Essential Gear for Adventure Racing

From Sprint to Expedition Adventure Racing....

The sport of adventure racing is a quite gear intensive sport. Expedition length adventure races typically have gear lists that can run from 5-7 pages in length. The sprint races only have a small amount of gear needs in order to participate. Typically, the rule of thumb regarding gear requirements and adventure racing is “The longer the race the more gear required.”

This article is going to look at what is the essential gear of adventure racing or “mandatory gear”. The mandatory gear is the gear required to be carried by each racer throughout the entire race, regardless of which discipline they are currently in. Please understand that mandatory race gear (to be carried the whole race) is different from mandatory discipline gear (gear that must be carried for that particular discipline). Today we will focus on the former.

When beginner racers ask me what to buy first when getting into adventure racing I always begin with the essential (mandatory gear). Any race from sprint to expedition will require you to have all or most of the items in this list. When looking for these items in the context of adventure racing look for light weight, comfort, and ease of use.

Backpack-- Look for something light weight and comfortable, features you may look for are hip pockets for easy access to food, as well as, outer mesh pockets, and a place for a bladder.

Whistle-- The fox 40 pealess whistle is the industry standard. It will work when wet and is one of the loudest whistles on the market.

Water/water treatment-- Be sure if you carry a bladder it does not leak. Over the years I have had a lot of trouble with bladders leaking. I now am sold on the MSR dromedary bladder series. It is a durable bladder that takes a great deal of abuse. In regards to treating your water for adventure racing, I recommend chemical treatment-- it is fast, effective and much lighter than any other treatment option.

Rainjacket-- I recommend a light weight breathable hooded rain hard shell with taped seams. You will pay a little more for taped seams but some races require this of your jacket. The Marmot Precip Jacket which runs at around $100 is a great option.

Compass/ Map case-- At the very least your compass should have degree marks the entire way around it. A compass that features adjustable declination is worth the extra money. The map case needs to be a style that personally works for you and will protect your map from the elements.

Extra warm clothes-- The amount of clothes you will need will depend on the location and time of year of the race. Two necessities are a thin, light weight fleece that does not absorb a large amount of water and a synthetic winter hat either made of fleece or polypro.

Knife-- Your knife should be small and compact with a 2-2.5 inch folding blade.

Emergency Blanket-- Please note that the emergency blanket you use will vary based on the length of your race. Emergency blankets range from $2-$40 in cost. I recommend you go with at least a $10-$12 blanket, as if you need to use it the cheaper version from my experience seem to be completely ineffective. The more expensive versions in the $25- $40 range offer multiple uses and are great when you know you are going to be sleeping in the bush during a longer race.

First Aid Kit-- Start with purchasing a small lightweight 1st aid kit that is preferably waterproof and add the additional items required by the race that do not come with the basic kit.

Food-- This is personal preference and will vary based upon length of the race and your eating habits. Be sure to pack your food so it is easily accessible. Be aware of what items are easy to eat during what race discipline. It is much easier to eat a sandwich during a trekking section than a biking section. During the bike section you may have an easier time with a bag of peanuts that can be opened and dumped into your mouth with one hand.

This article was written by Joe Moerschbaecher, head instructor at Pura Vida Adventures, Adventure Racing Camps.

Pura Vida Adventures offers three day racing camps, with the next scheduled for June 25-29th. In addition, interested participants can schedule their own camp date if they have three or more people and can choose to come for one or two skills-specific days for any camp. In addition to the three day camps, Pura Vida Adventures offers five day comprehensive camps in the Spring and Fall

. Please call 772-579-0005 or email contact@pvadventures.com for further detail or visit us on the web at www.pvadventures.com.

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