The following is a list of all the kit I took on the HT400. I’ve written the list based on where equipment was packed, rather than by what it was. It may give you a better idea how I tried to balance out the weight across the bike. If specific details are wanted on kit, weights or such, pop me a mail or comment below and I’ll fill it in for you.
Anything annotated with an asterisk (*) was not used. This is not bad in all cases, the first aid kit being a prime example. Anything annotated with a tilde (~) is something that I could not have done without – an exceptional piece of kit. Anything annotated with a chevron (^) is something that could be bettered somehow. I’ve included suggestions for each of these at the bottom of the post.
This was by no means a lightweight set-up, there is a lot that could be stripped out. If I was racing in a warmer climate I could knock a kilo off this without trying. This was done the night before as well where optional leg layers, waterproof layers and some other bits were dropped from the list. The bike reduced in weight by 800g in one chunk. Simple to do.
The food choices were made based on the idea that I would always carry at least 1 days worth of food (2,000kcal) and ride through the first food stop in Kinlocheven.
I had no intention of cooking en-route so there is no stove, gas or pot. You can live without warm food for 24 hours at a time. If you target your food pick-ups it is more than easy to get warm food. We ate warm food of 3 occasions during the ride.
The only things I wished I’d brought that I didn’t were a third pair of socks and a better light set-up for the final evening. Both of these were wishes, they were not actually necessary in any way.
Before you read the list I’ve included a set of skills you will need if you want to save time. I really do mean this. Over the course of the 700km or so these will save you a chunk of time.
Cross dismounting – you’ll be on and off your bike a lot. Get used to riding and dismounting like a cross rider at speed and on rough ground, both sides.
Postman remounting – don’t cross remount, after a few days your body will not thank you. Get used to scooting and remounting like your postie.
Eat and ride – you need to be able to ride and eat, every time you stop you loose time. We did not do this enough. It shows in our time.
Ride without hands – on the road sections it is nice to be able to stretch out, relive pressure (and yourself if you can) learn this. Learn to strip layers (not possible with a pack), be comfortable at speed doing this.
Efficiency in changing kit – getting in and out of jackets was an issue for me. I had to remove my helmet to do so, this cause me to waste time in the inclement weather. Make sure you can get your kit on without having to remove layers. Know where it goes, know how to get it there fast.
Me – 32 year old male, about 80kg and fair to middling fitness, VO2max 71.6ml/kg/min. No experience in racing multi-day self supported ultra-endurance events.
All this kit was worn for the ride.
Suunto Advizor, Kask Mojito, Oakly Jawbones, Patagonia Nine Trails gillet, Endura knee-warmers, Impsport long arm-warmers, Morvelo cycle cap, Specialized XC race gloves long fingers (best gloves on the planet), Specialized socks, Shimano winter boots^, Sportful; base layer, team jersey, team shorts (pro pad).
Drylock Bag (placed inside Camlebak):
Credit card*, debit card*, student ID*, European health insurance card*, HTC Rhyme phone, £150~
Bag – Camlebak Mule^
SPOT personal messenger, older style 2 x AA Duracel Lithium batteries~. The North Face waterproof jacket~ (Verto Pro Jacket), Endura Superlight Shell waterproof shorts~, Endura spring gloves, Marigolds^, 10 Torq gels, 10 granola bars, 2 SIS caffeine gels, Kendal Mint Cake* (small), 4 portions of recovery powder & energy drink, 4 porridge Hopperpots (cinamon), spork. Tubeless valve*, hand pump, 2 tyre levers*, 4 cable ties*, 2 Shimano SPD cleats*, box of Park patches*, 9&10 speed quick link*, set of XT brake pads*, presta core valve & removal tool*, safety red light. Printed maps of the route*, small toothbrush & toothpaste, 4 portions of toilet paper, tarp*^, sleeping pad – closed cell foam pad.
Gas Tank – Prendas (Pedros)
Dry lube~,CO2 head. 2 x 30ml Bristol Butter me lube, Crank Brothers multi tool with chain break, Maxxis metal tyre lever*, 4 Energiser Lithium batteries* (2 only), 1 spare exposure Flash battery*, 2 Exposure Flash, Petzel Zipka, midge spray (100% DET), 8 NUUN electrolyte tablets – 2 were caffeinated, Olympus Mu camera (waterproof).
Bar harness – Wildcat Mountain Lion~ (with space for some wet kit).
8L Triboard lightweight drybag, 8L Outdoor designs drybag, Coleman Bambusa sleeping bag^, Outdoor designs Goretex XCR bivibag, Jay the Global Positioning Sheep.
