Death Race Packing List

Having done a 12, 24 and 48 hour ‘death-race’ style events, I feel as though I’ve got this list pretty tight. I take exactly the same thing to every event, packed in the same place in my bag because I know it works.

This list may help with events like GORUCK, ROOTS or the Spartan Agoge.

I have put the brands I use next to the item.
You can copy and print it for your reference.
There is also an explanation about the items at the bottom of the page if you’re interested.

Anything with a question mark is something I would consider taking after assessing the location, duration, weather and other circumstances of the event.

Backpack

  • Around 35 litres – 5.11 RUSH 24

Wardrobe

  • Dry Bags – Exped; 1 x red 8 litres, 2 x yellow 5 litres & 1 x orange 3 litres
  • Trainers/Boots
  • Pre-talced socks x 4 – Darn Tough
  • Sports bikini (for women, obviously) – Freya, underwired
  • Thermal top – Skins
  • Merino wool base layer – Icebreaker
  • Tech t-shirt
  • Thermal leggings – Columbia
  • Hiking trousers – Craghoppers Kiwi Pro
  • Strong (military) belt – 5.11
  • Waterproof gloves x 2 (one thin, one thick) – Sealskinz & Columbia
  • Waterproof hat – Sealskinz
  • Buff x 2
  • Windproof Buff
  • Windstopper jacket – Gore
  • Waterproof jacket – Gore (mine is brown – ideal for camouflage challenges)
  • Waterproof over trousers? – Berghaus
  • Windproof balaclava? (for really cold events) – Gore
  • Neoprene top and leggings – NRS Hydroskin 0.5mm (heat reflective neoprene for really long cold events)

Bathroom

  • Toothbrush – travel size
  • Toothpaste – travel size
  • Antibacterial gel- travel size
  • Wet wipes – travel size
  • First Aid Kit – travel size
  • Painkillers
  • Prescription medicine if required daily (tell the race director the time you need to take it! I feel it is their responsibility to remind you)
  • Gurney Goo
  • Compeed blister plasters – mixed sizes
  • Talcum powder – travel size
  • Small travel towel?

Kitchen Drawer

  • Safety/guardian light (attached to backpack) – Adventure Lights
  • Headtorch – LED Lenser
  • Spare batteries (in plastic resealable bag)
  • Knife
  • Map of local area
  • Map case
  • Compass
  • Waterproof notepad 
  • Pen
  • Sharpie marker
  • Gaffa tape (a half used roll or some tape wrapped around a marker pen or old credit card to save on space)
  • Cable ties x 10 minimum
  • Lighter
  • Spare shoelaces
  • Fire lighting box – cotton wool, vaseline, striker
  • Plastic food bags x 4
  • Black bags x 2
  • Glowsticks?
  • Luggage scales?

Garden Shed

  • Paracord 10m
  • Climbing rope 3m
  • Carabinas x 2 – good quality ones
  • Fire gel?
  • Axe/Hatchet? – Fiskars
  • Folding Shovel? – Hilka Pro-Craft
  • Bungee cords? – Master Lock
  • 6′ x 4′ tarpaulin?

Pantry

  • Most food stored in plastic resealable bags
  • Water To Go Bottle
  • Water bladder – CamelBak
  • Frittata – with spinach, veg and chorizo. Tesco sells a great one if you don’t have time to make your own)
  • Mixed nuts with salt and paprika – I buy plain mixed nuts and add my own salt and spice
  • Coconut Bars or ROOTS Bars – plus extra for team mates
  • Honey roast nuts – Sainsbury’s
  • Peanut butter on dried apple slices
  • Chocolate brazil nuts
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans
  • Ration packs?

Finally, don’t forget the all important:

KIT LIST!

  • Most endurance events will require you to bring a set list of items. Without them, you will not be able to take part in the event.
  • Add these to your list.


Here’s the explanations:

Notes about backpack

  • I use a 5.11 RUSH 24 Backpack in Multicam. It’s a durable, 37-litre military pack with dozen of pockets for storing kit. It’s expensive but worth every penny.
  • It’s comfortable and does not chafe.
  • It’s strong, water-resistant pack that can drag the weight of a fully grown man!
  • The Multicam option is good for camouflage tasks.
  • Dob;t get carried away and go too big with your pack. The chances are you’ll have to carry the damn thing with you for the whole event. Pack light. The pack will get heavier when wet.


