Born at the foot of the North Shore Mountains, Vancouver, and now available at Wiggle, Arc'teryx create innovative, purposeful outdoor designs made for exploring.
We caught up with Heavy Metal Scientist and Arc'teryx personality Josh Barringer to find out about his wild running essentials.
Running in wild spaces is becoming more attractive to a lot of trail and ultrarunners as races are becoming overcrowded, selling out too quickly or reliant on the uncertainty of lotteries. I’ve been running ultramarathons and pushing my personal limits for almost a decade. After achieving success in some races, like finishing top 10 at Fat Dog 120 – rated one of the hardest ultras in the world, I began to shift my focus to more self-supported adventures.
Exploring the wild through running means you can go to places where a race might never be held, but it also means you must be completely self-sufficient. This is the intention behind the launch of Arc'teryx's New for Spring 2018 Norvan LD Shoe and Norvan 14 Hydration Vest. After completing a number of 100 mile events I wanted to take my fitness and exploratory nature outside of the race structure. I had been testing the Norvan LD shoe but really got to experience it to the full when I went adventure running in Tasmania recently.
The Norvan LD upheld and delivered on the guiding design principles: comfort, durability and grip. Packing appropriate gear to run solo all day took a lot more consideration than a race. The wild doesn't have the luxury of a crew, aid stations or drop bags. I've made a list of things that should be on your next wild run. Regardless if you run alone or with others, you should be prepared for everything, even being able to tend to others. It's a good idea to take your full pack on a test run to make sure the weight is manageable.
I almost always run in shorts and a shirt. In the cold, this would become a problem if I need to stop or help someone. Packable layers are the key to ensuring I’m prepared for whatever the day may bring. I take a long sleeve wool layer, like the Satoro AR, and a pair of Stride Tights. Mountain weather is unpredictable, so carrying waterproof gear is a necessity. The Norvan SL Hoody and Zeta LT Pant are extremely lightweight and give full waterproof coverage. Just in case I end up having extended periods of waiting or staying the night, I take the Cerium SL because it is exceptionally warm but super packable and light. I also pack Delta gloves and a toque.
Food and Water
I bring more calories than I think I'll need, generally aiming for 100-200 calories per hour. There are numerous gels and endurance-specific products, but I tend to bring my own real food. A mashed avocado with honey and lemon juice in a ziplock bag, nuts and dried fruit, and a peanut butter sandwich seem to work better for me than highly processed foods. In case of emergency, pack an extra 800-1000 calories, which could be as simple as a big chocolate bar. If you don't end up needing it, then you have a delicious reward at the end of your adventure.
Water can add a lot of weight. Knowing water access on the route before going is helpful but sometimes not completely reliable. I pack extra soft flasks if I need to carry more water along the run. Tablets and filters in the wild are a must.
Even if you’re just going out for the day, you never know when the run might go longer. A headlamp and a spare light are always a good idea. My go to headlamp is the Petzl Nao because of the customizable settings. A handheld pin light, like the Fenix E12, is easy to carry and extremely useful when having to find a route.
Cell phones aren't trustworthy. Service isn't a given in the wild, neither is battery life. A two-way satellite communication device lets your friends and family know your status. A whistle, which is incorporated on Norvan Hydration Vests, can be useful as a voice doesn't carry as far as you think.
There are apps with maps for just about every place you could run, but with unreliable battery life, having a traditional map and compass is best.
First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit is vital; so is knowing how to use it.
Emergency blanket or bivy
If you get injured, you might be sitting for a while before help arrives, even overnight. An emergency blanket or bivy can be the difference between uncomfortable and hypothermia.
Lighters or waterproof matches have hardly any weight addition.
I personally have never had to use a knife, but I've thought of scenarios where I might need one.
Depending on where you run, you'll need to bring appropriate wildlife deterrents.