Well, we’re back with the final installment in our series of adventure racing gear reviews. If you missed the other parts, here they are: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV. Now, on with the show…
This could be the most essential piece of clothing that you’ll ever buy. I mean, let’s face it. You want to take good care of this area, right? I thought so. These boxer briefs are great. They fit perfectly, there are no seams to chafe you, they wick moisture better than anything else I’ve tried, and they dry uber-quickly. I wear these on all of my long training rides or runs and on all of my races.
What the…??? These might be the weirdest looking “shoes” in the world, but they are great. First, I’d recommend reading Born to Run. This is an awesome read, and it will help explain why these shoes are so great for you biomechanically. I love to lift weights and do some metabolic conditioning in these shoes, and they are perfect for when I do some TRX suspension training. I also do some trail running in them. However, don’t buy a pair and immediately start doing all of your training in these. You’ll hurt yourself since you’ve been wearing heavily padded shoes your entire life. Slowly start working these into your training, and you can thank me later. On top of all of that, they are a great conversation starter. You’ll get stopped many times to explain what they are. Check ’em out.
Ever had a water bottle leak all over your backpack? Yeah, me too. It’s not fun. Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore if you switch to these water bottles. They have a locking mechanism that guarantees no leaks. I usually carry two of these with some e-fuel mixed in them in my pack along with a hydration bladder full of plain old H2O. This combo has worked amazingly well for me to keep me hydrated and cramp-free. And I’ve never had a Podium bottle leak – EVER. They even make an insulated version for your cold-weather training and racing, or if you hate when your water gets too hot during the summer. So try out a bottle or two for mess-free hydration.
Your feet are your most valuable tool during an adventure race, so making the right shoe choice is crucial. Every foot is different so make sure you try on several different kinds of shoes. My favorite is a pair of Salomon XT Wings. They are light enough for racing yet beefy and sturdy enough for bigger guys and every day training. The traction is great, they breathe well, they’re durable, and they look great. I LOVE the lacing system. You don’t need to tie these shoes. You simply pull them tight and lock them in place. This is perfect for quick transitions between the biking and running legs. Try out a pair and see for yourself.
No matter what you drive, there is probably a Yakima rack that will work perfectly for you. I have the Yakima Double Down 2 Hitch Mounted Bike Rack, and I love it. It folds down easily, and it holds the bikes securely. When not hauling bikes, the top part of the rack folds down so it isn’t sticking out needlessly. No complaints at all with this rack.
Casey has the Yakima Swing Daddy Hitch Mounted Bike Rack that holds four bikes. As the name suggests, this rack swings completely out of the way so that you can access the back of your vehicle easily. It, too, allows you to fold the top part of the rack out of the way when not hauling bikes. It’s a great rack.
Zip ties, sometimes called cable ties, are essential for adventure racing. You don’t really know you need them, until you need them. Did that make sense? There are thousands of uses for zip ties. We helped a lady finish a mountain bike race by zip-tying her pedal back onto her crank. My brother recently broke the zip ties holding his bike cables to the top tube. I had a couple zip ties in my pack, and he was back in business in no time. If you break a buckle on your pack, zip ties can help you out. Seriously, why wouldn’t you carry some of these. They weigh practically nothing, and their uses are unlimited. Pack some zip ties on your next training session or race, and rest assured you’ll be prepared.
Well, that wraps up our ABC’s of Adventure Racing Gear and Equipment series. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Let us know if you have any recommendations for gear in the comments section. We’re always willing to try out something new.
Some, although not all, races require you to carry a knife. You can get the smaller Classic knife for free when you order the Tinker by going here. While the Tinker is a great knife, I actually prefer the Classic. I keep it inside my first aid kit for all of my races. I like it better because it is smaller, but I also like the fact that it has scissors and the Tinker does not. The scissors are great for cutting moleskin or athletic tape. Both knifes also have tweezers which can come in handy for splinters.
I use the Princeton Tec Corona on my mt. bike when I race. For the size and price, it makes a great headlight with several output settings, including a flashing mode. Yes, you can get a brighter light that may be a little lighter, but you can’t get them at $48 like the Corona goes for. This thing is waterproof, too, and it comes with Princeton Tec’s life-time warranty. It’s a helluva deal. Get one right here.
The Princeton Tec RF6 is also a great, inexpensive tail light for your bike. Pretty much every adventure race has a bike tail light on the required gear list, and this little light will do the job perfectly. It’s plenty bright, it has several flashing modes that will make you visible to traffic, and it will even clip to your pack or waistband. And it’s only around $12.50 when you get it here.
Yes, these gloves are not specifically designed for mt. biking, but they are far superior to any biking gloves I’ve ever tried. Some people like the original Mechanix Gloves, and they really do work great and are pretty damn cheap. I prefer the M-Pact Gloves because they have a little extra padding on the palm and some extra protection on the fingers and back of the hand. They come in a variety of colors, and they look pretty damn cool. They are way more durable than any other biking gloves, and they are pretty much the same price. Grab a pair, and you won’t be disappointed.
These are the best water bottles out there, hands down. No, they won’t fit in your bike bottle cage, but you can throw them in your pack. I normally don’t carry one with me during the race, but I always have one before and after the race. I also leave a couple at the transition area at races with my beverage of choice already mixed up in it. The wide mouth and 1 liter volume make preparing drink mixes a breeze (although if you use e-Fuel this is never a problem). I’ve NEVER had a bottle leak or crack. These bottles are indestructible. Pick one up right here. You can also get a sweet water bottle parka that fits over your Nalgene to keep your liquids cold or hot.
I love this hat. I don’t race without it. It’s perfect for running and paddling. It breathes well, keeps the sun out of your face, and it’s lightweight. It holds up to abuse – I just cram it in my pack when I don my biking helmet. When it gets dirty, I just throw it in the wash. You can get the hat in white, red, gray, orange, and khaki. Take a look at some of the pics from our race reports and you’ll see me wearing this hat. Get one of your own and you’ll be happy that you did.
That’s all for part III in our series. When you’re ready, be sure to check out part IV in our series of adventure racing gear reviews.