What’s in Your Bag?

By Traise Phan, Ultra University

Every trail runner has very personal taste in what they wear to run and there is the added gear (hydration pack, poles, water bottles, watch etc) that they can’t live without.  While you are packing, keep in mind, you are allowed a 120L Duffle Bag with your price of entry.  Everything you will need has to fit in this bag. It’s possible.  You don’t really need more room than that. It’s a big bag. Really.

Here are 6 tips to help lighten your load and pack for 6 days of running and camping fun.

1) Bring clothes in multi-functional layers

There are 3 possible conditions: cold, hot, and rain.

For Running:


Two pairs of running shorts

1 pair of mid or long running pants


2 short sleeves

2-3 bras (sports) for women

2 long sleeve (preferably wool)

1 water proof rain jacket with hoodie

You don’t need more than 3 sets of running clothes. If you are a fashionista and need to represent a brand and have to deck out with multiple outfits, you are in for a workout.  Something happens to that Big Black Duffel Bag on day 4.  It grows and gets heavier.  It is probably a function of how many cumulative miles you have on your legs.

2) Re-wear your clothes and mix and match.   In 2011, when I ran it the first time, my teammate and I planned to match with 6 different outfits, one for each day.  One of the shirts we had made personally for our team name, Double Happiness.  It was so popular that we rinsed and wore the shirt everyday (and lugged the 5 other shirts around all week.) Burt (the shower truck guy) specifically discourages everyone from rinsing clothing in the shower but there are other ways to wash in the woods.  There is usually a creek to soak in near the finish area. Add some Dr. Bronner gel and your clothes will quickly be smelling minty fresh.

3) A clothesline with a couple pins to hang your stuff to dry.  You’ll want to rinse your clothes to rotate and you need somewhere to hang it.  Most people clip the line onto their tent and voila!

4) Put your initials on your valuable stuff because they all look alike after a while with tired eyes. We don’t want anyone else to go home with your stuff, accidently.

5) For the Camp:

Now that I’ve saved you some space in running attire, you can bring a couple items to help you look dapper at camp in the evening.  Grab a pair of comfy jeans or kaki pants.  For women, a cute denim skirt or shorts and men, some cargo shorts.  Come on folks, I know how good looking runners are and I want you to look your best when you are not running in the evenings.  I don’t want to see you in “running clothes” at dinner. A nice warm puffy jacket with some gloves and a beanie will keep you warm while walking around camp.

I’m not saying go spend a bunch of money on wardrobe but really, we are all impressed by your fitness just by you showing up.  Your bragilicious behaviors of wearing your most impressive race t-shirt is not going to make me want to shag you in a tent as much as the bright blue color of your eyes. 😉

6) The Awards Banquet.  The first year, I came with something cute and casual and everyone was dressed up.  The second year, I wasn’t going to be out done so I brought a nice dress and talked a couple other friends into a shirt and tie.  We were the only ones dressed up. Can we make a deal here and agree with a dress to impress, cocktail attire for the fancy hotel banquet in Beaver Creek? These clothes can be left in your general luggage, which you will retrieve at the finish line on Day 6.

I know what the men are thinking, “You’re talking to women, Trasie Phan.” Let me offer you a couple perspectives.  Men, some of you like all your running stuff and will over pack.  When we are out there in the woods and your bag starts to grow heavy, your chances of another man running over to help you with your bag is unlikely so you’re on your own.  And I’m helping all the men out as well by convincing the women to lighten the load so you, men, won’t have to work so hard at “helping us out.”

Check out the 2014 Pepsico Transrockies Run Athlete and Spectator Guide, page 26 for more on what the suggested packing list is.


PS Some stage races have a tradition of trading jerseys at the Awards Banquet.  I did that with my Double Happiness shirt in 2011 and got a cool TRR leader jersey in exchange. Let’s do that again this year.

Trasie Phan is founder of ULTRA University.  She participated and completed the Team RUN6 Transrockies Run in 2011 and 2012 and will be running in 2014.  She is an ultra marathoner who inspires everyday people to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. Check out the ULTRA University Podcast.


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