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Miyagi - 25 / Apr / 2017

Packing for Roller Derby Travel

Whenever I'm packing for derby - be it for a home game, away game, tournament weekend, bootcamp of longer travel - I like to do it as efficient as possible. There are items I CAN NOT forget (skates!!), and I always try to avoid checking in my luggage (risk of getting lost, and hello extra costs!). So here are some tips on what to pack and how to pack for any derby adventure.

Packing for Roller Derby Travel

What to pack for travelling to a roller derby game, bootcamp or tournament

Pre-game jitters might make packing somewhat chaotic. Relax, take a breath and go through this list. You might have a bunch of this covered, maybe you forgot about a thing or two. So here are the basics and some tips. Use whatever works for you and take avantage of this downloadable complete packing list.

Basic Skate Gear

  • Skates
  • Pads (elbow, wrist, knee!)
  • Helmet
  • Mouth Guard
    -- Maybe take a second mouth guard, because these get easily lost and let’s face it, borrowing a mouthguard is just gross
  • Water bottle
  • Both team colors uniforms
    -- Don't forget your pants!

  • Extra laces
  • Extra wheels
    -- A wheel use suggestion is exactly that: a suggestion. It is helpful, but might not be exactly what you are comfortable with, so -if you can- take another set of wheels with you
  • Extra axle nuts
    -- No one ever carries a spare one, and it is so easily lost when changing your wheels. If you skate on roll line 7mm plates, this is a MUST
  • Skate tool
  • First aid kit (incl Ice Pack)

Other practical things 

  • If there's no shower in the venue: Wet wipes.
    -- If there's no shower in the venue, these allow for a quick wash that will get you through the after party.
  • (fast dry) towel, shower gel, shampoo
    -- If there is a shower in the venue, you'll be so happy to freshen up. That derby smell just needs to get off.
  • Change of clothes
  • Sanitary protection 
  • A book or MP3 player
    -- will sooth your travel, but also you mind at any other given moment
  • Phone charger
  • Ear plugs and Eyecover
    -- because a decent night of sleep is EVERYTHING, and earplugs are really welcome in a loud venue


The what? If the apocalype is near and you have got to run and grab one bag, what is in it? Nah, that's too dramatic. 
If you’re bouting or traveling regularly, you might be interested in having a grab bag. It’s a small bag to stash some essentials, which you can keep in your travel or skate bag at all times. It’ll cut your packing time and you’ll definitely have the basic necessities with you. A small survival kit so to speak.
Item you might put in there: (small) toothbrush and mini toothpaste, hair band, spare cash, mini shampoo/shower gel, mini packet of wet wipes, clean underwear, necessary medication, tweezers, mini scissors...

Saving space

Some simple packing tips can save a lot of space, reduce packing stress and relieve you from a chaotic one-item-search as well.

  • Roll your clothes. It saves space, makes it easier to puzzle in your bag and reduces wrinkles. 
  • Zip lock bags are IT. Fill them with your (rolled up) and press out the air to reduce the volume. Gather smaller items in them. Stuff your liquids in one and keep it in an easy reachable pocket so you’ll find it fast when going trough airport security. Take extras, there will always be a use for them.
  • Take the wheels off your skates. It’s a 4 minute job, but it saves so much space to work with.
  • Clip your helmet to the outside of your bag.
  • Stuff socks (and undies) in your shoes or skates.
  • Use small liquid bottles for shampoo and shower gel. You don’t need a +250ml bottle for a trip and you can keep them in your carry on when using a 100ml or smaller bottle. 
  • Not a space saver, but definitely practical: pack the heaviest items on the bottom of your bag (or closest to the wheels ;)). It’ll make for easier carrying your backpack or pulling your rolling bag


How to bring all that stuff from one place to the other

The list of things to bring is long and all this stuff weighs a ton. Your regular backpack might not suffice, so think about the bag you want to use for derby travel. 

ROLLER DERBY BACKPACK - These backpacks have extra features over a regular backpack, and while they might seem minimal, they will make a difference if you plan to use this backpack for a long time in derby. Extra pockets, practical pockets and zippers to reach for small items, extra padding on the back and shoulder straps, skate holders on the sides, ventilation (derby stink!), reinforced stitching, water bottle pocket/hanger… 
Back packs are easy to carry and practical in use, but they might feel heavy with all the derby gear and extras.

Here are some examples: 

Radar Backpack - Massive interior space large enough to hold skates, pads, helmet, and lots of extras.

Reckless Skate Pack - Messenger bag style roll top opening, with a 'helmet net' and plenty of pockets and compartments on the outside. This must be the most voluminous backpack around.

Reckless Backpack - Strong, with extra padding on shoulders and back and easy reach pockets on the front, sides and top.

Atom Wheels Backpack - Strong nylon, with straps to hold your skates on the outside of the backpack and thus saving space on the inside.

Seba Backpack - has an airflow system on the back, skate strap system to hold your skates on the outside of the bag and has a rain cover!

Juice Pro Backpack - Extra padding on the lower back and on the shoulder straps, detachable small messenger bag, a detachable bottom compartment and rain cover!

ROLLER DERBY ROLLING BAG - As your packing list gets longer, the weight you’ll travel with gets heavier. Especially when you add a set of extra wheels. Rolling bags might save your back and will feel so much more comfortable during longer walks from train station or airport to skate venue. Some Rolling bags have detachable back packs, which are so practical to zip off and sling around your shoulders when you don’t need to carry around all the bigger/heavier stuff. Other specs you might like are strong durable wheels, an efficient oversight of all your packed stuff in the carry-on bag, ventilated compartments to separate your gear from your clothes, …

When you cycle to practice, this might not be your favorite solution ;)

Here are some examples:

Atom Trolley - has a detachable small backpack, fits all your gear (incl helmet), features durable nylon and strong zippers

Riedell Travel Bag - Simple but strong rolling bag, with streamlined extra pockets on the top so you can stuff away your keys, phone, passport; but also a spare set of clothes, separate from your derby gear.

RD Elite Travel Bag - has a detachable backpack which can hold a lot if you pack efficiently. Water bottle holder is oversized and will hold almost any size water bottle. Plenty of different sized pockets on the backpack and also a wide one on the actual travel bag for easy access to practical items such as your phone, passport, charger etc

Antik Roller Bag - Advanced rolling bag with  but strong rolling bag, with different accessory pockets, utility straps, and an elastic cargo net on the exterior of the bag.

Photo by Track Vader

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