Packing for a day trail run | Tips from the Trail

You don’t need much for a one-day run, even a long one, but if you’re doing a trail run out somewhere a bit more ‘wilderness-y’, even if only for a few hours, then there are a few things you’ll need. Here’s what I take.

OMM ultra-15 backpack - perfect for a day trail run
OMM Ultra-15 pack, I love this!
  • Bag: OMM Ultra 15 – a beautifully light bag that’s got plenty of space for a one day run, hooks and channels for a camelbak, and side and belt pouches for easy access to snacks and gadgets. It also has a whistle in the chest strap which isn’t exactly a must-have but probably a worthwhile safety feature when running in a national park.

We’ve reviewed quite a few rucksacks suitable for lightweight hiking and we recommend the Ortovox Traverse 30 and Trailblazer 25 as good alternatives to the OMM Ultra 15.

In a medium-sized drybag:

  • Lightweight rain shell. The one I use is the ‘free’ one that London Marathon handed out a couple of years ago to people who didn’t get in via the lottery. It’s neither as light nor as waterproof as the best ones on the market (Nike, Patagonia, amongst others) but it was free (sort of) and it does the job.
  • Down jacket. Way too hot to run in, but useful for keeping warm on the train home. The one I’ve got is rated down to -5 which is overkill for early autumn in the UK but given I’m trying to keep my pack light, it’s useful having a post-run jacket that, in a pinch, could double as an emergency ‘broke my leg and have to stay the night in the open’ jacket. Check out this resource for some of the down jackets we’ve reviewed.
  • Clean t-shirt. Not vital, but much appreciated on the train home, not least by those who have to sit next to you…

In a small drybag:

  • Phone, keys, wallet etc. also a penknife but only really because I carry one everyday anyone.

To wear:

  • Nike dryfit shorts and tshirt
  • Brooks Ghosts running shoes or Salomon trail shoes, depending on the terrain
  • Asics running cap, one I got from the Marathon de Paris
  • Buff, also from the Marathon de Paris


  • 1.5 l Camelbak of water
  • A handful of gels
  • In the case of Tuesday’s run, I was trialling dried banana chips and Peperamis, as I’ve heard they can be good for the Marathon des Sables

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