Cars, what do you keep in them? How did you hook yours up? Outfitting new surf wagon.

I used to only take a moped to surf in town and bum rides to the north shore from friends. Now I have an accord wagon and I was making a list of what I need to keep on hand for surf days…

I got all the simple stuff,

wax, extra leash, rashguard etc… I was wodering what you guys kept in your cars. I might even keep a spare board in there. Which brings me to another topic… How can I keep my car cool enough to keep a PU/PE board in it just in case a professor calls in sick or something…

I remember a thread YEARS ago where people showed off all sorts of mods they did to their elements and vanagons and stuff allowing them to change, stitch themselves up (not really), shower etc…

I wang to be able to keep a wet rashie, 1mil vest etc in the abck and hang it up and have it not smell etc…

I have some left over grey tarp I was going to use to form some sort of cooling chamber (blocking the side and rear windows (only when parked) so I can surf, go to school then surf after. The wagon has tint, but not that fanc heat blockign ceramic stuff… I may look into that too…

So let’s discuss… Any and all ideas and especially pictures are super welcome.Time to show off your rides and ingenuity!



A few to dream on…


and then there’s…

Jajaja! : ) Kia Sportage 2005, I keep forgetting that it’s an SUV and not a sailboat jejeje…

Keep it simple ?..what you drivin’ Tony , a  4 tonne truck ?

A white car with tinted windows helps keep the boards cool. I keep a LED camping lantern, a fan, a screwdriver, extra fins, a shovel for digging me out of the sand, a saw and a cooler in my van

I have been giving a lot of thought about getting one of those sprinter vans with the Mercedes Benz Diesel. Paul Jensen who post here had photos of his and it looks like a good rig for a surf trip 23 MPG is pretty good milage for a camper van.  

For keeping keys safe I have a tow hitch on the back of my Subaru Forester. bought a key safe that locks into the hitch so far it works pretty good.



Those work OK if you don’t drive on a lot of rural dirt roads. In my town, only 6 are paved. Guess how many magnetic key boxes I’ve owned? Those things can easily rattle lose and disappear on a dirt road.


I have two cars, a sub compact hatchback and a van. I keep too much crap in both.

all kinds of stuff… pretty much can live out of my car, and I keep a board in it 6 days out of 7, probably.

tide chart


assortment of rash guards sunscreen hats wetsuits if you need them

change of clothes & battery powered electric razor (when surf is really good & you need to hurry straight to work or other commitments)

extra fin selection, spare leash & cord to attach it

good first aid kit

spare key for car in magnetic box under car (you WILL lose or forget your key some day)

12v cord to charge cell phone from cig. lighter; decent tool kit, gel cell battery w/ jumper cables

etc etc etc

More tools(cheap wrench and socket setup, screwdrivers, etc. ) and a small AC inverter that plugs into the lighter. With the latter you can run or recharge a surprising variety of things and run others.

Change of clothes or two, in case you’re running late for whatever.

A couple of paperback books. Waiting happens. Pad of paper and pencils/pens for lists, notes and whatever. One of those cheap datebook calendars…

Me, I run a couple of businesses out of a cab-and-a-half truck, so this is just the bare beginnings of what I have on board at all times, from rubber boots and oilskins to shellfish tags to a tablet computer with GPS and software to take advantage of that. No printer…yet, but that’s probably inevitable.

For keeping a board cool - insulated board bag ( one of those bright shiny deals) and don’t block the windows except to put off thieves. The thing is, the cloth fabric tends to keep the heat in and you want to have heat able to radiate out. Fabric tends to absorb heat and then let it into the inside, Glass lets heat in, yeah, but it also lets it heat out on the shady side. Some reflective applique on said windows might help, mylar-foil combo stuff. And, park under a tree, though I’d avoid coconut palms.

I’ll bet you can guess how I found that one out…

hope that’s of use


I bought a used mini van that will hold up to a 10’ board. Boards up to 9-6 will fit between the front and middle seats, and the back seat is folded down out of the way. I can fit 2 boards between the seats. 6’ and under boards easily fit in the back behind the front seats. If I take out the middle seats, I could add a bed mattress in there. I have never tried sleeping in my car. I would want to install screens to keep the mosquitos out before I try to.

I have a plastic cargo tub that you can get at Walmart for about $5.00. It’s pretty big, so I have several pairs of shorts, both for surfing and walking shorts, Tee shirts, rash guards in tank top, short and long sleeve to surf in, tank top neoprene (wetsuit) top, short sleeve neoprene top, leashes, extra fins, fin screws, screwdrivers for single fins and FCS type screws, a pair of swim fims, a surf mat. I also keep several towels. I keep a liter size bottle to wash my feet off and fill it with water when I go places I will want to have that water. I try to surf where there’s a shower nearby, so I only worry about the feet. If I had to, I’d take a gallon size water jug to shower with, maybe 2.

