Kit for a long (summer) running adventure

This is the first of a few more ‘adventure focused’ Blogs! It’ll hopefully give insight into the brutal nature you need for packing a bag light enough to run with*. Save money by buying on Outdoor Gear Exchange or on Ebay, but only if you know what you want. You could definitely still make this list smaller, if you were going for less time on a more ‘planned out’ trip, had more money or were generally more hardcore. I’ll update it as I go if anything changes!

*NB: ‘light enough to run with’ would vary person by person, based on training & strength, and perhaps the % of bodyweight you’re adding.


The Kit List!

  • Shelter: tent vs bivy vs tarp?

I am using the Terra Nova Laser Competition 1 tent, bought on Outdoor Gear Exchange for at least half retail price. I already had it, so it wasn’t chosen especially for this trip, but it’s doing the job magically so far.

Just tall enough for me to sit up in (but I’m not tall). You pitch the inner and outer together, so if it’s wet when you pack it away, it will be wet inside and out when you re-pitch, BUT I’ve found the inner will dry again very quickly if you just leave it unzipped while you make and eat dinner. Just less than 1kg, especially with uber lightweight tent pegs from Kong Running.

Alternatives: Outer & groundsheet combo. For a shorter trip with not much rain, and/or with regular bothys/free mountain huts to dry out, a bivvy is good (this one – Alpkit Hunka). Super light and you see the stars whenever you wake (or a fox trying to steal your food, in my case one time)! For a multiday bivvy trip you’d need to stop and hang your sleeping bag out to dry the condensation every so often, so maybe better with a synthetic sleeping bag, as down + damp = no good. I haven’t got experience using a tarp, but I know Jenny Tough and Al Humphreys are huge fans!

  • Sleeping:
Bag: Mountain Equipment Helium 400, because it’s the only one I had (but it’s great)!
Liner: Cacoon 100% silk, 135g (from Kong Running). Worth the weight for me, but I wouldn’t bother for any trip less than 5/6 weeks. Adds warmth and stops bag getting smelly/dirty.
Mat: If you want to be really fast & light just be hardcore and don’t take a mat, just something like the slide out back from an OMM rucksack which is tiny and weighs nothing (or just cut down a piece of thin foam mat). Find soft ground to camp on! BUT if there’s a high chance of being cold, or you’re going to be on rocks all the time (unlikely), or it’s longer than a month, or you’ll have time to lie around leasurly reading books etc, take something comfier. I got the Thermarest Neo-Air X-Lite Womens mat for this trip (338g), as its got reflective bits in it to stay warmer in winter (so it’s not a summer essential). It’s the first trip I’ve bothered with a mat and it feels luxurious!
Pillow – just stuff anything spare in a drybag.
  • Cooking:
Stove – I’ve just sent my stove home to save weight – I’m passing shops most days at the moment so it’s lighter to just eat cold food (not super nice, but neither is a heavy pack). If you were having to carry several days food at a time a stove would definitely be more efficient (I will organise for mine to be sent back later)!
For when I do have a stove, I have the Primus Lite all-in-one. Super efficient so saves gas $$$, perfect size for one and cheaper than Jetboil. There may be lighter options but I didn’t want to buy a new one. But I have had issues finding screwtop gas in other countries before!
Other bits: Spork, swiss army knife, lighter. No need for mug/bowl etc as you have the stove pot! (without my stove, I just have an old plastic container, I think from hummous or something!). P.S. I will do a food blog soon….
  • Rucksack :
Previously I’ve used OMM rucksacks, but I changed last minute to the womens Osprey Tempest 30litre. Reasons:
1) Women’s fit, and has adjustments everywhere – so you can get everything perfect including back length, getting the weight onto the hips and not shoulders etc.
OMM bags have less adjustments and are Unisex, and the back of the 32l bag was a wee bit long (NB: unisex always means mens fit, as that’s unfortunately the standard way of measuring everything e.g. see this mindblowing book, Invisible Women).
2) Toughness – it’s actually made for climbing, so will last longer.
Saying that, if I was doing a short trip I’d still take my OMM bag (try one out at Kong Running) – super light, stretches loads so you can ALWAYS get more in, and has the slide out back which is a dealbreaker in some cases as it doubles as a mat. I’ve heard good things about the Montane ones but have never tried them.
  • Clothes: in a dry bag

