Where do you expect me to put that? A runners handbag!
Making the transition from road running to trail running isn't easy, it takes commitment and dedication. There's no street lights, no tarmac, not always obvious route markings, more unpredictable weather, and often no phone signal. As a trail runner it becomes your responsibility to look after yourself as you take yourself into far flung places, often running further away from help. This begs the question of what to take with you?
Everyone has personal preferences on what to carry, some go light and fast, others like to take a few creature comforts. The essentials usually consists of: a small first aid kit; a compass; a bottle of water; a mobile phone; and a snack/energy bar. There's also the additional extras like: a headtorch, a map, car keys, wallet, a warm layer, hat, and gloves. So... where do you expect me to put all of that?
Unfortunately, a carrier bag or hand bag is not the ideal solution! Some may choose a small hill walking bag, lots of big pockets, a trail running vest, or even a trail running belt. My personal favourite however, is a trail running pack. Drawing this conclusion from trying many other options but finding the fit uncomfortable when running; usually resulting in too many stops to kit faff and readjust the bag or ending up with rubbing from the straps.
Have you ever tried a trail running pack? They're the perfect combination of a running vest (in fit) and a bag (in size) so you end up with a comfy fitting pack that has enough space for all the essentials and more. I chose to get the Montane VIA Jaws 10 trail running pack. Although they're all the rage now, at the time of purchasing there weren't that many options on the market. After trying several different ones on, Montane was the best fitting. Montane offer different sizes (from 4 to 15 litres) but the 10 litres was the perfect size for it's intended contents. All is good and well on shop floor, but more importantly, what’s it like to run in?
Although it took a run or two to get all the adjustments right... now I wouldn't go running without it! Having used it for the past two months it's well fitting, lightweight without sacrifice, breathable, quick drying, pockets in all the right places but not too many, and added bonus of looking cool! It even came with two softie bottles adding to the versatility of the pack. I never would have brought the softie bottles off the shelf, but as they came with the pack thought why not? They're a brilliant comprise between a bladder pack and a solid bottle, easy to use whilst running and pack away small when empty... ingenious.
So if you find yourself asking, where do you expect me to put all that? I would highly recommend the Montane VIA Jaws 10 trail running pack to any budding trail runners*.
*This trail running vest fits me perfectly, however, everyone’s a different size and shape. Montane now offer a large variety of running vests and trail packs so if unsure always seek professional advise on fitting.