“Never mistake activity for achievement. “
— John Wooden
2 Pairs of socks - wool suggested
Dirty Girl Gaiters - click for details
Light wind pants or tights
Short Sleeve shirt
Long Sleeve shirt (optional)
Warm layer (Nano Puff)
Ultra Light Shell (only if there is rain)
Light Fleece Gloves
Foot care (tape, scissors, ointment)
Small ultra light pack (10L or less)
Hydration (at least 2 water bottles)
Food - see below
Insulating layer: any of the “puff” style jackets are great. Patagonia (Nano, Nano Air, Micro Puff), REI, and all the big brands make them. Get the lightest possible and get poly, not down. If it’s warm enough, you can sometimes skip these or bring a second, long-sleeve baselayer.
Waterproof shells: get the lightest possible item that is waterproof but still breathes. Patagonia’s Alpine Houdini (not the standard Houdini) or Outdoor Research Helium are both great. Shoot for something that weighs 6 oz or less.
Footwear: you just need a pair of trail running shoes that fit you well and grip variable terrain and don’t give you blisters. Do NOT wear boots- all you need are trail runners. All the top brands have good options. Get them a half size to a full size big and make sure you have at least a thumb’s width between your biggest toe and the top of the shoe. Or else you will lose your toenails!
Backpack: For most of our one-day events, we only carry VERY small packs. For day trips that means under 15L. Even for overnight trips (that require tiny sleeping bags and minimalist tents) we would not carry anything over ~30L. For the small packs, we seek to optimize size/weight (try for under 2 lbs), comfort (needs to fit you right and feel good while hiking fast/hard) and features (easy to access pockets, good spot for water bottles, etc). We all love an Osprey 12L pack that is unfortunately not available any more and we don’t love their current ones. Ultimate Directions makes some solid packs, especially if you are comfortable going smaller and carrying less; same goes for Salomon. Some of CamelBak’s smaller packs are pretty good, but be careful because many of their packs are too heavy and over engineered.
Water carrying system: bladders or bottles can work but be sure you’ve practiced with your system. We strongly prefer bottles because they are easier to fill, easier to treat, and easier to track how much water you have (and have consumed). The system is obviously affected by the amount and kind of water on each course, but we strongly recommend you try to figure out a good bottle system whenever possible. Soft, bike-style bottles tend to be best. Ideally you have a great way to carry them in your pack.
Water purification: We have tried it all and generally we prefer iodine tablets. They are easy and lightweight and pretty foolproof. The only downside is you have to wait ~30 mins after treating to drink your water. We’ve tried the UV pens and they work great but they require more infrastructure (batteries, maintenance) and they don’t fit all bottles and they don’t fit bladders and they slow the group down as guys line up to use them. You could have everyone bring their own pen, but that would cost extra weight.
Gaiters: keeping scree and dirt and general crap out of your shoes limits blisters, saves time (no stopping to empty your shoes) and spares tons of mental distraction (a small pebble in your shoe for miles and miles…). Lots of products exist but we strongly recommend Dirty Girl Gaiters. Super light, easy, fun.
Stove / pots / etc: we never bring them, even for overnights. Not worth it. don’t even think about it.
Food- 3500 to 4500 calories (roughly 200+ calories/hr * 17hrs)
2 servings/bottles of Hammer Perpeteum (orange vanilla flavor) 6x scoops each serving 1600cal
5 sleeves of Clif Bloks (raspberry) 1000cal
3 Clif Mojo bars (mixed nut flavor) 600cal
1 bag sesame sticks (honey flavor) about the size of 2 fists
1 PBJ sandwich 200cal
1 Turkey, Cheese and avocado sandwich 400cal
1 bag cashews fist size 400cal
1 bag dried apricots half fist size
Plan on eating at least 200 calories per hour and doing it while you’re moving - we don’t stop to eat. You will want real food and not just sports bars. Try your food out on a long hike before the Sufferfest event so you know how well you tolerate it.