So you've ticked off everything on your compulsory gear list, and now you have a large pile of gear - How do you get it all in your tiny bag!? Becky Clarke gives us her top 5 tips on packing for adventure races:
1. Invest in a good pack! Good quality and comfortable racing packs will last years and make your adventures easier. Try it on and run and jump around the shop - and make sure you know what it feels like full (add in your gear or bag weights). You will need plenty of pockets to stash sandwiches, power bars, gels, and lip balm. I use the 12-litre Montane pack (featured below). It has four stretchy pouch pockets on the front that also fit 2x 500ml soft flask drink bottles, two open side pockets, and a large compartment in the back, with space for a water bladder. You can also strap gear to the outside, like a wet jacket!
2. Keep it light. Purchasing lightweight gear saves so much space and weight. Big chunky thermals and waterproof jackets can be heavy and difficult to pack. I use the Montane Minimus jacket - it only weighs 190 grams! Look at a high-performing mid-layer that keeps you warm but is not big and bulky. Waterproof pants are sometimes necessary, and when you need them, you really need them!
3. It is a game of Tetris. Be clever when you are packing. Try not to cram it all in. My vest pack does not have a padded back, which makes it super light, but if I load my gear inefficiently, it feels lumpy (and you have a spewing waterfall of gear mid-race, which wastes time!). I carefully pack with the waterproof jacket and pants folded at the back of the bag, then I roll the smaller items up and stack them tidily. Taking time to do this saves space and saves time in the race so you know exactly where you gear is!
4.Keep it dry. Use a dry bag inside your pack to keep all your gear dry. Some events have compulsory gear checks throughout - so I use a clear re-sealable bag. It keeps everything dry, and if you can point to the items through the bag, it saves so much time! Squeeze all the air out of the bag before you do the zip-up, and it works like a vacuum bag. A snap lock bag is perfect for the cell phone.
5. No Double Ups. If you are doing this race in a team, make sure you split the compulsory items that you only need one of for each team - like the first aid kit. Also, have one person carry chews and goo's, another carry trail bars, etc., and have them handy. That way, there is no wasting time on the course searching in 3 bags for enough food for everyone. When you decide to eat, one person can grab them for the whole team out of one bag.
(If you are looking for the woman-specific version of this post - check it out here: How to pack your compulsory gear for adventure racing. – Further Faster)