How to Staycate on Absolutely Zero Dollars

Though physically close to home, Cyrus Sutton and Ryan Burch are mentally far from it. The masters of penniless staycationing, paddle out for a mid-day session in San Diego. Photo: Roche

Regardless of whether you have money in the bank or a warm bed nearby, anyone can experience the thrill of a penniless adventure. "While hanging around in your own backyard may sound too easy," says Cyrus, "it is hands down one of the most radical surf trip options available requiring people skills, planning, and an open mind to accomplish successfully." Here are a few trip tips to maximize your stoke regardless of your poverty level.

Bring the essentials. Nothing more, nothing less.
Don't forget the following:
A multi-tool with a knife: offers protection, can-opening, cork-popping, fish cleaning, etc.
Skateboard with Big Wheels: transportation and recreation
Umbrella: rain guard, sun shade, windsail for skateboard propulsion, and inside can be used to make a solar cooker with a bit of spray paint and tin foil. (Google "solar cooker umbrella" for instructions.)
Spork: The ultimate eating utensil.
Bluetooth headset: Faux aura of legitimacy when dealing with authority figures
Headlamp: The best invention ever, hands free illumination (available at outdoorsy stores, or make your own with a small flashlight, headband and duct tape)
Tarp: Serves as ground cover, flat day barrels, and sleeping structure (tents are for yuppies: just look online for some tarp/string/stake combos that blow doors on any $300, titanium-poled piece of fabric available at REI).

Learn the lay of the land. Many restaurants and churches hand out food around the back during designated time periods. And urban foraging (picking fruit trees and berry vines) in public areas will supplement your increased daily vitamin and antioxidant requirements in the outdoors. Fishing is another great option depending on season, habitat, and regulations.

Pinpoint a place to sleep before dark. Sleeping zones are easily found on unpatrolled sections of beach, state parks, and friends' couches (minimizing the length of your stay and help around the house will ensure they are still your friends after you leave). Campsite crashing is another great option. Head in around dusk and avoid older couples with motorhomes bearing Midwestern license plates or American flags for they tend to be less open-minded and are likely to turn you into the ranger.

Tell your friends about your staycation surfari. And suggest they come down to the beach and have a BBQ. Free warm food, company, and leftovers will be much appreciated.

Protect your precious and limited supplies. A bum once suggested that for protection while sleeping, make sure to place twigs or dried leaves around your camp—sort of a Swiss Family Robinson intruder-alert, if you will. For protection while surfing, wrap all your stuff in a single tarp (the older the better). The more shitty your gear looks, the less of a target you become. Keep that in mind before bringing top-of-the-line camping equipment and a quiver of resin-tinted customs with bamboo fins.

–Cyrus Sutton

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