Becky Clarke, Womens Adventure Race Winner, talks about that daunting task of packing all that compulsory kit!
If you are new to multisport or adventure racing events, the compulsory gear list can be a bit daunting. So you hit the shops to start ticking off that list and you make yourself a fine collection of gear. Now you are starting to feel like a real adventure athlete! As race day approaches you ask yourself… how do I fit all this gear into this tiny pack? Great question! Here are some tips that I use myself that you may find helpful.
Invest in a good pack. A good quality, comfortable pack will last you years and make your adventures easier. Try it on and run around the shop. Jump up and down, swing your arms and stuff it with all your gear, or our pack weights to see how it feels full. Plenty of pockets to stash sandwiches, power bars, gels and lip balm is a must. I use the 12 litre Montane Pack (featured below) which has 4 stretchy pouch pockets on the front that also fit 2x 500ml soft flask drink bottles , 2 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!
Testing out the Montane packs in store... Saturday mornings are for more than just annoying Rocky by playing Nickleback!
Keep it light. Purchasing light weight 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 which only weighs 190 grams! Look at a high performing mid layer, that keeps you warm, but not big and bulky.
Water proof pants are often recommended, and when you need them, you really need them!
Julz and Chelle pack Mary Poppins style!
It’s a game of tetris. Be clever when you are packing, don’t just stuff it all in. My vest pack doesn’t have a padded back so it’s super light and moulds to my back. If I stuff all my gear in it doesn’t fit efficiently and feels lumpy. So I carefully pack it with the waterproof jacket and waterproof pants folded at the back of the bag and then I roll the smaller items up and stack them in tidily. Taking the time to do this saves space!
Take time and care to pack your vest. You dont want a spewing waterfall of gear when you are mid race! Valuable time can be lost if you are fumbling looking for gear!
Roll it up tight and make it easy to find, especially the compulsory gear that you may not need to use like your waterproof pants (cause if you don't it will probably rain!)
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 before you do the zip up and it works like a vacuum bag. A snap lock bag is perfect for the cell phone.
The photo below features pretty standard compulsory gear for adventure racing, but make sure you double check the list for your particular category as it can change even within the same race.
- Good footwear with grip
- Blister prevention
- Seam Sealed Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof pants
- Warm thermal jersey (synthetic or merino)
- Thermal base layer top
- Thermal leggings
- Warm hat and gloves
- Head torch and spare batteries
- Running vest or pack
- Snacks, lip balm, sunscreen, hat
- Team shares a first aid kit, compass, and phone in a sealable bag (for emergencies! Not for cheating!)
- The team often need a survival blanket or a survival bag, double check what your race requires in advance.
All the gear you need can fit into this... got any questions just let us know!
Don't Double Up
You are doing this race in a team - so make sure you split the compulsory items that you only need one of per team - like the first aid kit. Also have one person carry chews and goos and another carry trail bars etc and have them handy... That way you don't have to waste time on course searching in 3 bags for enough food for everyone. When you decide to eat one person can grab them out of one bag easily for the whole team.
Have your teams nutrition planned, that way you only need one person to spend time getting the food at any one time. Another neat tip to save minutes in the race!!
You may need to consider bringing period products and a system for managing them. Click here to learn our top tips to manage periods and personal hygiene while adventuring!
If you have any questions or handy tips of your own, come and chat to the team at Further Faster. Happy training and good luck for your next event!
Written by Becky Clarke, member of Team #furtherfasternz and lover of adventure racing!