Ragnar Relay Packing List

Many of you mentioned Twizzlers as Neceesary. Gotcha. And in case you were wondering: no Red Vines allowed in my vans. Gotta be the Real T.
Many of you mentioned Twizzlers as Neceesary. Gotcha. And in case you were wondering: no Red Vines allowed in my vans. Gotta be the Real T, friends.

You might recall from my two big races I did this spring, I'm not so good making a list and checking it twice. ("Remember that time at band camp when I forgot to bring my bike helmet to the half-Ironman? Good times, good times.")

I'm heading into what I'm officially calling Ragnumn (Ragnar + Autumn, kind of). Ragnar Colorado, in about two weeks, is up first, followed by Ragnar DC. I'm running Ragnar 'Rado with 11 members of what my friend and teammate Bine calls, "our village." Friends and mother runners who I'm blessed to have in my life. Hoping I'll feel that way after 192 miles. (Kidding, kidding.)

Being runner number 6 at Ragnar Colorado which goes from Copper Mountain to Breckenridge to Snowmass—yes, all ski areas; yes, my legs are classified "hard", "very hard," and "moderate" and total just north of 19 miles; and yes, it all feels very hard to me right now—will be a perfect dress rehearsal for Ragnar DC. I'm not sure what runner number I'll be yet as Team Dimity heads into our nation's capital, but I know one thing: I'll feel like I'm drinking oxygen along with my Nuun. Which is a win/win in my book.

But I digress. The packing thing. I asked for tips from you guys a few days ago on our Facebook page, and, as usual you did not disappoint. Below is a list of necessary items I've grouped, along with some not necessary, but helpful commentary. I've left out food and water (aside from the nutrition and hydration you'd drink on the run) because I figure you'll remember that. (Then again, I thought I would remember my bike helmet...) 

I've also made a more streamlined PDF of this list if you want to download it for future use.

Just 5 inches tall and 5.5 inches diameter, the GRID Mini from Trigger Point takes up no room—but provides serious relief.
Just 5 inches tall and 5.5 inches diameter, the GRID Mini from Trigger Point takes up no room—but provides serious relief.

Running Gear Department

  • 3 sports bras (a wet sports bra when you’re not running=freezing mother runner)
  • 2-3 bottoms (capris, shorts, skirts, tights…whatever works for you and the temperature)
  • 2-3 running tops (I’d vote for short sleeve with long sleeve over for colder legs: good temperature control. You can always tie the shirt around your waist.)
  • 3 pairs of running socks
  • Headwear: baseball cap or visor
  • Garmin or GPS
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Hydration/nutrition to use while you're running
  • Sunglasses
  • Compression wear for lower body (socks, calf sleeves)
  • Roller to release some muscular pain from lower body that comes from sitting/running/sitting/running
  • 1 pair of warmer sweat pants for nighttime
  • 1 fleece/sweatshirt/down jacket for nighttime
  • 1-2 pairs of running shoes
  • 1 pair non-running, slip-on shoes (flip flops, clogs)
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves
  • Raincoat

Household Goods

  • Big Ziploc Bags (this is the MOST IMPORTANT tip, per mother runners: put each clean running outfit into a Ziploc bag, then return sweaty outfit into the bag, seal it up, and do not open it again until you get near a washing machine. "It also helps so then you don't have to post a pic of a thong after the race to figure out who it belongs to," says one mother runner.)
  • Well-used towels for showers, wiping off feet, cleaning off spilled beverages, etc.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Yoga mat or sleeping pad
  • Small pillow
  • Paper towel
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Sharpie
  • Small backpack—the kind you often get at races with strings for straps—to hold all your small things you need to grab quickly, like a headlamp, cash, chapstick, sunglasses, etc.
  • People, US Weekly, other gossip mags to kill time (many people reported they didn't watch shows they downloaded or read books they brought)
  • Music/headphones to get some p and relative q.
  • Trash bags
TUMS: you can't survive a Ragnar—or pregnancy—without them.
TUMS: you can't survive a Ragnar—or pregnancy—without them.


  • Colgate Wisps for brushing your teeth on the fly (or go old school: toothbrush + paste)
  • First aid kit with plenty of band aids and/or moleskin for blisters
  • Ibuprofen or other pain-reliever
  • Immodium, Tums, or other stomach-related helpers
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby wipes (good for a shower on the go)
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A little kit if you get to use a bathroom (real soap, lotion, etc.)
  • Hair things: ponytail holder, Sweaty Bands, etc
  • Tampons + pads (hey: you never know. Aunt Flo may want to be on your team)
Key for any race that starts on one day and finishes the next: a sense of humor. Thinking Team Dimity might need a design like this...
Key for any race that starts on one day and finishes the next: a sense of humor. Thinking Team Sarah, a.k.a. Queen of TMI, might need a design like this...

Race Necessities

  • Sense of humor
  • Race bible and/or rules for each van
  • Race bibs for each van
  • Directions for the course for each van
  • Cell phone numbers for all teammates
  • Contact phone numbers of non-runner for all teammates
  • Special medical information for teammates
  • Reflective vests
  • Headlamps/blinking lights
  • Patience
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • ID
  • Good but not necessary: extra keys for the van; battery pack for your phone
I have hidden the cowbells in our house because I might do something I regret if I allow them into my kids' hands. Into my teammates' hands at 3 am though? Ring on, friends.
I have hidden the cowbells in our house because I might do something I regret if I allow them into my kids' hands. Into my teammates' hands at 3 am though? Ring on, friends.

