Hood to Coast: the Ultimate Packing List for Relay Races

The 36th annual Hood to Coast relay in Oregon kicks off this Friday! 12,600 runners in teams of 12 will run 199 miles through the night from Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood to Seaside on the Oregon Coast where they will celebrate with beers, burgers, team photos and general sleep-deprived, stiff-legged enthusiasm.

This year will be the ninth time I have run Hood to Coast and I’ve learned a lot in those nine years! I’ve learned that I prefer van 2 to van 1, to pack more water and fewer sports drinks than I think we’ll need, that leg 10 is my favorite (though I’m running leg 9 this year), and that finding a place to shower after the first van exchange makes the whole HTC experience more enjoyable.

I have also perfected a very thorough packing list. So, if it’s your first Hood to Coast (or you’re running a similar relay soon) or if you feel like you’re forgetting something, please see below and … DON’T FORGET ANYTHING!

Oregano’s Fail-Safe Relay Packing List

Clothes:

  • Two pairs of running shoes (in case you get blisters or have an issue with one pair).
  • Three gallon-size Ziplock bags. Pack each bag with one complete change of running clothes, one bag for each leg you are scheduled for. After you run, do a full change into your next leg’s running clothes while depositing your dirty clothes in the now-empty Ziplock.
  • Three full sets of running clothes (shorts, socks, shirts, underthings).
  • One set of clean normal clothes for after you finish.
  • Long sleeve shirtย for an added warm layer.
  • Warm-ups or sweats for between legs. Staying warm is easier than getting cold and trying to warm up.
  • Running cap for the sun or to cover up your hair at the end.
  • Stretchy gloves in case temperatures get chilly during a night leg.

Gear:

The year the port-o-potties blew over and the finish line party was canceled! (2015)
  • A big duffel bag
  • Headlamp
  • Extra Batteries
  • Reflective Vest
  • Two Flashy Lights (required for all morning, evening and night legs)
  • Bib number and pins
  • GPS Watch (there are not mile markers on the course)
  • Printout of the route and elevation map for all three of your legs
  • Blanket or sleeping bag and pillow
  • Medication (any you usually take + Ibuprofen, Benadryl, and Tums or Pepto Bismol)
  • Wet Wipes
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Trash bags
  • Walkie Talkies (for connecting with your other van in the areas without cell reception, MAKE SURE to decide on a channel before the race)
  • Phone
  • Car Charger for Phone
  • Contact Case/Solution (if this applies to you)
  • Towel & Soap
  • Foam Roller
  • Window Markers to decorate the van
  • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
  • A couple activities for down-time: book/Kindle, crossword puzzle book, or a pack of cards
  • Nice for HOT legs: a buff or neck wrap you can soak in ice water or fill with ice that melts while you run
  • Anti-chafe or BodyGlide
  • First aid kit (with at least band-aids and antibacterial ointment)
  • CASH! You might find yourself wanting some midnight Doritos when you pass through gas stations or even some Taco Bell at 3:00am.
  • Noise maker or cow bell to cheer runners on as you drive by.

Food:

  • Water, Ice, Gatorade
  • Easy-to-eat food for when your stomach gets weird when you haven’t slept for 24 hours (such as Shot Bloks, crackers, grapes, bananas, bagels, and peanut butter and jelly fixings)

Let me know if I forgot anything, and if you’re running this year, have a great race! Run hard and have fun!!

I'm a proud resident of Portlandia, ex-running store employee, pulmonary emboli conquerer and connoisseur of high fives. I write about running community, trail running/training and anything else that grabs my immediate interest. I'm currently running for fun with my crazy friends - no races on the horizon YET.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 comments

  1. Good recommendations! I ran Hood to Coast a few years ago with the Atlanta Track Club (hi Shawanna!) – it was fun! Although I don’t think I ever slept and was so tired by the end. My favorite part was running the nighttime segment- it was so peaceful and quiet out there, but not scary knowing there were plenty of support people and runners close by.

    1. Forgot to add FLIP FLOPS to the packing list. Definitely want something to wear and let your feet breathe between segments!

  2. I did Bourbon Chase (now part of Ragnar) the first four years it was around. Super fun. One year I did not change shorts the entire race. We had team singlets, too, so I basically just ran in dirty clothes the whole time. ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ
    In terms of packing necessities:
    – Compression tights/socks/sleeves.
    – Recovery drink โ€” pack some powdered beverage like Hammer Recoverite that you can mix with water and drink as soon as your leg is over.
    – Ditto on food โ€” I’d take a few bars of varying types (different sweet/savory, different textures) and normally an almond butter sandwich or two.
    – Face/body wipes. Even if you get a chance to shower (I never did), it’s nice to be able to wipe your face off after, at least.
    – I always packed enough immodium, pepto, and ibuprofen for everyone. Run 3 legs at weird times, eat weird things, mess up your sleep schedule, and you’ve got a recipe for GI disaster.