What do you pack when you’re about to embark on the most extreme, insane, pulse-pounding 24-hour obstacle event on the planet (yeah, we’re talking about World’s Toughest Mudder) for the very first time?
We asked Danielle Kissel, competitive distance runner, OCR newbie, and Muddy Warrior Chick blogger, to share the gear she’s counting on to get her through World Toughest Mudder 2018.
Impressively, Kissel didn’t even start competing in obstacle course events until May 2017; in her first event, she qualified for the 2017 OCRWC. Two weeks after that race, she signed up for her first Tough Mudder race: the Central Florida Tough Mudder, where she was the 2nd female overall finisher.
“Tough Mudder was the first race I ever placed in an overall position for OCR racing, and something just felt right within me after that race,” she says. “Tough Mudder just felt like it was for me; the entire vibe and culture of the Mudder Nation was so extremely welcoming that I just felt part of a community the minute I stepped foot onto my first Tough Mudder course.”
Since then, Kissel has competed at this year’s Toughest Mudder South race in Texas, where she earned her 25 mile World’s Toughest Mudder contender status, as well as this year’s Toughest Mudder East race in Boston. But that doesn’t mean she’s cocky about competing in Georgia this month.
“When I purchased my registration, I literally clicked the online “submit” button and then ran away from the computer because I couldn’t believe I had actually registered for the event,” she says. “But something within me has just drawn me to World’s Toughest Mudder ever since I first heard about it.”
Her goal: to race this year’s event purely to see what she’s capable of. “I want to push outside my comfort zone, surprise myself, hang out with a bunch of kick-ass people as part of Mudder Nation, and also just have fun!” That said, she’d love to hit 50 miles.
With that mileage as a goal, her number one tactic is to just keep moving. “I know it will be cold; I know it will suck; I also know that as soon as I sit down, I’ll want to quit. And I DO NOT want to quit. I’ll walk, crawl, hop, whatever I have to, but my main priority this year is to just last 24 hours so that next year, I know exactly how to train, prep, and pack for this event.”
And speaking of packing, here’s Kissel’s official newbie packing list:
Danielle Kissel’s World’s Toughest Mudder 2018 Newbie Packing List
A rolling cart - to transport everything listed below from the car to the pit
Tent - to then proceed to put all of this put all of this into for the next 24 hours:
*1 Xterra Vector Pro 5mm Wetsuit, 1 wetsuit hood, 1 Frogskin top, and 2 windbreakers - with an extra cross of my fingers hoping this Florida girl doesn’t become too cold in the Georgia weather.
*4 sports bras, 4 pairs of tights, 3 pairs of Mud Gear socks - I don’t plan on taking any shorts, just tights and high socks for this race because a) it will be freezing, and b) just to protect my shins from getting too banged up by going over all the walls and (specifically…) Mud Mile for 24 hours.
*3 pairs of gloves - One pair I bought specifically for this race: a pair of Hyperflex 3mm gloves; the other two pairs of gloves were just ones I found lying around my house from past races that I just threw into my pile of gear for safekeeping.
*4 pairs of Merrell All Out Crush shoes - 2 pairs in my usual size (size 7) that I’ll wear during the beginning of the race; 1 pair in a size 7.5; and one in a size 8 for when my feet begin to swell towards the end of the race.
*5 Headlamps and 6 Strobe lights, plus backup batteries - required by Tough Mudder. I got a few extras just for this race because I DO NOT want to have another accident like at Boston Toughest when my headlamp lost its battery life halfway through my second lap. The extra strobe lights will come in handy in case any fall off during the course in any of the water crossings.
*String - a tip I’ve learned from some World’s Toughest Mudder veterans is to tie my headlamp to my racing bib to prevent from losing it on any water obstacles.
*Hand warmers - I bought 2 10-packs off of Amazon. Hopefully this will be enough to last the night. (I'm only kind of being sarcastic with that comment…)
*Camelback - I don’t always like running with a camelback (often opting eight times out of 10 to just shove an energy gel into my sports bra and keep running), but I feel like the option to have water on me, especially during the later hours of the race, will become vital. I’ll probably decide on the spot if I want to fill it with just water or a mixture of gatorade and water.
*Gaiters - I saw tons of people with these at the Texas Toughest event and our first creek crossing instantly understood their value. These are small covers you wrap over your shoes to help keep small rocks and twigs out of your shoes.
*Vaseline - to help prevent any chaffing and blisters.
*Small lamp and flashlight - to help find stuff in my tent during night ops.
*“First aid kit” (aka a large zip-top baggie full of miscellaneous items) - Tums, ChapStick, swimmer's ear relief, band-aids, New Skin, RockTape, scissors… pretty much everything I could find in my medicine cabinet and I just threw it into this bag.
*A gallon sized zip-top bag filled portable energy snacks - tons of Gu, mustard packets, Quest bars, Optimum nutrition cake bites, Lenny and Larry protein cookies, and a few Gu energy gel bites
*Salt tabs - I plan to just go by feel deciding when I need to take these.
*2 thermos containers - I plan to keep one filled with warm water and another filled with warm rice or ramen.
*2 buffs, 3 beanies - backup items to help stay warm because again, I literally have no idea how I’ll fare against the cold weather.
*Trash bags - to throw all of my muddy, wet clothes into after the race.
*Duct tape - for any emergency tears in my tent, wetsuit, shoes, or whatever else might happen throughout the race.
Extra items I’ve packed for the case that I become hypothermic and have to drop out:
*1 space blanket
*1 pair of sweatpants
I plan to get most of my food when I arrive in Georgia. I'll get a disposable cooler to keep all my food contained and protected for the night—this is a tactic I’ve been using since my past Toughest events. My goal is to keep a mix of high and low glucose carb options to help keep a sustained source of carb intake and avoid any GI issues during the race. Some of the food on my grocery list includes:
*Gallon of water
"I literally have no idea what to expect at this year’s event," Kissel says. "I know it will be wet, cold, slippery, and the course will be caked with clay, and while the former cross country runner within me says, “YESSS!!!”, my mind is trying to keep me rational and remember that I don’t know what will happen out there. I could get hypothermic, get hurt, my hands or feet could swell up too much for me to continue. I don’t know. So I’m making my goal this year more or less just about survival—to last the entire 24 hours and whatever happens out there, happens."
Whatever does happen, we're betting Kissel's prepared for it.