Pit Essentials for Toughest Mudder

By Cal Setar | May 16, 2017


Toughest Mudder is an 8-hour, overnight endurance race within the new Tough Mudder competitive series. For some, Toughest is a way to get a taste for/prepare for World’s Toughest Mudder, the 24-hour endurance race and pinnacle of the Tough Mudder season.

Ultrarunners may scoff at the idea of eight hours, but top finishers have been logging 40+ miles of obstacle running in the dark which is no easy feat. Fitness enthusiasts new to obstacle course racing are welcome to test the waters at Toughest Mudder a Support Crew of two people will help you between the 5-mile laps. With that said, you don’t need to bring as much food or gear with you to a Toughest as you would to World’s Toughest Mudder.

Each Toughest Mudder athlete is designated a space in the Drop Zone, roughly half of a table for holding backpacks/hard cases of gear necessary to withstand the eight hours. Unlike World’s Toughest Mudder, there aren’t tents at Toughest, so you and/or Support Crew will have to pack super efficiently to fit everything into a gear bag or two. Check out these 10 gear suggestions for conquering Toughest Mudder like a pro.

1.     2 Headlamps with Extra Batteries

A working headlamp is required on the Toughest course at all times. Make sure the headlamp is waterproof, as there are water obstacles that require your head to submerge underwater. Bring an extra with you just incase you happen to lose one on the plunge into Hang Time. The brighter the headlamp, the better, and Black Diamond, Princeton Tec, and Petzl all offer water high-powered, waterproof headlamps.

2.     Strobe Light

Another required accessory, a strobe light must be worn on the Toughest Mudder course, whether it’s on your apparel, arms, legs or clipped onto your hydration pack. A strobe light is a bright LED light that stays light for a long amount of time. Nathan Sports makes various strobe lights, and they offer one that’s rechargeable via USB.

3.     Windbreaker

A waterproof jacket that shields rain and strong winds may be needed depending on weather conditions. The Merrell Torrent Windbreaker is a great pick for a polyester, ripstop transition pit jacket.

4. Food

There’s food you’ll bring with on the course, then there’s food you’ll keep in the Drop Zone. Bring Vega Energy Gels with you on the course for 22 grams of carbohydrates and natural sugar from dates to keep you full. Potassium and sodium are just two of the electrolytes in these gluten-free packs. You’ll also want to carry a Vega Protein Snack Bar or two on the course, for 11 grams of plant-based protein, filling grains like quinoa sprouts,  and a plethora of fruits and vegetables including broccoli and beets.
In your pit gear bag, section off a compartment just for larger edible snacks such as meat jerky, almond butter packets, trail mix, and more protein bars. A ready to drink protein shake, such as the Vega Protein Shake, will be the most efficient way to intake a bunch of nutrients quickly.

5.     Wetsuit

Wetsuits are recommended but not required at a Toughest course. You’re either going to bring zero or one wetsuit, as the likelihood of a wetsuit getting destroyed or too wet in eight hours is low. If you’re going to wear the wetsuit, start with it on since it’ll be night-time, then, remove the suit if you feel that you’re overheating.

6.     Change of Race Clothes, including Shoes

Whether or not you start with a wetsuit, you’ll want to pack one change of “just in case” race clothes. Bring Tough Mudder-ready compression pants/shorts, running shorts, moisture-wicking socks, a polyester long sleeve/short sleeve shirt, and an extra pair of Merrell Dexterity or Avalaunch Tough Mudder shoes if something goes wrong gear-wise on the course. Try not to overthink this step in the packing process, as overthinking apparel packing can waste precious training time. There’s always a merchandise booth to purchase the latest Tough Mudder gear and bunch of helping hands in Mudder Village if you need apparel help.

7.     Change of Clothes for Post Race

Keep a change of clothes that you won’t use for racing, unless absolutely necessary, in your pit area. All you really need is a pair of sweatpants, underwear, and flip flops, since you’ll be receiving a brand new Toughest Mudder Finisher Shirt.

8.     Hat and Gloves

Wearing gloves on the course is a matter of personal preference and a pair with good grip and padding is DGearOG. Obstacles like Kong, Funky Monkey: The Revolution, and Augustus Gloop require great grip strength but more importantly, can leave sensitive skin torn up, so gloves are really for protecting against ripped hands.

Any beanie or hat worn on the course will likely fall off but a polyester/spandex face shield or balaclava can be a vital assets if temperatures drop. Pack some type of wearable face guard to protect against wind  and keep you warm if necessary.

9.     A Garbage Bag

After snapping post-race photos, showering off and changing (in that order), toss your muddy clothes into a garbage bag so you don’t get your entire gear bag muddy. Carry this either in that gear bag or in your hands as you hang out in Mudder Village.

10.  A Towel

A regular bath or beach towel will do for changing and drying off from the showers but the Orange Mud Wrap is a towel with a belt buckle that won’t come off as you’re changing into your post-race clothes. It also doubles as a seat cover so you’re car seat stays mud-free on the ride home.