Your Derby Travel Checklist
OMG. You're packing for the L.A. Derby Dolls Bootcamp...or the Northeast Derby Convention...or an away game...or a home game that's like a four-minute walk from your place.
Aside from maybe a suitcase and snacks, what goes in your derby bag is pretty much the same, minus some draconian carry-on luggage laws if you're flying. Here's what you SHOULD do before packing up your skates. And helmet. And elbow pads. And, and, and. And then what you need to pack so you don't wind up riding the pine. Because you only have one elbow pad.
Got 'em? Good? Nope, not even. Take a look at your skates.
Trucks: make sure they're adjusted the way you like them. Does that mean putting them on in your living room? Sure. Or like...at the last practice before your whatever, you wanna make sure they're the way you like 'em.
Toe stops: make sure they're there, screwed in or safely secured. DO NOT CHANGE, MODIFY, OR DO ANYTHING WEIRD to your toe stops before playing in them unless they've spontaneously combusted. It's strange how minor adjustments here can really mess you up.
Wheels: you probably carry a few sets. Do that, especially if you don't know what the surface is that you're skating on. Make sure they're clean, that you have eight of each set, and they're in reasonable condition.
Bearings: you have 16 of them, they roll smoothly (pro tip: put a bearing between your thumb and forefinger and give it a spin!), and they're greasy.
Mounting bolts: they attach your plate to your boot. Are they all there? Are they tight? (You have no idea how many times I've flipped my skates over to see one is missing.)
Plates: there are no cracks, hairline whispers of brewing trouble, and they look as they should.
Pivot cups: they're not cracked or broken, your truck isn't grinding in that little hole (dirty) and they don't need replacing.
Kingpins: they're still there, in the holes they need to be in. We've seen some suddenly shorn kingpins from them being loose and they can really damage a plate, beyond repair, so a quick visual here and there is a GOOD THING.
Pads: make sure your pads attach properly and that your straps still work, even if they're supported with tape. Make sure there are no cracks in protective covers and that you have two of everything you need to have two of. Most common oversight is one of something that should be TWO.
Helmet: all the squashy parts that help your helmet fit well are present and accounted for. Do a quick inspection of your helmet for any cracks, inside and out. Sure, you probably haven't fallen on your head recently, and if you have, you're not doing this check. People toss their gear bags around, throw their stuff on floor, and lots of helmets live outside gear bags. Your helmet may have taken a blow, so it's a good idea to check it every time you plan to stick your head in it.
Mouthguard: make sure it fits. For us in Ottawa, our mouthguards melt in cars in the summer and shrink when they freeze in the winter so the fit may not always be ideal. Make sure your mouthguard fits well. If you've just bought a new one, MOULD IT before you head out. Or bring a kettle. Or just mould it.
You should always have the following, strapped to your body (as in carry it onto the plane because lost derby gear may mean you don't play):
- gear (including helmet and mouthguard)
- skate tools & bearing tools
- lip balm...and not the sparkly stuff...the MOISTURE KIND*
- some extra bearings and wheel nuts
- extra toe stops
- spare set of laces
- rubbing alcohol and cloth (because this stuff cleans wheels like a boss and you only need a bit so you can follow flight guidelines with it)
- extra socks
- bandana (cuz if it's crazy hot where you're playing and your sweat is streaming into your eyes, this could come in handy)
- a legal painkiller (like Advil or Tylenol or Naproxen), don't get weird with us here
- water bottle (empty until you've cleared all airport security)
- spare mouthguard
- adhesive bandages
That seems like a long list, but most of it fits into a Neon Skates In Case Case! Well, except for the gear...but the other stuff totally goes.
You're ready to travel now. If you forget to pack underwear though, that's on you. :)
*This is a personal preference, but the number of mouths that have been on my chappy suggest that you guys get your own!