Marathon des Sables – What goes in the rucksack?

MDS Kit

It’s countdown time to the 30th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables. The training is done and it was time for Niandi Carmont to go through all her equipment, lay it all out, weigh everything and decide what to take and what not to take.

Running a mult-day race? Check out our 2017 training camp http://d.pr/f/18cqZ

To be clear for those who do not know. Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg.

Minimum food requirement is 2000 calories per day for 7-days.

In addition to the above, each runner must have ‘mandatory’ kit that includes venom pump, compass, penknife and so on…

Marathon des Sables is a self-sufficient race and therefore the runner must carry everything they need for the duration of the event. The only exception comes with water (this is provided and rationed) and a Bivouac (tent) for the evening which is shared with 7 other runners.

Niandi was very clear… my pack will be minimum weight: 6.5kg

It’s been an interesting process and one that has provided both Niandi and myself with some real eye openers… normally you would have too much kit and you would be deciding what to take and what not to take! The reality has been here that we have EVERYTHING that Niandi wants to take and we are under weight. A nice situation to be in.

You can download the equipment list in Word HERE or Excel HERE

Before we get to the pack. Lets look at what Niandi will wear:

  • inov-8 Race Ultra 290 shoes with Raidlight gaiters (gaiters sewn on by Alex in London)
  • Injinji toe socks
  • Raidlight Skort
  • Raidlight T-Shirt
  • Arm Coolers
  • Anita sports bra
  • inov-8 peaked hat
  • Oakley sunglasses
  • Buff

The above is essential and will be worn for the duration of the event.

The pack is an Ultra Aspire Fastpack that will have 2x750ml bottles that sit on the hips and provide easy access

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7707

*Update – This pack was changed at the 11th hour to an Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 (available here). This proved to be a good decision! The UDF pack turned out to be a revelation at the 2015 MDS runners. Elisabet Barnes and may others used this. It’s simplistic, no-nonsence approach was a real winner and the bottle holders on the chest perfect for ‘on-the-go’ hydration.

UD-Fastpack-20-F14

Points to consider:
1. The bottle holders are ‘on’ the shoulder straps in an excellent position (lower) and they do not bounce! You can fit 750/800ml bottles in them.
2. The pack fits snug to you pack and can be tightened to remove all bounce. It’s vest like.
3. The pack is just an open space, so, it’s really simple. The downside is that you do need to think about how you pack, anything you may need ‘en-route’ should be near the top.
4. As you eat food and pack contents and weight gets less, the pack has a roll top closure which means that you can make the pack smaller as the day’s pass.
5. It has no waist belt so no stomach stress.
6. It has elastic stretch pockets on the outside for easy access and additional items.
Negatives:
It has no waist belt so therefore you way wish to add a small waist belt for food, snacks, salt tabs etc

 

Sleeping bag (with Piglet) Yeti Passion One

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7704

The North Face Summit Series down jacket

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7692

Raidlight Tyvek suit which has been tailored and modify for a tighter fit and to reduce weight.

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7691

Petzl head torch with spare batteries

©iancorless.com_MDSkit-7689

The items below make up additional items that are optional extras (such as iPod) and mandatory kit. One or two items are missing: Spot Tracker, signalling mirror and sun cream.

Food is broken down on the excel spread sheet but here is a summary in words and images:

Dehydrated Meals x6 672
Dried Mango 93g x 4 372
Porridge 59g x 7 413
Coffee 1g x 10 10
Peanut Butter 33g x 5 165
Honey 21g x 8 168
Mini Salami 10g x 10 100
Tropical Mix 194
Sesame Bites 27g x 6 162
Dried Banana 270
Mixed Nuts 200g x 2 400
Macademia Nuts 153
Cranberries 175
Wraps 296
3550

We have not added photos of the dehydrated meals as currently we do not have them but we have calculated the weight and you can see a review of dehydrated meals and options HERE

So in a nutshell. With everything listed above we have a current pack weight (without water) of:

TOTAL WEIGHT 6189
*all weights in grams

Niandi does have some additional optional items that she was considering taking and now based on the weight above she will add:

  • Flip Flops 250g
  • Cheese 150g
  • Stove and fuel 150g

The above 3 items tip the scales at 550g

This will make a total pack weight of 6189 + 550 = 6739g

JOB DONE!

Read an in-depth preview of the 2015 Marathon des Sables HERE

4 thoughts on “Marathon des Sables – What goes in the rucksack?

  1. Pingback: Episode 84 – Hawker Canaday Kimball | Ian Corless host of Talk Ultra podcast

  2. Pingback: My Green Shoes

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