Posts filed under ‘Gear’

Tournament Preparation – What to bring…

In a previous post I wrote about how to prepare for a tournament from a training and fitness point of view. Not long after publishing the post I realised that another important element of tournament preparation is making sure you bring along all the right things to get you through the tournament.

This post is about making sure everything is available to you when you need it to be. I like to know that if I need something during a game I will be able to grab it and get on with playing. I don’t want to have to fret about not having the right bit of gear for a certain weather condition, or the right food for my particular energy-levels at any given time.

By being prepared with all the right items I can focus on the important aspects that are happening on the field without having to worry about anything else.

The first consideration is a bag to put everything in. I’ve dedicated an entire post to the bag I use for Ultimate Frisbee tournaments so you can check that out here. Once you’ve got the bag sorted there’s a bunch of stuff you’ll need to put in it:

Ultimate Clothes/Accessories

Who knows what weather you will be playing in across a 2-3 day tournament? In southern Australia it is impossible to plan for any weather in particular so here’s how to cover everything:

  • Jersey/Shirt – Your team jersey!
  • Shorts – Shorts that match your jersey or whatever your team is going with.
  • Compression Shorts – Worn under your regular shorts if it isn’t cold. Quite good for your muscles over a tournament.
  • Base Layers – I like wearing a base-layer when I’m playing, one that wicks away sweat. They keep me warm when it is cold, and keep the sweat off me when it is hot. At a tournament they also help keep my jersey fresh for more than a day. They don’t have to be expensive, I use these ones from Torpedo 7. I bring one for each day of the tournament.
  • Socks – I bring heaps of socks, at least one pair for every day of the tournament and potentially 2-per day. Fresh socks are amazing mid tournament and also help prevent blisters from sliding round with sweaty feet in hot conditions.
  • Cleats/Boots – Some people have tournament-specific boots. I just have some trusty Asics that I love and wear whenever I play Ultimate
  • Cap – Helps visibility and also helps keep the sun off your face. Alternatively, if it is raining/cold it keeps your head dry and warm and stops water running down your face.
  • Sunglasses – I squint a lot in the sun so prefer to play in sunglasses if it is sunny. Some claim it is a disadvantage if my teammates can’t see where I am looking but it hasn’t seem to be too much of an issue.
  • Compression Tights – If it is really cold you’ll want some coverage on your legs. Compression tights allow you to run around with coverage without getting too hot (as opposed to some sports-oriented tights that are fleecy and generally too hot for running in).
  • Arm Warmers – Probably my most crucial bit of Ultimate kit aside from the usual stuff. I have found cycling arm warmers to be brilliant for variable weather or warming up. Your arms stay warm without adding an extra layer to your chest, which then gets hot when you run. The biggest benefit is you can just pull them off when you warm up, even mid-point. Some are water-resistant such as the Castelli Nanoflex ones that I have. I originally started using Arm Warmers for cycling but I can highly recommend them for Ultimate.
  • Beanie – If it gets really cold I will play in a beanie to keep my wears warm.
  • Underpants – I play Ultimate in briefs whereas I generally wear boxer-briefs. As a result I need to remember a pair per-day.
  • Waterproof/Windproof Jacket – On cold days you’ll want something warm to put on between points and in breaks between games.
  • Sweatbands – On hot days I like to wear a sweat band on my throwing arm. Mainly this is for wiping my face but if it is really hot it also stops sweat running down to my hand a bit.
  • Gloves – I’m not entirely sold on the idea of playing in Gloves as yet but I do currently carry a paid of the Lookfly Ultimate gloves with me and wear them occasionally. As a mini review, I wish they let you choose which hand you throw with so the other hand could have five full-fingers on the gloves rather than two useless cut-out ends.
  • Thongs – Similarly to having fresh socks, being able to take your cleats off and wander round in thongs at lunch time is amazingly good for your feet. Do it!
  • A frisbee! – You’ll need it for warm-ups and to kill time in the airport.

