When it comes to packing my bags…I’m extremely meticulous and I leave no stone unturned. All this attention to detail now makes for a lot less stress come race weekend.
It all starts with Google Drive. On Google Drive I store a packing list for every race I have to travel for. Some things don’t apply to every race, so they find themselves at the bottom of the list.
Over a period of a week, I’ll gather race and travel items and store them on a built in bookshelf in my home. The bookshelf is convenient because everything is in one place and my pets can’t get to it. As I find an item and place it on the shelf, it is then changed from regular black text to pink italicized text.
When it’s the day before I leave and everything has been located – it’s time to start packing. This is where the attention to detail pays off.
You’re going to need a bunch of large bags. Transition bags from previous races are the perfect size, otherwise the large Kohl’s and Macy’s bags will do too. You need to be able to separate your swim, bike and run stuff into the three separate bags.
In the swim bag you’ll obviously have all the stuff you need for the swim. Throw in an extra-large bag in here to take home a wetsuit (it’s better to keep it separate since it can still be wet after the race).
In your cycling bag you’ll have your helmet, water bottles, nutrition stuff, cycling shoes…you know, stuff related to the bike. If the forecast calls for rain, pack two garbage bags and some rocks to weigh them down (this is option A to keep your stuff dry in wet conditions).
Your run bag will have all your run stuff, however get yourself a big Ziploc bag. I hold onto a few from clothing products I receive because they’re the perfect size. If you have the right size bag, your socks, shoes, visor, glasses and number belt will fit neatly inside (this is option B to keep your stuff dry in wet conditions).
Those three bags will usually fit neatly into two duffel bags.
What’s left is a bunch of other things, so I’ll go through my list:
I’ll have a backpack with toiletries and normal clothing. If this is an extended stay, I’ll have a small backpack with training gear in it. I’ll also bring an extra drawstring bag to grab as much swag as I can from the Athlete Village.
The key to not panicking about whether you forgot something from your Google Doc list: I change things from pink italicized to bold green (green for good to go)! I don’t have to think twice because I put something in the bag and immediately change it on the list.
The night before the race I’ll have to do a little bit of rearranging of my bags so I have only one gear bag to take to transition in the morning, but it’s painless because of the time I took in organizing those three bags.
Pro Tips: Sometimes a bucket comes in handy so you have something to sit on, especially if it’s a wetsuit race that won’t have wetsuit strippers. Also, rolling clothing allows you to fit more into your bags when traveling.