10 Trail Essentials
From Fellrnr.com, Running tips
This is a list of 10 essential things to take while trail running, especially in remote areas. Also see Running Trails for more general tips on trail running.
- Training Understanding the area, knowing your limits, basic survival training, etc. Without the knowledge, the tools are useless.
- Water I would recommend not only taking a supply of water, but also taking a supply of water purification tablets. See Portable Pharmacy
- Food You may be gone longer than expected, so food is useful, but heavy. I always take an energy gel (Gu), as low blood sugar impairs judgment. I will also take a small Ziploc bag of M&Ms as the combination of sugar and fat works well for me.
- Clothing I will take a lightweight rain jacket and use multiple layers. Things you can wrap around your waist work well.
- Navigation There are various approaches to navigating:
- Map A map is an important element of navigation, but does not work well in dense forest. Ideally take a waterproof map, or put one in a Ziploc bag. Make sure you know how to read a map and how to do basic navigation.
- GPS A GPS watch is great for telling you how to get back and roughly where you are. However, they need battery power and should not be relied on as the sole source of navigation.
- Compass A good compass is not very large and can be used for taking bearings and reverse bearings, assuming you are not in dense forest. (If you don't know what a reverse bearing is, find out!) A tiny compass that fits on your watch strap works well for double checking direction quickly and regularly.
- Altimeter I find that a barometric altimeter gives me important navigation information. If I know which mountain I'm on, knowing how high up it I am gives me a good idea of location.
- Blazes The blazes on trees are only useful if you know which paths have which blazes.
- Light You may be out in the wilderness much longer than you expect, so take a light. The Petzl e-lite is a tiny light designed for emergency use.
- First Aid It's hard to carry much first aid when you are running, unless you carry a pack. Carrying basic medicine and some duct tape can go a long way without much weight. Portable Pharmacy
- Fire starter The lightest option is probably strike anywhere matches.
- Knife I carry the Buck Hartsook Ultralite on a chain around my neck. It's a great little knife.
- Whistle A lightweight, plastic whistle will allow you to call for help. Shouting does not work well, as you get too tired too quickly. I have mine around my neck with my knife on a breakaway chain.