Notes about wardrobe

  • Chose different coloured dry bags for colour coding, so you know what is in each bag without opening it. This is great for when you are in a rush.
  • All my clothes are stored in an 8-litre dry bag. Accessories like hats, buffs, socks and gloves in a 5-litre dry bag.  
  • Black bags ARE NOT a substitute for dry bags. I’ve seen people use them in an attempt to waterproof their kit.  It doesn’t work!  Once your kit is wet it’s useless. And heavy! If the race directors are on top of their game, they will put you and your bag in the water and if your kit isn’t protected, there’s little chance of you finishing the event.
  • Train in your footwear and socks for as long as possible before the event.  Get them wet, wear them for hours after, see how your feet feel.
  • 10433317_10205262510433047_2402889442890688309_n
    I wear a sports bikini as it dries quickly. If I need to get in the water, and if I have time, I take off all my clothes so they don’t get wet.  The Freya underwired sports bikini provides support for running as well.
    Guys, I recommend some lightweight, quick-drying, tech sports underwear so it doesn’t remain wet causing you to feel ‘soggy.’
  • Pre-talced socks are the way forward. There’s more on this in my post 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.
  • Don’t take your best gear, it’ll get trashed.  I have a stash of worse-for-wear clothes in my ‘Endurance Race Box’ that I know performs well. Don’t take your fanciest waterproof jacket, you’ll just get upset when it rips. You don’t need that negativity, you’ll already be feeling pretty shit.
  • Some of the gear I have listed is pricey. Check out eBay and selling sites for bargains, that’s where get my merino wool and event waterproofs from.  It’s cheaper and there’s no emotional attachment if it gets ruined.
  • Goretex and Windstopper products are incredible! The combination of a thermal base layer, merino wool top, Windstopper jacket and Goretex jacket is bulletproof. Make sure to try it all on and get the right sizes so it layers well and you can still move with ease.


Notes About Bathroom

  • There’s nothing like cotton mouth 18 hours into your event to make you feel like shit and affect your ability to think straight.  For the amount of weight and space it takes up, a tooth care kit will make you feel refreshed when the sun goes down and the sun rises. It acts as a great reset. (Your teammates will thank you too)
  • Pack your Gurney Goo, Compeed and talcum powder in a resealable sandwich bag in the same dry bag as your socks. These few items will get you to the end of the race.
    There are more details on this in 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.


Notes on Kitchen Drawer

  • There’s some stuff on this list you might wonder why it’s there. Cable ties? Black plastic bags? Spare shoes laces? Sandwich bags? These items take up little space but are so useful, which is I take them on every event. In the middle of the night, when you have to complete a task and don’t know how, or you or your team mate’s shoelace breaks, these things will come in useful.
  • We once used cable ties to make a giant sand bag snake.
    The black bags were used to stop water falling out of a bucket on a 5-mile hike. Each of these tasks we won.
    The luggage scales are a new addition to my kit list.  I’ll leave you to work out why.
  • KEEP ALL THESE ITEMS ON THE LOW DOWN! DON’T LET THE RACE DIRECTORS SEE YOU BEING SMART.  If they think you are being too smart, they will take things away from you!

Notes on Garden Shed

  • As above
  • Repeat: KEEP ALL THESE ITEMS ON THE LOW DOWN!


Notes on Pantry

  • Carrying water is one of your heaviest items but also the most important!  Staying hydrated during these big events is vital!  A Water To Go Bottle will get you out of trouble as it filters water from puddles, lakes, streams and even urine.  The only water it doesn’t filter is sea water. Do not rely on this as your only source of water. Carry a water bladder as your main source. The Water To Go bottle is a great emergency item.
  • Do not rely only on sweet food to fuel you through your event.  Alternate sweet with savoury, eating every 2-4 hours.  There’s more information on this in 7 Tips to Surviving a Death Race.
  • Plastic resealable bags are fantastic!  Fully sealed, they are waterproof. Once used they fold down into nothing taking up no space and weight.  When your hands are dirty, you can literally squeeze food from the bag straight into your mouth, meaning you don’t have to take your gloves off and also preventing tummy bugs from dirty hands. They are also great for storing non-food related items too.


Notes on Kit List

  • It has been given to you for a reason. Do not show up with any items missing. Not a single one. If you do, it could mean you or your team are punished.  Follow the rules and get the full kit list.
  • Some are there for your safety, some are there to make your life a misery.
  • Most of the time, you will have no idea what these items are for.
  • Think about what each item might be used for, pack strategically and keep each item protected from the elements.
  • Check, double check and triple check your list when packing.


General Notes

  • GPS watches, watches, lighters, matches, lighter fuel and such like are often banned in these kinds of events.  It’s up to you if you wish to go against the rules and take them. Be prepared, if you get caught, the punishment can be harsh!
  • Questions such as ‘What is best, trainers or boots?’ or ‘What size bag shall I take?’ are popular ones. I assess each event, the duration, its location, the time of year and go from there.  My recommendation is to test things out.  You may not make the right decision for each event, but the event is going to suck no matter what.  Don’t beat yourself up. If you make the wrong decision, taking a bag too big or too small or wear trainers instead of boots, you can’t change it and you’ll have learnt for next time.


FINAL WORDS

My adventure pack stays packed and waits patiently in my wardrobe ready for the next adventure. Wardrobe items and previous kit list items  are stored in my ‘Endurance Race Box’ so I know where it all is at the drop of a hat.

If you liked this post, you’ll also like Top 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.


Do you have an endurance event planned?
Have you used this list and found it helpful?
Come and find me on Twitter as I’d love to hear all about what you;re up to!