Packing Tips When Running In Different Weather

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Packing with plans to run in a place with different weather means being practical and smart about what items are taken. Packing Tips When Running In Different Weather

During that long, cold run we can’t help but dream of warmer weather. It means not having to bundle up in layers or find ways to shake those shivers post run. Just like many people escape the cold weather for a warm and sunny vacation, many runners also do the same with thoughts of running in mind. Whether it’s traveling specifically for a race or just taking a vacation with the hopes of getting a run in, visiting a destination with different weather means packing smart.

It is a catastrophe to leave behind running sneakers, but chances are these are the first things packed. When it comes to the rest of the gear, there are two types of packers. The first are those who pack multiple running outfits for their travels. Then they find they have no room for “regular” vacation clothes. Or they end up not wearing half of the leggings packed and realize they overpacked. Then there is the traveler who doesn’t pack enough running gear. They go for the minimal approach then find they really wish they packed with running belt or handheld water bottle.

The biggest tip when it comes to packing when running in different weather is to make a list. Checklists ensure the runner won’t forget anything—both the most important gear and the rest of the things they need. Physically write this list out and then cross off each item when packing bags.

Here are more packing tips for runners who are traveling to places that have different weather than at home.
Photo: Skitterphoto | Pixabay

Check The Weather

This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s never good to assume certain climates are warm or hot. For example, it’s easy to think of Florida as being very hot but the state does have periods where it is a little on the colder side. Then there is the rain. Many people just think about the temperature, but not other weather elements. Rainy vacations mean packing that lightweight waterproof running jacket and maybe not their favorite sneakers. Snow or hurricane may mean no outdoor runs.

Weather can change literally overnight so keep an eye out in the days leading up to departure. Use reliable weather sources and keep in mind the temperatures lows as well as the highs. This translates to needing a long sleeve when running early morning or at night opposed to just needing a tank top for the day.

Pack The Outfit Essentials

Every running outfit requires the essentials: a top, bottom, socks, and sneakers. The rest is not a necessity for those needing to pack light. A good packing tip when running is to find out if the place staying at has a washer and drier. This means a full wardrobe isn’t necessary. It’s better to pack two running shirts and one pair of leggings and wash them then pack three full running outfits on top of everyday wear.

The bare necessities might not be enough for some runners. Hot climates mean feeding to have hydration on hand (waist or back), so water gear might become essential. Then there are items like headphones and energy gels. Pack only what the runner absolutely needs. If you can’t run without music bring those headphones. But if there is a running store nearby, nutrition might not be needed. Look at that checklist and see if anything can be taken out.

Just don’t forget to pack some layers for when returning home.

Packing For A Race

There is a big difference between traveling for fun with some running in mind and traveling for a race. The latter means all the gear needed for that race is needed. This includes the sneakers worn on race day, the outfit, accessories and other needed items like an armband, hydration belt, etc. Some travel for fun races that call for costumes. This means making room for a tutu or other parts of the costume. The good news is that these can easily be folded up compactly, even if just in a weekender bag.

Those traveling in warm weather might want to bring along their means of hydration even if the race has ample water stops. Going from training in the cold to racing in the heat means drinking more water to stay properly hydrated.

There are products like the RaceMate bag that allows runners to neatly store every single piece of race gear they need. This makes packing for a race easy and stress-free.

Photo: katyveldhorst | Pixabay

Plan Your Runs

It’s important to plan runs when going to a different climate to pack properly. The runner doesn’t need to set the plans in stone when on vacation, but have an idea about where and what time of day you plan on running. How many runs do you expect to get in?

A good rule of thumb is to take one pair of leggings, one shirt (long sleeve might be best for chilly mornings and night to not also need a lightweight jacket) and one tank top for milder temperature. Shorts are best for guaranteed hot weather.

Bring Or Buy

Warmer temperatures call for products like sunscreen or body glide to prevent chafing. These items can be purchased when arriving at the destination so that the runner travels as light as possible. Some prefer to have their favorites on hand. This is fine too. Put all these items in a separate small bag for toiletries and hygiene products like shampoo and toothpaste. This keeps things organized and prevents spills on clothing.

Packing For A Colder Trip

Packing for warmer weather is easier because less and lighter clothing is needed besides a jacket and warm clothes to travel here and back in. Going for runs in a place with cold temperatures means being more prepared for the elements. This includes a few layers and a thicker pullover, running jacket or vest. Pack those wool socks, gloves, buff, and hat.

Winter clothes generally take up more space—especially when packed with post-run articles like boots and sweaters. Pack smart and bring the running items most needed. Pack one warm running outfit and opt to wash it while at the hotel or bring to a laundry mat when running more than once.

To fit everything it might mean checking in a piece of luggage at the airport or taking a larger suitcase for the car. It might be a good idea to pack running clothes and gear in a separate gym bag when traveling in a car, or when not worried about checking in or carrying more than one bag.


  • Monitor the weather
  • Make a checklist
  • Pack smart; don’t over pack. Some things can be bought
  • Plan amount of runs and re-wear clothing