Ultra Trail 100 2021 Checklist
Author: Danaë Baggs Date Posted: 14 December 2020
All UTA competitors will need to check off a compulsory equipment checklist. We've compiled a comprehensive gear list for you to make sure you're prepared.
The 2021 Ultra-Trail Australia (UTA) races are fast approaching. You know what that means: it's time to get your gear together!
UTA is now the largest trail run in the southern hemisphere and third largest globally. It's an iconic trail running festival spread across 4 incredible days, with hundreds of runners, spectators and support crew travelling to the spectacular Blue Mountains, NSW, from 13-16 May 2021. Both the UTA50 and UTA100 races carry qualifying points towards UTMB qualification, while the pinnacle event UTA100 is also a founding event of the Ultra-Trail World Tour.
UTA's mandatory gear list contains the absolute minimum to keep you safe during the event and in the Blue Mountain’s unpredictable weather systems. If you would normally take something extra on a run of this duration, you should still take it. The course passes through remote trails, where protection from the elements and medical and support services could be some time/distance from athletes needing assistance. It is therefore imperative that the mandatory gear is carried at all times.
To help, we've summarised the gear lists and put together some of our own recommendations. Now you can get the shopping trip done with and get started on training for the trail race of your life!
This will be provided on race day by UTA.
- Course Map & Course Descriptions - You must protect these from getting wet using your waterproof map case. The course map is A3 and in colour (double-sided for UTA100, single-sided for UTA50).
- Emergency Instructions Card - This card is A5 on waterproof paper.
- Race Number - Must be worn on your front, over your belly or chest, and be visible at all times over the top of your outermost layer of clothing, such as waterproof jacket, high-visibility vest or other garment (safety pins are also provided in your race pack). The race number must NOT be worn on your pants or leg. The race number has a single disposable timing tag already stuck to its rear side. It must be worn as is, unfolded. A recommended method of securing your race number is to use a self-supplied race belt which allows you to easily have your number visible over the top of your outermost item of clothing.
- Timing Tag for Backpack (Bag Tag) - This is a disposable timing tag which needs to be secured to the back of your running backpack (a cable tie is also provided in your race pack). Due to the bag tag, it is preferable not to swap backpacks during the event but if you plan to do so you will need to have your own side-cutters or scissors to cut the bag tag cable tie off the first backpack and your own spare cable tie / zip tie to attach the bag tag to your second backpack.
- Long-sleeve thermal top - cotton, COOLMAX and lycra garments are NOT suitable. Compression garments and thermal compression garments are NOT suitable. Compression garments may still be used in the race but they must be worn in addition to your mandatory thermal top and not replace it. Look for high performance synthetic materials made up of hydrophobic fibres (think PVC, polypropylene or polyester) or of lightweight wool. Modern thermals may use a small amount of spandex, elastane or Lycra to provide better shape retention and fit for greater warmth.
- Waterproof breathable jacket with fully taped seams and hood - the breathability must be provided by the material itself and not exclusively by mesh panels. Minimal underarm vents are allowed if the jacket material itself is technical and breathable. Large mesh panels, even if covered by flaps, are NOT permitted. A premium jacket would have a waterproof rating of over 15,000mm hydrostatic head and a breathability MVTR rating of 20,000g/m²/25hrs however much lower ratings are completely acceptable. Any non-membrane jacket must still be in very good condition with waterproof coating intact. The jacket must fit you. Plastic rain ponchos, wind jackets, or water resistant jackets are NOT suitable.
- Beanie / balaclava / Buff - any of the 3 are suitable.
- 2L capacity water bottle/s or bladder/s - whatever your system, it MUST carry 2L of water minimum.
- 2 food portions - you need to start each leg with 2 food portions, and can eat these during the leg. A food portion could be a sports bar.
