Kepa Acero is one of the world's great surf explorers. The Basque goofyfooter has discovered perfect lefts at the bottom of the world and grinding rights on the sub-continent. He’s been stuck in the African desert with three flat tyres, each one taking a six-hour round trip to fix. He has surfed Peruvian points, Scottish slabs, and Alaskan A-Frames, and spent a life uploading inspirational travel stories of a life of adventure. 

After two, mostly solo, decades on the road, his thirst for travel has never slacked. As he embarks on yet another African adventure (Angola this time), we picked his brain on how to pack light. 

1. Keep It Simple

I try to keep my life simple, and the same applies to my travels. By packing light, you have less weight to carry, and less to worry about. Even when I keep my packing as basic as I can, often on trips I’ll find myself wishing I had less. I’m usually traveling with just a backpack and a boardbag, and often I don’t have a car, so you need to be traveling as light as you can. 

2. Surfboards: versatility and durability

As a surfer, I’ll start the packing with my surfboards. The key to keeping that light is having maximum versatility and durability. With my shortest board, I’ll go smaller, wider, and flatter than my normal surfboard. You may lose some performance, but they are less likely to snap. I'll also take a thicker, bigger board, like a mid-length for my step-up. If you get a perfect day, often the waves are bigger, and you don’t want to miss out, as those are the memorable sessions. My rule is if I break one of the boards then the other should be able to deal with any type of waves. I will say the sturdy wheels on the Db board bag have made a huge difference. I can now take a third board, sized in between the two above, as the extra weight doesn’t make much difference in terms of mobility. 

3. Wetsuits, fins, and leashes (but no towel)

I’ll take the one wetsuit that I wear most of the time, as they are a heavy ticket item, especially when wet. I’ll bring two sets of fins that fit all my boards and cover all the surf conditions I’m expecting. And I never take a towel. You can always find a towel everywhere you go. 

4. Clothes: Earthy Tones

I think the most common packing mistake is that people pack too many clothes. Especially if you are traveling to a warm place, you don’t need much. I take clothes that don’t show up the dirt and the dust;so a lot of dark, safari or khaki colours. This also helps you keep a low profile, which is sometimes helpful, especially at some of the places I travel, where they are not used to seeing people like me. The same goes with shoes; I’ll have a pair of sandals, which are good for the heat, and a pair of good-quality leather or suede desert boots. I mean I don't go the gym, so these are hard-wearing, but are fine in the airport or on social occasions.

5. Luxury Item: Coffee Maker

The one weighty, almost luxury item, is a small coffee maker I take everywhere I go. It’s portable, manually operated, and doesn’t need a battery or electricity. I’ve travelled without it, but I missed it so much. On the flip side, I’ll pack just a small shower gel which I use for everything. And once on the road I usually grow a beard, so I don’t have to worry about shaving cream and razors. I’d rather have facial hair and good coffee.

6. Camera Gear

A bit like the surfboards, I aim for durability and versatility. When I’m doing my own filming, I have a basic 30-200mm camera with video and a GoPro for the surf action. The camera doesn’t give you amazing quality, but it does the job, it's small, durable, and can be stashed away easily. 

Kepa Acero's Instagram

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