RAB Mountain Marathon 2008

Sometimes even a chair trained CEO needs some exercise and to free the mind from the office with some mountain scenery.

So, there I was, Twitterwishing that that I could lose some weight (16st6 at the time and gaining), and my dear wife comes up with an entry for the RAB mountain marathon. Now, I have been in Scouting since I was 8 and have walked and climbed in the USA, Africa, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, France, Italy and the Middle East, so I can navigate and can look after myself in the rain, snow, whatever. I also enjoy that sort of adventure. But this is a whole new level of pain being planned for me here.

So six weeks later, and I have been running, cycling and giving up on potato crisps and beer (!) and I’ve lost about 10 lbs. Not enough. Time to invest in some seriously light weight kit…. and seek some advice from the nice people at The Outdoor Shop  and Ellis Brigham

So, here it is, all packed up:

Ospray talon 44 rucksack (2.7lbs) pale blue and grey

* update – performed brilliantly, but is simply too large for this sort of event: needs something 25 ~ 35 l max.

Marmot Atom sleeping bag (800g) red Eventplus silk sleeping bag liner (under

* update – amazing, but sheds little bits of down. kept me warm, with liner, despite near freezing and rainy night

Thermorest ultralite mattress (400g)

* update – comfy, but even at half size, too large and too heavy for this sort of event, great for static camps, but for races something lighter is needed

Primus ETA stove (480g + 200g of
fuel, boils  a litre in about 110

* update – perfection in a stove. wonderful

Northface Tadpole 23DL ultralite (trek weight under 1.8kg) sleeps 2

* update – quick, waterproof, light, robust. not lightest tent on the race (860g laser photon from Terra Nova is the racer’s tent of choice), but quite handy none the less

Platypus 3 litre water reservoir

* update – just worked, which was all that was need

RAB Neutrino Super Dru waterproof jacket (400g
or so) in E-vent silicone fabric

* update – hardly needed, but handy as a windbreak

Concurve Goretex walking trousers

* update – hardly needed, but handy as a windbreak

Equipment baseball cap (waterproof, sunfactor 50)

* update – lived in it for 48 hours; my new favourite hat

Northface Flight series shirt
(sunfactor 50, moisture wicking, insect repelling, insecticidal, antibacterial)

* update – not taken in the end, victim of weight saving!

Bam bamboo underpants (probably the MOST essential anti-chaffing item in the list!)

* update – perfect. brilliant. must get more of this bamboo stuff

Bridgedale technical socks

* update – saved me from blisters, pain and probably footrot. Best thin sock in the world?

Innov8 Mudrock shoes

* update, they are so confidence inspiring that at times I felt like a mountain goat, but they are so hard to break in (search web for “kettle steam, innov8, heel cup) and they always look grubby. Great shoes, but need lots of care to make them work.

OS 1:250000 maps

* update – bah! stupid race used stupid 1:40000 scale maps that suck suck suck

Silva silva standard compass

* update – worked. always, and stopped us getting lost several times


* update – great, but not as great as the titanium spork I bought on the start line!

Cafetiere mug (makes REAL coffee on the trail)

* left behind as a victim of weight saving

Petzl Tikka headtorch

* update – great!

Extremities windproof / waterproof gloves

* update – really really good

Northface fleece skull cap

* update – second favourite hat in the whole world. kept me warm at night and at camp, too hot to run in though

Hardware zip-off trousers

* left behind as a victim of weight saving

Craghoppers technical base layer

* left behind as a victim of weight saving

Icebreakers pure
merino 190g T-shirt

* update – a real surprise, super light, super warm and good to sweat in. Narrowly beat its bamboo cousin into second place

North Face mid-weight fleece

* update: replaced at last minute by North Face Apex stretch jacket, which was superb. Light, wind proof, vented, and flexible, it was worn throughout the race hours and has really impressed me

Timex Ironman watch

(literally) wash kit

Expedition first aid kit

Bag of sherbert lemons…

* update – ate them on the way to the race. had to live on mango and chewy bars instead.

…. And some food


All up about 8kg, and you can live in it for  week


Want to come with us?

I’ll update this post with some reviews once I’ve tried it all in the field in extreme conditions. I suspect the bag of sherbert lemons will be fine…


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