Adventure Racing Tip: Packing Your Backpack

Packing your backpack correctly is one of the key elements of a successful adventure race. If you pack your bag with a bit of forethought, it will serve you well when you are out on the course, allowing you to find what you need, when you need it.

  1. MAKE A LIST. Make a list of everything you will need for each leg of the race. Consider the discipline, racing conditions, and environment. Include only what you really need, along with mandatory equipment.
  2. ORGANIZE AND FAMALIARIZE. Lay out everything that you need. Pack “like items” together, such as mandatory medical and safety equipment in one lightweight dry bag or large zip lock, one day’s worth of food in another, and clothing and specific discipline gear in their respective bags. Do this several times to familiarize yourself with your equipment and where it is in your pack.
  3. WATERPROOF. Double bag and seal items that need to be kept dry, including mandatory equipment. For water disciplines or in wet conditions, line the entire main compartment of your pack with a lightweight dry bag.
  4. PRIORITIZE. Put items that you will need first or most often are on top. Place things that are rarely used – such as medical equipment – on the bottom. Place lightweight items that will be used frequently – such as sunglasses, sunhat, and gloves – in outside pockets.
  5. DISTRIBUTE THE WEIGHT. Pack heavy items – including water bottles or bladders – close to your body. Use bungees to secure water bottles to the shoulder straps of your pack to balance the load.

So, pack smart, light, and go!

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