Food and Liquids

You need to stay hydrated and well fed throughout a tournament. This requires some preparation:

  • Drink Bottles – I bring two and have them full and on the sidelines within easy reach at all times. One is for water and one is for electrolytes/sports drinks.
  • Sports Drink – In the past I have carried a tub of Gatorade around however more recently I took a tube of Nuun tablets to a tournament. These were much more portable (smaller) and heaps easier to prepare in a drink bottle each time. I try and drink water and electrolytes equally, aiming for a bottle of each per game.
  • Gels/Energy Bars – Running all day for several days in a row saps energy. You won’t feel hungry but you’ll need fuel. I bring 2 energy bars per day but can substitute one for a banana if there are some available at the tournament (they are a bit easier to eat mid-game). I haven’t tried any Gels as yet but they’d be fine if you can find any that taste nice!
  • A bowl and Spork – Some tournaments offer dinner but require your own cutlery/crockery. I normally bring along a bowl and a spork as I’m not overly keen to eat off a frisbee.

Medical Stuff

  • Sunscreen – apply regularly and liberally. Nothing worse than having to deal with sunburn on the second day of a tournament.
  • Anti-Inflammatories – Either Voltaren or Nurofen. If you get a sprain or a twinge or an ache you can safely start taking anti-inflammatories to help you through the tournament.
  • Paracetamol – If you’re taking Voltaren and need some extra pain relief then Paracetamol can help. Nurofen has pain relief built in.
  • Sports Tape – My feet aren’t used to spending a couple of days cutting hard in lots of different directions. I can start to develop blisters after a while and sports tape can help to avoid that.
  • Ankle Brace – I’ve sprained my ankle a few times during tournaments. If it is still ok to run on a brace will help avoid doing more damage whilst you continue playing.

Feet Taped Up – Helped to avoid some impending blisters. Not sure what was going on with my bruised toes…

Regular Clothes

Generally speaking if you’re going away for a weekend tournament you won’t actually spend a lot of time wearing your regular clothes. This section is really up to personal preference and baggage allowance! Last tournament I brought what I wore on the plane plus some shorts and a spare t-shirt.

Toiletries

Whatever you would normally bring when you’re travelling – don’t forget any prescription medicines or similar. Also, don’t forget your toothbrush! I forgot mine last tournament 😦

Other general travelling stuff

The usual travelling stuff applies:

  • Phone Charger
  • Book to read
  • Chewing Gum
  • Headphones – probably one of the worst things I have forgotten.
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Plane Itineraries – I store mine on my phone normally.

I think that’s about it! Hopefully that’s a useful list of things to bring to a tournament, along with some tips for a few things you may not have considered.

How about you? Is there anything missing on my list that you would bring? Any pro items that I’m missing?

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May 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm 6 comments

Running with a backpack – Take 2!

Whilst browsing through some statistics about the traffic on my blog I noticed that I receive a reasonable amount of visits from people looking for information about running with a backpack.

I have written about this subject in the past however I feel that it is necessary to clarify my stance on the subject. The original post was written in haste and was more of a general whinge about some injuries that I was dealing with at the time. In reality I have very little experience running with a backpack.

I feel bad for the people who stumble across my original post when researching this subject only to find a piece of work that hasn’t really looked at the subject in any seriousness. I didn’t provide any useful advice for people who are looking for backpack running options or techniques.

As a result I did some research myself to try and help people along. I only did some brief looking around but I think the following pages will help:

How to run with a backpack – from The Blogging Joggler

A Good Backpack for Running – from Cool Runnings Australia.

I will edit the original post and add a note at the top directing people to this post. Good luck to any backpack runners out there!

May 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment

Ultimate Frisbee – Bag Review – Tatonka Barrel

I recently went through the process of researching and purchasing a bag to use when attending Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. In some ways this process was relatively straightforward as I had seen several good examples already at previous tournaments. I had also talked to a few people about their choices.

That said, I like to check things out myself so I started looking into it with the following considerations in mind:

Requirements

Size

The bag needed to be big enough to fit everything for a 2-3 day tournament, but small enough to get away with using it as carry-on luggage on domestic flights. I also wanted to use the bag as my regular league-bag when I am not attending tournaments so I didn’t want it to be too huge. Keeping in mind that there’s a fair bit of stuff to bring along for a tournament, getting the right size was not straightforward.

Comfort

There’s a good chance that there’s some walking involved when you’re travelling for a weekend. Even walking through the airport can be a bit of a trek. As a result it is necessary to have a bag that is easy to carry for a while without getting too uncomfortable.

Weatherproof

If you’re playing in an Ultimate tournament there is going to be some point where you’re on the field in the middle of the point and it starts raining. Your bag will be on the sideline and, unless it is weatherproof, everything inside it will get soaking wet. This is far from ideal and I didn’t want to have to worry about all my gear when I’m in the middle of a game. As a result, I wanted a weatherproof bag that wouldn’t let the rain in.

