I love the Ragnar Relay series. 200 miles, a bunch of friends, or strangers, and 30 hours either running or sitting/sleeping in a van. Who doesn’t love that sweet blend of your sweat swirled into the air with your friend’s sweat and the sweat vapors from Sarah’s damp pair of used Lululemon’s. Stop eating garlic before your runs Sarah.
I’m not saying I don’t personally enjoy that shit, but when you tell me that I can do that same thing and replace the van sleeping with camping under the stars and then tell me you’re going to replace the roads with some dirt trails, I’ve got two words for you: SIGN ME UP!
So now that I’m planning to do my first Ragnar Trail Relay, here’s my packing list: trail edition.
What To Pack For The Ragnar Trail Relay
As far as I’m concerned, there’s two types of camping: car camping and backcountry camping. The effective difference is that you can’t (shouldn’t) carry your cast iron grill pan backcountry camping. Weight matters. I expect the the Ragnar Trail Relay to be closer to car camping as far what I’m able to take with me, so that should make for some fun. In my case, I’ll be driving up to Tahoe from San Francisco, so I’ll be able to take a bit more than if I was flying in from somewhere else.
1. 8-Person Tent Cabin. I’m leaving my ultra-light 2 person tent at home and taking my Burning Man tent that I call Martha. That’s right, a straight up 8 person tent/house where I can set up a comfortable base for MYSELF. I’ve used this for my base camp at the 30 hour SISU Iron and it provided plenty of space to stretch out and ample more to spread out my stuff. It’s taller than normal camping tents so you’re able to stand up, unless you’re of Norwegian, Dutch, or of Viking descent, in which case, you might have to crouch a bit. I would not use this as a tent for all 8 people on my team. I think 3 would be the comfortable max for this type of race. It runs about $140, so it’s not too bad and protects against the race if that should happen. You might be able to find something cheap at Wal-mart or Target too if you’re flying in.
2. Zero Gravity Camping Chair. I love trips where I have the luxury of space to take out this gravity lounger chair and stare at the stars above. If you’re flying in, consider grabbing a cheap normal camping chair when you are local at a Wal-Mart. Whatever you do, bring a chair so you have somewhere to sit when you’re waiting/eating/playing the ukulele.
3. Jetboil + Portable Stove. We’ll probably bring my Coleman stove/grill to do some real cooking over the two days. The race provides a dinner Friday night, but we’ll want to have some real food cooking throughout the race. I’ll also bring my Jetboil to quickly boil water in about 2 minutes instead of always having to run the stove. It’s useful on all my camping trips because it’s quite small and I usually just pack dehydrated meals when I’m in the backcountry.
4. Sleeping Pad or Sleep Cot. I’m deciding on my Thermarest Prolite, because it provides some great insulation and it’s pretty comfortable despite being on the ground, but I might consider taking the cot, which takes up a little more space in the car, but raises me off the ground.
5. Pillow + Sleeping Bag. Duh. Stay warm. I might also take a throw or small blanket as well to wrap around myself while sitting outside my tent. It’ll be summer for me, but you never know how cold it can get at 4 am when you’re not running. Definitely be prepared in case the weather turns because you aren’t going anywhere until the race is over.
6. Yoga Mat. I’ll use my 5mm yoga mat to stretch and probably to put in front of my chair so that I can go barefeet and step on something that’s not the cold ground.
7. Lantern. In addition to my headlamp, which I’ll need to run through the woods at night, a couple of these collapsible lanterns can provide light inside my tent and around the camp ground if it happens to not be so well lit.
8. Ice Cooler. No one likes warm Gatorade.
9. Bug Spray. I don’t know what the bug situation’s going to be like, but having some bug spray isn’t a bad idea.
10. Miscellaneous. Lighter, utility knife, utensils, tin cup, wet wipes.
1. Soffe Running Shorts. Love these shorties and they are cheap, so I will bring both pairs I own. They have built in underwear, which may or may not be your thing.
