The 2017 Wildwood Packing Checklist From An Expert

Here's what you need for an epic weekend.

Photo: Paul Andrus — UltiPhotos.com

Disclosure: Ultiworld may earn a commission on purchases made via the links below. You will definitely earn a sweeter Wildwood weekend by making those purchases. 

Some things never get old.

The crinkled grin on a newborn’s face. The fleeting instant when hot syrup is the perfect temperature on pancakes. A rookie getting a layout block for the first time and then immediately turfing their next throw.

Wildwood.

AKA, the best weekend of the year. AKA, the reason I will be completely unproductive at work this week. AKA, the place where one day an old man out for an early morning walk with his dog will find my bloated corpse washed up on the beach.

If you’re a veteran of the experience, you can recognize the symptoms already. The faintest whiff of salt transports one’s senses to the seaside, while the dulcet tones of subway announcements slowly morph into an Orwellian command to “watch the tram car, please.” Our livers enter a frantic hurricane preparedness mode, fighting people for toilet paper at Costco and boarding up windows in advance of the coming storm.

To combat the shakes, soldiers facing battle have different coping mechanisms. If your pre-Wildwood week consists of reciting scripture while whittling a crude wooden flute, more power to you. For me though? I bury myself in prep work, dotting all the “i”s and crossing all the teammates I horribly wronged last year off my list of people to trick into drinking Everclear immediately upon seeing them Friday night.

RELATED: How To Do Wildwood

Wildwood will be an eyeopening experience no matter how you do it, but if you put in some legwork ahead of time, you can get the most bang for your buck. Storming the beaches and scaling Mount Bolero takes planning and preparation; on a weekend where anything can happen, you need to be ready for every eventuality. Busy hands makes time fly, so spend the next week getting everything in order, and before you know it, you’ll be stuck in sweltering Friday traffic on the Jersey Turnpike praying for a quick death!

As a guide, I’ve assembled a checklist of stuff you’ll want to make sure you pack/generally acquire at some point before facing your ultimate destiny this weekend. Since not all wallets are created equal, I’ve offered a high-end, mid-tier, and bargain option for several of the items on the list, labeled based on the equivalent choices among Wildwood’s many (terrible, deplorable) housing options.

All of the following items are available on Amazon and can be shipped to your door in time for Wildwood! Shipping is free for orders of $25+, but you can get free two-day shipping (and cheap one-day shipping) as an Amazon Prime member. If you are not a member, you can easily sign up for a free 30-day trial. A Prime trial is also free with Amazon Family or Amazon Student (6 month trial!).

Camelbak

CamelbakArguably, the single most important thing you can bring to ensure your well-being at Wildwood is a CamelBak or equivalent mobile hydration device.

According to many respected scientific minds, and contrary to the opinion of Steve — the 29-year-old alum from my college who still lives off-campus and has a tattoo of a bear holding a sword on his forearm — alcohol is not a hydrating chemical compound. In fact — and again, in opposition to the vehemently held and espoused views of Steve, who deadass once told me that Dispatch’s ‘The General” is the greatest song ever — alcohol actually dehydrates you. Under the stern glare of the late July sun, this can be problematic.

Between playing all day, fighting the surf during byes, and imbibing what even most Norse cultures would consider a heroic volume of alcohol, hydration can be an issue. As time and space start to lose their meaning sometime around your third game on Saturday, it’s easy to slip into a dried out, dehydrated delirium. It’s a feverish state that compels you to buy a $40 pair of shitty boardwalk shades or exclaim to the concerned tournament organizers who find you naked on a life guard chair, “I’m not that drunk, I just can’t tell the difference between right and wrong.”1

A CamelBak can combat most of that by providing a convenient, and more importantly, constant stream of hydration while you’re playing and wandering around. If you’re really doing it right, you’ll combine your hydration with your alcohol intake. The classic cocktail of “Gatorade, ice, and whatever liquor you can find” is a solid base layer for your debauchery.

Another important consideration: find a container that offers at least some form of temperature regulation. Nothing will discourage your hydration efforts like picking up a water bottle off the sideline after a long point only to slug down a mouthful of piss-warm bathwater that’s been boiling under the midday sun.

Compression Shorts

Because they’re cheaper than a gallon of Desitin.

Men’s

Ladies’

Sunblock Gel

Look, I’m not going to tell you that you need to put on sunblock at Wildwood. Personally, I’ve found that raw-dogging it and hoping to miraculously remain burn free a) works more often than you’d think and b) is a sacrifice that the Wildwood gods appreciate and will repay with serendipity later in the weekend.

BUT, if you are going to take the responsible approach, and not just dare skin cancer to take its best shot, then BullFrog gel is the way to go. Quick drying, waterproof, won’t run into your eyes, and, most importantly, you won’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of lame, tired jokes that inevitably happen when you have weird splotches of white cream all over your face.

50 CCs of Epinephrine

You can never be too careful.

Koozies

KooziesSimple to procure, but something that a lot of people forget. It’ll keep your can of PBR cool (or hidden, if you’re a delinquent, vile, lawbreaking minor with no respect for authority, Ronald Reagan, or the American way). They also make for a good spirit gift in a pinch if another team gives you something sweet and you don’t want to seem impolite. Be awesome and order a bunch for your team, or see if you can find a Sin The Fields edition…

Like, Literally As Many Pinnies As You Can Carry

You’re going to lose at least two or three, trade one, do something unspeakable in/to another one, and the rest will just have sand in them forever.

Somewhere in the community of sewer mutants living beneath the Wildwood boardwalk, there is a swap happening right now of pinnies from Wildwoods past. Probably the tank of a Borat-themed team from 2007 called something like “Gypsy Tears” for an old Poultry Days reversible.

The Next of Kin Contact Info for All of Your Teammates

Or at least the ones you care about.

