What To Pack For A Death Race

I’ve had this little beautie knocking around in my iPhone notes for ages and decided it was time to upgrade it to my website.

Having done a 12 hour, 24, 36 and 48 hour ‘death-race’ style event, I feel as though I’ve got the list pretty tight.   I take exactly the same thing to every event, packed in the same place because I know it works.

By ‘death race’ I mean an endurance adventure event that lasts more than 12 hours.  Something like Judgement Day The Unknown, GORUCK, ROOTS or the Spartan Agoge.

Hopefully this list will assist you through an endurance race and see you to the end like it has me.

There’s a list that you can copy and print and then there’s a bit of waffle at the bottom of the page if you’re interested.


Anything with a question mark is something I would consider after assessing the location, duration, weather and other circumstances of the event.


Backpack – 35 litres (ish)

Dry Bags
Pre-talced socks x 4
Sports bikini
Thermal Skins top
Merino wool base layer
Cotton t-shirt
Thermal leggings
Hiking trousers 
Belt (not just used as a fashion accessory)
Waterproof gloves x 2
Hat (Sealskinz waterproof is a winner!)
Buff x 2
Windproof Buff
Windstopper jacket
Waterproof jacket (mine is brown – ideal for camouflage challenges)
Waterproof over trousers?
Windproof balaclava? (for really cold events)
NRS Hydroskin Neoprene 0.5mm Long Sleeve Shirt and Pants? (heat reflective neoprene for really long cold events)


Travel toothbrush
Travel toothpaste
Wet wipes travel size
Travel antibacterial gel
First Aid Kit
Prescription medicine if required daily (tell the race director the time you need to take it!)
Gurney’s Goo
Compeed – mixed sizes
Talcum powder travel size
Travel towel?


Kitchen Drawer
Safety/guardian light (attached to back pack)
Head torch
Spare batteries (in plastic resealable bag)
Map of local area
Map case
Waterproof notepad 
Sharpie marker
Gaffa tape (a half used roll or some tape wrapped around a big marker pen or other round item to save on space)
Cable ties x 10 minimum
Spare shoe laces
Fire lighting box – cotton wool, vaseline, striker
Plastic food bags x 4
Black black bags x 2
Luggage scales?


Garden Shed
Para cord 10m
Climbing rope 3m
Carbinas x 2
Fire gel?
Folding Shovel?
Bungee cords?
6′ x 4′ tarpaulin?


Pantry – most food stored in plastic resealable bags
Water To Go Bottle
Water bladder
Frittata – with spinach, veg and chorizo (Tesco sells a great one if you don’t have time to make your own)
Mixed nuts with salt and paprika (I buy plain mixed nuts and add my own salt and spice)
Coconut Bars or ROOTS Bars – plus extra for team mates
Honey roast nuts
Peanut butter on dried apple slices
Chocolate brazil nuts
Chocolate covered coffee beans
Ration packs?


And finally, don’t forget the all important:



Here’s the waffle…….



Notes about wardrobe

  • 14114836_10210131684359352_3858038809626492455_oAll my clothes are stored in a 8 litre dry bag, and accessories like hats, buffs, socks and gloves in a 5 litre dry bag.  The different coloured bags make it easy to identify what I need when I’m in a rush.
    Black bags ARE NOT a substitute for dry bags. I’ve seen people use them to waterproof their kit.  It’s not going to work!  Once your kit is wet it’s useless. AND heavy! If the race directors are good enough, they will have you and your bag in the water and if your kit isn’t protected, you’re not going to finish.
  • Train in your footwear and socks for as long as possible forehand.  Get them wet, wear them for hours after, see how your feet feel.
  • 10433317_10205262510433047_2402889442890688309_nI wear a sports bikini as it dries quickly. If I need to get in the water, and if I have time, I take off all my clothes so they don’t get wet.  A sports bikini provides support.
    Guys, I recommend some kind of quick drying sports underwear so it doesn’t remain wet causing you to feel ‘soggy.’
  • Pre-talced socks are the way forward, there’s more to come on this in my next post – 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.
  • Don’t take your best gear – it’ll get trashed.  I have a stash of worse-for-wear clothes in my ‘Endurance Race Box’ that I know works. Don’t take your £200 waterproof jacket, you’ll just get upset when it rips. You don’t need that negativity, you’ll already be feeling pretty poo.
  • Some of the gear I have listed is pricey – check out eBay for bargains, that’s where get my merino wool and event waterproofs from.  It’s cheap(er) and there’s no emotional attachment if it gets ruined.
  • Goretex and Windstopper products are fantastic – the combination of a thermal base layer, merino wool, Windstopper and Goretex is bulletproof.