2. Nike Dri-Fit Running Tights. For the night or early morning run, the running tights will provide some warmth.
3. Nike Combat Compression Shirt. It’s on the tighter side than most running shirts, but the combat compression long sleeve is a must when its cold. I also like the compression on my upper body. During the day time, I usually run without a shirt.
4. Nike Core Short Sleeve. Just in case it’s still a bit chilly during the day, a slight looser but still fitted moisture wicking shirt will provide some warmth and protection.
5. Injinji Toe Socks. I use these toe socks for all my obstacle course races and never get a blister because your toes don’t rub against each other. Even better when I rub on some Trail Toes cream. Like putting on vaseline, but way better. 3 pairs for the 3 legs.
6. Inov-8 Trailroc 245. Still my most versatile trail shoe of choices. I take these traveling as well because they replace any need for hiking boots (unless I’m doing some very specific technical terrain).
7. Hoka One One Challenger ATR. I’ll switch into Challenger ATR for the longer runs. The shoe looks funny, but it really feels like you’re running on clouds with all the extra cushioning. The ATR is the trail version, so will have better traction.
8. Running Belt. I usually don’t run with water, so I just throw on one of these belts to take along a gel or salt pills and my phone for music. Keep it simple, whatever you choose. It will be nice if they provide some hydration on the trail.
9. Reflective Vest. For night time running, my Nathan Reflective Vest does the job pretty well and doesn’t get in the way of my arm movement.
10. Headlamp. The Black Diamond Storm is a reliable headlamp. 160 lumens usually provides plenty of light and there’s also a red light night time mode.
11. The Stick. Easier to use than a foam roller. This rolling pin allows me to target some spots that are harder to get to with a foam roller.
12. TriggerPoint Roller. Just cause I’ll bring the stick doesn’t mean I won’t bring my TriggerPoint GRID foam roller. Tried and true.
13. Costume. I’ll have to think on this a bit more, but I might come run dressed up as the Colonel Sanders holding a bucket of real fried chicken. Pass me and I’ll give you a bite.
Other Miscellaneous Items
1. Clothes. Something to change into after each run.
2. Shower Pill. These wipes are great for cleaning yourself up if you can’t shower. I use these after cooling down and before changing back into normal clothes after each run and I felt so refreshed.
3. Anker Battery Pack. 20000 mAh portable charger. This thing charges my iPhone at least 6 times and anything that can plug in via the two USB ports.
4. RX100 IV. My take and go camera. Shoots 4k video, amazing image quality, image stabilization and low light capabilities in a very small compact body. Definitely taking it with me on the trail to get some footage since it doesn’t weight me down and will get better quality video and photos than my GoPro. I use the IV version, but the III is almost identical except it’ll shoot 1080p instead of 4k video.
5. Towel. To wipe yourself off after each run.
6. BeetElite. One of the few things I drink before races. Gives you a nice kick of energy and really works for me.
7. Headphones + Charging Cables.
8. Kindle Paperwhite. If I decide to be anti-social, reading is the best way to say leave me alone.
10. Food. Figure this one out with the team and have fun with it. If you need to think about glycemic load and all that stuff, that’s good, you be you. Hydrate and get some protein and carbs in after the run. Important stuff blah, blah. I’m thinking of crushing my legs and then crushing some bacon jam, waffles with lots of butter and maple syrup, and 2 inch thick rib eye steaks. And then maybe a green tea cheesecake, some jalapeno corn fritters, and churros. And cast iron fried chicken, a seafood paella, and slow-cooked Kansas-style brisket or pulled pork. I’m not picky. If I can find a place to plug it in, I’ll even bring my Anova Precision and cook the steak sous vide. Yes, I know you want to join my team now. We may have a spot or two still open.
That’s about all I can think of right now. If you think I’m missing anything, shoot me a message. Can’t wait to get out there and have a fun weekend running some trail and camping with friends.