Kit for Trail Running

Woman trail running in the snow with a running pack

It can be hard to know where to start when packing for a run in the hills. Some people seem to only take a bumbag with a snickers and others take a massive expedition rucksack. There is no right amount. The main thing is that you know that you have enough to keep yourself safe.

First, you want to check out the weather on something like MWIS. Regarding kit you want to think of the temperature at the elevation you will be going to, any windchill, and chance of rain. (This article is considering summer conditions – for winter conditions click here.)

Woman on a mountain ridge

Next you want to plan your kit. Making sure you have enough with you so that you could sit down for an hour or two and stay warm. To fuel you on your run with some contingency. And are able to deal with emergencies. You will need:


· Enough clothes to keep you warm while moving slowly (think looking at the map, crossing rough ground)

· Good trail shoes – here and here have a good selection if you don’t know where to start

· An extra warm layer

· Hat and gloves

· Waterproofs if there is any chance of rain – also great to stop windchill

Hypothermia can be a real risk in fell runners - do you know how to spot the signs?


· Enough water – water from high up streams can be drinkable in the Lake District but if it's hot they can dry up so you may have to go large distances between water sources. About 500ml – 1l works well.

· Electrolytes – even if its cold you may sweat and need to replenish your salts. This could be in the form of salt tablets or electrolyte tabs.

· Lunch, snacks, emergency food – heading up on the hills you’re likely to be out for at least a few hours. Make sure you have more than enough to sustain you. Real food, but also a couple of gels can be great for emergencies.

Woman trail running down a hill

Navigation equipment

· Map and compass and know how to use them. Check out Navigation for Runners and our other courses here.

· Phone with downloaded maps – you always need a backup of a paper map but in good warm weather then a GPS device such as OS Maps downloaded can be great for a quick check that doesn’t interrupt your running. Just bear in mind that in cold weather, or if you’re using them lots for photos or tracking etc then the batteries can die quickly.

Emergency kit

· Emergency bag. These are small and light so you shouldn’t notice it's in your bag unless you need it. This is a good example at a great price.

· Whistle – often these are part of a running bag but not always.

· First aid kit – at a minimum to include bandage, wound dressing and plasters but can include more.

If you pack fairly light kit you should be able fit everything into a running vest or bumbag. These are designed to keep the weight close to your body so you don't notice it.

The right kit gives you the freedom of enjoying the hills with the piece of mind that you can keep yourself safe if you have to change your plans or the weather is worse than expected.

A man and a woman trail running at sunset

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