Equipment for Adventure Racing [Part Three Of GODZone - What’s The Plan?]

Press Release / 27.04.2020
Nathan Fa'avae leads a tour of his gear store / © Nathan Fa'avae

Having strong, reliable and well maintained equipment is important. I see many teams, especially international teams, waste time on gadgets and the latest greatest ultralight gimmicks.  In most races the gear list is simple and practical. You want to travel light, but not at the cost of reliability.

Years ago I’d race with the lightest clothing, head lights and other things, but over time I learnt that it’s better to take heavier things that function well. I often carry heavier gloves, hats and rain jackets than what is mandatory.  In the 2010 World Champs in Spain I expected it to be sweltering hot in a Spanish summer so I took minimal gear options. The first night of the race we were hit by an icy storm and my featherlight gloves, hat and jacket were useless. I suffered big time through the night and never fully recovered for the remainder of the race. I was dreaming of the gear I had at home that would have protected me from those elements, cursing myself for being a fool.

Mountain bikes are my biggest concern when it comes to equipment in a race. They have the most working parts so the biggest chance of gear failure or breakdown. For that reason I always say to people to start with a really good bike, look after it and get it fully serviced before an important race. Then make sure you have the spare parts that you’d likely need in the event of bike issues.  It’s a luxury, but having all the team on the same model bike is a big bonus, it reduces the spare parts the team needs dramatically. I still prefer a full suspension bike for adventure racing but on some courses a hardtail would be fine also. The problem is you often don’t know what the riding surface will be like until the race has begun so you can’t prepare for it as well as you would like.

Nathan's Preferred Gear

Clothing - RAB

Mountain Bike - Santa Cruz Blur

Footwear - inov-8

Cyclewear - Tineli

Kayak - Think Uno Max

Pack Raft - Frontier

Backpack - Lowe Alpine

Watch - suunto9 for training, Suunto core for racing

If you want to know how much gear a world class adventure racer  (and family) accumulates watch this video of a tour of Nathan's gear store. Be prepared to be mind blow and suffer gear envy. 

Read the next article in this series on 'Nutrition In Adventure Racing' here.


AVAYARABinov-8Santa CruzTorpedo7THINK KayaksSaltstickEm’s Power CookiesAbsolute Wilderness Freeze Dried MealsSUUNTOFrontier PackraftsBMG ToyotaTineliXinix 

Nathan Fa'avae is the captain of Team Avaya (formerly Team Seagate) and 6x Adventure Racing World Champion. He is also a Race Director of the Spring Challenge and Absolute Widerness Adventure races in New Zealand, and a co-owner of Absolute Wilderness Freeze Dried Foods.  You can find out more about him at


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