So, we’re a week away from Marathon des Sables 2017 and the KitJam tribe has been busy! Here are a few factoids from our members kit-lists:
Most popular brand of food: Extreme Adventure Foods
I love their foods. I took the breakfasts with me for MDS 2015. It was a bit of fuss getting the warm ones ready but what a payoff! Calorific, sweet goodness! I had an Ultrafuel on the long stage (a strategy many seem to be following this year too). The taste was something to put in the type 2 fun category... but good lord did it do the job!
Jenny’s sponsored by Extreme Adventure Foods and naturally loves all of their products :)
Most popular luxury item: iPod Shuffle
For MDS 2015 I considered the iPod shuffle but despite all attempts, couldn’t convince Spotify to write code to work with it... and I have very little music on CD / mp3 these days. So, I took my full sized iPod fully loaded with 3,333 tracks downloaded and some audiobooks. There were even some self-hypnosis tracks on there...just in case! It also doubled as a camera. Unfortunately the iPod battery died after the second day - and my solar charger decided the Sahara didn’t offer enough sun to do anything useful...
I took my iPhone for MDS 2015 to enjoy music on the long stage (I was very strict about when and only allowed myself music from sundown on the long stage! All of Metallica’s greatest hits) I always used it as a diary and camera.
Most popular backpack: WAA Ultrabag 2017
I think these are popular because they’re given away for free at the expo these days. I paid around £150 for mine in 2015 and it took a couple of hours and a youtube video to figure out how it all fit together :/ . It worked for me (though I switched the bottles with Raidlight ones) and it’s suffered through a few more races since then, though 2 years on it’s now held together with careful stitching, glue and duct tape.
I’ve never used the WAA Ultrabag but I know a lot of people who certainly love it. I raced in the OMM 20L and loved it as bag, I’ve since used the same bag in other multi-day events and hiking etc, it is still in fantastic condition and i’ll be using it for years to come. It is slightly heavier as a bag though and so these days I race in the super lightweight Raidlight* range.
*Jenny is also sponsored by Raidlight
Average backpack weight: 9.7kg
I think my bag weighed around 9kg going into the race - but I took quite a few luxuries like black nitrile gloves (much to everyone’s horror / amusement at the loos), nipple plasters (great for photos) and a solar charger. Most people go in heavy and tend to throw stuff away at the end of the first day - typically food as the heat diminishes your appetite.
Mine weighed 6.5kgs on the dot! No luxuries apart from the iPhone, I can happily do without for the week and it’s part of the charm of multi-day self sufficient races for me. Looking back I could have done with more food for the dreaded long stage, I will never ever forget the pain experienced in my legs and the screeches my tummy made at me yearning for proper food (only so many CLIF Bloks I can handle…). I’ve seen first hand the painful looking chafing people experience when their bags are heavier, the race is tough enough and I recommend not adding to it by taking a heavier bag!
To all those taking the challenge - enjoy!