Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

When Good Gear Goes Bad

I started this blog about the same time that I began to get involved with adventure racing, and one of my very first posts was about mandatory gear.  At the time, I was preparing for my very first 24-hour outing (which turned into an epic failure), and I was astounded by the amount of time, money, and “stuff” that went into this crazy sport.

Three years and more than a dozen races later, I’m now less than a week away from my first multi-day event, a 72-hour race in the rugged wilderness of northern New England.  Conservative estimates are projecting about 40 miles of paddling, 130 miles of biking, and 50+ miles of trekking, all guided by map-and-compass navigation.  Not to mention the portaging, the climbing, the o-relay, and the swimming.

That’s a lot of time… a lot of miles… and a lot of gear.

There’s the stuff that you must carry with you at all times – the compass, the whistle, the space blanket, the wool cap, the rain gear, the hydration system, the water purification tablets, and the headlamp.

There’s the mountain bike, the helmet, the bike shoes, the bike gloves, the bike lights, the extra tubes, and the repair kit…

…the PFD, the glowsticks, the paddle…

…and the climbing harness, the climbing helmet, the gloves, the ATC, the prussik, the sling, and the biners.

And that’s only the individual stuff.  Add to that all the team gear – the knife, the first aid kit, the tent, the sat phone, the bailers, and the throw bags…

…plus the optional gear – like the wetsuit, the swim fins, the portage wheels, the paddle gloves, the dry clothes, the dry socks, the dry shoes, the bug spray, the sunblock (the deodorant?  haven’t figured that one out yet)…

And of course, enough food to carry you through 72 hours of racing.

So where does that leave you?

Yes, that would be the state of our spare room for the past week (note the cheeseballs, Brent’s miracle race food).

Each racer is allowed one personal gear bin – maximum 35 pounds – to be accessed at three points throughout the race.  In addition, each team has a common bin or bag (technically designated for paddle gear, but because of the race format, it won’t house the paddle stuff until sometime during the first night), not to exceed 40 pounds.

Anything else, you’re carrying on your back.

We had our work cut out for us…

But after hours of sorting and organizing, far too many trips to REI, EMS, CVS, Rite-Aid, Giant, and Genuardi’s, and lots of packing, unpacking, and repacking, we were finally in business.

Now if we can just fit it all in the car…

3 responses to “When Good Gear Goes Bad

  1. Jill August 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Wooohoooo, you're packed, repacked and READY to ROLLLL!!! Good luck to you – sounds VERY exciting!!!

  2. Nobel4Lit August 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, I won't complain anymore about feeling weighed down carrying my water bottle while running!

  3. Denise August 9, 2010 at 7:37 am

    wow! and i thought packing for an ultra was a lot. that's nothing compared to this!

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