Racing in the toughest places on Earth requires the right tools just to survive – let alone win.
The last few weeks have seen a slew of epic adventure races around the world, from the Suisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge andRed Bull Amazonia Kirimbawa to the recent Adventure Racing World Championships in Costa Rica.
Competitors usually have to be self sufficient — which means carrying everything you’ll need. In this year’s Patagonian Expedition Race, competitors faced more than 500km of kayaking, biking and trekking on everything from glaciers and exposed mountain passes to neck-high peat bogs and rolling waves. Conditions varied from bright, clear sunshine to persistent rain and ice cold winds.
To survive, you need gear for every eventuality. But to be fast, you need to carry as little as possible. This photo shows Thomas Schmitt, part of Team Berghaus. While most elite adventure racers would try and carry a lot less it’s a good guide. In his own words, Schmitt talks us through his gear:
A high-end head torch that turns the night into day can really help you to keep moving fast. The problem is power, so I always also carry one or two lightweight headtorches.
One for my head and one for my neck. If it gets too hot on the head I simply pull it down to the neck.
Necessary for kayaking and climbing but sometimes you wear it anyway when you’re trekking because it will help to keep your head warm.
You need a tent, good sleeping bag and some clothes. One ultralight single layer tent is fine for four. With thick forest and deep swamps you need clothes that work well in wet conditions. For the night, a Primaloft sleeping bag works great even if wet.
Hydration is more important than eating and I use a mix of minerals and carbs. Bottles are easy and fast to refill.
- McHenry selected as site of national race (times-news.com)
- Outsider Magazine People of the Year 2013 (moireosullivan.com)
- Come Hell or High Water? (fuddam.wordpress.com)
- World Championships Adventure Race (retiredandfreetotravel.wordpress.com)
- International Extreme Adventure Race in Samal Island (pnadavao.wordpress.com)