Am I an expert in this? No. I have run seven of these things from Vermont to Florida though, so if you've never run one this may be helpful to you.
So your buddies convinced to to sign up for your first Tough Mudder. It's been six months and you've trained hard. You did some running, maybe some shakeweighting, possibly some Crossfit or Zumba classes. It's getting close and you're wondering what to wear. Now if you didn't prepare, and plan on wearing some ridiculous costume, this post probably isn't for you. But if you plan on taking the day slightly serious, while still having fun of course, I'll help you with some gear choices.
Starting at the top. "Should I wear a hat?" - This is totally up to you. Do you usually wear a hat? You do understand you'll be jumping into dumpsters full of ice, off twenty foot high ledges into water, and under mucky brown ponds right? If you still think it would be an advantage for you to wear a hat, by all means wear it. you can always leave it in "Arctic Enema" a mile into the course.
"Do I need swimming goggles?" - Really? Stop it, now. You'll be under the water for all of 2 minutes during the three plus hours the event's going to take. If you look cool in your swimming goggles, wear them. It'll give the rest of us something else to point and laugh at.
"Do I need Cold-Gear?" - Is it going to be cold?? I live by the philosophy that less is more. I'd rather be dry and cold than wear a bunch of heavy wet clothes. I've run every one in a tank-top and shorts. Most of the time the tank-top gets soaked with mud and I end up taking that off. So am I cold? Absolutely. If the sun is out I'm loving life. Will I dry off? Yes. Meanwhile you'll be soaking wet in your three layers, hey whatever works for you. If you're afraid of scrapes the long sleeves and leggings will help prevent them on your knees and elbows. I like to finish with some battle scars though. Gives me a week or so to remember what I did over the weekend.
"Do I need a Camel-bak?" - Do you? If you can't run 3 miles without needing water you'll need a Camel-bak. It's that simple. If you can go 3 miles without water, don't bother. It's just more to carry. I hydrate well before-hand and train without water so I can go 3 miles no problem.
"Should I bring energy gels?" - Yeah, why not? I usually throw a 'Gu' in each pocket just in case I need a boost. I don't recommend you use them when you train though. You're better off training without them so you don't rely on it.
"Should I wear gloves?" - That's totally up to you again. They might help on a few obstacles if you think your hands can't handle climbing walls without them. If you need some I left a pair on the side of Mt Snow about halfway through the course from 2011. If you can find them they're all yours. I haven't worn gloves since.
"What kind of shoes should I wear?" - This is where I'm going to get heated, so buckle up. This notion that "Tough Mudder will ruin your shoes so wear old ones" is total horseshit. You've spent the last six months watching what you eat, doing your pushups, and running, and now you're going to skimp on the one thing that separates your body from the rest of the course? Don't be a dumbass. Tough Mudder DOES NOT ruin your sneakers and I'll explain how I clean my stuff at the end of this post. If you choose to wear an old pair of running sneakers, prepare to be slipping all over the course. Don't even get me started on these "Vibram five-finger" nutjobs. The next fucking person that's wearing footgloves that slips and falls and almost takes me out in the process is going to have a muddy imprint of my Salomon Speedcross 3's across their back. That's great that you like to run in them, and you like having a conversation starter. When they offer you no advantage on the course and you're slipping and they fill with mud, I'm happy for your stupid fucking choice in footwear. The best choice in footwear for Tough Mudder is by far the Speedcross 3's. Check them out, they make a Men's and a Women's version. They have drawstring laces so when you can't feel your fingers you can still tighten them. I've never had one come off in the mud either so that duct tape nonsense won't be a thought. Anyone that's ever worn them will swear by them.
Men's - http://www.salomon.com/us/product/speedcross-3.html
Women's - http://www.salomon.com/us/product/speedcross-3-w.html
These are a fresh pair of Speedcross 3's scaling a Berlin Wall.
That's my head to toe Tough Mudder gear suggestions. I'm open to your criticism, but if you're only offering up what your buddy said, don't bother.
How to Clean your muddy gear -
1. When you get home the fist thing you want to do is rinse all your stuff off with the hose. Just get the caked mud out of the soles of your shoes and off your clothes.
2. Get some "Super Clean". It's in a purple gallon container and can be found in hardware stores or auto parts stores. Put your now rinsed clothes in a bin or bucket with a generous amount of Super Clean and fill to the top with water. Let everything soak for a day.
3. Now that your stuff has soaked give it another good rinse with the hose.
4. Put everything in the washing machine. You want it to be a full load, so if you need to add towels to fill it up, do that. It's probably not the best thing for your washing machine so if you want to do it at the laundromat, by all means do that. I run mine sneakers and all with the normal amount of detergent, and another big dose of Super Clean. If your washer has the ability to run an extra rinse cycle, do that. If not, run it again a second time without detergent.
5. When the wash cycle is done I let the sneakers air dry and the clothes go in the dryer like normal.
6. Go get them muddy again.
My Speedcross 3's after multiple Tough Mudder's and washes. They look brand new.