Cheering Squad Necessities

  • Cowbell
  • A sprayer to douse hot runners with water
  • Stickers or branded magnets to “tag” other vans
  • Window chalk
  • An extra, unique glowy thing (I'm kinda loving this blinking eyeball ring) so you’ll be able to quickly recognize your teammate at night in transition areas

Three good tips that don't fit neatly into an above category, but I want to share:
1. Make sure your bag with all your gear/clothes zips shut easily, or you'll soon have stuff rolling around everywhere in the van.

2. Put your name or initials on everything. (Including those aforementioned Ziploc bags.)

3. Make a non-mayo based pasta salad. An orzo/feta/tomatoes/olive oil/lemon pasta salad one mother runner made for a Ragnar was the favorite food in the van.

Again, you can download a less chatty version of this list here as a PDF

 Ok, so what did I miss? And what other tips do you have? Lay it on me: I'm gonna need as many strategies as possible to thrive in my upcoming Ragnumn. 


25 responses to “Ragnar Relay Packing List

  1. ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah I JUST watched that episode of SNL last week with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken loving his cowbell skills!

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m doing my first Ragnar next month (Napa Valley) and am actually captaining 2 teams, so this will be a great post to point them to beforehand.

  2. Gum … It’s a great way relieve stress and bad breath.
    Air deodorizer … Sweaty bodies in one vehicle creates a lot of heat and smell.
    Ear plugs … Quiet please!
    Tylenol Heat Patch/Instant Ice Packs … Athletic necessity.

  3. And from experience at Ragnar Great River last weekend… when everyone in the vehicle is sleeping at a major exchange point, make sure you do not have multiple phones plugged in!! And if you do… jumper cables are a must. Glad I had made sure there were a set in my vehicle!!

  4. Baby wipes and zip locks are essential! Flip flops are great for getting feet out of sweaty socks quickly and wearing in the van. Make sure there are jumper cables handy–with all the chargers plugged in we ended up with an unexpected dead battery in the middle of the night (but a great ragnar village saved us!)

  5. Don’t forget a 4th, fresh set of clothes to change into following your 3rd/final leg! The last thing you’ll want when you are finally done is to stay in or re-wear sweaty clothes. Wear one set for the start and pack 3 more into the ziplock bags.

    Have fun!!

  6. Bring a couple of pails (big ones) to hold food that you don’t want stepped on (I lived off Nutter Butters during Ragnar SoCal in April. Haven’t been able to eat one since…). Also good to fill with ice to have a few ice cold waters waiting for your hot, sweaty runners when they get back to the van.

    Also, use the van exchange point to re-organize your van. Get anything that will be needed for the next go around up in the front for easy access in order to give you lots of time to find/get to your next exchange point.

    Don’t wait until exhausted to sleep. Take a 20 minute nap as soon as your runners high wears down. It will save you!!!

    Have a great time and if things and people get snappy…talk less, sing more 🙂

  7. This list is awesome and I’m totally forwarding it to our team! Thanks for putting it all together! I had to laugh though, because for me, I can’t stand Twizzlers and LOVE Red Vines..ha ha! 🙂

  8. TWO triathlon race belts: One for the person running and one for the runner on deck. No one ever has to pin bibs, you just pass the belts (adjustable) around to the runners.

    A comfy (non-running) bra for between runs and non-running shorts or pants for van/down time. It really feels good to get the tighter stuff off and relax.

  9. Do you think you’ll get the chance to get any zzzzz’s at all. Even on the way home maybe? Then don’t forget to pack your Calms Forte.

  10. Phone chargers. They make a USB port to use in the car. Also, instant coffee packets like Starbucks Cafe Via. Good luck to all the Mither Runners!

  11. I’ve been sharing various posts about what to pack – this is by far the most comprehensive – with my Ragnar Adirondack team. Loving this list!

  12. Blankets. As I’m sure you know, it gets very cold at night in the mountains and runners who have finished their leg may very well need more than fleece pants and a jacket. That’s probably also true of sleeping/trying-to-sleep runners. 🙂

    Also, a car coffee maker (that uses a 12V connection) or something similar would allow you to make both coffee or tea to help warm up chilly runners too or just to put a smile on people’s faces in the morning.

  13. Not sure how I missed this on the fb page!!! In our van (which was actually a suburban) we used a Thule gear box up top to store our sleeping bags and mats so we had more room in the back for backpacks. We had one “community” cooler that we refilled with ice and a “community” bag of food. Everyone brought their fav running treat and tossed it in. The fresh fruit proved to be a fav for all of us, as was the late night (1am) stop to get chocolate milk before heading to our sleep spot- a local hs gym. Also those gummy bears were hard to resist!
    We totally used the ziploc bag idea to keep our stank to a minimum. And I second using a zip up backpack/duffel so your stuff doesn’t roll around when your driver gets lost and has to flip a U-ie in the middle of the road…just sayin’. I used a mini lulu bag for my personal stuff next to my seat and that worked great for my race belt, tunes, mini journal, etc.
    I’m excited for you!!!

  14. PERFECTLY timed, as many of us are also getting ready to rock Hood to Coast! The Twisted Sisters are ready to ROCK! (and only Twizzlers allowed in my van too!) Spot on advice, the bigger the cowbell…the better!

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