You’ve just arrived back at your car after a 12-hour hike in the hills and what’s the first thing you do? If you’re anything like me, you kick your heavy hiking boots off, peel the socks off your damp, sweaty feet, and put on the flip flops or slip-on mocs you cleverly remembered to leave in your car!
…Except for the times you forget to put the flip flops in your car, and are faced with a long drive in your boots while your feet burn…
Pack the right after-sport gear to leave in the car
I have a small bag of gear that goes everywhere with me, but it’s not my sports gear. It’s my after-sport gear. It’s the gear that just makes me feel better after a long hard run or cycle, a cold day paddling, a tough day on the crag or a big session out in the hills. It consists of my trusty flip flops, two pairs of leggings, one of them a pair of compression tights, a bright orange, long-sleeved t-shirt which my husband complains hurts his eyes, and a lightweight down jacket.
Why bring along after-sport shoes and clothes?
It’s not just a matter of having some nice clean clothes to chuck on for the drive home so you don’t get your car sweaty and muddy; it’s about staying healthy too. Obviously if you’ve been out in the rain, changing out of wet clothes quickly is sensible. But it’s really something to consider in any weather. If you’ve built up a sweat, you can get chilled as you cool down, even if it’s warm out. When you’re a long way from home and can’t shower straight away, changing out of sweaty clothes and putting something warm on can keep you from getting sick – or at least feeling miserable the entire way home.
It’s also nice to have something to change into in case you want to make a quick stop at a local pub or meet up with friends. In which case a spare stick of deodorant may also be a welcome addition to your after-sport gear.
What after-sport shoes and apparel should you bring?
- Put a pair of compression tights on after a tough day on your legs to make muscles happier, particularly if you’re about to sit in a car for a few hours. Compression tights help increase the circulation of blood throughout the muscles.
- Consider soft, breathable materials for your after-sport apparel. If you’re tired and sore, denim just isn’t going to feel great. It also chafes on damp skin…
- Have a few layers available so you can layer up or down as needed once your body temperature returns to normal. A down jacket, fleece or other lightweight women’s outerwear is ideal for this.
- Bring a woolly hat to put on over wet hair if it’s raining so your head doesn’t get cold and to help defrost my ears.
- Pack fresh underwear. This is essential. I’ve had plenty experiences stripping off in the back of cars, behind bushes, in public toilets, because there’s nothing nicer than the feeling of fresh underwear after spending the day getting sweaty and grimy!
- Stow away after-sport shoes or sandals. When it comes to feet, I have a two-tier approach: the first thing I want to do is get my boots or trail running shoes off and put on my after-sport sandals so my feet can breathe. Later on as I cool down, my feet get pretty cold and a pair of soft thermal socks and some after-sport shoes like the Haven Slide or Jungle Moc feels wonderful.
Knowing you have your trusty after-sport gear waiting for you at the end of the day makes being out in all kinds of weather even more fun!