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Trail runners: What do you carry?

Fairly new to prepping and while I have been a runner for years, I have only recently moved to the PNW where glorious trails are everywhere and wonderful to run on for hours. I have thought about what I should carry with me on trail runs below and am curious to anyone’s thoughts & suggestions on this. I would feel like I am mostly  concerned about wounds, bugs, & leg injuries than anything else, at least while in areas with cell service. Weight is an important factor as I need to keep good balance and form. Definitely want to ensure I am thinking about this the right way.

Most of my runs are near town and while those closest to town are fairly well traveled, I can easily go some distance and not see another person for miles. I also prefer to run in the late afternoon/evenings so need to be ready to sit around for some time if I become immobilized while waiting for help. I see this in two situations since most of my running is near town with cell service while I could always drive an hour or two out to find trails in the wilderness where I am happy to add a few pounds of gear for piece of mind.

In both situations, I have a trail running vest with several pockets and a water bladder with 1.5L capacity
Also, I haven’t yet gone for a remote trail run yet with this planned bag, not sure about total weight

With cell service/near town: ~4-5 lbs.
Phone
GPS watch (garmin forerunner) – on wrist
water filled to the situation (temperature, length of run)
~400-500 calories (gels, typically, which fuel the run, I always over pack this)
Emergency blanket
Whistle
Flashlight
IFAK – Very light with wound dressings, bug bite things, compression wrap, pair of gloves
Tourniquet

No cell service/remote areas:
Phone
GPS watch (garmin forerunner) – on wrist
Water fully filled
~800-1k calories
E-blanket
Whistle
Flashlight
IFAK – same as above
Tourniquet
Mirror
Folding knife
Ferro rod
Map + Small/basic compass
Wilderness wipes
Depending on the area, may bring a jacket wrapped around waist even if it is warm

Thanks!

*note on the GPS watch, I love this even when hiking/backpacking/camping as I can save locations on it and have it point back to those locations with direction & distance. Its just an every day thing that could be useful for non-runners.

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  • Comments (11)

    • 5

      I don’t do trail running (although I do hike–or did before shelter in place) but do street running in my neighborhood. But one thing I take each time is a band (you could wear on your wrist, I have attached to my water belt) with my name, address & emergency contacts + phone numbers on it.  I imagine a scenario where I black out or fall and get disoriented it would be good to have.

      • 4

        Ah good call, there is something cool called RoadID which was originally made for cyclists that I have been mulling but in the end, for me, carrying my id, insurance and laminated contact card isn’t too much trouble. While I am also a cyclist, I can never understand why some cyclists refuse to take more than just tire repair kits with them.

    • 5

      A little ziploc bag with some Vaseline. Since as runners the most common and constant injury we get are blisters i always have it with me in my camelback and it has always been the difference between suffering back home or being able to go back without scraping more the blister.

    • 5

      I mostly hike, but I always carry bear spray 😉

    • 4

      That’s a really interesting list! What’s a typical run duration for you?

      Not saying that it’s right, but most days I’m out the door in socks, shoes, and shorts with my phone. If running in dense stuff I’ll wear compression socks. I treat clothing with permethrin every few weeks in summer, and apply bug spray on the way out. Most of my stuff is shorter (<1 hr). For longer stuff in good weather I’ll add a hydration vest, 1-2L water, aquatabs, 1-2 pks Cliff bloks, shell top, mini bic lighter, and some band-aids. Adding a button compass, small folder, and whistle would probably make a lot of sense and not add much weight.

      • 3

        I am mainly concerned about my long runs on the weekends where I run anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours but even some of my mid week evening runs are around 1 hour. I do have some recovery runs and short speed-work runs around the blocks around my house on concrete so with those I only bring my phone and keys. I think its just that the trail system near the city I am in is huge, 80+miles of trails in a ~11 square mile area. Of course the weekend runs are usually in the cascades (national forest, wilderness lands) are a lot more serious where I should be carrying a ton more stuff (like what a hiker carries) but I strike that balance between wanting to actually run vs. slogging along like an army drill!

      • 3

        That seriously sounds amazing! Agreed on balance. Most of the time I’ve got a ton of stuff either on me, or within easy reach. Running, not so much.

    • 3

      When I am doing my long runs (3+h) I have

      ultra vest with 2 soft bottles and 1.5l bladder

      soft bottles have Hammer perpetuem

      salt tablets (s-caps)

      road ID

      hr/gps watch

      cell phone in airplane mode

      small medical kit

      rain jacket or wind shirt

      whistle

      signal mirror

      some energy bites

      space blanket

      a little cash and a card (my run home takes me past convenience stores if I need an extra bit of food or sports drink)

      • 4

        What do you prefer for energy bites? I got some of the Gu energy gels but I’m starting to hate the taste a little.

      • 3

        My wife found some packets of maple syrup from Untapped that are glorious… and very sticky. I had been using Huma gels which I liked but maple syrup is awesome after an hour or two out there. I still use Maurten gels from time to time, since those are what I will use for racing when races come back.

      • 3

        @scott – That’s a really solid kit. What do you carry in the med kit?

        @JB @Gourdo – The maply syrup seems like a great idea! I got sick of bars, gels, and most drinks many years ago. I use Cliff bloks a bit, but even these get tiresome. For people who get bored of the sweetness energy bars, gels, drinks, etc, Allen Lim’s rice cakes can be a nice change of pace. I have mixed feelings about plugging his stuff because of the total pass he got on the doping thing, but here ya go! https://blog.skratchlabs.com/blog/2018/6/20/rice-cake-prep-ask-allen