Ounce-Saving Gear for Stage Races - Page 6
Seven days, one outfit! You may want to burn these pieces by the finish line, but starting out you’ll need to love ‘em. Weight, functionality and, yes, even aesthetics come into play. Many runners choose compressions tights/shorts, but I prefer a less constricting option. Check out The North Face Better Than Naked Split Shorts or Tights for bottoms that live up to their names. At 3.53 ounces, these shorts feel like air, but manage to cover and protect, while also providing three functional pockets. One caveat to remember is that endless sand and a heavy pack may create chafing in areas you’ve never experienced before. The less exposed your skin, the better—an argument for full tights and an SPF long sleeve tech shirt during the day. Always bring generous amounts of anti-chafe cream.
A long-sleeve will be required in addition to your main tee and I recommend SmartWool’s Next To Skin Micro Weight crew (pictured above). This soft, cozy piece is ultra-light yet feels like a security blanket of warmth at the end of long day when your body starts to chill. For a lightweight jacket, nothing beats Patagonia’s longstanding workhorse Houdini jacket, which provides substantial warmth at just 3.6 ounces. Make sure to fully research the temps of your race location as some deserts such as the Atacama in Chile are extremely cold at night requiring a full down jacket and providing additional packing challenges.
Bonus Tip: Everyone is prone to one or two “luxury items.” Before RacingThePlanet Jordan 2012, fellow stage-racer Charla Barbieri Heimer wisely convinced me that changing out of dirty tights into “camp” shorts for relaxing at the end of the day would be worth the few extra ounces. She was right! Most people also bring a pair of cheap flip-flops to walk around camp in, giving the feet a much-needed chance to breathe and re-coup.