Thursday, September 16, 2010


This is a list of what our instructors deem as fundamental gear for your course. Feel free to bring items that are not on this list, but please keep in mind that you will be responsible for your personal belongings. Do not bring more than you think you will be able to carry.

Prior to leaving our base, instructors lead students through a process we call the “Duffle Shuffle.” During this process you will be issued the necessary equipment for whichever phase of your course (trekking, surfing, etc.) that you are about to embark on. At this time, instructors will advise you as to which of your personal items you will not need or cannot take on course. Any such items will be locked in our storage facility on base and returned to you at the end of your course.

When packing, please keep in mind that rain, mud, and cold nights are inevitable. Good equipment can protect your body from these elements and really make a difference in your comfort level.

Personal Clothing

2-3 Pairs of casual/street clothes for travel
1-2 Tight-fitting rash guards for surfing
Underwear – lightweight, fast drying, non-cotton
3 Pairs (minimum) of serious hiking socks - wool or synthetic, such as Smartwool
4 T-shirts - highly preferable: non-cotton, fasting drying, and/or wicking fabric
3 Tank tops
2 Pairs of shorts – lightweight, fast drying, non-cotton
1 Pair of pants – lightweight, non-cotton (for mosquito protection)
1 Pair of Jeans or other comfortable pants
1 Lightweight non-cotton long sleeve shirt (for mosquito protection)
1 Fleece jacket – at Base Camp and during the hiking section, you will encounter cold nights
1-2 Bandanas
1 Baseball cap or wide brimmed hat
1 Beach towel or Sarong

Rain Gear

**You WILL get rained on during your course. Rain gear can make or break your trip. Take the time and spend the money to get quality rain gear.

1 Lightweight WATERPROOF/breathable rain jacket with a hood. Check at your local outdoor store (REI, EMS, etc.) for their store brand of jacket. Some people choose to use ponchos instead of buying a rain jacket. If you choose this option, please be aware that ponchos tear easily and often do not last the length of the course.

1 Large waterproof backpack cover

Foot Wear

1 Pair medium-weight, high-top hiking boots.
*When you are purchasing new boots make sure they are comfortable and come up ABOVE the ankle for good ankle support. BREAK IN YOUR BOOTS! If you purchase new boots, follow the advice of the sales representative/boot manufacturer as to the length of time you need to wear your boots to sufficiently break them in before arriving. The more your wear your boots before you arrive the less chance you’ll have of getting bad blisters. Students have had to leave their courses because of bad blisters caused by new boots!!! Don’t let this happen to you!

1 Pair non-Velcro sandals with ankle straps OR neoprene SCUBA/surfing shoes with a rubber sole. This is to protect your feet during the river section. We recommend Chacos, Keens or Tevas. Crocs are not recommended.

1 Pair of Flip-flops (for the beach/casual days)

For Women

2 Swimsuits – at least one needs to be a sports swimsuit for surfing and beach athletics
1 Pair of board shorts/swim trunks
2-3 Comfortable sports bras - non cotton if possible

Tampons – bring a good supply even if you do not expect to need them. You DO NOT want to be surprised on course. Try to find a brand without plastic applicators or that are bio-degradable. Menstrual cramp medication recommended if you normally need it.

For Men

2 Pairs of board shorts/swim trunks

Personal Gear

1 Pair gaiters, medium height – Gaiters are a valuable piece of equipment that help to keep water, mud and other debris out of your hiking boots.
1 Pair UVA/UVB protection sunglasses - polarized lenses are best for the water
2 Nalgenes or other wide-mouth water bottles - 1L each
1 Camelback – just the plastic bag and hose, backpack not necessary. *Very helpful on long hikes.
1 Fox 40 whistle (non-cork ball)
1 Headlamp with extra batteries - Energizer brand headlamps have proven to be durable as well as cost efficient for course
1 Box of large Ziploc-type plastic bags
2 Bottles of insect repellant (weaker strength for day, stronger strength for night)
2 Aloe Vera gel or other sunburn creams
1 Lip salve or balm with sunscreen
2 Bottles of waterproof sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
1 Tube zinc oxide sun protection - if you burn easily this is the best sunscreen for you
1 Pack towel (shammy)
1 Full size bath towel and/or beach towel (CRROBS does not provide any towels)
1 Roll Duct tape (small roll)
1 Personal journal, paper, envelopes, and pens - we gladly provide postage for letters home


Your toiletry kit should include toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, biodegradable shampoo/conditioner, foot powder, deodorant (unscented), antibacterial hand sanitizer, brush or comb, etc.

