If you are a trail runner in Australia, NZ or Europe you have inevitably faced the list of mandatory gear required for some of the longer trail runs.
From just a water bottle to a full set of thermals and wet weather gear, the amount of gear varies greatly across races. The amount and type of mandatory gear depends on the length of the race, the weather, remoteness and alpine nature of the terrain.
In Australia, most trail races suggest or mandate at least a first aid kit with emergency blanket or bag and snake bite bandages, water bottles and a seam sealed jacket.
With just a week to go until my two runs on New Zealand’s South Island, The Shotover Moonlight Marathon and Old Ghost Ultra, it’s time to make sure I have everything I need.
The gear for the races are pretty much identical with the only difference being Shotover requiring a short sleeve thermal and a long sleeve thermal and Old Ghost wanting two long sleeve thermals.
I’ve had a few races with mandatory gear and thankfully I’ve never been in the position that I’ve had to use it (touch wood!) but that doesn’t mean I don’t carry the best gear I can get and afford.
There’s a few things with gear, you want it to be light and well made. If a hail storm comes in on top of a mountain, there’s no point pulling out the crappy cheap jacket you got on eBay just to tick a box that offers no protection but I can understand the argument of “why should I spend $300 on a seam sealed jacket when I’ve never actually used one?”
My two cents is if you love racing in mountains and on trails, invest in good gear, even if it’s just one piece a year. Eventually you’ll have a full kit of A grade gear that is light and will actually protect you from the elements if the shit really hits the fan.
Once you have your crap all sorted then you have to pack it into your running vest.
Personally I’d hate to be one of those people at the airport rummaging through their intimates in front of the universe, I see my mandatory gear the same way. I like to be organised and know where everything is in case I need it.
So, the stuff I don’t plan on needing like the waterproof pants, thermal long johns, etc all get rolled up as small as they can go and packed into little baggies. I press as much air out of them as possible, label and stuff into a dry sack. This also makes it easy for anyone who wants to check your gear to do so.
Anything I would like to have handy, like a first aid kit, food, head torch, I don’t put into the dry sack.
I hate single use plastic, I recycle the same bags over and over again and also have a spare baggy for gel wrappers or watermelon peel during the race.
All stuffed in, not including water or food and novelty items like my Garmin VIRB camera or poles, my pack weighs 1.7kg. Not bad really. As I continue to invest in lighter gear I’m sure that will get lighter.
It then all fits into a Kathmandu packing cell to be slipped into my airplane carry on!
I know it looks like a bit of OCD but I like the comfort and security in knowing that I have everything, especially when travelling for a race.
Next up, planning my drop bags.
One week to go.