What I Pack in My Trail Running Bag By Lucy

Trail running is all about being fast and light. The lighter your bag, the faster you will go. But you do need to carry the essentials and some back up, just incase things don’t go to plan. Here is what I pack to go trail running.

Packing for the Breacon's Ultra

Packing for the Breacon's Ultra

Bag

For starters, you need something to put it all in. I have the Salamon S Lab Adv Skin 12 Set. For me, this is the perfect size for all I need. I like the S Lab bag because it has lots of easy to access pockets to store your essentials. It is lightweight and made of a soft non-abrasive material which I find doesn’t rub my shoulders which other bags I have tried do. Most technical trail running bags also have a whistle built onto them somewhere, make sure it does as they are usually a requirement for most races.

Water

The Salomon S Lab Bag carries two 500ml soft bottles on the front. I find this is plenty for a run up to 20km. If I am going further and know that there is nowhere to fill up with clean water, I carry an extra 500ml in the main part of my bag. Water purification tablets are a great addition if you think you will struggle to find clean water, I’m not a great fan of the taste but its better than getting dehydrated!

Food

Always take enough food for the distance you are planning! I am very much affected by my energy stores both in physical performance and mood. For shorter runs (sub 20km) I just take a few bars and gels, my personal favourite are Cliff Bar Shots and Cliff Bar Shot Blocks. If I go further I need proper food to keep me going. My current favourite is peanut butter and jam bagels cut in half. These travel well as the bagels are quite dense, are easy to grab and eat on the go and give a boost of sugar and protein. 

Poles are the way forward when there is lot of uphill

Poles are the way forward when there is lot of uphill

Poles

An ongoing debate! Personally if it’s hilly and long, I use my poles. Some argue this is cheating/whimpy but I admit I’m not ever going to be a world class trail runner so I need all the help I can get! I have Gripon Mont Blanc 310 poles. These are easily attached to my bag both fully extended for easy access and packed away folded when I don’t need them. 

Water proofs

Most of my running is done in the UK where it is raining, has just rained or it is about to rain! Most events require you to carry full waterproofs so mine are always in my bag. I have Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket and Bottoms. These pack away really small and easily fit inside my bag, however, are not breathable so if I have to wear them I get pretty sweaty. If it is forecast to be dry these are ideal as they are so light and compact and are perfect for if you get caught out in the rain or to carry to ensure you meet the requirements of events. If I know its going to be really wet and I want to run in my waterproof I take my Patagnoia M10 Jacket which is really breathable and super comfy to run in.

Soft shell

I always carry my Patagonia Houdini Jacket wherever the weather. This is a great layer, it’s windproof and breathable and packs up into a tiny pocket. I often start off wearing too many layers and strip down as I warm up, this is a really easy layer to take on and off and doesn’t take up too much room in your bag.

Warm Layer

I always pack a warm layer for emergencies or just to put on when I stop for a snack. I have a Patagonia Ultralight Down Pullover. This packs up into a small pocket and is surprisingly warm for its weight. Sadly these have been discontinued, but other companies make similar things, OMM Rotor Smock is a great example.

First aid

I carry a small fist aid kit to fix myself on the go if things go wrong. I carry moleskin plasters, a roll of finger tape, some ibuprofen and antiseptic. I also carry a SOL Adventure Bivy, this is a light weight packable survival bag just incase things go wrong.

Head torch

Even if I don’t plan to be out in the dark I always carry a small headtorch and spare batteries.

Some times an old fashion map is needed.

Some times an old fashion map is needed.

Map and Compass

If I’m on a new run, I carry a map. I usually map my route on Strava before going out and upload it onto my phone but technology can sometimes go wrong so it’s always good to have a good old fashioned map!

Buff

Buffs are super handy. They keep your neck warm, keep your hair out of your face, keep your head warm and can even be used in a first aid emergency. I usually carry two.

Gloves

Unless it is the middle of summer I carry a pair of lightweight running gloves. I have Patagonia Fore Runner trail glove.