Gear: What does a Trek Master have in his bag?

So as I was prepping my gear ready for the first 2018 Ultra event next weekend I decided to create an ad hoc video to share about what exactly I choose to take in my rucksack when I’m volunteering. It’s unrehearsed, amateurish and I look terrible in it but it does the job…

Video at the bottom of this post, but in summary, I pack the following when I’m volunteering or leading a group…

  • Berghaus 20 litre ‘Freeflow’ Rucksack
  • Various reflectors and night lights as my shift will start after midnight and on through until the following afternoon.
  • One, possibly two sets of walking poles as I frequently lend these to people who may be struggling with issues towards the back of the Ultra event
  • First aid kit, foil blanket, and whistle for emergencies.
  • Glucose sweets, again useful when towards the end of an Ultra event, used sparingly on a case by case basis, to help get people over the line.
  • Sun lotion (always the optimist) and hand sanitiser.
  • Selection of tapes, various sizes, and types along with travel scissors. Not forgetting skin wipes in order to get a more reliable stick.
  • Various pain relief, Immodium, and eyedrops. Also some dioralyte particularly on warmer events where people are dehydrated (or over hydrated) and suffering from cramps.
  • Talc (more then usual, again to use on others if needed), vaseline, anti-chafe stick and Compeed to treat formed blisters.
  • Spare socks and layers along with a sealable plastic bag to keep the gear dry.
  • Much of the above are grouped in together in plastic waterproof bags for ease of finding as well as being prepared for unexpected turns of weather.
  • Two-litre water bladder, normally more then I need between rest stops but always carry full in case of others running low or out.
  • Head torch, spare batteries and a buff that can come in handy for all sorts of things.
  • My old tin mug… never have enough tea!
  • An old rubble bag I use as a clean surface for foot maintenance or treatment, or just something to put on a wet bench for a sit-down.
  • A battery pack, small one if a solo walk, much larger when volunteering… can’t be having people not having a phone to take photos when we get them to the finish!
  • Finally, the same small bag of toilet roll I’ve had since 2015, as thus far I’ve yet to have need of it

Other items I would use for different outings include a compass, maps, emergency blanket, ice towel (For those rare summer scorchers) and insect repellant.

All of this fits nicely into the 20-litre bag, weighing in at around 5 to 6kg which is plenty on a supported event. When participating I would drop a lot of what I’m carrying and aim to be under 5kg. For an unsupported walk, or a walk when I’m leading alone, I would almost certainly I would be carrying more.

A very common mistake I see with new or inexperienced Ultra challengers is carrying too much with them. I did it on my first event too. Just 1kg may not seem like much, but when you’re carrying that over 100km you soon start to look for savings. The company who runs the events give fantastic support at the rest stops so as a participant you really can carry just your essentials.

Hope someone finds the random video useful, I’ll be posting a summary of the Isle of Wight Challenge 2018 next week…