Welcome to the
WHAT YOU NEED
The following are a few of the items that you should consider for your run. Not everyone will want to carry all of these items - In fact, I've been chastised for listing so many things. If it's warm and everything goes right, all you'll need is your fluids and some calories. But if things do not go so good for you, you might wish you had planned ahead. It's all about risk and how much of a risk taker you are. If you're running this race, you probably have a high tolerance for risk. So think about current temperature & weather conditions, bugs, running ability, tendencies to get lost, and/or history of breaking bones in the woods. You may also want to consider how comfortable you want to be if you're lost, forced to stop or sleep in the woods. If you packed too much don't worry, you can always unload at the starting line and send extra stuff to Wakely Dam with the bus (see Logistics). I've mentioned items and suppliers that I have used and have good luck with. That is not to say that there are not other equally as good alternatives or retailers that offer them. Alternate suggestions are welcome.
Remember: If you pack it in - Please, Pack it out.
Lumbar Pack - You've got to have a way to carry your water, food and personal gear. Choose a lumbar pack that has two water bottle holders on each side and a cargo pouch in the middle. Make sure your pack has cinch straps on the sides and top so you can secure the loaded pack tightly to your body (see arrows above). This will eliminate bounce and keep your stuff in place. You'll want a thick pad against your back to prevent hot spots. There are many to choose from but you get what you pay for. We've used a Northface pack similar to the "Mountain Biker" (pictured above) which can be purchased through Northface at their website. This model is small but has sufficient space for what you'll need and has tie downs for adding extra gear and clothing for that possible overnighter.
Water Bottle - If you're only going to carry one water bottle you won't want to take a chance that it will spring a leak or break if you drop it on a rock. We use a Nalgene® All-Terrain Bottle. It holds 22 ounces and has a leak proof screw on top with a mud flap to keep the business end clean. It has a wide opening that fits most water filter attachments. You can find this bottle at most mountain biking stores or online at Campmor.
Bladder or Hydration Pack - A popular choice for the long haul is a backpack style bladder hydration system such as the Camalbak "Mule" or the Ultimate Directions "Endorfun." Storage capacities vary, the Mule carries 100oz, the Endorfun 96oz, and you may use it all and probably more so bring a purification method. Consider a pack with enough storage for your personal items. Look for a pack that has a padded waist belt and chest strap. Cinch straps around the back will help secure your load and keep the bounce to a minimum. Front pockets (like on the Endorfun) are also handy for storing frequently used items.
Water Purification - The water in the Adirondacks is NOT always safe to drink. Some easily accessible sources contain the parasite known as Giardia Lamblia that can cause Giardiasis or "Beaver Fever." There are two schools of thought on this subject. If you enjoy good tasting water and are not concerned about the time it takes to get your filter out and pump it, then a water filter is for you. If you're competitive, can't be bothered with a filter and don't mind a few chemicals once in a while, then you should to go with tablets. I switched to using tablets and find it much more convenient than the filter which I now use only for camping. In the ten years since this section has been updated there is now the SteriPen - A UV device that within seconds takes all the nasties out of your water. You can find information at SteriPen's website. Then again, many Wakely runners over the years drink right out of the stream (upstream side) with no ill effects.
Sweetwater Filter SteriPen
Water Filter - We've used a Sweetwater Guardian water filter (pictured above). It is compact, relatively inexpensive and works great ... most of the time. It takes time to set up, but pumps much faster than the in-line type. Clogging can be a problem with silty water so bring a brush to clear the filter cartridge. When filtering you can get away with only one water bottle. There are many opportunities to stop for water on the course with the exception of a dry spell around 3/4 of the way through. Purification tablets could be carried as a back up.
Purification Tablets - Competitive runners won't enjoy the delays associated with filtering water. There are many purification chemicals out there but make sure the option you choose specifically mentions its effectiveness on Giardia Lamblia. Two part systems (iodine and a clarifier/taste improver) seem to work best at killing nasties and leaving water clear & drinkable. All of the effective treatments take at least 20 - 30 minutes to work. This means that you should carry two water bottles - one for good water and one for water in process. Various options are available at Campmor.
Fuel - If you've done any long runs you probably already know what kind of food agrees with you over the long haul. Plan on carrying enough calories to keep you going over a 10-hour run and a possible overnight stay. Water is a renewable resource on the trial so try to choose performance foods that are packed with calories and low in water content like Powerbars, Hammer Gel or other trail foods. Another critical supply would be an electrolyte replacement product. These come in powder drink mixes or tablets (the tablets easy to pack and won't foul your water bottle). Popular electrolyte supplements are Succeed! and Endurolytes (by Hammer). You may also want to treat yourself to a Slim Jim, some dried fruit or a candy bar for a change.
Clothing - Once again, you probably know what works for you in the way of the clothes you're going to wear during the run. Trail running shoes will pay off in the long run by providing more protection on the bottom from rocks and a wider sole for stability. The best Trail sock I've used to date are the Drymax Trail available at Wilderness Running Company (see home page for discount information). If biting insects bother you may want to choose a short sleeve shirt instead of a tank top (choose a performance fabric, not cotton). Other items you should rarely consider are: Extra socks, and if it's cold, a lightweight long sleeve shirt and a pair of light nylon warm-up paints. Keep your eye on the weather forecasts and pack accordingly.
Map & Compass - While the trail may be well-marked and normally easy to follow, blowdowns do occur often and can force short trips off the trail. You never know what can happen - that's why they call it the wilderness. You can get a good inexpensive compass and other high-tech gear at Eastern Mountain Sports. Trial maps can also be purchased at EMS but not on-line. Adirondack Mountain Club offers a series of Adirondack guide books. The only one to cover the Damn Wakely Dam Ultra course in its entirety is the Northville-Placid Trail volume. It would be fool hardy for a first timer to run without a proper map, compass and the ability to use both.
First Aid - Just in case, consider bringing Moleskin, a roll of athletic tape, ACE bandage, antacid tablets and/or acid reducing tablets, Band-Aids, Advil, petroleum jelly, needle or any personal medications you may need.
Misc. Items - If you like to carry a lot of stuff you might consider a small knife, lighter or matches, Paper towel or toilet paper (when you got to go...), plastic bags to keep clothing and other items dry (you will soak your pack with sweat in no time and it may even rain!), Space Blanket (in case you need to spend the night) paper and pencil, camera, flashlight and a chainsaw. If you're running with a buddy, you can share the load. We're still looking for volunteers to carry the chainsaw. I find that sunglasses are not necessary and can be a pain to stash as 98.4% all of the running is in the shaded woods.
Back to Home Page