I insist that you ride a skateboard with some kind of dropped deck. The lower platform saves your knees from bending as much to kick and brake, which multiplied over the distance reduces a lot of wear and tear on your legs. For my ECG trip and some day trips, I rode a Globe Geminon 41” board on Paris 180mm 50° RKP trucks and Orangatang Durian 75mm 86a wheels. This not only served me well, it survived being run over by a pickup truck with minor cosmetic damage. My chief complaint was that it was really large and heavy – good when riding it, bad when needing to carry or travel with it.
Now I ride a Pantheon Pranayama (2021 model), a board purpose-built for distance riding and carry or travel. It has the same dropped deck and giant Orangatang Caguama 85mm 77a wheels, in a package slightly smaller than a street board. Paris 149mm TKP trucks definitely contribute to that. A set of practically invisible shock pads smooth out the ride and reduce the rattling noise of truck metal on deck wood. I can’t say enough good things about this board; read this detailed review for an extended take.
I briefly tried a Subsonic Century 36” and have only heard good things about the Longboard Larry Pusher, if you want other deck options. Or you could even try the pumping technique, and get a board more suited for that. Finally, I’ve only used Bones Reds bearings the entirety of my skateboarding life and never wanted anything else.
Shelter & Pack
The caveat here is all my trips have happened during the summer, in especially hot (and often humid) areas. The MSR Hubba NX ultralight single-person tent is fantastic. It’s very light, quick to set up, and quick to pack away. On the ECG trip, I slept on an REI Stratus sleeping pad and in a Cocoon CoolMax Travel Sheet. I’ve since downsized the sleeping pad to the Flextailgear Zero, which is like a quarter of the packed size and still good enough; and swapped the travel sheet for the Gravel Layover blanket, which packs down to a similar size and is much warmer. A tiny inflatable pillow is worth the pack space, in my opinion.
I can get obsessive about backpacks. I want something more like a casual daypack, and none of the additional hardware or baggage that comes with a proper framed backpacking pack. For my main trip, the Keen Newport DP II served admirably. Everything except the tent fit inside the pack itself, and I could wedge the tent into its outer webbing. On the negative side, its zipper hardware eventually corroded and some straps frayed away. Now I have the Nike SB RPM, which does not lack for pockets and straps. The bottom straps are perfect for carrying the tent, everything else fits in the main area, and I can lash the board across its face when I need to walk. The only downside is its dedicated laptop area is definitely not suited for hydration bladders, but I think I can still rig a system in there somehow. Until then, it manages two big watter bottles just fine.
For day trips or anything out-and-back, I obviously don’t need (nor want) a full-sized pack with all my camping gear. I initially tried a Platypus Tokul XC, which could hold my water bladder as well as snacks, my wallet, keys, phone and earbuds, and a skate tool. I’ve since switched to a sling from Bellroy. It has enough capacity for the same stuff and a soft water bottle. And it much better fits the aesthetic of someone out for only a couple miles.
As far as basic outer clothing goes, a nice wicking t-shirt and shorts will do. I was fine with two of each and four pairs of underwear. Make sure the shorts have pockets! Mine did not and I had to use the pockets in my raincoat for all post-travel casual walking around.
Traditional skate shoe details like reinforced toes and gummy soles are for executing tricks, not pushing long distance. Ultimately, any running shoe will work, as long as it’s breathable and its soles can stand up to foot braking. Heavy-duty Keen Newport H2 sandals were a strange recommendation that paid off in spades. My feet were never hot or sweaty, and comfortable for almost the whole time. While the soles held out from North Carolina to Key West, they went straight into the garbage at the end. I did get a couple blisters from where the straps rubbed against my feet, but I would still choose these all over again.
Wear a helmet. I swapped the Triple 8 Sweatsaver for the Bern Allston in an attempt for more ventilation, but the reality is I will always be sweaty. If they ever come out, I’m curious to try either the Park & Diamond or Newton Rider collapsible helmet, which would be ideal for traveling.
Whatever iPhone is recent enough is pretty much my everything device: taking photos, listening to podcasts, tracking progress, writing and publishing daily recaps, even reading ebooks at night. I plan routes and link to them later on Felt (after settling for MapMyFitness for too long), and I have written recaps in Day One and Medium, though now I capture thoughts in the Notes app and write them up later here.
Shout out to Castro, one of my favorite overall apps, for keeping me entertained when it’s safe to listen. AirPods Pro in transparency mode allow me to still hear my surroundings, like traffic coming up behind me. They’re expensive, yes, but worth it for that and their sweat resistance. I once destroyed a pair of stock earbuds with sweat. (Those worked totally fine otherwise.) If I need to recharge away from an outlet, the TravelCard Plus is far and away the best ratio of size and weight to charge capacity that I’ve found. And all of these things, the phone, the earbuds, and the battery pack, can recharge themselves with the Anker Nano 3 charging brick. It’s practically the same size as the one packed in with iPhones, but the prongs fold in and it can charge quicker, which is useful when you only have a few minutes at a rest stop.
Definitely pack a first aid kit with honey bandages (vouched for by my mom!), alcohol wipes, Cortisone, and plenty of Ibuprofen. Sector 9’s carabiner skate tool is amazingly light while still useful in a pinch, if you can find it in stock anywhere. Paris’ skate tool is much heavier, but much sturdier, and packs down small.