It didn’t take me long to realize what I needed and what I didn’t need in the bag I take to obstacle course races. All races offer a bag check, while some offer it for free (smaller races), others charge $5-$10. Going Lone Wolf, I don’t have someone to hold my keys, phone, dry clothes or paperwork for me, so I always take extra cash with me, to utilize the bag checks.
I use an Adidas top loading backpack. It has plenty of pockets, room, durable and most importantly, can be laundered. I fill that thing with antibiotic spray, ointment, gauze, Goat Tape & medical tape, band aids of all sizes, scissors, flip flops, change of clothes and towels. I also stash my cash, ID, keys and cell phone deep into the backpack. I decide last minute if I plan to take my gloves on the course or not. Less is more, in most cases.
I don’t pack snacks in the bag that gets checked. Mostly because, the heat, and placement of some of these bag checks are right out in the sun. I take a credit card and only small bills with me, obviously, for safety purposes. Although I’m sure my cell phone or keys would be the better grab, if that were to happen. Up until the end of 2018 Spartan Race season, bag checks were being ran by employees or volunteers. But I am guessing with the blasts of racers coming off the course for retrieving the bags, has forced a different approach. You, the racer, are allowed in the bag storage area, and then one or two attendants at the exit of bag storage confirm your wrist band and bag band match numbers. While it did seem to help the wait time, I feel they need to polish it up a little better, it gets quite hectic still. Missing bands, unreadable bands, distractions, etc could allow someone with the right mindset, to steal your things!
Regardless, take some good, quick and easy to use medical supplies. Think open cuts and nasty water/mud. Take an extra set of clothes, and have easy slip on sandals to slide on after taking your muddy shoes off. Rinse stations aren’t spa showers. They run out of gas in the generator running the pump, that is pumping from a pond, they have little pressure because 20 hoses are being used at once and the constant water usage makes a sloppy mess at the rinse off station. Most places say NO SOAP, to please the environmentalists. Some, if they have traveled far, stop at a truck stop like Flying J, Pilot or Love’s who offers showers for a fee on their way home. Either way, a few huge towels on hand is nice, and if you are changing in the car, its nice to have enough to sit on! I have brought gallon jugs of water with me, to leave in the vehicle to “warm up” while I race, in order to help clean up. Works great, but don’t leave those jugs in your vehicle for long, science kicks in and they start to leak with the heat the summer day in Florida can generate inside a vehicle.