Electrolytes

We here at Ultiworld are big proponents of hydration in all shapes and sizes, but the secret sauce that keeps this whole thing going is Pedialyte. While primarily developed for incontinent newborns, Pedialyte is actually the world’s greatest sports beverage and/or (definitely AND in this case) hangover cure. Without a ton of sugar and other nonsense that Gatorade brings to the table, Pedialyte gives you everything you need to shamelessly binge drink while bidding like a maniac and survive to tell the tale. (Note to editor: redact this section if Gatorade wants to sponsor Sin The Fields and replace it with just “GATORADE, FEEL THE G!” or whatever)

Bottle Opener

Sunglasses with Bottle OpenerYes, there is probably going to be someone else there with a bottle opener, but you can’t necessarily count on it. What you can count on is that, in the moment, you’re going to do what it takes to get that cap off, and it’s better be prepared than risk a tooth.2

I’ve seen some gnarly shit happen when no opener could be produced in a moment of need. A few years ago, while waiting in line outside the Bolero, there was young man in a Michigan tank and a snapback baring the phrase “Sup?” who decided that nothing was going to stand in the way of him and the refreshing taste of lukewarm Pacifico. Approximately forty seconds later, the bottle was shattered and the bro had a fistful of glass shards. All I’m saying is, you’ve been warned.

Why don’t you go ahead and order yourself a pair of sunglasses with a built-in bottle opener and kill two birds with one bottlecap?

Shade Tent

Even if you are one of those special people who don’t get scalded by the sun every time you step out of your front door (check your melanin privilege btw), you still are going to want a cool place to recline when the heat of the day reaches its peak. It’s a little bit of a hassle to move the tent from field to field, but totally worth it when you need a beat to reduce your internal temperature from “forge of the mighty smith Hephaestus” to “merely volcanic.”

A word of advice – outfit your tent with some unique signifier, because it will be your team’s beacon. During the disorienting diaspora of bye rounds, when the team scatters to the four winds seeking waves, Spikeball, and sketchy boardwalk food, having a tent with a giant logo of Alex Trebek riding a panda really helps reorient people returning to the field.

Boombox

Presumably I don’t need to defend the very concept of music in this space, so suffice it to say that pretty much any event is going to be improved by some tunes. If you happen to be the one bringing the jams and are in control of the aux cord at the fields, please don’t be that person who blares grating dubstep all day. There will time for that later in the night. But when on the beach, keep it light and breezy with plenty of dream-pop, and enjoy the hordes of dudes rolling super hard who gravitate towards your sideline to bask in the wavy goodness. All of the below options are beach-safe.

Waterproofing

For those of you not brave enough to just leave your phone and wallet in the hotel all weekend (and even there they may not be safe from all fluid damage), you’re going to need a way to keep your stuff dry-ish and sand free-ish.

You don’t need your phone for a lot during the weekend, but it often becomes necessary to let your team know that you are alive. Last year my phone got messed up on Saturday night, and I wasn’t able to tell my team where I was after not making it back to our hotel. One thing lead to another and by about 2 PM on Sunday the whole Ultiworld staff thought I was dead. Whoops. [Editor’s Note: This is actually true. We were legitimately concerned for his safety.]

Sand Cart

Sand CartLook, I don’t want to oversell this, but this baby is probably the most important development in beach ultimate in the last five years. Light, portable, and capable of carrying pretty much anything you could need, these beauties just make your life so much easier; certainly easier than lugging a ton of crap around the scorching sands all weekend. Definitely a little pricey, but if you’re a captain then just buy one and tag it onto the per-player cost for your team. They probably won’t notice, and, hey, that strategy has worked out great for the banking industry.

Air Mattress

I’m writing this list assuming that most of the people reading it have been to Wildwood before, or were given a quick primer by someone who has, or at a minimum have a firm grasp on the concepts of spatial dimensions and a linear progression of time. That is to say, I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you are NOT camping like a rube, but instead are cramming somewhere between 8 and 24 people into a single hotel room.

Even if you think you have a bed spot locked up, still bring an air mattress. Ideally, the entire floor of your hotel room is covered by air mattresses, forming a pleasant and forgiving surface for people who stumble into the room at 4 AM to blindly pass out. If the worst should happen, and your bed spot gets jacked, you’ll be really glad that you’re not sleeping on the bare floor of a hotel room. Especially because every room in Wildwood gives off a definitive “someone definitely got murdered in here during prohibition by.a guy named Johnny Wrench-hands” vibe.

Cooler

It keeps your stuff cool, AND it’s essentially a chair. Do I need to say anything more?

A note of caution, though: don’t be the person stuck lugging the cooler around just because you brought it. Key in on the person with tons of booze, clear up some space in the cooler for them, and then sit back and watch them haul 400 pounds of ice and plastic around.

The Most Ostentatious Swimwear Imaginable

A Sin The Fields jersey to anyone who shows up wearing one of these.

A Plausible Alibi

Seriously, you really can’t ever be too careful.

Photo; Brian Canniff -- UltiPhotos.com
The author in his element. Photo: Brian Canniff — UltiPhotos.com

  1. Which, I should point out, are all things I’ve seen Steve do 

  2. If you think the housing options are bad in Wildwood, you don’t even want to know about the dentists. 

  1. Patrick Stegemoeller

    Patrick Stegemoeller is a reporter for Ultiworld and a law student who lives in Washington DC. He captained SUNY-Geneseo Snail and began playing ultimate in high school with AUDA of Albany. He hopes that his degree in History will prove to be valuable at some point. You can find him on twitter at @patstegs.

TAGGED: , , , ,

More from Ultiworld
Comments on "The 2017 Wildwood Packing Checklist From An Expert"

Find us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Find us on Facebook