Up Hill Down Dale Beacons Ultra

Up and Under will be helping support at the Up Hill Down DaleBeacons Ultra November 2019 so we thought that we'd put a recommended kit list together from our range with a little help from the brands who are helping us support the event; Ultimate Direction and Injinji.

Up Hill Down Dales Compulsory Kit that must be carried with you is as follows:


Ultimate Direction Adventure Vests 4.0Obviously this needs to be big enough to carry all the stuff below. We recommend something that uses lots of stretchy fabrics so that it can hug your body and therefore not bounce around as you move, which over long distances could cause abraisions and worse. Rucksacks cover a whole range of products but a classic rucksack will have a waist strap or belt, the fact that it covers the length of your back means that it will bounce if you run as the distance between your hips and shoulders changes every time your take a step. Hence why we recommend race vests or hydration vests as they are sometimes know for anyone fast hiking or running this event. The fact that all of the carry is wrapped around your ribcage which doesn't change shape as you run means that you can achieve zero bounce with a good fit. Check out our Chris' review of the Ultimate Direction range of hydration vests on our YouTube Channel to see the benefits in greater detail. Click here for our full range from UD, Raidlight, Inov8 and Scott. Our most popular range is from Ultimate Direction and for the Beacons Ultra perhaps the best option is the Ultra Vest 4.0 and Womens Ultra Vesta 4.0 at 10L or Mountain Vest and Womens Advenutre Vesta at around 14L capacity. If you have a particularly small frame (petite ladies in particular look this way) then the Raidlight Responsiv Vest 12L and Womens in a size S is a perfect choice as it goes smaller than anything else that we've found on the market and adjusts extremely well.

Fully Charged Mobile Phone

Not really one for us to recommend but as long as you're not using 5G you should be fine (23/10/19).

Means of hydration - ability to carry an absolute minimum of 500ml of fluid

Ultimate Direction Body Bottle 500SIf you own a race vest then its likely that you will already have bottles mounted in the front pockets of that which give quick, easy refreshment on the go and quick easy refilling at checkpoints. In order to keep you fully hydrated we are fans of having one bottle for water and the other with electrolytes (such as the High 5 Zero tabs), so you can chop and change as required. Hydration bladders will put the weight behind and also enable refreshment without you having to take your pack off, but are harder to refill. A water bottle / bottles inside pockets of a rucksack so you can keep hydrated swiftly are the next best option. A bottle that you can't reach means that you will have to keep taking your pack off which slows you down, means you are less likely to bother looking after your personal hydration when you are exhausted and also puts more stress on your back having to keep twisting to take your pack on and off.

Cup/Mug/Bottle - No cups will be provided at checkpoints

Wildo Fold-a-CupA collapsable or soft cup enables events to be environmentally responsible - if you bring your own cup they don't have to buy in hundreds or thousands of plastic single use cups which also often blow away. If you only need water on your race you probably won't need one as you have your bottles, but if you want some juice or energy drinks at checkpoints then softcups are great, however, as this is a winter race you might need a harder folding/collapsing cup for a warm brew or some soup (watching someone with a cup of tea in a softcup is amusing but invariably painful for the person in question).

Enough food (no shops on route!)

We will have a stand at the Race HQ that will have energy bars, gels, chews and sachets from Clif Bar, Hard Bar, Battle Oats, High 5, Tailwind, Shotbloks, Saltstick, Active Root, Block Head and Romneys Kendal Mint Cake. But of course if you want to guarantee you have your favourite race snack with you on the day better to be prepared.

Full waterproof cover (trousers and top)

Ultimate Direction Womens Ultra Jacket V2Waterproofs seem to be being watered down these days and you can get a so called waterproof jacket and trouser with taped seams and a hydrostatic head of 2,000mm and no breathability from certain so called outdoor retailers. But don't fool yourself, if it all goes wrong fabrics with these stats will not keep you dry even when you're not on the move. We recommend a minimum of fully taped seams and 5,000mm hydrostatic head and 5,000mm MVTR (moisture vapour transfer rate) to keep you dry and to enable already wet clothing to begin to dry under your jacket and trousers even when you are stationary. Our range starts at 7,000/7,000 with our Mac in a Sac Origin Jacket (around £30) and Overtrousers range (around £17) which whilst they aren't the best fitting are actually very light, compact and work well enough if this is a once in a lifetime event.
If you plan on doing other events then getting something that will fulfill more demanding race criteria (UTMB requires minimums of 10,000/10,000) makes a lot of sense and you will get better comfort if you try and run in them as well as more protection. We stock ranges from Raidlight Activ MP+ Jacket and Ultra MP+ Pant that at least satisfy these criteria, but if you move into admittedly more expensive Ultimate Direction Ultra Jackets and Pants then you ramp up to 30,000/30,000 stats and 40,000MVTR for the Inov8 Ultrashell Pro FZ Jacket M which uses a membrane so will keep working for as long as you do (all other jackets are coated and start to loose functional breathability after about 4 hours of constant use per session).


For some races a Buff is all you'll need and we would recommend you have a Buff with you on the Breacons Ultra as you can use it to turn your hat into a balaclava, use as a neck gaiter, mop sweat up and use as headcover if its chilly on the Outdoor Research Overdrive Convertible Glovesmove. But for a long hill race at this time of year a fleece beanie is key if it all goes wrong at night or if you need a breather at a checkpoint.


