With only a few short days before the kick off of the Atlanta Komen 3-Day for the Cure, Team New Kids is getting all “geared” up for their big adventure! The only challenge more difficult than actually walking 60 miles in 3 days is PACKING to walk 60 miles in 3 days!
This blog, co authored by veteran New Kids Meredith and Jenn L., is a reflection of things we learned about smart packing for the 3-Day. It is intended to inform our fellow teammates and blog followers of the peculiarities of life on the 3-Day and a few things that we had not anticipated---if we only knew then what we know now!
Caution: Don’t let us be your only source for smart packing. The folks at For the Cure know a thing or two about efficient packing (and there are some rules that you have to follow). Visit the Participant Center and check out the packing information under Event Details where you can find the stern requirement that your bag (yes, just 1 bag) weigh no more than 35lbs. Trust us, you CAN do it!
There are plenty of veteran walkers who have also developed some tips. You can find a few of our favorites at:
http://60milemen.typepad.com/main/Underground_Guide_2010.pdf (pg. 22-27)
We will address the issue of packing in two segments: Walking Gear & Camping Gear. It’s smart to pack these items separately as you will have to surrender your overnight bag before the opening ceremonies. All of the gear will be transported to camp and you will retrieve it when you arrive after the last mile on Day 1.
What to wear?
It’s too late to be asking this question! If you are considering wearing something for the walk that you have not already worn in many, many training walks, don’t do it! Captain Kim can give you an enthusiastic NO on this topic. Everything from socks to undergarments, shoes to caps, should be well worn and comfortable. Something as small as an irritating tag in your shirt or a seam in your shorts can make for a miserable walk when you are stuck in it for 20 miles.
Georgia weather is unpredictable. Most of Team New Kids has spent some time in the southeast and know that a beautiful Friday of 70 degrees and sunshine means NOTHING for Saturday and Sunday! Last year we had 1 day of rain (OH MY GOODNESS THE RAIN!), 1 day of cold (SOOOOO COLD!) and an absolutely perfect Day 3. Unpredictable.
Being prepared for anything means bringing along a few items to keep you comfy in any kind of weather. They may take up some space in your pack, but it’s worth it!
Rain Jacket: Something lightweight but waterproof. I’ve already had my gripe fest about raincoats at: Rainy Days and Sundays. That was enough said.
Sunglasses: A lesson we took from the 2009 event: When it’s not raining, it’s shining!
Extra Socks: Spending a full day in the same socks can be dreadful. Even though we are all traveling in the fancy schmancy no cotton walking socks, nothing can protect you against dewy morning grass, a surprise puddle in a crosswalk, or an afternoon rain shower.
Leg Warmers (preferably HOT PINK!): Jenn’s daily 3-Day gear, for example, includes capri style walking pants. This works great in a variety of temperatures. But, in the early hours of the day, it can get chilly between the shin and ankles. We have found that if your calves are warm, you can walk all day! We also discovered last year that your teammates leg warmers can double as arm warmers. So, embrace your inner Jazzercize Diva and grab a pair of leg warmers. You can check out our Facebook 2009 3-Day albums for evidence. Seriously, there is no judgment on the 3-Day! Anything goes!
To go with the legwarmers, we recommend gloves. Cold digits are no fun!
Speaking of your pack, you should have found the perfect carry-all by now. Whether you choose a backpack style carrying device or a waist pack, be sure you have room for water and an electrolyte beverage. We recommend you have 2 water carrying devices: ie. the bladder in your CamelBak + a separate water bottle, and fill the larger one with water and the smaller one with PowerAde or an electrolyte supplement like Nunn. If you are new to sports drinks, start drinking up now! They aren’t always gentle on the tummy and 12 miles in is NOT the time to learn that your body is not a fan!
Breast Cancer Swag! Many walkers will recognize the people who have inspired their walk. Jenn sports a carabiner filed with small pink ribbons. There is a ribbon for every person who she is honoring or remembering with her walk and also a ribbon bearing the name of every person who donated to her fundraising efforts. One of our teammates last year had 60 miniature origami birds (pink of course) pinned to her bag-1 for each mile that she walked. At the end of the walk, she gave each member of our team a bird with our name on it and the number of the mile she dedicated to us. It’s fun to see all of the different ways walkers bring attention to those that they are walking for. You don’t have to do this, of course. There are several ways to recognize folks throughout the walk including several very moving 3-Day traditions at camp. (We won’t ruin ALL of the surprises.)
The packing lists will recommend you carry a sweatshirt or warm jacket of some sort. Jenn’s commentary: I recommend you have a loving cheerleader who will carry this for you and meet you at cheer stations with a sweatshirt and a Diet Coke! It can be cool in the morning so I kept a lightweight-walking jacket with me. But, I wasn’t willing to fill up the tight real estate in my backpack with a bulky sweatshirt. This method did leave me texting Dana at the end of Day 2 proclaiming: I AM FREEZING! Bring me a sweatshirt! but I plan to follow the same plan this year. You can also start with your sweatshirt on and ditch it at the first cheer station once it warms up.
You will want to have a camera to capture the magic of the 3-Day! One of our favorite 3-Day traditions are the volunteer safety guards who meet and greet the walkers at every cross walk. These men and women are usually members of the local Harley riding groups and they dress up in the most outrageous breast cancer themed outfits! People at home won’t believe it if you don’t have your camera to capture the spectacle.
