Unlike many sports, obstacle course racing is 95% your body. You obviously don’t need shoulder pads, a Louisville slugger, golf balls, a bicycle or a paddle of some sorts.
That other missing 5%, is a damn good trail running shoe, compression/anything BUT cotton clothing and possibly gloves. Depending on the condition of my hands at the time of a race, is how I judge if I need my gloves or not. I currently use FitFour O
CR Spartan Slit Grip Gloves when my hands beg for a break. I use them for more of a hand protector than assistance with grip. You can use discount code: OCRCHICK at checkout, to get 10% off your purchase!
I began my racing in Salomon X-Mission Trail Running shoes. While they had great grip on rough terrain, rigid soles for rope climbing, they did not drain water quickly. After a lot of research and review readings, I found Merrell All Out Crush Light Trail Running shoes. They were affordable, and when I tried them on, it was like they were already broke in. Let’s face it, I did not want to break in a pair at a race, nor did I want to pay over $100 for shoes to get muddy & torn up. Plus, they can be thrown in the washing machine and come out looking brand new, every time!
Living in Florida, working outside in Florida, I learned quickly, cotton feels like fleece in the summer humidity, and you need moisture wicking clothing to stay half way comfortable. Same goes for racing. You get sweaty, wet, and then dry out and the cycle happens again. I have at least 2 articles of clothing from every big name to no name brand out there, and guess what, they all work. I wear the compression or fitted versions of it all. It helps protect me, lessens my recovery time and doesn’t weigh me down or get snagged on anything because its secure against me. In the cooler temps (like below 70s, haha) I wear long sleeves, and shorts. In the warmest temps, sports bra and shorts-BUT, be careful, I am NOT allergic to poison ivy, oak or anything for that matter, so if you are allergic to anything that might be out there in the jungles & forests, cover up! Too many horror stories of poison out there.
Socks. I am a climber, and it only took about one time descending from a rope with ankle socks, for me to get a traumatizing rope burn on my ankle. From then on, I wear tight, over the calf socks. Sometimes, MudGear compression socks, sometimes Stance socks,
because I love their style. Either way, if you plan on running through any jungles in shorts, you need to protect your legs from briers, poison, sticks, etc…and of course, avoid those tender calf muscles the day after!
As for hydration packs, I have been very fortunate to have attended races that always had water check points strategically placed throughout the course. Its extra weight, and only if the race requires it (HH, Endurance, Ultras, Etc.), would I take one. If you do believe you need one, make sure the straps will not rub your neck and back. You will make a lot of friction running off road with those things, and will need to plan to take it off on some obstacles in order to not get snagged on things.
Sunglasses. The obvious: Don’t wear your Oakley, Costa, Ray-Bans. I purchase cheap knock offs at the local flea market, polarized lenses, but cheapos. So when they are lost, broken or packed with mud, no harm no foul.