Notes About Bathroom11400967_10206715457155807_7600734948745125518_n

  • There’s nothing like cotton mouth 18 hours into your event, to make you feel grotty and effect your ability to think straight.  For the amount of weight and space it takes, a toothcare kit will make you feel refreshed when the sun goes down and sun rises.
  • Pack your Gurneys Goo, Compeed and talcum powder in a sandwich bag in the same dry bag as your socks. These few items will get you to the end of the race.
    More details to follow in 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.


Notes on Kitchen Drawer

  • 1506572_10205262505432922_811666964344241323_nThere’s some stuff on this list that you might wonder why it’s there…… cable ties? Black plastic bags? Spare shoes laces? Sandwich bags? etc.  They take up so little room but are so useful, which is I take them on every event with me. When it’s the middle of the night and you have to complete a task and don’t know how, (or you or your team mate’s shoe lace breaks) these things will come to the rescue.
  • We once used cable ties to make a giant sand bag snake.
    The black bags were used to stop water falling out of a bucket on a 5 mile hike.
    The luggage scales are a new addition to my kit.  I’ll leave you to work out why.
  • I’d recommend keeping ALL THESE ITEMS ON THE LOW DOWN! DON’T LET THE RACE DIRECTORS SEE YOU BEING SMART.  If they think you are being too smart, they will take the things away from you!


Notes on Shed

  • As above


Notes on Pantry

  • Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 08.02.27Carrying water is one of your heaviest items, but also the most important!  Staying hydrated during these enormous events is vital!  A Water To Go Bottle will get you out of trouble as it filters water from puddles, lakes, streams and even urine.  The only water it doesn’t filter is sea water.
  • Do not rely strictly on sweet food to fuel you through your event.  Alternate sweet and savoury every 2-4 hours.  They’ll be more to come on this in my next post.
  • The plastic resealable bags are fantastic!  Fully sealed, they are waterproof then once used, fold down into nothing taking up no space and weight.  When your hands are dirty too, you can literally squeeze food from them into your mouth meaning you don’t have to take off your gloves and also preventing tummy bugs from dirty hands. They are also great for storing non-food related items too.


Notes on Kit List

  • 10612659_10205262503512874_4405352183945662621_nIt has been given to you for a reason, to complete tasks.  Do not show up with any items missing, not a single one.  If you do, it could mean you and your team are instantly punished.  Follow the rules and get the full kit list.
  • Most of the time, you will have no idea what these items will be used for. Just think smart, keep the them protected from the elements and start thinking imaginatively.


General Notes12622252_550087571825598_7654315619535606876_o

  • GPS watches, watches, lighters, matches, lighter fuel and such like are often banned in these kind of events.  It’s up to you if you wish to go against the rules and take them. Be prepared, if you get caught, the punishment can be harsh!



Questions such as ‘What is best, trainers or boots?’ or ‘What size bag shall I take?’ are populars one. I assess each event, the duration, its location, the time of year and go from there.  My recommendation is to try things out.  You may not make the right decision, but the event is going to suck no matter what.  And if you make the wrong decision, taking a bag too small/big or wear the wrong kind of footwear, then you’ll have learnt for next time.


13346919_10209384202912783_364269693489984438_nFinal Words
My adventure pack stays packed and waits patiently in my van ready for the next adventure.  Everything else like clothes and accessories are stored in my ‘Endurance Race Box’ so I know where it all is at the drop of a hat.



Here is a follow on post – Top 7 Tips For Surviving A Death Race.


Thank you for reading and Happy Packing x