What I Packed for The Amazing Race

I can admit it. I’m the actual worst at packing for a trip. I end up packing a sundress without checking the weather and it’s 50 degrees and raining. I will have to check an oversized bag for a weekend trip. I often show up to a beach trip without a swimsuit.

That’s why it may surprise you to learn I packed all I needed for 25 days in a small backpack. I mean, we were only wearing athletic gear so it’s not like I needed to bring a dress for fancy dinners.

Here’s the deal: besides electronics, phones, and navigation equipment … you can bring whatever you want as long as you can carry it. I wanted to keep my pack under nine pounds so I “practice packed” several times to get it right. I would pack everything and try to go for a long run. If it felt too heavy, I would shed more when I got back.

The basics: I packed two tank tops, two sports bras, two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, a pair of leggings, and a pair of shorts. I brought a lightweight jacket and puffy coat that could be rolled up and didn’t take up too much space in our pack.

I used square-shaped packing cubes to make the best use of space in my pack.

Here are some of the most useful things I packed:

1. Hiking Backpack

I grabbed the Deuter Speed Lite 22 Liter backpack and was super impressed about how much it could hold! The backpack in combination with the packing cubes made traveling super efficient.

2. Compass

This guided us well through the race. I think the hardest part of the experience was navigating foreign countries without GPS. This little compass was the most important thing I packed.

3. Watch Compass

This was great to get a general sense of direction as we were running. Plus, the compass easily clipped onto my watch.


4. Tide packs

Because we didn’t pack a lot of clothes, we had to wash what we had in hotel sinks at night with these Tide packs. We would wring them out with towels or use a hairdryer to speed dry. It made me appreciate our washer and dryer at home!

5. Headlamp

Though this was great for our night leg in London, I got the most use out of this headlamp when sitting in the backseat and looking at maps.

6. Tinted sunscreen

I brought a travel-sized foundation but that only lasted one day. Wearing a lot of makeup made my skin feel gross as I started to sweat. I slathered on this tinted sunscreen and hoped for the best.


7. Water shoes

We wore these as “slippers” on the airplane to give our feet a break from sneakers. We were so glad we had water shoes in Corsica when the final challenge was to kayak to the pit stop. We saved our shoes while everyone else had wet sneakers the next day.

8. Multi-color pens

I know this seems like a weird item to pack but the pens helped when taking notes to differentiate categories and things I was trying to remember.

9. Two notebooks

I brought one notebook I could fit in the fanny pack to take quick directions, and another I could journal and write more extensive memories from the day.

10. Plane pants

We did spend a lot of time traveling to locations. Sleeping in leggings isn’t comfortable for me, so I bought these joggers off Amazon. They weren’t as spendy as some you see in stores so I wouldn’t feel terrible if I had to ditch them if they were too cumbersome to haul around. They were lightweight enough and made the entire journey.


11. Buff

I used this buff to wipe my face with sweat and to keep my hair out of my face. My wrist was really hurting after turning over 5000 stones in Greece so I even wrapped my wrist. I even used it as an eye mask to sleep on the plane. I found a lot of uses for this little piece of fabric!

12. Melatonin

I struggle with sleep under the best of circumstances. Add in stress and a few time changes and I would have been a mess without a little help from some melatonin.

13. Goodr Sunglasses

I bought a pair of these sunglasses for both Penn and I because they were inexpensive and super flexible. I didn’t feel as bad when Penn lost his during the journey.

Do you have any packing tips to share? Anything I missed? I’d love to answer any other Amazing Race questions!

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