asap.
- Who complains all the time. Road trips are always a roller coaster. Stay positive. Hard times usually make the best stories.
- Who gets broke off the first day. Take 'er easy bud.
- Who runs out of money halfway through the trip. Save, budget, spend within your limits.
- Who doesn't bring enough socks. Just don't.
- Who gets way too drunk. We all like to party and everyone's been there, but you don't need to add piss and vomit to the reason's why you stink. It's also a huge bummer to miss a day of skating because you can hardly stand up.
There you have it. Learning to road trip like a pro could be the most useful skate trick you've learned in years. Hopefully this guide helped expand your knowledge and fortify your resources. Unless you've planned a pretty lame trip, you're probably still going to run into some issues along the way. That's all part of the adventure, so buck up, get out there, and have the best damn trip of your life!