Packing for the OMM – the Original Mountain Marathon – can be quite daunting. At least, that’s how I found it. Sure there’s the mandatory kit list, but which kit should I be picking? Lighter here or heavier there? And what about camping the night before and driving home after the finish? I started writing this article while I was packing for the OMM, my very first mountain marathon, in Langdale. And now I’m topping it up with a level dose of hindsight, now that I’ve successfully completed the course.
We were doing short score and, although which course wouldn’t have affected most of the kit I took, it did mean that we spent a lot of time in the camping field waiting for it to be Sunday. If you’re doing a longer course, you’ll have more moving time and less suffering in a tiny lightweight tent. We also camped the night before and drove home on the Sunday straight after.
OMM Kit List – Mandatory Equipment
So, let’s get started with the official kit list (this is from 2022 but I doubt it has changed much in years).
“Each individual and team is responsible for being properly equipped for two days unsupported racing in exposed terrain at the end of October. This list should be seen as a minimum requirement only. Check the weather forecast and use your previous experience and sound judgement to decide the kit you should be wearing and carrying. The organisers reserve the right to disqualify any competitors who, in their opinion, do not have the necessary kit to survive in an emergency situation. Cotton clothing is not suitable.”
“The race is self-sufficient so you need to carry any rubbish with you back to the finish on Sunday. No rubbish at kit check? We will be asking why! Random kit checks may take place at any time during the weekend. You do not need to bring your kit to the registration area.” – That said, they only seemed to be checking people who were early finishers . Or, like it says, random kit checks at the finish. We weren’t picked.
Now, here’s the list, again straight from the website.
- Taped seams waterproof jacket with hood
- Taped seams waterproof trousers
- Clothing suitable for mountain running and walking
- Warm layer top
- Hat (not a buff), Gloves & socks
- Footwear suitable for fell and trail use
- Head torch capable of giving useable light for a
minimum of 12 hours
- Map (as supplied)
- Insulated sleeping system
- First aid equipment
- Survival bag (not a sheet)
- Emergency rations (should still have at the finish line)
- Water carrying capability
- Pen/pencil for map marking (waterproof paper) in wet conditions
- Fully charged mobile phone
- Spare warm kit and insulated sleeping system must be waterproofed (i.e. in a drybag)
- Cooking equipment including stove with sufficient fuel for duration of the race, plus some spare for emergency use, left at the end of the event
- Tent with sewn in groundsheet
- Food for 36 hours for two (or three) people
My OMM Kit List
Now, here’s what I actually took with me. I have to confess that I took a long time to decide the final kit – even up to the morning of the event. If you’re not sure between one or two items, just bring both and pick on the day. That means you can fine tune to the weather that you see, rather than the forecast. Or just generally be indecisive to your heart’s content right up until the start of the race.
This is the kit that I took with me on my first OMM. I’ll list out what I chose and why, with a little comment at the end of this post about how things did and what I’d change. Generally I’m pretty happy with that I had. I’m new to running and don’t have much specialist kit – so don’t worry if you don’t either. You can get by!
- Mountain Equipment waterproof jacket – my only other option is the bin bag: a lightweight jacket, but although the seams may be taped, the whole jacket is delaminating. A Mountain Equipment hardshell feels like an overkill but I imagine I’ll probably need it in Langdale in October.
- Custom (once Berghaus Deluge) waterproof trousers – the only pair I own. Again, heavier than necessary but all I have.
- Isobaa merino t-shirt
- Endura warm bike leggings
- Fjern orange fleece
- Stance running socks
- Rab Photon belay jacket
- Rab hat and a buff
- Montane Prism gloves and Rivelo bike gloves
- Odlo sports bra and tesco knickers
- Salomon Super Cross or inov-8 Roclites – I’m torn between the two…
Sleeping, Food and Overnight
- Sleeping bag – synthetic Wynnster microlite 1200 in rubble sack
- Exped Synmat HL
- 2x 500ml Salomon/ Hydropack bottles flexible bottles from a Salomon race vest I was given once.
- Hand gel + tissues – for the portaloos at camp
- Dehydrated pasta bolognaise 600kcal
- Brunch bars x 5
- Fruit snacks
- Peanut butter wraps x 4
- Trekmates protein flapjack x2
- Oat cakes x 1
- Emergency jelly babies
- 3x Exped dry bags in various sizes
- Led Lenser torch – I’d prefer the Petzl Tikka but I’m not expecting to use a torch on Short Score, so I’ve packed the brighter torch to be safe.
- First aid kit – took the plasters pouch from my Lifesystems one and added steri tabs, ibuprofen and antihistamine
- Insta360 Go 2 – for a little filming
- Nokia brick in Bacofoil sandwich bag (v v waterproof)
- Tiny pen knife
- Silva Expedition Compass
- Map pen + tiny pencil from Screwfix
- Survival bag
- Lip salve
- Tiny waterproof notebook Thrunotes and elastic band
- Montane Trailblazer 30L rucksack
- MSR mini gas Iso/Pro mix 110g cannister, not full
- Poles and pegs for tent
Then there is everything else that you won’t usually find on an OMM Kit list. Everything that I brought for the night before, the journey home and camping on Friday in the event field. It’s worth having a different set of camping kit for Friday so you can leave your bag fully packed for the morning.
- My Mountain Equipment handbag (40L wet and dry bag)
- Boot bag for muddy trainers
- Montane terra trousers
- Spare Isobaa t-shirt
- Mammut belay jacket
- Mountain Equipment Helium 600 sleeping bag
- Alpkit Numo mat
- Water bottle 1L
- Walking boots
- Walking socks
- Leggings for use as PJs
- Hairbrush + ties
- Spare clothes for Sunday and general layer indecision
- Toothbrush and paste
- Work phone
- Power pack + cable + spare batteries
- Newspaper + pen (crossword)
Post Event Addendum
Well actually I was very pleased with my kit choices. I definitely needed the good waterproof, although I did get entirely soaked by the finish on day 2. I ended up running in the Salomons because their tread was less worn. I utterly gave up with the Insta360 Go2. It got in a funk at the start line and, given how magnetic it is too, I just stowed it away and ignored it for the rest of the weekend. Despite the very windy, damp and foggy weather, I spent most of my time running in just a t-shirt, with fingerless gloves and occasionally a buff. The waterproof jacket came on and off depending on weather and I still wasn’t bold enough to start cold.
For camping, Short Score is a long old wait in an ultralight tent, both on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I wished for a warmer sleeping bag, but was glad mine was synthetic given the wind direction. We ended up using a big flexible filter bottle to decant water at camp, rather than purifying or worrying about boiling (none of the water available on tap was drinking water).
As for other kit, the event field quickly became a mud bath and I could have easily worn wellies. Many other people were. We were not kit checked and I’d say most people aren’t. The people on the podium were and it looked like there were some random checks going on at the end.