Camp Life

Coexisting with others for a week or more is important.

During a typical stage race you will be living for a week or more with several individuals under very intimate and primitive conditions. It is to your advantage to make the best of things. Living in the field, especially with limited supplies and comforts, takes some getting used to. Your attitude will be mirrored by those around you so try and have a positive outlook!

1. Be considerate of your tent mates: You are living with them under trying conditions and in very close quarters. You can make some great friends so take advantage of it.  Don’t make enemies. You may also be paired up with others from various countries with different languages, customs and senses of humor. Be accommodating if at all possible. Additionally you may be in mixed company so be considerate of the need for female privacy. This is especially true of various other cultures and norms.

Great friends by the last stage! (left to right Garth Reader, Brandon Petelin, Brian Flemming, Ken Letterle and Nicholas Lamond)

2. Ear plugs: Bring two pairs. There is always much snoring in camp, enough said.

Lots of log sawing

3. Practice sleeping in your bag/pad: You may not be used to how your sleeping system works and the first couple of nights may not be comfortable. Shoes, pack and/or a sleeping bag stuff sack filled with other clothes works as a pillow however you will be aware of the smell.

4. At the end of the day remove your insoles from your shoes. This lets them air out well, enables you to use your shoes more like slippers (which you will not need to bring) and generally make your feet feel better.

Shoes and Insoles
Remove your insoles and let your shoes breathe

5. Watch out for creepy crawlers: Get into the habit of shaking out your shoes, sleeping bag, etc. before inserting body parts into them. There are all types of unpleasant creatures that may have taken up residency while you were out; especially in desert races.

6. Develop a routine: This is especially true for pre-stage preparations and once you have finished a stage. You may want to write it down on a small card. Things to consider include.

a. Pre-stage: foot preparations, take any medications or supplements, review stage details, hydrate, sunscreen, pack, sweep area for any forgotten equipment/trash/etc.

b. Post-stage: Hydrate, recovery nutrition, tent preparations, foot maintenance, check results, post email if available, prepare for the next day.

Going through the morning pre-stage routine

7. Tent rigging: Your tent or sleeping quarters are most likely put up quickly and with no thought to your preferences. While you most likely will not have any say where your tent is pitched, you may be able to slightly modify its condition to the deal with the local weather conditions. Sides can be dropped down to deal with prevailing winds or open up to allow a gentle cooling breeze. Most of this will need to be done on your own if allowed.

Tent flaps up for air flow (Nicholas Lamond and Ken Letterle)
Tent sides down to protect from prevailing winds

8. Headlamp etiquette: Be very aware of where you are shining your headlamp. Try not to blind your fellow racers or illuminate the tent for them while they are attempting to sleep. Use a lower power setting or the red LED that is common on many models today for camp use. It is also a smart idea to keep your headlamp in an obvious location at night (such as in your shoes) for those inevitable nocturnal nature calls.

9. Promptness: Be prompt and on time for briefings, starts, transportation, etc. It will greatly annoy your fellow stage racers if they are always waiting on you.

10. Water Bottles: Consider keeping them at least a quarter filled to prevent them blowing away at camp.

11. Communications: Many stage races today allow for the transmission and/or receipt of email with the outside world. Be sure your friends and family know how to use these services since they are quite a pick-me-up at the end of the day. When sending email do not hog the terminal. Send out a general post to someone who can then distribute it to all those that may be interested and/or post it to your social media account. If you need to send more than one go to the back of the line and let others have a chance.

Additionally, while the use of email is encouraged the use of mobile phones is typically frowned upon. In some races, penalties can be incurred for their use. Be considerate of those who wish to escape the intrusion of these devices. If they are allowed, use them well away from camp so not to disturb fellow competitors.

Email is a morale booster! (Anne-Clair Podlipski)