Rear harness – Wildcat Tiger~
8L Triboard drybag, 2 16g CO2 cartridges (used 1), first aid kit* (split below), spare Sportful shorts, Redvenom compression tights~, Patagonia Capaline long sleeve thermal, Patagonia Nano Puff Primaloft jacket~, Lowe Alpine Windblock fleece hat, Sportful NoRain leg-warmers^, 29er tube*, midge head net*, spare Salomon socks.
Exposure Flare & mount, 0.5m duct-tape wrapped on seat-post, gear cable wrapped on seat rails*, 2 Specialized bottle cages – one RHS entry^, 500ml and a 750ml wide top Torq bottle, 29er tube cable-tied above bottom bracket & below the bottle cage*.
First Aid kit^
Swiss card*, 4 Clarytin tabs*, 8 Immodium tabs*, 8 Ibuprofen tabs~, 8 Paracetamol tabs~, 2 sunscreen sachets*, 1 10ml tub of Vasaline, meditape*, compress bandage*, ankle strapping*, gauze*, 4 steri-wipes*, 4 safety pins*, 2 large sterile absorbent bandages*.
Navigation – Garmin eTrex 20 with Openstreet mapping and an annotated route of the trail with all bothys and food spots included. Frame – Kingdom Bikes Tech9 (29er carbon race frame).
Forks – Rock Shox Reba 29er with Poplock. Wheels – Shimano XT tubeless with Geax Saguaro 2.2 TNT casing, 70ml Stans per wheel. Drivetrain – 10speed Shimano XT derauilers & shifters, Middleburn Duo cranks, SRAM cassette, KMC chain, Shimano 545 SPDs^. Steering – Race Face Deus 685mm bars, Shimano XT brakes, Thompson 105mm stem, ESI chunky grips, Ritchey headset. Sitting – Thompson Elite seatpost, Sella Itallia road saddle, BBB seatclamp (non adjustable).
^1: Shimano winter boots – A last minute choice loaned to me from Tom. I get cold feet, when they get cold I bail on riding and racing. The lead up to the HT had snow so I packed these and opted to ride in them over my Mavic softshell shoes. This resulted in near trench-foot by the end, blisters on my bog toes and deadly smelling shoes. Not from the fit, but due to the amount of walking on the Fisherfield section. I would STRONGLY suggest bringing a pair of lightweight trail shoes for this section if you can’t deal with pains in your feet.
^2: Camlebak Mule – this was the older heavier version. It suffered from lack of expandable space and for its size it was too heavy. I’d replace it with one of the lighter Osprey versions. Main want was hip located pockets for stuff & things.
^3: Marigolds – normally I take latex gloves, I was worried I’d be wearing these a lot so opted for the ‘stronger’ option.
^4: Tarp – could have been lighter and packed smaller, only brought as I was worried it was going to crap out.
^5: Coleman Bambusa sleeping bag – I took a synthetic bag due to worries about the weather and rain. It did get moist after the second bivi, I think a down bag would have been fine. The weight and temperature were fine for the ride, with only one cold night in Camben bothy, but the pack space was too much.
^6: Sportful NoRain leg-warmers – I could have ditched these, I wore them on the final evening to sleep in and on the final evening ride for warmth and a bit of compression. In future I’d just put on my compression tights. BUT, we got excellent weather…so maybe not so bad to have.
^7: Side entry bottle cage – I opted for a right hand side cage so I could drink and ride. I push from the left hand side and found this to be a good time to drink and eat, but had to reach over the bike to get fluids out. Not ideal, easy to fix with other side entry.
^8: First aid kit – it didn’t get used, bar tablets for when my knee started acting the gimp. I would actually think about bringing more that this for a return, especially after the incident with Steve. Additions would include – superglue, steri-stiches, clotting agent.
^9: Bike set-up – if you are running a 26inch wheeled bike all I can say is good luck. Consider bigger wheels, not for the speed, but for their ability to roll over technical ground and act as a vibration dampener. I really can not emphasise how good they are. Note that no 26inch bikes finished the HT400 in 2013. The argument of full or not will rage for this event. In the finishers where were front only, full-sus, no-sus finishers -geared and single-speed. Ride what you want, just have big wheels and balls.
^10: Shimano SPDs – they were too small. I’ve never encountered hotspots under my feet during descents ever, not even in 24 hour races. But over the course of the final day they became unbearable to ride on. I’d suggest the new 545 with integrated cage. This will also make it easier to postman mount the bike between short ridable sections instead of getting on and off the bike. Each time.