How To Pack Your Bag and Van Efficiently for a Relay

How To Pack Your Bag and Van Efficiently for a Relay

Your team has been chosen, your training is underway, and it’s almost time to get this relay party started. The last (and arguably the most important) step is packing your van since you’ll spend a lot of time in there. We’re here to provide all the tips and tricks you need to ensure your van is packed efficiently and your team is ready to crush your relay.


Your Van Is Your Home

While each runner is responsible for packing their own bag, you’ll want to coordinate items to share in the van. Six sleeping bags or foam rollers or any other runner gear you can imagine takes up lots of room. When space is precious, coordination is critical. Be clear about what items are van needs vs. runner needs, and plan accordingly with your team.

To keep your packing list organized and avoid duplicates, your team captain should create a spreadsheet or checklist of shared items, assign each team member something to contribute, and share it with the crew. 

So, what to pack for the van?

  • Decorations for the Van - This is a party after all. Pick your theme and wear it loud and proud. Don’t forget window-friendly markers to check off legs completed. Also, be sure to pack pom-poms and cowbells to welcome in your teammates energetically!
  • Race Bible - This should include emergency numbers, exchange locations, directions, and rules. Print this out in case you lose cell service during the race.
  • Driving Schedule - Unless you have a designated driver or drivers, prepare a schedule for when each person will drive. Also, assign another teammate to help navigate at all times.
  • Maps -  Having a paper copy available of your route and directions to each exchange is vital. It is also a good idea to map out a planned location for a break or meal during each van’s break time.
  • Snacks - Plan to live off lots of fruit, PB&J, trail mix, and other items that don’t need refrigeration and are easy to digest. We also suggest packing cold brew for an extra pep during those midnight runs, and a cooler to house all your goodies.
  • First Aid Kit and Toiletry Items - Purchase face wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, and toilet paper. You won’t want to forget the toilet paper. 😉
  • Overnight Runner Safety Items - Reflective vests are mandatory at night. Don't forget extra batteries for headlamps! Also, be sure to check the race's safety item requirements and confirm you have each piece packed. We recommend packing multiple items (e.g., headlamps, reflective bracelets, etc.) so your runners don’t need to swap gear at the hand-off.
  • Car Chargers - Bring ALL the options chargers for cell phones, headphones and watches. Make sure you have cords for your AfterShokz headphones.
  • Water...LOTS of Water - Bring a few gallons since you won’t know where or when you’ll have access to refill or purchase more.
  • Portable Foam Roller or Balls - Your legs are bound to get tight with all this running and jumping right back into the van. 
  • Trash Bags - You’ll accumulate a lot of trash from food, gels, and more. Pack a few trash bags to keep the van tidy. Remember - it’s your home for the weekend!

To easily organize your van for race weekend, pick up a few plastic storage bins that either fit in the back of the van or easily slide under the seats. Label the bins according to category (food, safety supplies, toiletries, etc.), and as each person arrives, they can place the items they brought into the appropriate bin. 


Packing Plans for the Runners

Due to van storage space, or lack thereof, each person should have a limited number of personal items they can bring, such as one medium-sized bag (duffle or backpack size) and one sleeping item (bedroll or sleeping bag).

Here is a quick recommended checklist for each runner bag:

  • One Outfit for Each Leg of The Race - Store the entire outfit (other than shoes) in a sealable plastic bag, so you have storage for your sweaty clothes after each leg.
  • Towel - This will help you clean off and be useful as a shield when you are changing clothes. 
  • Personal Toiletries - This includes baby wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste, body glide, deodorant, etc.
  • Reusable Cup - Remember all the cold brew and water we mentioned? This will come in handy!
  • Extra Gear - Bring extra running shoes in case it rains, and sandals so your feet can breathe between legs. Don’t forget a sweatshirt and rain jacket to plan for weather shifts throughout the day and night. Similarly, bring sun protection for the day (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.)
  • Nutrition - Plan your fuel needs knowing you are running over 1-1.5 days. Bring any electrolyte tablets, gels, etc. that you’ve used during training.
These tips should give you a great start to a fantastic relay weekend, and an adventure of a lifetime. Have any other packing tips or hacks? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.