Trail running is a new sport for me. In the past year, this sport has also gained popularity in Indonesia. Due to Indonesian topography where we have many steeper hills/mountains, many of the trails used for this purpose are actually real mountains/volcanoes with altitude in the range of 2,000 to 4,000m. Thus, some care and preparations are needed in doing this. One of those precautions is firstly done by bringing the necessary gears for a trip like this.
Below is a list of gears and things that I usually bring for this kind of trip. Please note that this is a growing list where I will keep adding and or editing.
1. Sufficient hydration. This can be just plain drinking water – preferable 1.5 to 2litre for any trips longer than 3 hours. Remember Indonesia is very humid and you will perspire a lot.
Optional: electrolytes. Since we do not lose only water when we perspire but also some minerals, proper hydration also includes electrolytes in the form of tablets or powder. Electrolytes are minerals dissolved in our body fluids essential to our health. These minerals include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. Not only they help to maintain our fluid balance, but also help our muscles to contract/relax and assist the transmission in our nervous system.
A few of my favorite electrolytes options are: Japanese salt tablets (great lemon taste – picture below), Nuun tablets, and a self-made electrolytes drink. Please see recipe below.
2. Sufficient food – my new favorite is mashed sweet potatoes (“Indonesian ubi” – yes, Mr Jokowi I hear you!) sprinkled with salt, which I think is a good source of carbohydrates/energy. I will usually carry some energy bars/gels. Remember that you will exercise continuosly for 6-9 hours so bring more than enough
3. A small backpack or preferably a light running vest/hydration pack to carry your food, drinks, and equipments. A minimalist 2litre-pack is usually enough for me. I carry Nathan’s Intensity pack.
4. Headlight – this is always good for a back-up, if you don’t have this, you can carry a small flashlight
5. Emergency blanket – costs only IDR 40k
6. Light waterproof jacket – during rainy season, I will bring my full waterproof one – Patagonia M10 or my new favorite: Original Mountain Marathon Aeon Jacket. But during dry season, I usually bring my light water resistant running jacket as there is less risk of a real downpour: Patagonia Houdini Jacket.
7. During rainy season, I usually pack my light waterproof pants. This is proven to be very helpful to keep me warm during a heavy downpour in our hike to Mount Gede last December.
8. First-aid kit: I had a few running accidents so I consider this is very important. My kit is usually not larger than 4x4cm ziplock bag and it contains: various sizes water proof bandages, first-aid antiseptic spray (mine is homemade – please see recipe below), athletic tape, alcohol/antiseptic wipes, and blister tape
9. Whistle to attrack attention, just in case
10. Cellphone with GPS application. Ideally I think we should bring a GPS watch. But I do not own one yet so I am using a GPS application on my phone.
11. Optional: running sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun
12. Optional: multifunctional headwear like Buff, which I usually worn on my neck to prevent sunburn there and also to wipe my sweat or to hold my hair. Or small packable quick-drying towel
13. Optional: additional first-aid kit which I consider essential but may not be priorities for others. These are sunscreen stick and bug spray (mine is also homemade – please see recipe below)
14. Optional – hiking poles, I found them useful for running downhills during rainy season
15. Optional – thin gloves, they can be useful when it is cold and windy at the peak. They also protect your hands from spikes when grabbing to trees/vegetation while climbing up or down