As my passion for trail running long distances continues, I have now been looking into the idea of enjoying some of Scotland’s more remote areas, over numerous days running, as well as the possibility of ‘bothy bagging’. Similar to what the average backpacker might look at doing on a grand day out walking, I’m wanting to look at enjoying the same ‘space’ and ‘time’ but covering slightly longer distances. Let’s introduce ourselves to the world of ‘Fastpacking!’ 😀
Running ‘light’ has been something introduced to me as an ultra runner, from my trainer and good buddie Donnie Campbell. From my long training days, as well as preparation for longer races, such as the North Face UTMB, I have become to experiment and play around with a ‘lighter’ and more ‘efficient’ way to enjoy my time on the trails.
From previous posts such as my ‘featherlight stove‘, to ‘UTMB kit preparation‘, I have now managed to acquire an impressive collection of lightweight expedition gear. With this along with some new purchases, I am now looking at studying and preparing for an adventurous 2015 amongst the Scottish wilderness. I’ve mentioned in a previous post about my work placing me on a shift pattern, where I’m now working 10hr shifts, four days a week. This leaves me with a 4 day long weekend, every two weeks – “Bobbydazzler!” 😀
Over the Xmas holidays, I spent some time logging all the Scottish bothies on my ‘view ranger’ account, with the intention of enjoying some long weekends running from one bothy to another. If this was not possible, I would look into camping out, over night. All of this with the use of my current lightweight running gear.
Main Expedition Gear:
From following various posts on numerous social forums, as well as search surfing the web, I have found that there’s an abundance of lightweight gear offered by many companies. Gear tailored to ultralight adventures – as lightweight, weather-proofed, small-packing, durable, comfortable and as functional as possible.
The bag I’m intending on using, is the Berghaus ‘Freeflow’ 25ltr backpack. The reason for this choice, at this stage, is that I already own this and I have ran with it in the past and felt great. No issues… Already owning this bag has also allowed me to focus my limited funds on sourcing a decent bivi.
If however, during my development and preparation of these weekends, I find that the capacity is on the tight side, I’m happy to consider my OMM waist pouch as an addition. This might not be a bad idea, as it would allow me to focus the OMM pouch as my ‘day bag’, where everything I feel I may need, I’d have at a hands reach, whilst running. My intended set up won’t be too dissimilar to some of your adventure bags out there, that are used for the MDS and other multi-day ultra races. To guarantee that the bags contents stay dry, I’ll possibly add a large dry bag, to act as a liner.
Tent / Bivi:
I’ve had the intention of enjoying long runs, for sometime now, well over a year or two but have always been preoccupied with other upcoming events. Initially a friend of mine put me in the direction of Amazon and a cracking tent that they had bought from there. The ‘Gelert Solo Tent’ ranging from £25-£30. I have had this on my ‘wish list’ for sometime but during the recent holidays, I managed t stumble across a deal for a bivi, on a social web forum and am now the proud owner of a ‘Rab Ridge Raider Bivi’. I managed to get it at a steal at £100!!! 😀 RRP: £225 – £250
Made from highly breathable Exchange Lite™ eVent® fabric, the Rab Ridge Raider Bivi gives spacious shelter for one person, providing fully waterproof protection at minimal weight.
Its 10000mm laminated nylon waterproof bathtub base completely blocks out the wet, while the side walls give room to maximise sleeping bag loft.
The external pole sleeve makes pitching easy, and the mosquito net door and glow-in-the-dark zips make night camping less fuss and more comfortable. Comes with 6 lightweight alloy, V stake pegs.
Height: 60cm Length: 255cm Width: 80cm
Packed Size: 30 x 16cm
Pack Down Jacket:
The reason this one is next in line to highlight, is that it was my other ‘treat’ to myself, following the holiday sales. 🙂
The reason behind this jacket is that I was looking for a warm, packable, lightweight jacket that I can wear at the end of a days running and it will keep me protected from the elements. Along with this, I was also looking at this jacket acting as part of my insulation within my sleeping bag at night. It’s compact enough to pack away into it’s own pocket. Windproof and water resistant.
Developed in partnership with Primaloft, for 2014, Thermoball is a revolution in insulation technology – a new ‘synthetic’ alternative to ‘down’ that achieves phenomenal warmth in cold and wet weather. This down material is a world’s first, with it being synthetic and therefore not as susceptible to harsh, wet conditions.
Unlike traditional continuous filament synthetic insulations, the small, round PrimaLoft synthetic fibre clusters closely mimic down clusters, trapping heat within small air pockets to retain warmth. ThermoBall has warmth equivalent to 600 fill goose down. As a result, it can offer the light weight, loft, warmth and compressibility of down.
The technology of this jacket is fairly new to the market, with sales rights currently owned by North Face. It’s been on the market for a year now and NF will own rights for another 12 months, before the opportunity comes to hit a wider market place.
Lightweight, hardwearing ripstop shell
Attached fully adjustable hood
Hem cinch cord
Internal elastic cuff
Snugpak – ‘travelpak lite’
The simple solution here, again to save pennies, was to use a bag that my wife has used in the past – she hates the cold and suffers from a blood disorder that has her more susceptible to colder temperatures. If it’s good enough for her, it’ll be good enough for me! 🙂
If your ‘purse strings’ can allow it, you can find some 4 season sleeping bags online that are more compact, lighter but probably more expensive than your tent/bivi!!!
As I intend to try and run with “ready-to-eat”, calorie dense food, my stove will be featured as a luxury for hot brews, soup and perhaps the chance to enjoy a small fire!!! 🙂 From my original ‘featherweight stove’ post, I have been tempted by this bad boy, which also allows me to consider small wood fires. Regardless of where I may be, if there’s a fire crackling away, in front of me, I’m very much at home and content. This culturally, is a common sense of wellbeing and contentment and if there’s an opportunity for me to mix in some lightweight bushcraft, with my trail running, then why not!
Ultra light and still a fully functional multi-fuel stove. Only 61g (2.15 oz.) in the lightest configuration, with base plate 70g (2.47 oz.). Disassembled: 12×9 cm, only 1.5 MILLIMETERS thick.
Made in Germany from 0.3mm stainless spring steel. Multi-Fuel: The Bushbox Ultralight can be operated with many different fuels: wood (we recommend to use the optional ash tray as soil protection), a Trangia burner, Esbit/hexamine tablets, gel fuel cans or as wind shield for a gas stove. With the included trivet you can use the stove with almost all pot sizes. Extremely variable and versatile. Three different positions for base plate / optional ash tray.
Consists of: 3 side panels, trivet, base plate, cotton bag
– ash tray
– additional trivet as lighter base plate (perfect for Trangia mode)
– grill plate (additional base plate)
Here is the stove in action:
First Aid Bag:
This is a no brainer and will be the gear that was used and packed for my UTMB race. Compact, lightweight essentials.
Here’s some shots of me and my trail run buddy Jimbo, enjoying the hills and testing the bag and gear…