Options

I was already fairly certain that I wanted a barrel/duffel-type bag after seeing the bags that others had been using. I did consider a more traditional backpack however I was put off by the general design whereby you have to stack gear from the bottom up, and access things through a smallish opening at the top. I suppose “accessibility” could have been another requirement as I do like being to quickly grab something (such as a sweat band or energy bar) out of my bag between points if required.

In particular I was aware that several manufacturers make weatherproof duffles that also have conversion straps that allow the bag to be carried like a backpack. All of these manufacturers also offerred the duffels in a variety of sizes allowing me to choose one that was small enough to take on a plane as carry-on, but big enough to fit everything required for a tournament.

In particular there are options from  Mountain DesignsThe North Face and Tatonka.

After hunting around online I settled on the Small Tatonka Barrel in yellow for the following reasons:

  • I was able to check these bags out in person at a shop in town so I could confirm the sizes were right.
  • I found a great online price from Bagworld, including free shipping!
  • The yellow would be visible in a group of bags or on a carousel at the airport if I ever checked it in.
  • A few friends had recommended them.
  • They were available for a good price in Australia, instead of having to buy from overseas and pay more for shipping.
  • The bag is specifically approved for carry-on with Qantas.

The Tatonka Barrel in a Small size – it isn’t very full at the moment.

That said, all of the bags were pretty close in terms of price and features. The only other notable aspect is that The North Face offer a much broader range of colours (and the yellow is nicer too dammit).

Result

I have used the bag for a while now, both as my main bag for all my frisbee gear as I play league and also for a 2 day tournament in Melbourne. Overall I am very happy as the bag has met all my requirements above.

My only criticism of the bag is that it could benefit from some more pockets. Inside the bag there is a narrow pocket at each however these can’t be fastened shut. As a result it is hard to successfully store stuff in those pockets without it falling out when you use the bag in “backpack mode”.

The interior compartment at one end. Things can fall out when the bag is vertical.

Aside from those two pockets there is also a zippered pocket in the lid of the bag. Given this is the only secure separate pocket from the main compartment I ended up putting more stuff in here than I would have liked. Anything small ended up in here like keys, phone, sweat bands, a fork, chewing gum, energy bars and other things such as tickets and boarding passes. Overall it was good to have those things separate from the main compartment but there were too many things in there which made using the pocket a bit inconvenient.

The pocket in the flap is full of sweat bands, a beanie and any other random small items.

The bag does also has an exterior pocket that is designed to house the backpack straps when you want to hide them away. Whilst not ideal, I ended up using this pocket for a few things, like sunscreen, just to get them separated from everything else. You can’t shut this pocket when the backpack straps are out, and if they’re in then the pocket is full. As a result you wouldn’t want to have things stored in that pocket when it is raining as you would want the whole bag zipped up tightly.

This is where the straps go when you want to fold them away.

The other consideration when using a bag like this is the fact that it needs to hold together when it is horizontal and vertical. I am a fairly obsessive packer and I like to know where things are in my bag. As a result I don’t want things moving around too much when I am carrying the bag. You pack the bag when it is horizontal but as soon as you lift it onto your back it ends up completely vertical. As a result it is necessary to pack the bigger things to the right-side (assuming you have the bag open with the flap facing away from you) of the bag so they will be at the bottom when it is on your back. This isn’t a problem though, just a consideration.

The bag in backpack mode…

Summary

Overall I’m really happy with the purchase of this bag. It worked extremely well for my tournament and I was able to fit  a lot of gear in there. I am planning another post in the near future which details the things that I bring to a tournament so you will get better idea of the capabilities of the bag then. It didn’t rain during the tournament so I haven’t actually tested the waterproof capabilities of the bag yet, but it certainly looks very rugged and waterproof – we’ll see!

I would recommend this bag to any Ultimate player or anyone who travels for a weekend of sport. You’ll comfortably get all the gear (depending on your sport) you need inside and it is comfortable to carry around. Great bag!

About half full of stuff … just my general league gear minus my shoes.

All the gear that was in there. The green bag has a few spare jerseys in there. Plenty of room for my shoes and a bunch more stuff.

Update!

I have now written a post showing the list of things I typically pack for an Ultimate tournament. This gives you a great idea of how much stuff you can fit into the bag.

May 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm 5 comments


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