All that you can’t leave behind.

My report of the Mourne Way recce is already a monster so I decided to keep this separate. It is basically a look a what I took with me for what was to be two days, two nights in the summer mountains. This could certainly be lighter, but as it wasn’t an actual race one does not dispense with all luxuries: we must find a sweet spot between the two masochisms of bulging packs and monkish ascetism. When the largest bag you currently own is only 30 litres you have little choice but to choose wisely. A stove was neglected due to chippy-proximity both nights 😀

Pack – 4.8kg before food & water
1. Haglofs tight 30L ~700g
2. Exped drybag for insulating & spare items
3. Spare running socks and warm sleeping socks
4. Thermal bottoms (encase of summit bivvi)
5. PHD minimus vest ~240g
6. Snugpack Jungle Bag ~750g +8 C
7. Air pillow
8. Montane Venture jacket ~420g
9. Sunhats – only took cycle cap
10. Wearables:

  • Craghoppers L/S, 1/4 zip nosi base layer
  • Rohan cool silver trunks
  • old Nike shorts
  • thin socks

11. Merrell Trail Glove shoes

12. Exped drybag for other essentials needing protection, map, compass and book!

13. Luxuries:

  • Hip flask of Makers Mark
  • iPod shuffle
  • Pipe, tobacco, lighter

14. Thermarest Neo Air full length ~420

15. Rab Survival Zone bivvi ~420g

16. Sunglasses & case

17. Odds & ends:

  • Spork
  • MSR blizzard stake (trowel)
  • Knife
  • Towel
  • Petzl Tikka headtorch
  • Toothbrush
  • Pen & notepad

18. First Aid pouch with safety whistle:

  • Alcohol spray
  • spare batteries, tissues, thermarest patch
  • crepe bandage
  • ear plugs
  • plasters, compeed, painkillers

19. 750ml sports-cap water bottle

20. Digital camera & case

21. Mini gorilla pod

22. Sunscreen

Thankfully I didn’t need any first aid, or the ear plugs! The warm socks and thermal bottoms were also not needed, as I camped dry and low. The sunglasses were not used as I had my cap and was traveling north. Looking back I don’t know why I packed a knife or spork – if I had worn them on my neck with the compass and lost everything else they may have proved useful…

They were unnecessary due to previously mentioned chippy situation, and the rest of my food consisted of the following (1.1kg including all packaging):

  • sliced Soreen loaf
  • 2 x Chunky Kit Kats
  • 2 x Clif Bars – chunky peanut butter
  • 2 x Clif Shot Bloks
  • 2 x Beef Pies
  • 4 x 500mg Vitamin C tablets
  • Total Calories = 2813
  • Protein =72g
  • Carbs =355g
  • Fats = 70g

Note – those macro nutrients only make up about 500g of that kilo of food!

KitKats and pies are over 50% water, Soreen over 30% and the Clif Products about 15-20%. Mr Turnbull

(see item 12 above)

recommends custard cremes as having the best nutritional profile for fast and light activities… I may consider them for the big race.

Certainly a slice of loaf, piece of bar, and a Shot Blok kept me going for about 45 mins this time. I’ll want to eat more Shot Bloks, especially if it is hotter, and spread the eating every 20-30 mins if possible to keep the blood sugars really level. Ultra runner Scott Jurek reckons on about 1g carbohydrate per kilo bodyweight every hour: much more will make you sick, less and you’ll hit the wall. If I’m aiming for a 10hr run that’s 700g of carbs or about 5x what I eat on an average day! Some protein should be consumed in an easily digestible form for the muscles. Not too much fat as it is harder to digest and your body has reserves anyway: which it will be drawing on as there are only 2800 Cal in those 700g. Not enough for 52miles (between 5500 – 6500 Cal). The difference is made up by less than 400g fat – not even a pound of flesh!


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