A Peek Inside My Suitcase: Hood to Coast Packing List
I’m always amazed by the giddy anticipation that comes with looking forward to something exciting for so long. That sense of eagerness is like a drug … it keeps you going every day to get one minute closer to the circled date on the calendar. Since April, I’ve been counting down the days to the Hood to Coast Relay.
That day has finally arrived.
By the time you read this, I’ll be in Seattle with some of the most amazing runners and bloggers from across the country. Sipping on some Nuun and getting ready to run across the state of Oregon in my first ever relay race.
There’s just one problem. 5 days of stuff had to fit into one backpack. One backpack. With the explosion and growing popularity of relay races, there are probably many of you out there – like me – who are first-time relayers or have a relay race on your bucket list but aren’t sure where to start with what you need, how to pack and tips for living out of a suitcase in a van for 2 days with 6 other people.
Today, I’m taking you inside my bag to share my Hood to Coast packing list. This should also serve as a handy checklist for any relay race.
- Backpack or small bag to put all your items in. Remember, this needs to be small enough to ensure your other teammates have space in the van for their items too. I’m a big fan of the Ogio 9.0 Endurance bag. I’ve talked about it before, and I think it is a must-have item for any runner or triathlete. It’s great for relays. You can stuff a lot inside it and it has a zippered bottom for dirty and wet clothes that is separated from your clean, dry items, a hard insulated pocket for fragile items like Garmins, cameras, etc. and a separate pocket for all your shoes. You can also carry it like a backpack, which is helpful for airport travel.
- 3 running outfits (or one for each of the legs you are responsible for running), including visor/hat, top, sports bra (if applicable), bottoms and socks. These should be packed in large Ziploc bags so after each leg you run, you can put the dirty wet clothes back into the bag to keep the stinkiness out of the van and to protect your fellow teammates from breathing in their stench.
- Running outfits and/or accessories in case of drastic temperature changes. In some parts of Oregon, the temperature may drop 15 to 20 degrees. Be sure to pack gloves, ear warmers, arm warmers and a long-sleeve dry-fit running top(s) in case you need to adjust to changing temps. Just remember, dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than it really is outside because you will heat up quickly.
- Running shoes. Most relayers suggest bringing 2 pairs of shoes so that they can dry out between legs. Someone recommended that I bring 3, so I did. It may prove to be overkill, but one can never have too many Brooks Running shoes.
- Flip flops and extra socks to wear in between your running legs to let your feet rest.
- Comfortable clothes to wear in the van in between legs when you aren’t running. These should be clothes you feel comfy in sitting in a van full of stuff and people. I brought several sweatpants and tops. You won’t find a bra anywhere on me during my downtime. #unladylike
- Nighttime running gear, including a reflective vest, headlamp or light you can clip onto your visor like the Amphipod Swift Clip Cap Light (I have a pink one!), flashing lights you can clip onto your clothes, etc. I also love the Nite Beams LED arm band too. My first leg will be in the dark on Friday and I’ll be wearing it on my left bicep, along with my cap light.
- Small pillow and blanket for sleeping in your van. Even just 30 minutes of shut-eye here and there will help you feel better while running (and driving).
- Garmin/watch and charger
- Camera and charger
- Phone and charger (One thing I also love and will be using at Hood to Coast is my HB Tune phone holder. If you want to bring your phone with you on your legs – which is a good idea in case you get lost or scared, especially at night – you simply put your phone into this soft, flexible case and then slip it over your thumb and forefinger. I discovered this little gem at a race expo in July and love it for runs lasting an hour or less when I wouldn’t be using hand-held hydration. This is also good for listening to music on the course since most relays do not allow the use of headphones. You can play your music from your phone’s speakers inside the case.)
- Anti-chafing ointment, such as Aquaphor (my favorite!)
- Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, etc.
- Charger/converter to charge all your electronics in the van
- Wipes. Lots of them. Baby wipes can help you stay clean and less smelly in between your running legs since you won’t be showering for 2 days. And your vanmates will thank you.
- Snacks and food to eat while in the van. Think about what works for you before and after you run and stick to those foods during the relay. Eating solid/real food is a good idea, and be sure to bring lots of water, Nuun and/or sports drink with you to stay hydrated.
- Tiger Tail, the Stick, travel Range Roller, travel foam roller or other similar tool to keep your muscles loose to prevent soreness.
- Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Performance Gel, etc.
- Race rules/manual, detailed driving guide and details for each running leg
I’ve got all the stuff. Now, just to run the race. 200 miles here we come!
Want to follow my adventures in Seattle and Oregon this week?
- On Twitter: @rUnladylike (You can also search the hashtag #nuunhtc for all updates related to our team, and you can see updates from every team member on Twitter here.)
- On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runladylike
- On Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/runladylike
If you’ve ever done a relay, are there any other must-have items you would add to this relay packing checklist? What is the one item you could never live without during a relay?