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Strongman Competition Packing List

It’s best to be prepared! We’ll break down some common (and not-so-common) things we ALWAYS pack in our competition bags. PLUS there’s a printable checklist at the end of the post.

The Essentials

First, let’s go through some details on specific items (what they are and why you need them):

  • Membership Card: Each federation has its own membership requirements. In the USA, the 2 main federations are Strongman Corporation (aka “SC” or “NAS”) and United States Strongman (aka “USS”). It should be very clear in your competition info what federation is sanctioning (i.e. affiliated with) the competition. You can purchase memberships for Strongman Corporation on their website, and you can purchase USS memberships directly in Iron Podium when you register for the competition. If your competition is “unsanctioned” you don’t need a membership card.
  • Hydration: Check out our post on competition day nutrition for more details on this one. Basically you want to make sure you have water and/or a sports beverage and/or your athletic hydration of choice already packed in your bag. You *cannot* count on the venue to have any kind of hydration. Sometimes these things are very accessible at a competition, and sometimes they are definitely not. It’s best to bring it with you.
  • Food: Check out our post on competition day nutrition for more info. The short version is that we recommend you bring carbs, protein, and things that digest easily and have relatively neutral flavors. Don’t try anything new on comp day!
  • Warm-up/Mobility Equipment: Some competitions are held at gyms where there are things to use to warm up, but many are NOT. Especially if you know you’re going to be at a non-gym location, bring any warm-up stuff you might need (foam roller, PVC, lacrosse ball, bands, etc).
  • Chalk: Same deal as the warm-up equipment… gyms will likely have chalk, but non-gym locations probably won’t. It’s best to bring your own.
  • Chairs: There is rarely anywhere to sit at a strongman competition, especially at local shows. Trust me that you don’t want to sit on the ground between events. Most people bring the collapsible chairs that go in a bag. (Pro Tip: Make sure your family and friends know this if they’re coming to watch!)
  • Tent: If the competition is outside (especially if it’s going to be hot/sunny or rainy), a pop-up tent is super useful. It’s also nice if you have a group of people because it gives everyone somewhere to gather, sit, store gear, etc. It might sound like overkill, but it’s a really great investment that makes for a much more comfortable experience.
  • Tape Measurer: If the competition has a yoke, bring a tape measurer. Measure your yoke height on the yoke you train with (from the ground to the *bottom* of the bar). Yoke heights are typically taken at weigh-ins. When it’s your turn to get a height, just measure it instead of picking and running, etc. Every yoke is different, and this way you don’t need to account for competition-day jitters, long lines, different shoes, empty vs fully loaded, etc. You know what you train on. Be accurate. (Pro Tip: If the comp yoke is in between your heights, opt to go slightly higher if it’s a heavy yoke and slightly lower if it’s a light yoke.)
Clothing Notes

These will be specific to you and to each competition. It often depends on weather/season and location of the competition. These are some basic guidelines:

  • ALWAYS bring your competition shirt. You will be required to wear it while competing in 99.9% of competitions.
  • If you like to cut your competition shirts, bring your own scissors. You can’t count on someone else to bring them, and the promoter is busy doing other things that don’t involve finding scissors for you.
  • Bring comfortable non-competition shoes that are easy to slip on and off. It’s nice for weigh-ins, between events, and post-competition.
  • Layer up! It’s never a bad idea to have some layers on hand. Even in the middle of summer, you might end up in a venue with frigid air conditioning, and you’ll wish you’d packed your sweatshirt. In the winter, most local shows have at least some events outside, so be prepared. We recommend layers that are quick to take on and off (zippers!) so you can wear them right up until it’s your turn to lift.
  • Extra underwear! This one is (mostly) for the ladies. Bring a spare pair of underwear (and shorts/pants if needed) for each event that might cause you to pee. Competing in wet underwear is extremely unpleasant, and you’ll definitely want a clean dry pair for post-competition travel/food/etc.
  • Long pants for deadlift-related events. You don’t have to wear the same bottoms for every event. If you like to do most events in shorts, but prefer to deadlift in long pants, bring ‘em!
  • Post-competition outfit. It’s nice to get comfy after a competition, especially if you have a long drive ahead or are headed to get food afterwards. For bonus points, bring a shirt that represents your gym/coach.
In Case of Rain

