Over the past few years, I have competed in multi-day adventure races from Patagonia to the deserts of Utah. The checkpoint-dotted courses, which I traversed by bike, boat, and on foot, pushed the limits of my body and my gear further than anything I’ve experienced before. Sleepless nights, long days, tough navigation, and on-the-spot gear creativity—see my team's deployment of Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pads to float a whitewater stream in southern Chile earlier this year—have allowed me to crown the sport the ultimate gear proving ground.
Finding an adventure in the United States is not hard—there are now more than 200 organized annually, including the national championship events that take place this October in Kentucky. For an adventure race near you, check out the event calendars on Checkpoint Tracker and USARA. Then start training. Adventure racing requires strength, endurance, and a can-do fortitude verging on derangement, all balanced with a stout kit of outdoor gear. Here are the 10 top products I won't race without.