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December 21, 2011

Article: Stuffing your box with gear.

Never leave home without it.


            Gear, what you need for the games.  Well being that I am a gear whore; I bring a ton of shit with me.  This has always been the case.  Being under prepared was always much worse for me than having way to much stuff.  With all the variety of situations that you will encounter at the games I like being ready for it all.  I will break down everything I keep in my travel box.    
            Chances are that someone out there will have all of this available and be a good enough guy to lend you some of it.  Think of this as a lucky draw and don’t count on it.  Bring your own stuff, be prepared, and don’t be that guy every game.  People will remember and start to hate you.  Here is the stuff that travels with me to every games.  This is for the most part the same stuff you need for heavy training in the gym so you should familiarize yourself with all of it.
I know the Euros don’t use gloves so if that applies to you skip this.  I use two different types of gloves, both of which are basic and you can get at any home improvement store. 
I use a thicker leather glove with a ball cinch on the back.  This is for anything I am hook gripping.  This glove has been the biggest improvement for me in the games.  I can take a huge volume of throws with it and never damage my thumb. 
The other glove is just some simple thin leather mechanic gloves for hammer.  This accomplishes a couple of things: easy clean up of tacky in games and training and tacky sticks to them since they don’t sweat. 

Here is where I get crazy in my packing.  I typically have 5 pair of shoes in my box all for varying events or conditions.  I may only use three of them for a games but I feel better being ready.
Hammer boots are a must.  These are nothing fancy.  They are the cheapest pair of boots that I could find and I bolted my blades to them. 
Javelin boots are my main shoe.  I use these for all the distance events and sheaf.  I like them more than the rubber cleats.  The spikes are minimal and I have never felt them slip.  I can also change out spikes according to what the surface feels like.  They rotate easily and still grab for driving.  They are as close to feeling like throwing shoes in the grass I have found.
Weight lifting shoes for me are the best for weight for height.  Since I am for the most part doing a single arm snatch I like the position they put me in for the pull.  They also make for having a great stable base and raised heel.  If it works in the gym why not work on the field?  A good pair of these is worth every penny

The last two I carry with me are extras for special circumstances.  They don’t often get used, but I am glad I have them when I needed them.  Soccer cleats and simple running shoe, if the ground gets too hard for spikes I use regular shoes and soccer cleats if it is really muddy. 

I carry about 6 rolls of athletic tape with me to all games.  It is pretty much duct tape for an athlete.  I will use to tape on my gloves, shoe repair, hammer grip, fork grip, fixing torn calluses, and holding my knee together.  Don’t go without it.

Knee Sleeves are something every strength athlete needs to be aware of and most are.  There is a reason that everyone has the blue neoprene sleeves on for every sport.  They are amazing and will work as your new wooby.  You will wonder how you ever trained without the added warmth and support.  These are great for throwing and will help keep your knees warm all day.  They will smell like death however so wash them or don’t and have everyone talk about you smelling like a garbage dump.

Wrist wraps are going to be based on your personal preference of thickness and length.  I use one that is short and thin.  I just realized it sounds like I am talking about your preference in junk.  Oh well.  You can also use tape, but that will get expensive with throwing in training.  Some of the thinner ones will allow for the wrists to flex back more in the stone while still supporting it.  That is what I like if you have other needs pick your accordingly.

Chalk is great for stones and some people use it for WOB as well.  I personally use it only for stones.  Keeps the neck dry and gives more grip on stones.  With stones typically being a 1st event this will be very handy since the ground will still be wet with dew. 

Towels are great to have and no one wants to share a sweat rag with you.  That is how people get staph infections.  So bring a nasty towel from home or liberate some of the ones from your hotel the night before.  It is great for drying off and cleaning implements that are wet and muddy.  This thing will be awful by the end of a games so wash it occasionally.   Or be a gentleman and return it to the hotel and they can clean it.

Belts are good to have with you.  I only use my heavy lifting belt for WOB.  My heavy belt is a 13mm leather Lever Belt.  This is another must have thing in your gear arsenal. I also carry a neoprene belt that is great for getting the low back warm.  This belt will not be much support but will help if you have some soreness.  Also a belt can be the difference in backing out do to back pain or finishing strong with added support.

Liniments are like external lubricant for the gears.  Use these to help with getting the joints warm and alleviating some pain or soreness.  There are lots of thee available but what I have always stuck with are Equi-block, Tiger Balm, or any other capsaicin based rubs.  If you are not familiar with these types of products I highly recommend them.  However with that when you start using them start light.  Tiger Balm is the lightest of the three.  The other two should be considered like Nuclear weapons, not the first choice but if you need the job done they are the ones you want.  Both of these will heat up and get very uncomfortable if too much is used.  I know that despite my disclaimer you will go into this full force and ruin a training period by using too much.  So enjoy.

Neoprene shorts are going to work the same as the knee sleeves or belt but for your hips and legs.  Many games start with cold mornings this will help get things feeling mobile quicker and give a little support at the same time.  Plus they make you look awesome and you can take them off when the day gets warmer.

PVC Roller:
A PVC Roller is great cause at 6” diameter and less than a foot long it will fit in your bag and you can shove other shit in it.  This thing works better than a foam roller and is only about $6.00.  Spending sometime on here will help in loosening all the busted scar tissue and sinew that has been keeping you together.

Stretch bands are great not just for looking like you know what you are doing in the gym or showing how dynamic your lifts are.  They are great for stretching and warming up.  Keeping one of these handy can take care of warming up everything from shoulders with some face pull to your hamstrings and low back with good mornings.  You can also use it to launch things at your fellow competitors.

Tacky is one of those things that is a highland games thing.  Weather you are using spray or Brock's make sure you have enough of it.  Someone is going to want to borrow your for sure.  I personally use the spray tacky since it is much easier to get a hold of and never has that way to cold to use feel.

            These items travel the world with me.  I make sure I have all of them in my box and when packed carefully it still all comes in under 50lbs.  So not all of this may be for you but it is what I use.  Check it out and figure out your own supply.

artfully posed items


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