website Skip to content

What Mandatory Gear Do I Need For Trail Running Events?

What Mandatory Gear Do I Need For Trail Running Events?

If you're gearing up for an ultra trail event, you know that tackling rugged terrain and unpredictable conditions is all part of the adventure. The thrill, the excitement, the challenge.

But before you hit the trails, it's important to understand the mandatory gear requirements and why they're so crucial for your safety and well-being out there on the trails. It's important to remember that even race conditions and all of the safety measures that are put in place, we're dealing with the unpredictability of nature - anything can happen.

So make sure you're prepared.

Ultra trail events aren't your average fun run around the block—they come with their own set of challenges, from remote locations to ever-changing weather conditions. That's where mandatory gear requirements come in.

These rules ensure that you've got everything you need to stay safe and prepared on the trail, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. By making essential items like hydration systems, nutrition, emergency blankets, mobile phones, headlamps, and whistles mandatory, event organisers are putting your safety first and giving you the tools you need to tackle the trails with confidence.

It's important to note that many races will have slightly different mandatory gear requirements, so pay attention to the particular race guidelines.

Now, let's break down some of the key mandatory gear items and why they're so important:

Hydration Capabilities

Staying hydrated is absolutely essential when you're pounding the trails for hours on end - it goes without saying. Mandatory hydration systems ensure that you've got access to water throughout the race, even in remote areas where aid stations are few and far between. Keeping hydrated helps prevent dehydration and ensures you can maintain peak performance, no matter how tough the terrain gets.

Additionally, carrying some extra water is a safety precaution in case you get lost or need to shelter for whatever reason. Always carry more than you'll need.

Our R700 Hydration Vest includes 3L of water capacity and is perfect for trail events.


Ultra trail events demand a lot from your body, which means you need to keep those energy levels topped up. If you like snacks, trail running is for you!

Mandatory nutrition requirements, like energy gels, bars, or snacks, ensure you've got the fuel you need to keep going strong. By providing sustained energy, these snacks help prevent the dreaded bonk and keep you powering through to the finish line.

Most organisers and events would also detail how many calories worth of nutrition you should have with you at all times. The exact number varies from race to race.

There are a bunch of videos on YouTube which detail this is in more detail. My personal favourite YouTuber on this topic is Sally McRae.

Emergency Blanket

When you're out in the wild, you never know what kind of weather you might encounter. An emergency blanket is a lightweight but essential item for maintaining body temperature and protecting against hypothermia or shock in case of unexpected emergencies or delays on the trail.

Apart from an emergency blanket, some other small equipment bundled together with the blanket that may be mandatory is a simple first aids kit, in case you need to use it on yourself or stumble upon another runner that needs help.

The key here is just being prepared for unplanned and emergency situations. You'd much rather have it than not when it comes down to it. And frankly, if you're entering a race with mandatory gear you don't have a choice!

Mobile Phone

Carrying a mobile phone might seem like a no-brainer, but it's a non-negotiable safety measure in ultra trail events. Your phone is your lifeline to race organisers and emergency services in case of injury, navigation challenges, or other emergencies. It ensures that help is just a call away, no matter where you are on the trail.

This is not about getting a sweet Instagram photo of the sunrise (but hey, why not), it can really save your life, or someone else's in case of emergency.

Headlamp or Flashlight

When the sun goes down, the real adventure begins. But navigating dark and challenging terrain safely requires the right gear.

I've done my fair share of climbing (and descending) in the dark. A headlamp or flashlight is essential for maintaining visibility, preventing accidents, and ensuring you can keep pushing forward through the darkness of the night.

Most organisers would detail the minimum specs that your headlamps need to have for example; Min Lumen Brightness, Minimum Operational Hours, a spare battery or spare headlamps. Be sure to pay attention to those!


It might seem small, but a whistle can be a lifesaver in remote or secluded trail sections. Mandatory whistle requirements give you a simple yet effective way to signal for help or attract attention in emergency situations where verbal calls might not cut it.

Some vests have an attachment for whistles, but otherwise make sure you opt for a hydration pack that has plenty of space in the front pockets for easy access to your whistle.

So there you have it, guys—your guide to trail running mandatory gear and why they're so important. With the right gear and a bit (or a lot, depending on the distance) of grit, you'll be ready to tackle any trail and take on whatever challenges come your way.

Run wild and enjoy the experience!

Previous     Next

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published