While there are first aid tents at every pit stop, you will want to carry a few items with you including blister care (whatever your preferred method and there are many), no rub glide, band aids, chap stick, sun screen, pain reliever, wet wipes, small pair of scissors, and antacids. Last year we ended up using each of these items at least once. This year we plan to double the number of wet wipes and add some antibacterial lotion. The porta-potties are divine but the hand wipes are alcohol heavy and will suck the life out of your hands. Even the GA humidity can’t fight that kind of dryness.
ID, health insurance info and a small amount of cash/credit card. You never know when an emergency full team visit to Starbucks, Chick Fil A, or CVS could occur. Also, you might want to get some 3-Day swag at camp.
The 3-Day is a walking buffet between the pit stops, (there are snacks every 3-5 miles) and roadside cheerleaders (since we walk so close to Halloween many of the spectators bring candy and since GA is the home of the Girl Scouts, they show up bearing cookies!). But, if you have specific snack needs you may want to throw a few in your bag. Typical 3-Day snacks include: bananas, oranges, animal crackers, the world’s greatest peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and granola bars. There are also water and sports drinks coolers at camp and every pit stop. As long as you aren’t picky about the flavors you won’t need to bring any beverages for yourself. Jenn’s Commentary: I don’t like full flavor sports drinks so I pack my cheerleaders cars with sugar free PowerAde. I chug a bit at each station and then take one back to camp at the end of the day and that keeps me going. I do recommend you have a cheerleader who will meet you each day with your favorite alternative beverage. By cheer station 1 I am shaking for my Diet Coke. They serve them at dinner but not at breakfast. I know Katie will have the quivers until she gets her coffee—not to worry, they have coffee at camp.
Once you have all of your carry-on items ready to load into your pack, it’s a good idea to put them into plastic bags as extra protection against any wet conditions.
Packing for camp can be complicated but it can be done! You only get 35 pounds to pack clothes for 3 days, camping stuff, and anything else you might need. This includes your sleeping bag and pad. Just ONE bag!
Now is not the time to be green! Think small and disposable. Bring travel size shampoo, and soap. FINALLY you have found a purpose for all of those hotel amenities you swiped over the years.
In packing, ziploc bags are your best friend. You can't have too many! The best thing to do is pack each day's clothes in a 2-gallon ziploc bag. Also, pack PJs and things you will take to the shower in another set of ziploc bags. Meredith commentary: One thing I learned last year was while you want to pack things for day 2 and day 3 together, you are going to want to pack undies in your shower bag and not Day 2 and Day 3! Go ahead and pack extra sets of socks in little ziploc baggies that you can pack in your walking bag each morning (remember you are gonna want to change socks at lunch at least and if it rains more often).
Speaking of rain...pack some newspaper in your bag so that if it does rain you can put it in your shoes to dry it out at night. Also, you are going to want a tarp to go under the tent. It gets dewy at night and a tarp under the tent is going to keep the bottom of your tent from getting wet. Chat with your tentmate and decide who should bring one along. If it does rain (which we hope and pray it does NOT), then we can cut the tarp in half and put half on top. Bring clothes pins to attach the tarp or any decorations you have. Also if it rains, pack some extra trash bags to pack all your stuff in to keep try...there may not be room in your tent for you, your roomie and both your bags and really do you want to smell those clothes after a day or 2 of walking?!?
Here is a short packing list:
- Clothes for Day 1 (wear these!)
- Clothes for Day 2 - packed in a 2 gallon baggie
- Clothes for Day 3 - packed in a 2 gallon baggie
- PJs - remember it might be a little chilly so pack in layers
- Tarp – Meredith is going to buy some at REI when she picks up the rented sleeping bag/pads. If you want one then, let her know and she can add it to your tab ☺
- Stuff for the shower - you aren't going to be prissy so just shampoo and soap. No need for hairdryers!
- Sleeping bag
- Mattress pad
- Pillow (small camping one)
- Headlamp-YES, you will want to attach a light to your forehead so that you can see where you are going during a middle of the night potty break. After drinking water all day long, you can’t stop the “go” so play it safe and shed some light on the situation (Seriously, have you ever been in a porta potty in the middle of a field at 3am??? TRUST US!)
- Earplugs (maybe if you want them)
- Shower Shoes – buy some cheap flip flops and you can toss them if you want.
- Shoes to walk around camp – you can wear those same flip flops but if you get cold you may want some warmer kicks. We have heard of people getting fake Uggs at Walmart and then tossing them afterwards. All we know is you DON’T want to put your sneakers back on!
- Tent decorations!!!! 1. There is a tent decorating contest and 2. It will help you identify your tent among over 1000 and so you don't crawl into bed with someone else...it has been known to happen. Check with your tent mate and decide how you want to identify you tent among the sea of pink pods. Remember, whatever decorations you bring still have to fit in your ONE bag!
- Towel Service: DO IT! You don’t want to have a wet towel to try to dry before the next use. If you pay, they do it for you! Best $12 you will ever spend! You can pay ahead of time in the Participant Center of the 3-Day website.
- iPod. There are no earphones allowed on the 3-Day. You won’t need them! You will have a Jenn-Pod, Kim-Pod, 2 Katie-Pods, Meredith-Pod, Michelle-Pod, Karen-Pod, and Priscilla-Pod to keep you company. And, if those get dull or boring, you have 2,000 other walkers to chat with.
- Make Up: The 3-Day Is Not for Pretty
Meredith & Jenn