Alright; so you’ve signed up for your Spartan race. You’ve trained, you’ve thought about what you want to wear, you’re ready to go. But what should you pack? While some things in my Spartan kit are mainstays, there are definitely race-specific items that I need as well. Today I want to break it down a bit and go through what’s in my race bag and what I definitely don’t bring to the start village.
The Spartan Go-Bag
My first few Spartans, I was still developing the habit of what to load up in my go-bag. This is the duffel that I will take from the car into the starting village, check at bag check, then have immediately after the race. As such, it has to have all of my indispensible items in it. A couple years of racing have made this a science; here’s what I generally bring:
Self-explanatory; Arthur Dent style.
*Flip Flops/Shower Shoes
The Spartan shower is just a bunch of hoses on planks to keep you from getting your newly-clean feet overly muddy. You need a pair of shoes that can go through the water unharmed. I use flip-flops, but I know others that use Crocs.
*A change of clothes
A FULL change of clothes; socks, underwear, the works. Include fresh shoes if you don’t intend to wear your shower shoes off the course. I generally just wear my flip flops the rest of the day.
*Several plastic bags/garbage bags
You’re going to need something to store your muddy, sweaty, disgusting clothes in so you
can get them home and washed. I usually shove two garbage bags in my go-bag and leave a few in the car in case I need to cover the seat on the way home.
I have curly hair and it tends to get nuts when left to its own devices. As a result, between the finish line and my shower at home my hair becomes kind of scary. I pack something to stick on top of my head so that I can at least put the hair away until I have the opportunity to wash it.
I discovered these for my Beast this year and I’m not looking back. While Spartan does provide a place to hose yourself off, it’s basically in a field amongst mixed-gender company. You get the top layer of grime off, but there’s still definite grunge underneath those clothes you feel too bashful to remove in mixed company. I find that I generally want a second pass at being clean when I peel those muddy clothes off. Enter the shower wipe: you can get them pre-packaged with one wipe that will do your entire body. You could also just pack a bunch of baby wipes; but my household doesn’t tend to go through those fast enough so they dry out in the interim between races. You can find these sweet puppies on Amazon.
I have a big bottle of sunscreen that I keep in the go-bag, and I take a travel size bottle in my Camelbak on the course. Because I am serious about skin health.
*A pouch for necessities
There are definitely things that I don’t want rolling around in my duffel because I just won’t find them when I need them. Cash, credit cards, ID, etc. All of these go in a little pouch like this one that goes in the duffel. That way, I have the important stuff together in a place that I know I can grab it if I need to.
Things I have in the Car just in Case
Since the car will be parked a fair distance from the starting village (sometimes a whole shuttle ride away), you won’t have access to these items immediately after the race. That said, they will be there when you need them.
*An extra set of clean clothes
We learned this the hard way last year when I accidentally dropped my fiancé’s clean pair of after-race undies in a puddle of dirty water while he was hosing off. Bring a spare set of clean everything, you seriously never know when you might need it. Leave it in the car so that nothing can happen to it. You may not use it every race, but it only takes one underwear-drop to feel grateful that you have it.
*My wallet and phone
Since Spartan bag check is not generally a secure affair, I only bring the bare minimum of what I need in my go-bag (generally an ID and a debit card with a tiny bit of cash). The rest stays in the car. Locked and secure.
*Water. Water water water.
Yes, there will be water at the finish line; but generally you’re going to have a long drive home from these races. I keep at least a bottle of water, if not a case of water, in the car for after the race. It has definitely improved my next-day comfort (and my ride home comfort).
There will also be snacks at the finish line; but calorie deprivation turns me into a cranky hunger beast. In order to protect my driving buddies from the wrath of the beast, I throw a protein bar, trail mix, or (if it’s a big race) a sandwich in the car so that I have immediate food should I need it. Trust me. It’s a necessity.
Things I leave at Home
There are things that I just don’t take on the Mountain. Period. Here is a short list of them.
*Anything that might get broken, drowned, wrecked, or stolen.
Spartans are why we can’t have nice things. Don’t be dumb; you’re about to encounter extreme situations involving water, mud, dirt, physical activity, and other people. Leave your valuables at home.
*My fitness tracker
As much as I would LOVE the HR data from a Spartan, I really don’t have the confidence that my Fitbit won’t get broken or fall off during the race. I actually tend to leave it in the car just so I can wear it before and after, but it definitely goes nowhere near the starting village.
*Basic first aid supplies
Spartans come equipped with a first responder tent. Things like ice, ibuprofen, ace bandages, Band-Aids, antiseptics, etc. can all be found at the starting village. You don’t need to bring them. Extra points for being a boyscout, but it’s not a necessity.
There will be professional photographers on the race and race pics are free. Your device will just get damaged and ruined. Leave it at home. The exception to this rule is a GoPro when it’s got an appropriate case; GoPro footage of Spartan races is awesome and there should totally be more of it in the world.
There ya have it! The basic necessities of starting village comfort. Next time on Spartans with the Dani Beast I’ll chat about the differences in what I bring on the course for a Sprint, Super, and Beast. Until then; stay strong!