In the last five years, we’ve competed in numerous adventure races across the glove from California to Slovakia. Each racecourse – checkpoint to checkpoint – has to be covered by bike, foot, boat. Your body will be pushed to the limit. You will want to quit often. Don’t!
Instead, make sure you are properly fitted for the correct gear. You will be more comfortable, sleep better, and save energy. Additionally, you’re spirits will be lifted with better gear.
With its popularity growing, finding an adventure race near you isn’t hard. There are now more than 250 held annually across the United States. There are even national championships for the elite.
We’ve compiled our list of best gear for adventure racing. This is not an exclusive list – and surely you’ll find better options for you personally. But this is a great place to start as a beginner.
Trail Running Shoes
Get a good pair – we like the Salomon speedcross – that will drain water, work in muddy conditions, and protect your feet from rocks and roots. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring multiple pairs, maybe in different sizes. Your feet will swell. A lot. And there’s nothing worse than trying to cram your swollen feet into a too small pair of shoes.
Wind and Waterproof Outer Shell
There is nothing worse than being exposed in the elements while being cold and wet. We encourage protecting yourself with a strong outer layer. We like items from Patagonia and North Face. But there are many great brands out there. Look for something with breathable slits in the back and under the arms. This will help keep you dry but prevent overheating during the race.
A Good GPS Watch
A GPS watch will not only help you stay on track with your pace and time, but the best ones have navigational tools that will help you find your way on the course. A watch for adventure racing should have a long battery, be durable, and come with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass). These features often align with a hiking GPS watch. These are good examples of the right kind of hiking watches.
Being out for days and nights, you’ll need a way to illuminate your way in the darkness. We headlamp with replaceable batteries is best. We like headlamps made by Petzl and Black Diamond.
With all this gear, you’ll need a place to store it. Look for a large capacity but lightweight pack. 32L at a minimum with a light internal frame. Packs that can carry a water bladder are also good options to look into.