View Full Version : Trail runners -- what do you carry?

John B
09-24-2009, 13:38
In light of the good news about two ultra runners who were found alive, I thought it might be interesting to hear from runners what you carry.

I know that the trail, weather, and many other factors go into making decisions, but for the sake of argument, let's assume you're planning a 3-5 hr run on a trail that roughly resembles the AT. Let's also assume that it's early fall, high temps estimated at low 70s, and that you've covered the trail at least once before and thus have at least some familiarity with it.

I can say that my always-carry list is:
1 oz. power gel (prefer GU) for every estimated 45 min. of running, plus one extra;
6 oz unsweetened black tea for every 1 hr of running, sometimes premixed with Hammer Endurolytes;
1 packet containing two tabs of 325 mg aspirin (in case of heart problems);
RoadID dog tag from www.roadID.com (http://www.roadID.com)
Timex watch
Small pieces of candied ginger (for nausea)

All of the above is carried in a belt pack.

If it looks rainy, I'll carry a Sugoi wind jacket.

If I know for a fact that I'll be out longer than 5 hrs., I'll carry a Clif Power Bar.

If I drive to a trail, I leave a note on the dash, visible from the windshield, saying exactly where I"m going, when I'm leaving, and when I expect to be back. If that's an invitation to break in, then so be it. So far it hasn't happened.

I've never done a +5 hr trail run so I have a lot to learn. My goal is to do the American River 50 Miler in April 2011.

09-24-2009, 13:52
I'm a totally newbie to this, my runs have been under 4 hours.

I have a hydration pack that was bought for cycling.

I've gone with 2 liters of powdered drink, I've taken to bringing iced tea mixes.

An energy bar, 1-2 granola bars, and a PB&J sandwich:).

I was taking 2 Ibuoprofen but I will be switching that to Acetominophen.


Cell phone.


I've got a windshirt that I will add in, I keep forgetting I have it.

max patch
09-24-2009, 14:19
I'm lucky to live a couple miles from a National Park with 16 miles of hiking/running trails that passes by 2 water fountains and when you get to the welcome center there's another water fountain and coke and snack machines. So I just take my ipod and a couple of crisp dollar bills. :)

09-24-2009, 14:24
I'm not a runner, but I do a lot of day hikes in brutal terrain with minimal gear. When I pack, I think of this survival mantra, the Rule of Threes--three minutes without air (or blood), three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food, three months without hope. Those are simple, easy to remember priorities. So I minimize the food and water and maximize the first aid knowledge and the clothing. Sure, lunch is nice, but you don't often hear of people succumbing to hunger in a survival situation. Usually something else happens first.

I also had a survival class where I learned your first priorty, depending on the situation, is either shelter, water, or signaling your presence. No mention of food.

09-24-2009, 15:18
I've done several 5+ hours this past month in the Wasatch... I usually look at the weather first before I head out and if there is any chance of bad weather, I'll throw in the appropriate jacket/emergency blanket. Other than that, I'll carry 40 oz of water and a steripen purifier for when I run past a creek crossing, a few forms of ID (ski pass, old driver's license), and some food (gels, clif shot blocks, honey stingers, and maybe a bar, and a thingy of nuun capsules). Depending on the terrain, I'll bring trekking poles also.

Planning on doing some 6-8 hour runs on the AT next week in VA (probably just south of Rockfish Gap). Always make sure I tell my folks/friends where I am going and when I expect to return.

Just Plain Pete
10-05-2009, 09:52
I am fortunate enough to live in the NE corner of Ga and have a bunch of trails to run. I don't run far, usually under 4 miles a day, as I am 68. I don't carry a thing as I leave word on my locations and know where all the spring heads are(yes I suck it right up from the creek beds without filters or pills).