Two pickleball paddles in a bag hung onto a pickleball net
Pickleball paddles in a mesh bag on a net Shutterstock

Pack these 10 items for a summer pickleball tournament 

DALLAS, TX – It seems like everyone on my Instagram feed is having an “Italian girl summer,” but I’m quite busy having a pickleball girl summer.

And while I’m a little bit envious of the world travelers on my feed sipping a Bellini on the Amalfi Coast, I’m tournament-hopping across the country watching the world's top players compete in the sport I love.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to pack. So here are 10 items I recommend adding to your suitcase when heading to a pickleball tournament. 

1. Workout clothes

Tank tops, T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, leggings, tennis skirts, workout dresses, etc. 

Meghan Dizon and Etta Wright playing women's doubles
Meghan Dizon and Etta Wright at the Veolia Desert Ridge Open PPA Tour

On the court, wear what you feel most comfortable in. I’m of the mindset that if you look your best, you play your best, but at the end of the day just wear what works for you. If you’re used to playing pickleball in biker shorts, wear them. A tournament isn't the time to try wearing a tennis skirt just for the sake of the Instagram photo. 

Note: Bring extra clothes to change out of your sweaty match gear so when you sit down to watch Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters play on center court, you’re dry and cool.

2. Shoes and socks

Pack your usual pickleball court shoes and a comfortable pair of slides or lifestyle sneakers to change into before or after your match. Throw in an extra pair of socks to keep yourself fresh. 

Blue skechers shoes
Tyson McGuffin's blue SKECHERS shoes PPA Tour

3. Pickleball paddle

This might seem obvious, but it's a good reminder. Please check your bag to ensure your paddles are in there. Better yet, make sure it’s an approved paddle, too.

4. Towel

Things are going to get sweaty. Bring a towel. You’ll thank me later. 

Thomas Wilson and Christian Alshon talking with towels slung over their shoulders
Thomas Wilson and Christian Alshon at the Pickleball Central Indoor USA Championships PPA Tour

5. Sunscreen

This is the holy grail on the court. Bring it along and lather up. When the temperatures rise and the courts are like tanning beds, take care of your skin and save yourself from a bright red farmer’s tan.

6. Hat

Always remember to protect your skin and shield your eyes. Pack a cute hat or visor. 

Anna Bright getting ready to play pickleball and wearing a white visor
Anna Bright at the Veolia LA Open PPA Tour

7. Rain poncho

Summer thunderstorms can always wreak havoc on outdoor tournaments. I can't tell you how many times I’ve been caught in the rain, so do yourself a favor and bring an umbrella or a plastic rain poncho. 

The umbrella can also provide shade when you’re sitting in the stands watching Parris Todd and Catherine Parenteau battle in singles. 

8. Reusable water bottle

Thanks to the PPA’s partnership with Veolia, there are lots of refillable water stations at every tournament to keep your hydration game strong. Especially during these hot summer months where temperatures can reach over 100 degrees, please remember to drink and stay healthy. 

And with a reusable water bottle, you’ll save some money, too.

Tyson McGuffin drinking out of a reusable water bottle
Tyson McGuffin at the Carvana Mesa Arizona Cup PPA Tour

9. Deodorant

Don't be that person! Good hygiene matters. You don’t want everyone around you pinching their noses while watching Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson win another gold. It’s hot outside and we’re all sweating, so be kind to your neighbors and smell nice. 

10. Snacks

Tournament days are long, so bring some of your favorite treats to fuel up during the inevitable mid-day slump. Save a couple of bucks that would otherwise be used at a vending machine. 

And for all the parents traveling to a Junior PPA Tournament, click here to see must-haves for the kiddos. 

See you at the next tournament!