What a nightmare running packs are! I am just 5ft 1” tall and need to carry a weight of approx 12kg for 5 days in the jungle. This incudes, 5 days of food (nothing is provided), 2.5 litres of hydration, hammock, sleeping bag, medication, toiletries, any change of clothing all packed in dry bags inside the running pack. So far, I have tried out 4 packs of approx. 24 litre capacity and so far, I can’t get anything that is going to get me through 5 days of running in a hot and humid climate. The packs themselves need to be as lightweight as possible but be strong enough to survive, need to have enough overall capacity, have lots of pockets for immediately accessible things like snacks and easy drinking, as well easy access storage of running poles when I don’t need them.

I have had four packs so far which have all been ok to run with in the early stages of training when I have had relatively light-weight contents, but as the training distances and pack weights and volumes have increased the more uncomfortable the packs have become. Naively I thought this was all due to me not knowing how to fit my pack properly and not buying the correct pack to fit me in the first place. To the rescue came Kevin Robinson from the Stainland Lions Running Club. An experienced multi day event runner, Kevin was able to highlight one basic fact – no pack is going to be a perfect fit or comfortable for the full race! However, with a few top tips I have learned how to commit to one of my packs and so it will be my Ultimate Direction Fastpackher 30l pack that gets a trip to the Peruvian Amazon. Thank you, Kevin for educating me to the taping of my back where the pack rubs.

One addition to my pack that I have also found really helpful is my newly purchased Montane Trailblazer 3 waist pack. I have worked my way through many waist packs over the years, but never one as big as this and never one as comfortable as this. Because of arguments with my backpack, I wear the waist pack back to the front and this has been so comfortable even when full of items and holding my poles. Taking some of the weight off my shoulders from the backpack is a must if I am going to survive 5 days.