Packing for a one day tournament can be stressful enough, but extend that to three days and you’ve got a LOT of packing to do.
Add in crazy facility requirements, long distance travel, and bored siblings who’d rather be outside, and you’ve got quite the adventure in front of you!
I’ve had my fair share of travel tournaments, but I’ve also enlisted the help of other coaches who are a part of the Get The Pancake family to create this list of what to pack for a volleyball tournament.
BEFORE WE GET INTO SPECIFICS, HERE ARE A FEW GENERAL THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1) YOU’LL BE SITTING. A LOT.
Coach, player, parent… doesn’t matter. Most of your day in the tournament facility will be sitting.
Pack clothing that is COMFORTABLE to sit in. I don’t exactly like wearing jeans if I’m going to be sitting all day, because I feel like they can cut off circulation after a certain point. They are also not the most comfortable. I’d recommend packing leggings or sweats that you feel comfortable wearing in public.
2) THE TEMPERATURE WILL FLUCTUATE
One minute you’re rushing to the court, scrambling to get everything ready for the next match. You’re warmed up, jumping around, cheering loudly… And then it’s over and you’ve got a 1.5 hour wait before your next match.
Bring layers, specifically ones that can be folded down small in a bag but still provide a lot of warmth when needed. I prefer puffy vests and jackets you can stuff in your purse or bag when you’re not wearing it (and which can also double as pillows in certain situations). You DON’T want to be lugging around a huge coat all day, trust me.
3) FACILITIES ARE WEIRD ABOUT FOOD
If you’re not allowed to bring in food, make sure you have cash for (usually overpriced) concessions and vending machines, even though most places accept cards now.
If you ARE allowed to bring food, I like to bring dried fruit, almonds, carrot sticks, and power bars/granola bars on occasion. I also bring LOTS of bottled water and have recently started adding those Nuun tablets to spice things up haha (you can get them at Target or on Amazon if you want to try them out).
You don’t want anything that’ll leave your hands sticky (think apple slices, dates, craisins) unless you’ve brought wipes with you. Also avoid bringing foods which need to stay cold.
4) THERE WILL BE MORE TO DO THAN JUST VOLLEYBALL ALL WEEKEND
There will most likely be at LEAST one team dinner, if not two. Think dressing Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse appropriate. Nothing overly fancy, but you probably don’t want to go in the clothes you wore to the tournament (more for coaches/players).
And while I will suggest bringing a swimsuit, parents, make sure you check with your coach before your player goes to the pool. I’m going to guess that 85% of the coaches will say no swimming/hot tubbing until after the tournament (hint hint, coaches: Let your team know so they don’t have to ask you!).
5) SIBLINGS WILL GET BORED (AND YOU MIGHT TOO)
There’s going to be a LOT of down time. Bring crossword puzzles, books, and fully charged electronics (plus backup batteries if you have them)!
Of course… you could always try that old fashioned “talking to other people” thing. But when you run out of topics, you can turn to sudoku to keep yourself entertained. ;)
FOR YOUR PLAYER:
IN THEIR VOLLEYBALL BAG/BACKPACK
Warm-ups (even if rarely worn)
Up to 6 pairs of socks
Slides/sandals/crocs to wear to and from facility
Braces/athletic tape and pre-wrap
Team water bottle
IN AN OVERNIGHT BAG/SUITCASE
1-2 team dinner outfits
2 pairs of undergarments for every day of the trip (playing and after play)
Swimsuit and flip-flops (ALWAYS pack just in case)
An extra coat/jacket/hoodie
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, retainer, etc.)
Travel clothes (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
FOR FAMILY MEMBERS:
Pack layered outfits
Makeup remover/baby wipes
Small blankets (optional)
Books/crossword puzzles/sudoku and a couple pens/pencils
Laundry detergent (if driving and space allows). Especially important for uniforms but can help you save space in your bags too!
Tripod to help with steady picture taking/filming (turn off that flash!)
Camera (you’ll make lots of memories on this trip! Bring your nice camera if you have one!)
Backpack (much easier than carrying everything in your arms/stuffed into your purse. Every other parent at the tournament will think you are a genius).
Bleacher seats or folding camp chairs. Check what is and isn’t allowed in the facility ahead of time (it stinks to carry these through a huge parking lot in the cold, only to have to turn around and take it back to your car).
Whistle (Submitted by @calix32 and more coaches via Instagram)
Travel volleyball cart (like the one pictured!)
VOLLEYBALLS (I know, weird right?)
Ice packs/first aid kit
Khakis if part of your coaching uniform
Team gear (club jacket, polo, warm-up top, etc.)
Pens and pencils for scorekeeping and keeping stats
Reffing Assignments list (sign up for the Get The Pancake Newsletter to get a free printable!)
Board games (Apples to Apples between matches is a fun activity for teams!)
Tablet for stat keeping
Tripod if filming game footage
OPTIMIZE! Pack tights/pants/leggings that can be worn with different tops to save space (Submitted by @candicane08 via Instagram)
Small blanket (optional) (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
Chapstick! (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
Eye drops (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
Earplugs (for hotel and between matches)
Tylenol/Excedrin (Submitted by @calix32 and more coaches via Instagram)
Portable battery pack (Submitted by @calix32 and more coaches via Instagram)
Baby wipes (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
Arnica (suggested by a coach for soothing muscle pain and bruises)
Snacks! (Submitted by @calix32 via Instagram)
Gallon-Sized Ziploc Bags (use them to separate outfits like in the video above! (Idea by @traylmixxed via Instagram)
Foam Roller (optional)
Spiky Ball (optional)
Chargers for all the things. Phones, iPads, laptops, smartwatch…
See something this list is missing? Add it to the comments!
A FEW BONUS IDEAS:
Folding method to save space in your suitcase:
No bake energy balls:
Skip the yoga portion of the video and watch how easy it is to make 3 versions of these healthy and DELICIOUS snacks!