Pack Like A Roller Girl

Posted in Advice, Skater Life

by Morgue-Anna

So you’ve got the kit, you’ve got your first bout, so how the heck to you get everything from A to B… And what exactly should be in there? 3 and half years of derby has taught me a lot, and one if the things I’d like to share with you is how to be prepared for a bout without trying to carry the kitchen sink!

In my opinion, the kit bag, whether you go with a bag or a case, has to have wheels. Seriously, your kit weighs a tonne and the first time you have to carry it up hill you will wish, like you, your kit had wheels.

Your basic kit will of course consist of:

  • Skates
  • Pads
  • Helmet
  • Gum shield
  • Water bottle

Other items I’d pack are:

  • Spare gum shield They are by their nature small and can easily go walk about, as borrowing one is out of the question always have a cheap boil and bite one stashed in your bag. It’ll do until your proper one turns up or you can get to the shops.
  • Skate tool
    Check regularly that is still in your bag, the designs for skate tools are all nearly identical and it is ridiculously easy to appropriate one that isn’t yours by accident. Marking them with nail polish is my favourite trick.
  • Gaffer tape
    Used for so many things, taping up bout fits, securing pads, repairing skates.
  • Spare laces
    Trust me you will curse the grass blue the first time you snap laces and have to sit out because you didn’t pack spares.
  • Bearing cleaner
    Whatever your preference (I’m not even touching that debate or this article will come in hardback) have some in your bag! Fluff, dust and other goo can really mess up your day. It never fails to amaze me how quickly bearing can go from “a bit sluggish” to “too gooed to move”
  • Sharpie
    For writing your numbers on, don’t assume someone else will bring one.
  • A first aid kit
    It doesn’t have to be massive just a few essentials like sticky plasters for blisters and scratches, plus any medication you need or might need for an ongoing medical condition, asthma inhalers, antihistamines that sorta jazz. Remember to include painkillers – Ibuprofen is good bets as it helps keep down swelling too, and Sudocrem is the best thing for rink rash ever.
  • Ice packs
    Yes they should always be available but this is not a perfect world.

Other really handy stuff:

  • Baby wipes To remove make-up, numbers and really handy for when you whiff but showering isn’t possible.
  • Spare wheels
    If your budget will stretch, have different sets for spares, or to account for different floor types.
  • Vaseline
    Rub into the leather of your boots if they rub a good quick fix for new skates can also reduce the friction on blisters stopping them from getting worse
  • Dextrose tablets
    A good emergency energy boost for those days you realise you skipped lunch only after you hit the track. They are also rather good for nausea, suck one whenever you feel queasy.

Away bouts…

Even if you aren’t intending to stay over you should have something for overnight with you, and a “ditch kit” just in case:

A ditch kit is basically a grab it and run bag with all the basic essentials you need to survive. Mine is a tiny purple one about the size of book. It should be small enough to occupy a corner of your kit bag but without getting in the way. Fling it in your handbag and off you go. Here’s what’s in mine

  • Folding toothbrush
  • Mini toothpaste
  • Mini packet of wet wipes
  • Mini body wash
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair band
  • Hair grip
  • Clean pants
  • Doe spray.
  • Spare dosh for cab fares etc.
  • Emergency phone charger

In your weekend bag:

  • Both team colours
    In case of last min change of plan, it’s never happened to me, but you hear stories.
  • Something to sleep in.
  • Chargers for your phone/gadgets
  • MP3 player- long bus journeys suck
  • A book
    Insomnia in a strange city is a cruel form of torture.
  • Ear plugs
    4 am is not a good time to find out your room mate snores
  • Your make-up bag
  • Pro plus
  • Resolve
    Trust me on this one.
  • Towel
    In the words of the late Douglas Adam “Always know where your towel is”. If you are staying in a youth hostel rather than a hotel they often don’t provide them.  In the words of Morgue-Anna “Sharing towels is icky”.
  • The phone number of at least one member of the home team, so you can call for directions/help/a space to crash.
  • The phone number if at least one member of your team, so you can let them know if you decide to bounce off anywhere without them.
  • Clearasil or similar – Best stuff for getting sharpie out of your skin.
  • Any toiletries that aren’t in your ditch kit.
  • Change of clothes.
  • Spare medication (if you are taking any).
  • A photocopy of any vital documents ie hotel reservation, passport, directions to venue.
  • Sanitary protection
    The last thing you need on bout day is a sneak attack from Aunt Flo, keep spares just in case you or your team buddies need them.