I wrap the wet clothes in the towel and place it on top of the plastic tub till I get home. My wife washes my wet clothes including the wetsuits after surfing everyday. I have 2 short sleeve wetsuit tops and the tank top, so I can wear a clean one if I want. If I know I will surf twice, I’ll hang the wetsuit outside to dry faster.

I’ll leave my windows open just a little if I have a board in there. I also have a sun roof, so I can open that as a vent. Sometimes I’ll drape a towel over the board to keep direct light off the board. I don’t use board bags.

If I go surfing then straight back to work, soap and shampoo, or just shampoo is good to have. I’ve washed with just shampoo. I know a lot of guys who surf in the morning before work, and they’ll wash and shave right there. You can place your wet shorts on the dash to let the sun dry it. Just make sure you have something under it to keep the dash from getting messed up.

Hit up ebay for a couple of those solar powered window fans to keep it from getting to hot!!


Fin key and spare bolt if useing board with fu box.

Keep it simple.

First, always have a $20 bill stored in a hidden place for emergencies.

Have your medical insurance card in your vehicle every time you go surf (very important).

Keep drinking water in stainless steel bottles, I always have at least to 20 oz bottles with me and don’t mind if they are hot if I am thirsty.

Dry towel and a pair of extra board shorts.

Vaseline and speedos for the rash if you’re taking a long walk to a secret spot.

Basic first aid kit.

Rain coat and Binoculars.

Insect repelant.

Rolling papers and matches (I don’t smoke anymore but you can make some friends if they need papers or light).

Toilet paper and some 1 gal zip lock bags (be good to the environment, always bury your shit and take your dirty wiped papers to dispose off later).

2 big laundry softener bottles full of fresh water  to rinse off after a surf (they always smell like Snuggle).

1 large laundry powder detergent bucket (empty) for the wet stuff (always hang them at home when youy arrive, only way to keep them from smelling). Rinse everything after a surf (salt eats fiberglass, rubber, even your skin). Have a plastic floor mat to shower on and to change back to your work clothes without getting sand on them (good if you are taking a quick lunch break surf).

Head lamp, knife, screwdriver and small crecent wrench.

Surf mat and flippers. There is no good way to keep a board inside a vehicle out in the sun, it will bake and delaminate, park in the shade.

If you keep a surf mat in your van, ALWAYS keep it deflated or it will burst.

Thats all I can remember for now…

Ohh and some good reggae music mon!


Wow PJ, that sprinter van coversion is outstanding!

Midnight oil Mr. Chrisp? Meteor shower viewing?


Nice jobs, plural. Some very clever stuff there which I’d like to try, if you don’t mind. Sincerest form of flattery and all that.

Could you tell me a bit more about the PSA you used with the stainless countertops and elsewhere? For a change, I’m redoing the galley on my own boat rather than somebody else’s and I’m thinking I like the stainless a whole lot more than the usual Formica.

Best regards


The PSA came on a roll, 18" x 750 ft…Cost about $450…They call it “Destructive Strength”, meaning the bond is stronger than the material…My experience with it confirms that…Dust and grease free is pretty important to get the best bonds…

The PSA to me is like having peel and stick contact cement…Same results without the mess…


Muy appreciado- is there a particular brand/flavor you like



Great stuff Paul,   You are a man of many talents and a lot of great tools. of course the tools in the wrong hands become weapons of mass destruction.  Talent and knowlage are the real tools.

 One of the things I noticed is a lack of sleeping accommodations in your design.  How are you handling that?  

If I go for a used Sprinter what should I be looking for in the way of problems? 

If I had more cash I would just have you find one do the conversion. fly over pick it up and do a trip down the coast. 

Just to get some sense of what it would cost for a conversion  What would be a ball park number for a conversion? 

My current surf mobile is a subaru forester. great little veihical for does OK on the east coast beachs that you can drive on. Excellent car for driving in the rain. We get a lot of rain here.

oily croips paulo.

again another delightful

eyefull and late night’s

voyueristic distraction.

beats the heck out of

standing on boxes

peeping through

bathroom windows

in the neighboorhood.


empty coastscapes

and dream waves

beat disrobing elderly 

ladies hands down.



to take a project to fullfillment on a 

road test … a real dream…