– Two pairs of socks – one for running, one for camp (merino).
– Running shorts which have knicker layer.
– Leggings which are always kept dry for camp. For me, I wanted them to be black and not too ‘runner-y’ as they’re the most ‘formal’ thing I’d have for meetings e.g. at the UN! I invested in a pair of Patagonia Centred tights and they’re the best leggings I’ve ever owned (but not super lightweight).
– Bikini – one of THE most useful things!!! A bra and an extra pair of pants, plus swimsuit, all in one. Win win winnnnn.
– Knickers: One pair for camp – remember you have the bikini bottoms too, and run in the shorts. BAM are great as they resist getting smelly, but they do have an annoying VPL. (just realised I currently have two pairs – luxuryyyyy).
– One sports bra. No other bra as that’s what the bikini top is for.
– Running t-shirt – do a test to see which of yours drys quickest!
– Merino long sleeve. Always try and keep dry for camp.
– Fleece: You could ditch this, depending where you are and how cold you get!
– Insulated jacket WITH HOOD. Down = better warmth to weight ratio, but synthetic = reliable warmth in all conditions, even when wet. (I have synthetic Patagonia micro puff hoody).
– Waterproofs! Lightweight trousers, but heavier waterproof jacket. I’ve never had a running waterproof which I found to actually be waterproof, so mines more of a hiking jacket.
– Gloves, buff. Hat if in the mountains and/or you don’t have a hood on your fleece/insulated jacket. Cap = great in the rain!

  • Shoes:

I used my Salomon road shoes in the Netherlands. I’m now back using Inov8 Terra Ultra G260s. I prefer low/0 drop shoes, and am a big believer that we shouldn’t massively cushion our feet. The verdict is still how out how durable they will be, but they are super comfy!

  • Poles: Super essential when with a rucksack in hills (helps spread the load away from your feet, and stops back & shoulders getting sore) – I have Mountain King Trail Balzer ones from Kong Running, SUPER light.
  • Tech: in another dry bag / plastic zip-lock

Essentials: Phone, charger, waterproof case, headphones (music = great for breaking a bad mindset or blocking traffic noise in boring road sections). Kindle!!! Previously I would have said this is a totally ridiculous luxury, but now I have one I wouldn’t be without it on a trip more than a week (unless you’re trying to set a record etc etc).

Extras: For the New Story Run, the communication aspect is super-key, so I have a Powertraveller Sport 25 solar kit. This means I can write blogs on my phone in my lunch stops and evenings without running out of battery. The alternative is spending money in cafes while borrowing plug sockets, which adds up to more than my budget. GoPro & charger.

  • Other stuff:

Maps – I make a decision trail by trail for what I need (so far it’s been a combo of pdf downloads of ‘official trails’, or tourist info leaflet maps, and Google maps on my phone for in between trails). For proper mountains I’d always use good paper maps (phone is too unreliable)! I don’t have a GPS tracker – extra to carry, not essential and I’d rather people following the trip got outdoors than spend time dot-watching on computer screens.

Compass & whistle.

Towel: Something like this tiny 20x20cm nano towel. You can dry your hair and whole body by squeezing it out continuously!

Waterbottle: Nalgene is good for cold weather – you can put boiling water in to make a hot water bottle and it won’t leak. If it’s not cold just use anything lightweight, even just an old coke bottle! (tip: have two so you can make sure you’re not weighting your rucksack more on one side).

Suncream: Reimann once per day P20. I’ve NEVER got burnt with this, and it lasts forever. Sounds pricey but cheaper in the long run.

Washbag & first aid: Toothbrush, toothpaste, tweezers, ibuprofen, ankle tape, a couple of dressing patches, loo roll, tiny bottle of shampoo/soap, and if you’re a lady, whatever lady things you need! Lavender oil – I use this to massage any niggles e.g. in calves and feet, and it works an absolute dream! Essential for me as I don’t have budget for sports massage so I need to ‘self rehab’ and stay injury free. Medications (I have cream for excema).

Passport, ehic card, money, ID.

Insurance – I just got the basic health part, not to cover all of my belongings.

Buggy! For the flat & tarmac of the Netherlands I used a second hand, donated OutnAbout Sport nipper, and it was perfect for carrying everything.

Anddddd that’s it! It packs down to 8/9kg. Let me know of any questions!

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