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Guide to Lightweight Trail Running Gear by Ricky Lightfoot

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Guide to Lightweight Trail Running Gear by Ricky Lightfoot

Most of my running at home on the fells in the Lake District is done on my own, purely because of my shift patterns at work, so because of this I always carry enough kit with me to deal with most situations. It's important to me that the gear is light and will fit into my 8 or 12 litre Salomon running vest though a few extras really do help with overall comfort and performance.

I think "Keep it Simple'.

  • A GPS (I use a Suunto 9) is very important piece of kit, it is light and you hardly know you have it on.

A great feature of the watch is that you can press home and it'll help you navigate back to where you started if you end up lost. It also allows you to see where exactly you have been; including distance, altitude and speed via the Suunto App.

A GPS watch is a must-have, for anyone who's into scrutinising their every run!

  • Nearly all of my runs on the trail include carrying a lightweight wind/waterproof jacket and trousers depending on the weather forecast and time of year.
  • I also carry a mobile phone in a dry bag, dry bags are something I have an endless amount of and mine are by Lifeventure which come in a range of colours and sizes. There isn't always phone reception out in the mountains so it’s important if going alone that you let someone know where you’re planning to go.
  • Another piece of kit I hardly ever leave home without is a Buff; this versatile piece of kit is simple, light and easy to use. It’s great in any season, it can be used as a hat, neck cover or sweat band. I've even worn it around my foot after 30 miles of running, to prevent a blister.
  • There are many lightweight vests and waist belts out there, which compliment my goal to keep kit as lightweight as possible. I use ones by Salomon not just because they're my sponsor, but because they're breathable, and the soft materials make them really comfortable to wear next to the skin.

Although many trails provide shaded routes, when your outdoors it's still wise to wear sunscreen. You can get hold of a mini sunblock, which you can easily stow away in your back pocket.

Sunglasses, dark or light, will also help protect your eyes from tree branches and bushes.

As I've said, the kit we carry is often dictated by the weather; but there are also other factors that you need to factor in: time of day, route distance, duration. If you're out early, then arm warmers are great; quite often it's a little too cold to go with just a t-shirt first thing, so I wear arm warmers until I've warmed up. The best thing is that they easily roll down into wrist bands; so I don't even need to take them off.

I also carry a lightweight head torch in the mornings, with my preference being the Petal NAO + which when it’s light it's really easy to stow away in my back pocket.

It’s also worth investing in a survival shelter, Lifesystems have a two person survival shelter which packs down to the size of a small can as well as being ultra-lightweight.

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