Long distance fell races – Ticking the kit list boxes.

Spring/Summer fell running season is in full swing. Big events like The Fellsman has been and gone and other major events are on the horizon, including the Rab Helvellyn Sky Race and the Lakeland 100 ultra.

For good reason these events have a strict compulsory kit list, and all the boxes need to be checked. Here at Facewest, we stock the best kit to check those boxes and make sure you are safe on the fells. In this post, I will go through a standard check list and suggest the best products we have to offer that will tick those boxes and ensure full safety and comfort for your race.

Waterproof Jacket & Waterproof Trousers

For obvious reasons, a good quality full body waterproof covering is a necessity. The last thing you would want is to be caught out on the fells in some torrential rain, miles from the next checkpoint with only an old windshell to protect you from the elements. A big must for a waterproof jacket is that it must be lightweight and stash away small and the Rab Phantom Pull On is exactly that. Weighing only 90g, this jacket is super light and stashes away into a small stuff sack, roughly the size of an apple. This jacket will also tick the boxes of a waterproof with its taped seams and hood.

From the same range, you can also get the Rab Phantom Pants, weighing only 79g and also a similar size stuff size. The pants are elasticated at the cuff which makes them easy to stretch over your shoes.

Spare Base layers

Only to be used in case of emergency situations, race organisers will not allow you to race unless you can provide spare warm clothing. Personally, I would try not to shave too much weight in this category. My go to top is the Icebreaker 200 Oasis Long Sleeve, a 100% merino wool half zip. The half zip feature is great for quickly putting on and taking off, especially when tired.

I use the Rab Powerstretch Pro Pants as my lower base layer. I find these super comfy and warm. In case of injury, I would have my full confidence that these leggings will keep me safe and warm when waiting for help off the fells.

Hat and Gloves

For those rare instances that the sun is shining, a hat will keep the sun from burning your head, neck and face, along with a good layering of sun cream. On the flip side for normal UK weather, an waterproof hat will stop the rain from making your head wet and cold. Leading up to the event, I will make a judgement on which hat I would take, choosing between my Inov8 Race Elite Peak 2.0 or Mountain Equipment Drilite Cap if the weather is looking apocalyptic.

My go to gloves for race day are the Rab Xenon gloves. These 65g synthetic insulated gloves come with a tiny stuff sac, they won’t take up much room in your bag and are perfect for if your race or run goes pear shaped and you need to keep warm.

First Aid Kit / Survival Bag

This check box speaks for itself. We offer different sizes of waterproof medical kits from AMK (Adventure Medical Kits) to suit your needs. I pack the AMK Ultralight & Watertight .5. Better to carry more than you need, in case you come across an injured runner that you can help and not use up all of your own medical supplies. Also from AMK we sell the Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy, this weighs only 98g and has a super small pack size about the size of a satsuma.

Head Torch and Spare Batteries

For those long distance events that run into the night, you wouldn’t get very far without a head torch. I use the Petzl Actik Core which powers 600 lumens. This head torch comes with a rechargeable battery called the core battery, you can also buy this separately so you can have more than one, or you can also power this head torch with 3 AAA batteries. I also choose to take a secondary head torch, and I use the Black Diamond Spot 400. My reasoning behind a secondary head torch is in case I drop one and damage it, always good to have a plan b.

Running Pack

The thing I struggle the most with when gathering my kit is choosing the correct bag, one that fits well and has the right amount of space for my kit. An ideal choice for me was the Black Diamond Distance 15. This pack is a lightweight pack which fastens with a roll top closure which sits above a draw string which can be pulled to keep all contents tucked inside the pack when running. The pack has big side stash pockets and space for your soft flasks on the front. Another key feature for this pack is the pole carrying system, this system is super easy to use and makes taking poles on your race hassle free.

Added Extras

The kit list supplied by the race organisers is a mandatory list and should be followed as a bare minimum. I always allow room for extras to ensure I am comfy and safe throughout my race. Here’s a small list of extras I take out with me:

  • Running Poles – My Black Diamond Distance Z fold up and fit nicely to my pack, plus they are super light. I take these for when my legs tire for the climbs at the back end of races.
  • Extra socks – A change of socks is a blessing when you reach the midway mark of a long distance run. Quick check for blisters, dry my feet then put some fresh socks on.
  • Vaseline – Rubbing can make every mile feel like a lifetime. Quick solution to stop this from happening. I apply at the start and every couple of hours after.
  • Microfiber cloth – I pack my Sea to Summit Pocket Towel for when my feet get wet and I can dry them off, I do this to stop my feet getting macerated in wet conditions.

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