What do you carry into the fells? Most of us will have seen the diverse range of rucksack sizes taken into the fells, for a day walk. There are always going to be extremes, from the just in case, to the “do I need anything”. It’s just a quirk of human nature as you will also see when checking in at an airport.
How many times have you seen a fell runner fly by with just a bum bag, wearing a vest and shorts as you have been wrapped up in layers? For a runner, generating that much heat means that often little clothing is needed and also the encumbrance of the clothing can be distracting.
But what if for any reason the runner has to stop and then gets cold or wet everybody asks? That is why most runners carry a light waterproof or wind shirt when out running for pleasure. When it comes to events though these days, there are more requirements as although there may have been only been a half dozen recorded incidents of fell runners succumbing to exposure during races over the years, but for the minimum kit that needs to be carried , race organisers are not willing to take that risk. Lighter and lighter clothing has come out in recent years and not always with heavy prices.
Different race organisers have different minimum levels of mandatory kit, the Fell Runners Association (FRA) generally use the below as a minimum for their events:
For other events where the participants may be out for longer periods, the organiser may suggest a few more items, like the list below for the Grand Tour of Skiddaw-Here is their wording;
"The following items MUST be carried during the event. There will be a Kit Check for ALL runners pre-race and post-race spot kit checks. Any runner found not to be carrying the FULL Mandatory Kit List will be disqualified".
Let’s explore some of the key items and some of the options out there.
Waterproof jacket, probably the bulkiest item to carry, but so important to fit well for running, as light as possible to carry and pack down well. Not always needing to be the most breathable fabric as it is accepted that the runner will over load the garment anyway, this helps keep the price sensible, good examples are;
Both items are incredibly light and pack down into a bum bag. Add in some lightweight over trousers like Rab`s Fuse pant and you are covered, so to speak.
Now, I said bum bag, but is that the best product to run with? In recent times there has been a large move to running vests. Once you have found the vest that fits, there is no turning back to a bum bag!
In store we have sold a couple of versions of the Salomon vests for a few years now and recently added Montane options. We expect more and more runners and walkers to adopt this style for the benefits of having everything at hand and a super stable comfortable carry. It does mean there are less reasons to stop and catch you breath though!
Most of the other items on the list are fairly obvious, but many a time I have been glad to find some light gloves and hat or Buff in my pack when conditions looked benign at the car. The on going mobile phone question is a personal one, but personally and others I know, have found the greatest issue is remembering to keep it in a dry bag!
What ever you do, be safe and if you need any advice you know where we are!