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Gear Check – Sarah Morton

by Sarah Morton October 20, 2014

What’s in my TRAIL RUNNING bag?

My trail running kit bag is probably as extensive as most of my climbing and mountaineering kit bags – contrary to popular belief, you need a hell of a lot of kit to go trail running in Scotland – most of the trails and hills are remote, rugged and challenging. In addition to that, you just have no idea what the weather is going to throw at you – one minute you could be basking in the sun, next, you’re covered in snow!

I have two kit bags for trail running – a 10L trail running back pack for longer runs and a racepack, that goes round my waist, for runs up to 20k or a couple of hours – both have a Breo Bag Buddy attached to them – it’s such a handy, light-weight time keeper, I never go for a run without it.

1. Trail shoes – quite aggressive at first sight, the soles of these little gems are like chunky mountain bike tyres – they’ll go over pretty much anything, but are a complete nightmare on tarmac! I only use Salomon running shoes – they support my feet so well, I’ve virtually eliminated footwear-related injuries.

2. Warm Tights – my Adidas Climawarms are the cats tuxedo, hot and cool in all the right places, plus weather proof patches to keep out the wind and rain. I sometimes wear compression tights or shorts under them if my muscles feel like they need a bit of support, but generally the Climawarms are so versatile I don’t need anything else, and of course, I don’t want to overheat.

3. Tech T-Shirt – during the summer I was wearing a lot of the Ortovox merino t-shirts, but now it’s gotten a little cooler I’m totally hooked on the Adidas Terrex tech t-shirts – amazing fit, the fabric works with your body to regulate temperature and the feels like second skin. There’s a saying in the outdoors world; “cotton is rotten”, and it’s so true – I would never wear cotton clothing, especially when it makes the difference between life and death in a colder than cold situation!

4. Softshell/windproof layer – Scotland has got to be the windiest place I’ve ever lived! Once of the great things about hill running is reaching a summit and watching the clouds blow past! However, it’s cold – very, very cold – my Adidas Terrex Windstopper looks amazing, fits like a glove and keeps every whisper of a wind chill out.

5. Insulated Layer – quite often I just use my insulated layer for warming up and keeping me warm after my run, sometimes though, I need it for the duration. My North Face Thermoball is perfect because it’s super light, super warm, and packs down really small.

6. Waterproof Shell – standard for anyone in Scotland, I never leave home without one. There are lots of running specific waterproof shells, but I like my Patagonia Torrentshell, which is super light and packs really small – I use it for everything from walking to the corner shop to skiing.

Sarah Morton gear  check - equipment

7. Waterproof Socks – it took me a while to come round to the idea of waterproof socks, but they are a real gem of a find especially in Scotland at this time of year – hills are more like steep swamps, and my feet end up completely saturated – a few years ago, I wouldn’t have cared about this sort of thing, but a little older, and wiser, I’m keen to preserve my feet and these are definitely a trail running wardrobe staple these days.

8. Running Fuel – for long trail runs the key is to eat and drink when you feel that you need it – there’s as many dangers associated with over-fuelling, as with under-fuelling. However, trail running in Scotland can be a pretty remote affair – it’s not like in the Alps where there are lots of water troughs, or like in England, where there’s a corner shop on every hillside. I always bring more than I’m likely to need – lots of gels, energy bars and water.

9. Headband – it gets so cold and windy on the hills at this time of year, I couldn’t possibly consider trail running without something on my head, I’d be constantly battling colds – merino is perfect, it’s so cozy but doesn’t irritate my skin.

10. Sunglasses – even when it’s cold, wet and windy, there is still a lot of sunshine in Scotland – the light on the hills during Autumn is one of the most amazing sights and of course, the glare off the snow in winter can be intense – I absolutely love my Breo Downhill Ice sunglasses, they fit perfectly and are so light, I don’t even know I am wearing them.

11. Watch – its so easy to get caught up on the trails and forget all concept of time, I never leave for a run without my watch – I’ve had my Breo Orb Ten since I started working with Breo and it really is the ultimate trail running watch – big face with digital numbers, records lap times, and is water resistant – it’s perfect.

12. Neck Gaiter – I don’t always wear a neck gaiter, but I generally always carry one, it’s really useful for protecting my face when it gets very cold or starts snowing – my Breo one is a great colour, light-weight and versatile.

13. Weatherproof Gloves – I hate having cold hands, and I’ve seen myself get into a real state of panic when they start to get so cold that numbness and tingling sets in. I have lots of options depending on the weather and temperature, and sometimes I use a layering system. My Sealskinz gloves are the ones I wear most often – windproof, waterproof, fleece lined and grippy palms.

14. Headtorch – I’m still searching for the perfect trail running headtorch, but this one from Silva is what I’m using at the moment – it’s light and small, but I’ll need something with a stronger beam when it gets darker earlier and I’m running on trails in pitch black!

15. iPhone – I’m a complete Strava addict and love recording my routes, I also get to run trails in some of the most amazing parts of the world, so a camera is an must-have – my iPhone serves both purposes.

16. Navigation – I love remote, rugged, challenging routes where I have to make my own path, clamber over walls and under fallen trees – I am sensible enough to plot a rough route before I set off on a trail run, but if it’s a new route or an area I’m not familiar with, I always bring a map and compass.

I don’t always carry all of this, but it’s a pretty standard race kit list and obligatory for anything over 15k during the Autumn/Winter season.


Sarah Morton
Sarah Morton

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