As the trail season is upon us a lot of people have been asking me about equipment to use for ultra-running. I have learned is that equipment is extremely important, if one thing goes wrong with it, it can ruin your race or make it very painful one, nothing worse than a headlamp malfunction……in the middle of the night. This is not an article as a plug for sponsors, but simply a list of the equipment and tricks of the trade that I have learned over the years.
If you are racing in Europe I can’t stress enough how helpful I find poles. They take the weight off your legs and can help you get into a rhythm on the long ascents.
When you are choosing your pack, personally I prefer pockets in the front where you can place your soft flasks. They are easily accessible and with soft flasks you can see exactly how much you have drunk, so that helps prevent you from getting behind on hydration. If you use a bladder they are inconvenient and you can waste a lot of time when you get into an aid station and need to refill it.
Most ultras, especially in Europe require you to carry a phone. There are race phones that you can purchase and they weigh only 20grams, which is a lot lighter than your iPhone. But if you are one to take a lot of mid-race selfies, there is probably no point in you investing in this option.
As a Garmin athlete, of course I use Garmin. I lean more towards the fēnix
5X, just for battery life, it has got 20 hours in which was sufficient for the Lavaredo. What you want in a watch is not only battery life but a watch where you have elevation stats, alarm (which you can set to 20mins to remind yourself to eat and drink, or whatever increment of time you want to set it at). Also, if it is a course where you have not been able to recce I always download the GPX track and use that navigation function. There is nothing worse than getting lost in a race.