Here's our kitlist for ultramarathons. We've stripped everything back to the bare essentials for a run of over 26 miles in fine weather. In each section we suggest what else you might need for going further, running in winter or to make the whole experience more pleasant!
For ultramarathons, fast and light is key. Carry less weight and you'll go faster and feel better, particularly in the later miles of your run.
Always make sure you check the rules of the ultramarathon you are taking part in. There will be specific requirements for different ultras that take into account the terrain and time of year.
- Running packs for ultramarathons
- What's the best ultramarathon shelter?
- Sleeping bags for ultra runners
- How to carry food and drink on an ultramarathon
- What extra clothing do I need for an ultra marathon?
- What safety kit do I need for an ultra marathon?
Running Packs for ultramarathons
There are two ways to carry your kit on an ultra. Running backpack (or running vest) or a waistpack. Backpacks generally allow you to carry more and have lots of flexible storage. Waistpacks are good for keeping your centre of gravity low and are really good for just spinning round to the front of you to access what you need without taking it on and off.
- Recommended backpack : Artlu 10
- Recommended waistpack: Vora
- Going longer: Presta 25L
- Also consider: Rucksack cover - a dry pack is a lighter than a wet one!
What's the best ultramarathon shelter?
Some ultramarathons require you to take shelter in case you get caught out. And some are so long you'll need to stop for a sleep.
- Recommended bivvy: Kloke - ultralight, properly waterproof and packs down so small you won't notice it in your bag
- Going longer: Polestar - Light and packable trekking pole tent with plenty of room for a comfortable nights for you and your kit
Sleeping bags for ultra runners
Sleeping bags for ultra runners are light, relatively warm and robust. By the time you decide it's time to get into a sleeping bag on an ultra you're usually very tired so it's good to make sure your bag can handle a bit of moisture in case you drag it through a puddle.
- Ultralight down bag: Pipedream 200 - best for compression, weight and warmth
- Ultralight synthetic bag: Ultra 80 - small pack size and weight suitable for damper conditions
- For Winter ultras: Pipedream 400 - a warmer version of the Pipedream 200
- Also consider: Cloud Base - ultralight sleeping mat for a little extra comfort for tired souls
How to carry food and drink on an ultramarathon
It's a good idea to be able to carry at least two litres of water during an ultra. Food becomes hard to eat so give yourself plenty of options. All this takes up space and needs to be easy to access. If it's hard to access, you won't eat and drink enough. If you don't eat and drink enough, you're unlikely to finish.
- Recommended water storage: Bota - a 2L hydration bladder that will keep water within easy reach
- Additional water storage: Swiglet - soft flask that stows easily into extra pockets in your pack
- Also consider: Water filter - remove the need to find a drinking water source to hydrate
- Additional water storage: Electrolyte tablets - keep cramp at bay by keeping your salt levels up
What extra clothing do I need for an ultra marathon?
The minimum extra clothing you should take on an ultra marathon is a waterproof and extra warm layer. However, a few carefully choose optional extras will keep you warm and safe in winter and more comfortable in summer.
- Recommended waterproof: Gravitas - an ultralight 3L waterproof that gives proper bad weather protection and wonderful freedom of movement
- Recommended layer: Koulin Trail Long Sleeve Top - quick-drying, wicking layer to give extra warmth when the weather turns cooler
For an ultra in winter there are more items you'll need. Make sure to check the individual rules for the ultra you have entered.
What safety kit do I need for an ultra marathon?
Always carry a torch, spare batteries, first aid kit and everything you need to navigate. And make sure you know how everything works before you leave. It's likely that you will be on your own for stretches of an ultramarathon.