Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pack Your Bag! Competitor Show Day Bag... What You Need.

We all know that I'm a bit organized. Ok. REALLY organized. You wouldn't know that to look at my dining room table right now, but that aside, I rock the list. I make lists for everything... from family events to trips to, well, anything! Including Show Day. If it might possibly be needed, it's on the list... and in the bag. I know that some of you are training for your own first competition, and I wanted to share some tips and my packing list - maybe you'll find them handy.

If you're getting a spray tan, your first coat goes on the night before your show. You'll get prep instructions from the tan company, but here are a few more...
1. Lay towels or old sheets over your car seats. The tan gets EVERYWHERE.
2. Wrap a washcloth around the shoulder harness of your seat belt - clip it in place with an oversized paperclip. This helps protect your tan by padding the belt so it doesn't rub against your shoulder.
3. Wear oversized, dark, non-fleece, clothing that breathes well - like cotton. I bought a large, black long sleeve shirt with an open neckline (no drop sleeves, you want to keep skin separated from skin or you'll get rub marks in the tan). I cut off the ribbed cuffs of the shirt to prevent rubbing. My pants were an oversized pair of non-fleece cotton sweat pants with a wide waist band and no ankle cuffs (but those can be cut off, too, if needed). No underwear, no bra. Flip-flops that don't have a bunch of straps - just simple $1 thongs work fine. If you're in a cold area, bring a dark, oversized zip-up hoodie with you. Again, no cuffs on the sleeves and no fleece.
4. If you have light hair, bring a shower cap!! When you go in to tan, you'll strip, then put on your shower cap being careful to tuck in ALL your hair. This weekend, I missed a spot against my neck and ended up with a lovely bronze loch. ;-) The first time I competed, I didn't know to wear a cap and ended up struggling to wash the tan out of my hair without water hitting my skin after I got home. Not fun. When you're dry and dressed, just toss the cap, but remember to bring another one for tomorrow's final coat of tan.

Once you get home, or to your hotel, you'll want to throw down some old sheets and pillow cases on your bed (and any surface you sit on) to protect from tan rub-off.

For sleeping... I wore the same top I wore to tan, and an oversized pair of thin cotton pajamas. Again, no underwear, as it will create marks. Lay on your back, legs separated, arms slightly outstretched and straight. Any bending you do can cause creases and rub marks in the tan. It's not comfortable, and it won't be your best night sleep, but this is how you protect the tan. Remember... NO FLEECE. It may seem soft and comfy, but your tan will still be tacky and you'll end up with fuzz everywhere. And you can't fix that.

What to wear to the venue... Same stuff. I bought two of that top, one for the day before show, and one to wear to the show. You'll also want a zip up jacket - like a simple hoody. Zip up because you don't want to mess up your tan trying to get into and out of a regular sweatshirt. Pants, again simple oversized cotton with a wide waist band and no ankle cuffs. Baggie is your new style. No undies. Don't bother spending a lot of money on this stuff. Those tops were $5 each at Kohls on the clearance rack, the pants were $8. Seriously... go cheap, but look for minimal seams, wide open necklines, and either no cuffs or cuffs you can cut off. (see below for a link to my pinterest board where you can see the clothes and stuff I packed)

Now... back to the bag...

First... the bag itself. I use a roller suitcase, the size that can fit in an overhead bin on a plane. You can use whatever kind of bag you like, but keep in mind that the dressing room might be on the small side, and also... you're carrying your own stuff. Once the tan goes on, you can't carry anything on your shoulder - NO straps! So a bag that rolls is ideal. And, with the handle extended, it makes a great spot to carry your cooler - just loop the strap of the cooler over the handle of your bag and you're good to go.

Next up... what goes in it? I've got a list (yes, of course I do). And it's extensive.You may not need everything on the list, but sure as #@#$ if you leave it out, you're going to end up needing it, right? ;-) So here are a few photos of my bag - in layers...

And... here's the list:

You can download this list as a PDF here
  • Rolling Suitcase (you can’t carry anything with a strap on your shoulder, it’ll mess up the tan)
  • Federation card
  • Registration packet
  • Suit
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Bikini Bite Suit Fastener
  • PAM Original No Stick Cooking Oil Spray  Note: if you're having your spray tan done, the service often includes bikini bite (gluing your suit to your body) and spray oil (Pam, seriously, it's Pam cooking oil), but it's always wise to have your own, just in case there's a backup at the prep line. 
  • Shower cap (to protect hair when doing makeup and/or tan)Latex gloves (for your trainer, to use with tan and/or bikini bite)
  • Baby wipes
  • Ipod & earbuds
  • Phone / Camera
  • Electronics charger (I use this one )
  • Hair dryer/Flat Iron/Curling Iron
  • Extension cord
  • Make up / Hair Cape (or an old sheet)
  • Makeup, False lashes & glue
  • Makeup sponges
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Stand-up Mirror
  • Vaseline for teeth (you’ll be dehydrated and don’t want your lips sticking to your teeth when you smile on stage)
  • Hair spray
  • Comb / Brush
  • Bobby pins (if you have long hair)
  • Advil/aspirin
  • Visine
  • Small sewing kit with thread that matches your suit
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Wisps (toss-away toothbrushes)
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail glue
  • Resistance bands
  • Umbrella (if you’re in a rainy area. Check weather)
  • Body splash/mist (you can spray clothes you wait in, not your body or you risk turning your tan green)
  • Money
  • Business cards - optional
  • Pen/paper - optional

  • Water bottles with squirt tops (so you don't accidentally douse yourself when you try to take a sip of water)
  • Food/supplements (my cooler included seed bars, salted seeds, grapes, watermelon, protein shake, hard boiled eggs, coconut water and water)
  • Food utensils


  • Change of clothes – loose & comfy clothing 
  • Underwear
  • Deodorant
  • Body Spray
I hope this list has been helpful! 

Check out my Pinterest boards....

Follow Chelle Stafford's board Figure Competition Packing on Pinterest. Follow Chelle Stafford's board Figure Competition on Pinterest.
Follow Chelle Stafford's board Competition Diet Recipes on Pinterest. Follow Recipe For Fitness's board Workout and Cardio Playlists on Pinterest.


  1. And I thought I was OCD! You put me to shame!! Thanks for posting to Pinterest, too! :-)

  2. I just feel compelled to comment on the water bottle issue: Great idea with the kind you squirt - BUT - if anyone out there does stupid stuff once and a while, please take note to screw that cover on TIGHTLY. I have a habit of half-assing caps to things and once, while on the treadmill, I squirted the water into my mouth....but the ENTIRE top came off and doused my face, chest, treadmill, etc......NO FUN. Keep those tops on tightly!!!! ;-P ~Jen

    1. OMG, Jen! So true! I've done it, too! LOL! We have a rule around here once the tan is on... Chelle doesn't handle liquids. Hahahaha! Someone else does it for me, or I hold it way, way, WAY out from my body if no one is around to help. Also... a note on the squirt bottles... what I do is buy the pop top squirt bottles, then take the tops off and use Smart Water bottles to fill with water, then place the pop top on those. The plastic is thicker and harder on the Smart Water bottles, and I don't (as much) accidentally squish the bottle and douse myself. The Arrowhead sport top bottles are great for normal stuff, but the plastic is so thin, I inevitably end up squirting myself.