If it’s raining, you’ll want to add a few extra things to your bag. If there’s even a small chance of rain, BRING THESE THINGS. It’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need to and not have it. (At least, that’s what my mom always told me…)

  • Pack as many things as you can in plastic or ziploc bags. This includes individual items in your bag. If you have to stand in the rain you’ll want your gear to be dry (think about wraps, straps, chalk…)
  • Bring a large trash bag or poncho to cover your gym bag. Soggy gear is not awesome.
  • Pack extra socks and shoes. If you can keep your feet and hands dry, you’re going to be okay.
  • Throw a couple small towels in your bag. You can use these for your hands, bottom of shoes, equipment handles, etc. The promoter should have some for the competition implements, but it’s best to be prepared (and you have no idea what the warmup situation will look like).
  • Bring a handful of plastic grocery bags. They take up very little space (just smash them into a corner of your bag). You’ll need them to separate your wet equipment and clothes when you’re done with it.
If You’re Flying to Competition

Flying requires some extra forethought. The #1 MOST IMPORTANT THING is to PACK YOUR EQUIPMENT IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG! Luggage gets lost all the time, and the last thing you want is to be stuck without your personal lifting equipment. Clothing can be easily replaced. Your belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and custom gear CANNOT.

Here are some other considerations when flying to a competition:

  • Check with your airline to see what size limits they have on carry-on bags. Each airline is different, and some carry-on size limits are quite small these days.
  • Measure your carry-on bag and make sure it meets the airline requirements.
  • Pack any gear that’s personal to you and/or not easily replaceable into your carry-on bag. PRO TIP: Do this 1-2 weeks before the competition and carry ONLY THAT BAG to the gym with you. You’ll figure out pretty quickly what you forgot to pack.
  • Bring protein and supplements with you. Get the rest of your food when you arrive at your destination.
  • You’ll probably need to “re-package” some things in smaller containers and/or buy “travel size” things, like liquid chalk. Plan ahead for this.
  • Bags with wheels are awesome! Don’t limit yourself to a “traditional” gym bag. Think about carrying all your gear through the airport. This is what we train for, but let’s not do extra work 😉 
  • Consider popping an AirTag or Tile in your bag. Ideally, nothing will get lost, but in case it does at least you’ll know where it is.
Competition Checklist

Here’s an easy competition checklist for your next strongman show. Click here for a printable PDF version!

Basic Necessities:

  • Photo ID
  • Membership Card (double-check federation and expiration date) 
  • Cash
  • Hydration
  • Food (including supplements/protein)
  • Competition Shirt

Equipment:

  • Shoes (for *each* event)
  • Knee Sleeves
  • Briefs/Suit (if allowed)
  • Belt(s) for *each* event
  • Elbow Sleeves
  • Wrist Wraps
  • Straps
  • Grip Shirt (if allowed)
  • Chalk
  • Athletic Tape
  • Warm-up/Mobility (foam roller, lacrosse ball, bands, hip circle)

STOP! Run through each event in your head, one at a time. Picture the event and what you’re wearing, starting at your feet and working your way up. Do you have everything?

Miscellaneous:

  • Chairs
  • Socks (extras if raining, tall socks for deadlift)
  • Underwear (one for each “pee-potential” event)
  • Tape Measurer
  • Scissors (if you cut your comp shirts)
  • Comfy post-comp clothes
  • Layers (long sleeves, pants, sweatshirt, etc)
  • Tent

In Case of Rain:

  • Small/Ziploc bags for small equipment
  • Big trash bag/poncho to cover gym bag
  • Extra socks and shoes
  • Small towels
  • Stash of plastic grocery bags

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