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What You Should Know Before Joining Adventure Race (2) – The Gears

December 27th, 2007 · 1 Comment ·
 
 

This post on is part of the What You Should Know Before Joining Adventure Race Series. In this post, the guest blogger, Ee-Van, shared with us on the equipment and gadgets we need to prepare.

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Adventure Races can be expensive for some, but that is because the equipment involved equals your life. To start with, invest in a set of good UIAA certified harness, abseil device such as the basic Figure 8, two minimum 60cm long slings, lockable or auto-locking carabiners (you usually need a minimum of 2) and a Prussick Cord. It is almost a one off investment, and if you take good care of it, it will last you a long long time. For Malaysians, these equipments could be purchased at specialty store such as at Nomad Adventure in Summit and Core Zone in SS2. There are other options as well such as some outdoor products shop, but their choices are limited compared to the two I just mentioned.

Don’t forget a set of full fingered gloves suitable for abseiling. I have always used a pair of welding/workman’s glove, those that will not cost you RM20 for a pair. They are made from cow hide, but not very refined or branded, so, losing them in a race is not as bad as losing those RM79 leather gloves.

As for shoes, leave your expensive sneakers at home, those that are meant to be a fashion accessories and has more features than your old hand phone. Get yourself a good fitting pair of toe covered shoes (I am saying this as some shoes is the open concept type – al fresco?).

I know manufacturer like Brooks does have some decently priced trail shoes which have been proven over the races. If money is not an issue, there is always the more fancy Salomon and Inov8 which are really popular with the seasoned racer, but they come with a price of course. I have seen some racers donning their adidas kampung”, those cheap rubber stud canvas top shoes in some races and they fair pretty well in those condition.

So, if you are afraid that your nice expensive sneaker which you wears out to impress the babes get lost in the mud which your legs will go in or get stuck between the rocks as you river-board down the rapids, better keep them where they are meant to be – in the box.

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How about the tops and bottoms? My 2 sens is to stick to cycling lycras. It is padded and will serve its purpose on those bike rides you might have to make. Some of these rides might be as short as 10 kilometer or as long as 100 kilometer and getting your butt aching while you are still racing would be the last thing you would want. These lycras are also lightweight and dries fast. But if you swore by your shorts or pants, then just make sure you would not get chaffing in between your inner thighs. It would get nasty as the race goes on.

As for top, go for something which is made of quick drying material. Anything made from Polyester would serve its purpose. Most of the light weight sports top would be made from polyester, only differences is their marketing name i.e. Dri-Fit from Nike or Clima-Cool from Adidas. Some may argue that not all the material are made equal, but let me tell you, I have been racing with a RM10 polyester top which is a fake of both brands and I have no issue with them. Best thing is, if I were to get it torn because it got caught by the many thorns in the jungle, it only cost me RM10 and not RM89!!!

So, just leave those cotton based top or t-shirts at home as it would get really heavy once it’s soaked with sweat and water!

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One of the more important gear that you should invest in is a hydration pack. Camelbak are leader when it comes to these. I have seen some unknown brand burst or leak, and when you are in a race, that is the last thing you want it to happen. Water/hydration is important and in most Adventure Races, the organizer would require you to have at least 2 liters of water with you. So, go for the 3 liter hydration bladder that should last you for most of the races.

As for the backpack size, anything bigger than a 20-liter pack is really cumbersome. Imagine you crawling through the smallest cave crevices and your head got through but not your body because the bag was just too big! Or how it would jiggle when you run with the pack like some schoolboy on heat. Just make sure the backpack comes with a chest strap for better stabilization and load dispersion. As such, I know only Deuter, Camelbak and North Face when it comes to backpack, but if you can, stick to Camelbak bladder! If you are budget conscious, get High Sierra if you don’t mind the weight of the pack.

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Most of the races would provide you with a canoe if there is any need for it, but you need to get your own bike. Invest in a Mountain Bike that will serve your budget and purpose. I have always believed that it is not about the bike, but the rider. Just get one bike which is of reasonable quality and strong build. And as usual, if budget is not a concern, just go ahead and bust your bonus on one of the nicer looking one; you will only go as fast as your legs allow you to. Furthermore, if you ride a cheaper bike, the thrill is to be able to out-ride the more expensive bike and stick a thumb on your nose as you overtake them ;-)

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Since biking are usually one of the disciplines in the sports, you will need a proper cycling helmet as well, which will double up as a safety helmet when you does all the technical rope work. Usually the organizers will tell you what you need in their race entry form.

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Also needed usually are at least one headlight, in case there is caving or the organizer sees that the race will last through the night. Over the years, I have tried using the conventional bulb headlights which gives out yellow lights and also the more high-tech energy efficient LED headlights. Depending on what the course would be like, yellow lights perform best in very dark places such as caves and white LED lights would gives you less penetration but a wider beam. As such, you could bring both type, or invest in one which have both functions and could be switched between. Bring extra batteries as the conventional bulbs are energy sapping devices.

Don’t forget to get yourself a waterproof bag. Summit To Sea has a good range of it and also don’t miss out on a passport/map carrier. The passport I am talking about here is essentially a piece of paper which will be chopped and signed off by the marshals at every checkpoint as a way of validating that you indeed passed the certain required locations. A cheaper alternative is to get those small or large zip lock bag which cost between RM8 to RM16 for 20-50 bags at the local supermarket.

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Also, it is normal for the organizer to ask you to prepare a set of first aid kit, which usually consist of certain basic items. This is on a team basis and each team only needs to carry one set. The basic items are triangular bandage, crepe bandage, gauzes, antiseptic ointment/liquid, medical tape and Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS). Apart from that, each team would need to carry enough bicycle tubes and repair kit as they need to repair it themselves should any equipment failure happens.

And as with every equipment you have, someone will tend to come out and give their 2 cents worth about “your equipment are heavy, you will not finish the race” and run your morale down. Don’t worry about it, I would tell you. If your equipment weigh 1 kilogram more than his, then you are better off losing 1kg off your body weight and save thousands of Ringgit compared to the other person! Just smile and nod in agreement…and make sure you beat them at the finish line!

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I believe that I have covered the things you need to know about the equipment part, now, let’s move on to the next important issue, hydration and food.

The series of What You Should Know Before Participating Adventure Race:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Gears
  3. Hydration and Food
  4. The Race
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1 response so far ↓
  • sykz // Dec 28, 2007 at 3:20 AM

    Nice entry. Any sites you guys can recommend me for any adventure race for beginners? I meant that shows upcoming and future races? Thanks in advanced!

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