A minimum of a liner glove is important to have with you. Some waterproof jackets will have inbuilt handovers that can provide extra wind and water-resistance (e.g. Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket for men and women) but if your doesn't then a shell mitt or glove is a good idea like the Raidlight MP+ Overmitt. If you are someone that really feels the cold then the Rab Xenon Glove is a wind and water-resistant synthetic insulated mitt that packs up tiny. We have gloves that fit all gaps in between as well and some run specific high vis options like the Outdoor Research Overdrive Convertible Gloves.

Fleece (or similar warm upper body layer)

Montane Fireball Verso Pull-OnMid and outer layer fleeces are great for providing wicking warmth, i.e. you can use them in really cold active situations or you can put them on when you pause or in an emergency and they will keep wicking moisture away from you making you as comfortable as possible. Go for pullovers as zips and pockets add weight. Often the expedition end of base layers work equally well and can be a bit more packable. We are huge fans of Odlo Warm and X-Warm baselayers used as midlayers as they have the same warmth to weight as Merino Wool but have much better wicking and drying properties and are half the price. We have done a test running 20 plus miles in boggin weather in Merino Wool and then the same in Odlo warm and then left them hanging in a cold room overnight. The following morning the Odlo was dry and the Merino still dripping, in fact the Merino was 500g heavier than before the run and the Odlo was back at its start weight! If you want greater warmth and small pack size then it's worth a look at the Montane Fireball Verso Pull-On for versatility or the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody for greatest warmth to weight and packsize on the market in a synthetic product.

Survival/Space Blanket

For rapid heat reflection a space blanket (as seen at the finish line of many road marathons) will keep you warmer for a short period and as an emergency item is an absolute minimum requirement for runs and races of this distance and remoteness of terrain. However, we prefer to recommend super light packable reflective survival bags as they will keep radiating heat back the full length of your body for prolonged periods of time and will provide full shelter from wind and rain. Our favourite is the Adventure Medical Kits SOL Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy (an easy one to remember with such a catchy name) its only 108 and 65mm x 75mm pack size.

Lifesystems Light and Dry Nano First Aid KitBasic first aid kit including antiseptic

This is something that you can make up yourself, but just make sure that it is obvious that it is a first aid kit so that someone that doesn't know you, can use your kit to help you, in an emergency. Our favourite for important contents yet with low bulk and weight is the Lifesystems Light and Dry Nano First Aid Kit.

Head torch and spare batteries for it

We stock a range of headtorches from a variety of brands but the key things for running at night are to be able to see where you're putting your feet and also make sure that you are on the correct path by seeing key features in the distance. To that end you will need something with a reasonable amount of beam length (minimum of 250 lumens) Petzl Actik Coreand duration. Our favourites for occassional use includes the Petzl Actik and  which runs off 3 x AAA batteries. If you run regularly in the evenings in winter then having a rechargeable option is very handy for cost savings and the Petzl Actik Core or the Fenix HL18R are good choices. If you are doing lots of night running our top recommendations are the Silva Trail Runner 4 Ultra which features a rechargable unit and a battery unit that mount either on the rear of the head band or in a pocket for when its really cold (body heat will improve battery performance at sub zero temperatures). The fact that all the weight isn't at the front means it is more stable on your head than those torches previously mentioned and it features a dual beam so you have a constant zone of light around your feet and a long beam showing distant things so you don't have to move your head to view one or the other or change settings. The Petzl Nao+ has loads of settings and has reactive options so it knows how much beam you need for where you are looking which is amazing, but it is rechargeable only (though you can buy extra rechargeable batteries) and the reactive setting is a bit of a pain if you run in groups or dense forests, but you can turn that feature off.


Silva Classic CompassAs important as the actual compass is the ability to use one is equally important. Please practise with a compass before you go on the race. The route is not too complex and reasonable levels of accuracy to get you back on track in thick mist without going over an edge can be provided by a compass with a relatively small base plate as the Silva Classic Compass.


Check your rucksack or race vest to see if has a whistle incorporated in the chest strap. Give it a test and make sure that you are confident that it will be heard in a strong wind from a good enough distance for you to receive help quickly. If there isn't a whistle or you're not happy with it then get hold of an Acme Tornado Slimline Pocket Whistle; it will not rust, has no pea to perish and is very small, highly visible and light in weight.


A watch to keep an eye on time and make sure you hit checkpoints before cutoffs is important. If you want to keep a cHarvey Superwalker XT25 Brecon Beacons Eastheck on your pace and record your route and times then something more fancy will be in order. Just make sure that the GPS watch that you buy has a long enough charge to last the length of your race. We no longer keep stock of GPS Watches and Heart Rate Monitors as the range available is so huge and everyones requirements differ but we are fans of Garmin in particular and can order them in on request.


There are a number of map options, unfortunately to use the OS explorer maps you would need 2 maps for the Beacons Ultra, however, Harvey maps do ones that cover the whole race. Harves maps tend to be lighter, more compact and waterproof compared to OS maps and there are a couple of 1:40 00 options of which the lightest is the Brecon Beacons East Ultramap XT40, but probably the best option if you are used to 1:25 000 mapping is their Brecon Beacons East Superwalker XT25.

Please note:

Up Hill and Down Dale wish to emphasized that there will be random spot kit checks before, during and on completion of the race. You must have all of the above on you at all times and that the above is the bare minimum and many individuals may wish to add their own kit requirements to that outlined above. This is especially relevant if the weather conditions are harsh.(i.e…. the temperature in 2008 dropped to -8 at night).

Don't forget that in most cases you won't have to touch some of the safety equipment and clothing, but you need to carry it in case something goes wrong and this isn't just for yourself. If you come across someone else in distress on the hills you may find that you have to sit with them in the rain and cold until help arrives and you don't want to risk putting yourself in danger of hypothermia.

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