Adventure racing is
big risks and endorphins
Definitely Extreme
Psychology of Adventure Racing
Competence and Responsibility
Code of Conduct
Personal Equipment Check-List
Foot and Shoe Assessment
Interview with SA's Team
Practical Guide to Seconding

Personal Equipment Check-List

Making sure that you have the right personal equipment is absolutely important. Working from your toes to your head, if you're kitted out correctly, you'll definitely be better prepared. It does take a bit of trial and error - and money - to test fabrics and brands work best for you. Always remember that it is better to spend an extra R50 on something of better quality that is a little more expensive, instead of buying it in 6 months when you decide that the item you have is unsuitable. The following list is a basic guide.

  • Trail Shoes - My money is on the Adidas Response TX shoe. Best bet is to close your eyes to the price (all good trail shoes are +R500) and choose the shoe that best fits the shape of your foot.
  • Sandals - Great for the water sections. I've got Rocky's.
  • Socks - You can never have enough. I'm probably one of the few who is blissfully happy to get socks for xmas. I try out all the new socks on the market and have currently settled on the new Falke Adventure Sock. It even has Left and Right labels, no seams around the toes and is available in dark colours (so you can't see the dirt too easily *grin*).
  • Gators - On my ESSENTIAL list. Gators - available in 1/2 leg or anklet lengths, keep sand, grass seeds and other trash out of your socks and shoes and protect your shins from the itchy-scratchy plants when you're bundu-bashing.
  • Long warm leggings - I go for lycra on the outside with that non-fluffy fluffy stuff on the inside. Lycra on the outside prevents icy wind sneaking through and blackjacks from attaching. BTW, gents, you don't look like ballet dancers in leggings. They're practical, comfortable and from my point of view (walking behind you), they show off your butts and athletic legs to perfection *evil grin*
  • Regular long leggings - Also go for lycra - same reasons as above.
  • Shorts - Great for during the day and for water sections. Here again I keep with lycra though any other quick drying fabric is suitable. Lycra also prevents chaffing.
  • Cycle Shorts - You'll be spending many hours in the saddle, so get a pair of padded cycling shorts.
  • Shirts - Go for light, moisture-wicking quick-drying fabrics. My new favourite is the Adidas Climalite short-sleeved top.
  • Thermal top - These are great to keep you warm even when you're wet. I've used ThermaDry, HydroGear and CapeStorm. All similar - different styles and different fabrics that do the same function. They dry quickly too. Get 2 so you can wear one and keep the other in a ziploc bag in your pack at all times.
  • Outer Shell - An outer shell should be very light-weight, waterproof/resistant, breathable and very importantly, wind-proof.
  • Head Wear - Beanie for when it's cold. Cap for during the day and if you've got sensitive skin, remember to get a cap with neck protection.
  • Cycle Helmet - Must be ANSI approved. No helmet, no ride.
  • Cycle Gloves - Also useful for abseiling.
  • Shades - Protect your eyes from the sun's glare off water, sand etc. and from flying insects and dirt.

  • Back pack - You'll need a total volume of 20l - 30l. Great features to look out for are: Chest straps, waist straps, bungi cord straps on the front, mesh side pockets, a separate compartment for your hydration bladder, a pouch or two on the front for putting in things you may need to access regularly, padded shoulder straps, tags on the zips (easy to open your pack with frozen fingers) and a waterproof cover.
  • Hydration System - I don't even go running without mine. You need at least a 2l bladder. I like the bite valves - see what's available and what works for you. I also carry one or two 750ml water bottles. 
  • Headlamp - Essential! Try them on in the shop, bounce around and make sure that it is comfortable. Try it on with your cycle helmet for fit. Try to co-ordinate with your team-mates so that you all use the same kind of batteries. If you go for halogen bulb, you get good light but much less battery life. It's a trade-off. Get a torch that can take either halogen or regular bulbs. I'm looking into these new LED headlamps. Great battery life BUT, doesn't look the the LED's are easy to find when you need to replace the bulbs.
  • Mountain Bike - When it comes to mountain bikes, I'm definitely no expert. But, I can tell you that a R11 000 bike is not going to make a lot of difference compared to a R4 000 bike. If it's alot lighter then it will make your load easier when you've got to carry your bike up a gorge, but for the most part, your speed is dependant on that of your other 3 team-mates. there is also only so much the bike can do, the rest if up to you and your legs. Front shocks are great to give you better handling over rocky terrain. I've done a few long races without shocks. Back shocks are really not necessary. You lose power on the uphills. Rather spend your money on good tyres and a suitable saddle. 
  • Bicycle lamp - I'm not good on these. Shop around. There are quite a few brands on the market. CatEye's can be trusted.
  • Bivvy Bag - Great for keeping you dry, not much help to keep you warm.
  • Sleeping bag - In SA the max you'll need will be -10C rated. On the down vs. synthetic side... It's up to you.  I believe it takes alot of wetting to get feathery clumps these days... Race directors will issue their requirements before the event.
  • Life Jacket - These are provided in most cases.
  • Paddle - These are also provided in most cases. You may prefer to bring along your wing paddles. In some events you may be restricted from using them.
  • Cycle Stuff - You each need to carry at least one spare tube. Between the team you'll need: lube, pump, puncture repair kit, chain breaker, allen key set, valve spanner and a spoke spanner.
  • Whistle - Very important! Always keep your whistle on you - and not in your pack. It's not much help if you fall down a hill, your pack gets ripped off your back and you haven't got it with you.
  •  First-aid - You are required to have a team first aid kit. In addition I always keep plasters, anti-inflammatory tablets ("happy tabs"), syringe and needle (for blisters), lipice and contact lens solution in my pack.
  • Disposable camera - Though we always forget to take photos, it is great to have to record some great places and memories.


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