Because you will be in Costa Rica for such a long time it is natural to bring large bottles of shampoo/conditioner, sunscreen, toothpaste etc. However, you will not want to carry these large bottles in your backpack during the hiking section. Please bring small refillable bottles (travel size) to carry while backpacking. Your back will thank you.


Moleskin or Molefoam (for blister protection) is strongly recommended
1 Bottle of Swimmer’s Ear to help prevent ear infections

NOTE: Instructors carry complete First Aid kits on all courses, so you only need to bring medications that are specific to your needs. If you are taking prescription medicines or have glasses/contacts, bring backup supplies (up to twice the normal amount – in case of loss/emergency.)

Travel Documents/Money

Your passport (must be valid for at least six months)

Your plane ticket and copies of your flight itinerary to assist us in planning transportation for your return flight

A photocopy of the picture ID page of your passport

$500 US CASH or Credit Card for medical emergency and personal items


1 Pair of lightweight trekking poles – these will protect your knees during the hiking phase.
2-3 Pairs of synthetic sock liners – NOT COTTON
1 Extra pair of boot laces
3mm spring suit (shorty wetsuit) – only for Fall Semester students. If you get cold easily, this is a good idea.
1 Small dry bag
Camera(s) – disposable/disposable waterproof are good options. If you bring a more expensive camera, we recommend a small dry bag or other waterproof case to store it. If you bring a digital camera, consider bringing extra batteries and memory cards.
1- 2 Secure straps (“Croakies”) for your sunglasses and/or glasses, if applicable
Camp/travel hammock – “Eagles nest” or Hennessy hammocks made of lightweight nylon are best. Many students buy a traditional hammock in Costa Rica before leaving the country as a souvenir, but this will not be available until the end of the course.
2-3 Books for your reading pleasure
1 Travel size sewing kit
1 Travel pillow
1 Mosquito net – students in the past have said these are VERY helpful for Nicaragua
1 Spanish-English dictionary
1 Deck of cards or other travel game

CRROBS Provides

Hiking backpack (if you have your own you are welcome to use it!)
Sleeping bag and pads
Meal kit
All necessary river equipment


YOU DO NOT NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN BOARD! It is not a good idea to buy a board if you are a new surfer, just for this course--you can rent a board from us.

However, if you insist on bringing  your board with you to Costa Rica:

Ensure that it is carefully packaged for transport- if you need suggestions for this, ask!Be sure to bring all necessary parts: fins, bolts leash, bag, etc. and necessary tools specific to your board.CRROBS provides surf wax.

Think carefully about bringing your own board- it may be damaged in flight or on course. CRROBS is not responsible for any such damages should they occur.


The following items will not be allowed while you are on course and will have to be left at our base. You may consider leaving them at home:

Cell phones – Cell phones will most likely not work once you land in Costa Rica and therefore are only useful in US airports. Regardless of service, they are not permitted on course.

I-pods or other music devices- These items will be put in our safe at the beginning of the course and you will not have access to them again until the last day of your course.

Watches/ Clocks- If you are used to checking your wrist every five minutes, it’s time to relax. =) If you bring a watch with you, you will be asked to leave it at base. We find that students enjoy themselves much more if they aren’t worried about the time.

Pocket Knives or Multi-Tools- We supply all the cutting implements you will need for your course; personal ones will need to be left on base.

Lighters- Our instructors carry all fire-starting devices you will need for camping and cooking activities on course.

ANY OTHER PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES- (with the exception of cameras) must be left behind once you start your course, so think carefully before bringing them.

We take this very seriously! Violations are grounds for expulsion from course. If you have questions, please ask.

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