PACKING FOR UTMB
With Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc just over 5 days away, we decided to catch up with Raidlight SA athlete Conrad du Toit and asked him to give us a brief rundown of what he is packing for this epic adventure.
For those not familiar with this spectacular race, have a look here at our race overview.
In less than two weeks I’ll toe the line of the iconic UTMB®.
The Tour du Mont Blanc circles the Alps highest peak Mont Blanc. With a distance of 171km and more than 10 000m positive elevation gain it tours across parts of France, Italy and Switzerland.
To ensure each runners safety, the race organisers have a list of mandatory equipment that includes additional hot (heat wave) and cold (bad weather) weather kits that might be activated as well as a list of recommended equipment. My kit includes the following:
A: Mandatory equipment
- 1. Pack designed to carry all my equipment throughout the race.
The Raidlight Responsiv 10 litre race vest is the perfect pack for UTMB®. It ticks all the boxes with my favourite features being the perfect and adjustable fit with no bounce and the amazing large pockets at the front as well as the best trekking pole carry/ system of all packs.
- 2. Mobile/cell phone
Not only for 100 milers. Never leave home without it whenever you’re our trail running, even when you’re just training.
- 3. 150ml Personal cup
I use the Raidlight ECO folding cup. It is not as light as some other cups but those light cups don’t work if you consume hot food and beverages that are served at the UTMB aid stations.
- 4. Supply of water of 1 litre minimum
Some people prefer hard bottles, others prefer shaped bottles and some prefer soft flasks. Whatever your preference, with or without the insulated pipe, Raidlight has you covered with all three bottle types in various sizes and all of them work perfectly with all Raidlight packs. I prefer the 600ml EazyFlask™ with the “Press to drink" system as I can’t stand the “sloshing” sound of water. I also carry a 1.5 Litre bladder to conform to my hydration needs as well as the “Hot weather kit”
- 5. Two (2) Headlamps in good working order with spare cells/batteries for each torch
Recommendation: 200 lumens or more for the main torch
A backup headlamp should always form part of your kit when out on the trails. Never skimp on a quality headlamp and spending extra money for longer battery life and more lumens is essential when out in the mountains at night.
- 6. Survival blanket of 1.40m x 2m minimum
Literally a life saver, learn how to use it. The silver side to the body to protect against cold and the golden side to the body to protect against heat
- 7. Whistle
Essential for our sport. My Raidlight pack and shirt comes with a whistle so it’s a no brainer
- 8. Self-adhesive elasticated bandage
- 9. Food reserve
You know the drill, never test new nutrition on race day
- 10. Waterproof Jacket (Min 10K/13K) with hood and all seams taped and sealed
The race organisers are very strict when it comes to your waterproof jacket.
My Raidlight Extreme EVO Jacket only weighs 250g but is a 15K/15K jacket! What I love about my jacket is the clear window so I can see my watch (essential to keep to your race and nutritional plan). As well as the adjustable collar/ hood and the two waterproof pockets. Some jackets have no pockets to safe weight but in a storm extra waterproof pockets are essential. Raidlight is a recognised and well-known brand with certified waterproof/ breathability rating. You will have no problem at race registration. If your waterproof jacket doesn’t conform to the minimum requirement they won’t let you race!
- 11. Long-legged trousers or race leggings
I prefer to run with my waterproof pants when its cold or raining so I only use this in case of extreme cold
I run with my Raidlight Sahara EVO cap and two buffs. The Sahara cap is perfect with the removable flap and ticks the hot weather kit requirement box as well.
- 13. Additional warm second layer with a minimum 180g weight for a size medium
In 2017 I used a South African brand garment that didn’t conform to the minimum requirement. I was flagged by the race referee at registration and had to replace the garment.
- 14. Hat (Fleece beanie)
- 15. Warm and water-proof gloves
Waterproof gloves has always been a huge issue. Believe it or not they will let you race with those yellow kitchen gloves as they are waterproof. Raidlight has you covered with their MP+ Waterproof overmitts. It is a 15K/15K 20gram overmitt and is simply just a phenomenal piece of garment!
As with my EVO jacket and Overmitts, Raidlight’ Ultra MP+ Over-trousers only weigh 105g and is also 15K/15K waterproof and breathable. A simply must have item to keep you dry and almost weighs nothing.
- 17. ID – passport/ID card + 20€ (for contingencies).
Here’s a tip, print your passport and visa (two-sided) credit card size and laminate it. You don’t want to carry and risk losing your passport somewhere in the Alps.
B: Hot weather kit
- 18. Sun glasses
- 19. Saharan cap or any combination which completely covers the head and nape of the neck
The Raidlight Sahara cap is perfect with the removable flap and ticks the hot weather kit requirement box as well.
- 20. Sun cream
- 21. Supply of water of 2 litres minimum
C: Cold weather kit
- 22. Protective eyewear
- 23. Third warm layer (fleece or compressible down jacket)
Always be prepared in the mountain with the Raidlight EVO Down jacket. With 600 cu fill power and only weighing 315g it is also ultra-compressible taking up limited space.
- 24. Robust and closed trail-running shoes (minimalist or ultralight shoes excluded)
D: Other recommended equipment
- 25. Smartphone with the LiveRun app installed and activated + external battery/ cable
- 26. Poles in the case of rain or snow for your security on slippery ground
The Raidlight Compact Carbon Ultra trekking poles only weigh 180g and is a life savour for me in a race like UTMB®. Make sure you train and know how to use them.
- 27. Vaseline or anti-heat cream/ Lip Balm
- 28. GPS watch
- 29. Knife or scissors for cutting elasticated bandage + Emergency sewing kit.
- 30. Wipes
- 31. Race Belt
In my opinion this should be a compulsory item. Make sure you have one! I love the fact that my Raidlight shirt has a race belt built in.
- 32. Arms Sleeves
- 33. Base clothes
- 34. Clear Ziploc Bags
Again I reckon this should be a compulsory item. It keeps you gear dry and in a race like UTMB® there are several gear checks at the aid stations. Having clear Ziploc bags will save valuable time.