Be a Fleet Footed Racer, not a weighed down Mule!
Whether you're heading out for a long session on the hills, or getting ready for a race where you need to carry extra gear, you need to pack your essential running kit wisely.
Get it right using the perfect running backpack and your training / racing will be so much more enjoyable. So let’s help you suss the perfect lightweight backpack for your running.
If you're training on your own, or competing in a one day event, then you need a backpack that will hold the essentials of survival kit, snacks, water and navigation. You should be able to fit this into a 10lt pack.
The OMM Last Drop is a 10lt pack: super light, it's just a shell, no extras, and at 310g it's not adding to your burden. You can add a reservoir bladder. The advantage of the OMM packs is the whistle that’s built into every chest strap – something that’s required by many adventure races, plus a removable foam pad that protects your back from prodding bag contents but can be also be used as a pillow/seat mat.
There’s also the Ultra 8lt version that weighs in at 245g and will suffice for water bladder, snacks and a jacket. The harness system gives great stability with just one strap – chest strap. The yoke system means the pack sits high on the back and secures well with the strap. The mesh side pocket is generous to fit any water bottle plus a little extra for food bits.
There's also the Salomon Trail 10, at 320g. A little more basic than the OMM but a decent offering.
Weekend / 2-Day Events
If you're camping overnight you're going to need a little more storage space. When part of a team you can split the load of tent and cooking gear between you, in which case a 15L pack will suffice. It may not seem like much room, but with sleeping bags being super small, and other gear more space-economical these days, it works.
The OMM Ultra 15L backpack is perfect. It can accommodate up to a 3L bladder, and has side hip pockets. You can also attach the OMM Trio Chest Pouch to hold map and snacks for quick access. Like the Last Drop, it's super light. Both packs have a removable foam pad at the back, and one of the buckles acts as a whistle.
If you really don’t think 15Lt will do it, there’s the OMM Ultra 20 pack. Still very light at 380g, it is similar in shape and performance to the 15Lt but with a bit more space.
With both packs, the loops on the main body of the pack enable you to secure a jacket with use of a bungee cord or ice axes/poles.
If you've signed up for the Marathon des Sables, or an equivalent race where you've got to carry your kit and food over more than a couple of days, then you'll need to go bigger. And now you only want to consider one brand: OMM. Their backpacks are made with adventure racing in mind, resulting in the perfect mix of hard wearing, functional, super light running specific packs with some well thought out extras.
The foam padding that protects your back through the day can be pulled out at night for a bit of extra protection from the hard ground. As with other OMM backpacks one of the clips acts as a whistle. You can add on the OMM H2OMM bottle holder for a separate energy drink, the OMM Trio Chest Pouch for a waterproof map pocket and gel/bar/compass holder, or the OMM Go Pod which can stash anything from a bottle to gels and bars, giving you instant access to energy snacks on the run. The side compress cords means things don't start rattling around once you've used up some of your provisions. There's even loops on the pack to hang trekking poles.
For the MDS, or any event where you're carrying tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove and food, you'll want the Classic Mountain Marathon 32L. Less survival gear and the 25L version will suffice.
Have your say
Competed in an adventure race before? We'd love you to share you're experiences and advice below. It's always super useful to those preparing for their first event.