What to Pack for a Ragnar Relay

A woman runs through a cheer tunnel.

So you’ve committed to running a Ragnar relay—lucky you, you're in for quite an adventure!

You’ve done the training, and your team has designed matching shirts for your finish-line photo. Now you need to pack for a weekend of fun. This guide is designed to give you ideas of all the things that aren’t obvious—and some that are—to make your Ragnar experience even better.

So, what should you pack for a Ragnar relay race? Here we go.

Clothing, Footwear and Hygiene

To keep it simple, you’ll want to pack one outfit for each leg you’re running, plus at least two pairs of shoes. That way, if you’re stuck running in mud or rain, you have a dry pair for your next leg. Extra layers in case it’s cold, windy or rainy are never a bad idea, but you should be able to keep an eye on the weather ahead of your Ragnar race to determine if these are necessary.

You’re going to want to change into cozy clothes and recovery sandals after your leg, and you might want to freshen up before you do. It’s not going to be easy to find showers, so stocking up on Nathan Power Shower Wipes might help cut the stink for living in close quarters.

Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.

Massage and Care Tools

Need to do some pre-run yoga? Pack a yoga mat or towel and a strap to help you get your stretch on. If your legs need a little TLC post-run, a foam roller or massage stick take up relatively little room, and anyone on the team can use them.

You might be tempted to bring a massage gun, but remember that your van might be left unattended/unlocked, and your campsite deserted in favor of fun at the bonfire, so these pricier tools are probably best left at home.

Runners run towards the finish arc of a Ragnar Relay.

Stuff to Sleep With

A tent, mat and sleeping bag are must-haves, and there’s a designated place for tents at Ragnar Trail events. If you can, try to bring a larger tent that can fit a few people at a time.

For Ragnar Road, your chances of finding a spot for a tent are a bit trickier. It’s likely that you’ll spot people spread out on the ground at transition zones. If you don’t want your gear to get wet, but you don’t want to pitch a tent, bring a tarp to throw down on the ground.

Alternatives include hammocks, camp chairs, packable blankets, or just sleeping in the van. Ear plugs and eye masks (or in a pinch, a BUFF) can help you get the dark and quiet you need for a nap.

Or maybe try not sleeping at all. It has been done!

Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer

Porta-potties are plentiful at Ragnar events, but the toilet paper and sanitizer situation can get tricky by the end of the first day and downright scary by the end. There's definitely a possibility of picking a stall that has run out of one or both, and since running can do some funky things to your insides, you don't want to be without.

Handy tip: Put your TP roll on a belt or loop of rope and hang it somewhere anyone on your team can grab it. Then wear it like a necklace to keep their hands free for high fives, and make new friends doling out toilet paper to other runners standing in line at the porta potties.

Food

Running is no fun without fuel, regardless of whether you’re in it to win it or just want to finish in the upright position. Be sure to pack your favorite nutrition for your run, plus snacks for when you're chilling in the van or at your campsite.

Whether you’re tackling a road or trail relay, there will be plenty of down time. Camp chefs, you’re sure to attract some attention and make new friends if you’re whipping up pancakes and eggs on a portable camp stove during your break. Don’t be shy about bringing a cooler full of whole foods and all of the kitchen tools you’ll need to make a real meal. Just remember to pack out your trash or place it in Ragnar-approved trash receptacles.

There’s no shame in your game if this is your weekend away from “real life” and you want to subsist on nothing but caffeine and junk food. Ragnar Road courses drive through towns, so you'll be able to quench that caffeine craving at a drive-thru and pick up snacks at gas stations and grocery stores. Don't forget to bring some cash to support the groups selling goodies at transition zones.

Runners run down the finish chute of a Ragnar Relay.

Van/Campsite Décor

Chalk markers are an easy way to decorate your van and mark your “kills,” or the number of people you pass on your leg. Streamers, inflatables and lights are other awesome ways to decorate your home away from home, whether you’re tackling Ragnar via roads or trails.

Noisemakers fall under the décor category. Cow bells and bullhorns are a fun addition to your Ragnar relay experience. If you have ‘em, bring ‘em! Just remember to respect the nearby residents, and don’t honk horns, rattle bells or yell during the evening, night and early morning hours in residential areas.

Extra Batteries and Charging Cords

Since you'll be moving around in the dark, safety and visibility gear is important.

At Ragnar Road events, everyone running a leg at dusk, night or dawn will need a headlamp and reflective vest, and Ragnar won't let you start without the appropriate safety gear. Plus, you'll use your headlamp for getting around the transition zones at night. Be prepared with extra batteries for headlamps. If you have a rechargeable headlamp, don’t forget to bring the charging cable and an adapter for the van’s auxiliary power outlet.

Same goes for Ragnar Trail races; you’ll need headlamps for nighttime runs and getting around The Village, so spare batteries are never a bad idea.

Don’t forget to pack your phone charger. You’ll want to keep your phone powered up for GPS and keeping in touch with your teammates, playing tunes, and taking ALL of the pictures of your epic Ragnar adventure!

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