Football training camp is almost here, which is both awesome and slightly terrifying. Camp is great because it marks the return of football, but I would be lying if I said camp is a walk in the park. As a former college football player, I know all too well the exhausting grind of camp. The days will be long and hot, and your body will be sore and tired. But have no fear. I’ve assembled a survival kit of 7 must-have items that you should keep in your locker to ensure maximum comfort, energy and happiness during camp.
1. Baby Powder
Baby powder is the football player’s Swiss Army knife. Its multiple uses make it an item you need to have in your locker at all times. Anyone who has played football knows your gloves and cleats smell funky after the first few practices. Sometimes, they stink so bad that your hands or feet start to smell weird—even after a shower. To combat this, throw some baby powder in your gear to keep it smelling fresh. Baby powder is also good for relieving the torturous pain of chafing, something we all hate. Heck, you can even use it to do a LeBron chalk-toss before practice.
Almonds are good to have around during camp, because you can grab a handful anytime you want some quick energy. Also, they can last unrefrigerated for quite some time. Keep them in an airtight jar or container to prolong freshness, and try your best to keep them a secret. Snacks never last long when everyone in the locker room knows about them.
You will already be sore, so do you really want to be sunburned too? During camp, you will be outside and exposed to the sun. It’s important to protect your skin so you can feel your best. Make sure to choose sweat-proof sunscreen, because it has a better chance to last throughout practice. Sunscreen can also reduce the appearance of that no-so-flattering farmer’s tan (and glove and sock tan), which is inevitable during camp. Learn more about how to properly use sunscreen.
No, it’s not for making you slippery and harder to tackle. Vaseline is ideal to prevent and combat chafing, since it reduces friction and protects irritated skin and small cuts. It can also soothe another common camp injury—turf burn. Just the words “turf burn” can give any football player nightmares. It seems the harder you play, the more of it you get. Vaseline is also a great item to have in your locker later in the season, because you can use it to keep warm during those pivotal cold-weather games.
Whether you need to cut your tape off after practice or make alterations to your uniform (like cutting down your belt so it stops flapping around), scissors come in handy during camp. A few simple snips and you can give your jersey that old-school midriff look, but you might want to think twice before turning those football pants into shorts.
6. Extra Socks
I know, I sound like your grandma. But wet socks are pretty much the worst thing ever. Whether from sweat or rom rain, after practice your socks will usually be soaked. When it’s time for the next practice, do you want to slide your feet into a pair of wet and slimy socks? Of course not. Clean dry socks are a small comfort, but sometimes it’s the little things that help get you through camp. Wet and dirty socks are also a breeding ground for bacteria, and they can give you a nasty case of athlete’s foot. As for wet cleats, crumple up a few pages of newspaper and shove them in your cleats after practice. In a few hours, your cleats will be dry and ready to go.
B-vitamins are super helpful for athletes, because they help the body turn food into fuel. It doesn’t matter how well you eat during camp if your body doesn’t efficiently turn the food into energy. B-vitamin supplements are easy to find, and Gatorade Prime Energy Chews are a good choice too. Camp is grueling, and B-vitamins help you recharge and keep going. Learn more about training camp nutrition.