- Hi-vis safety vest - you will only be required to carry this if there is heavy fog or a change in the course due to weather conditions. A decision regarding this will be made at 4pm the day before the race and publicised at the Friday Race Check-In, at the Race Briefing and via the event app and event Facebook Page. The vest must be made of a combination of retroreflective and fluorescent materials. This is not a running vest but a workwear vest. The vest must have either AS/NZS 4602:1999 or AS/NZS 4602:2010 or AS/NZS 4602.1:2011 as well as Class D/N on the tag. The vest must be clearly visible from both the front and back, even when wearing your backpack, so you must have an oversized vest that covers your whole torso AND your backpack (your race number must still be visible on your front and over the top of your vest). UTA100 runners must carry the vest at ALL times whether they need to wear it or not. For UTA50 the vest is dependent upon a weather ruling.
- Headlamp - test your headlamp on bush tracks at night prior to the event to make sure it provides enough light to both see the track and the course markings. Make sure batteries are new or fully charged and that you have enough battery capacity / spare batteries. Note that waist lamps are not permitted, as they will obscure your race number.
- Mobile phone (working SIM card and full battery) - make sure your phone is fully charged and the battery will last for your whole race time. You must also have a SIM card that can connect to an Australian Cellular Network (i.e. mobile phone calls can be made and received while you are in Australia), as there is no WiFi anywhere on course. We strongly recommend you have a Telstra SIM card. Mobile phone coverage over the course varies from excellent at most escarpment / cliff top locations to non-existent when in deep valleys or when directly below cliffs. Generally you can get reception on hills and ridges across the whole course, especially when you have views directly to Katoomba.
- Compass - used only in the very unlikely event that you get lost. A waterproof GPS-enabled watch with compass function is allowed to be used as your compass as long as you can calibrate it, know how to use it and the battery will last for the full duration of your race. A smartphone compass is not acceptable as most smartphones are not waterproof and the batteries may be needed for making emergency calls.
- Whistle - check out our other option here.
- Emergency space blanket - or light bivvy sack equivalent.
- Compression bandage - used for treating sprains and snake bites. The wrapping should list ‘heavy weight cotton crepe bandage’ or ‘heavy cotton elastic bandage’ or ‘heavy weight elastic support bandage’. Generally the pink coloured bandages are suitable and the white bandages are not. There will be compression bandages available for purchase at Race Check-In (mostly as a service for international runners). Minimum Dimensions 7.5cm wide x 2.3m long unstretched.
- Lightweight dry sack - this is to keep the compulsory clothing dry. Pro-tip: inside your sack, multiple NEW Ziplock plastic bags work well for compressing your clothing and being able to see the item through the plastic, which is super useful for random gear checks.
- Ziplock bag - for storing your personal rubbish.
- Waterproof map case - or any other way to keep map and course descriptions protected, such as map contact.
Everything on the UTA50 list, PLUS:
- Long sleeve synthetic fleece top, 100-weight minimum - must NOT be made of wool, as you will mostly need this item if it is wet and just about zero in temperature. There will be two different scenarios, based upon the weather, for what you will need to do with your 100-weight long sleeve synthetic fleece top. A decision on whether you need to follow Scenario 1 or Scenario 2 will be made at 4pm the day before the race and publicised at the Friday Race Check-In, at the Race Briefing and via the event app and event Facebook Page.
- SCENARIO 1: The fleece top may be compulsory from the start if weather conditions are expected to be bad.
- SCENARIO 2: If not made compulsory from the start, the fleece top will be compulsory to carry from CP4 from 4:30pm and compulsory to carry from CP5 from 7:30pm. Depending on your speed, you will need to have your fleece available at either CP4 or CP5.
- Long leg waterproof pants - does NOT require the same specs as the waterproof jacket, i.e. does not need taped seams, does not need to be breathable, but does need to be durable. You will only need to carry the pants if weather conditions are wet. A decision on whether you need to carry the pants from the start or if they need to be left with your support crew or placed into a specified drop bag for use during the event will be made at 4pm the day before the race and publicised at the Friday Race Check-In, at the Race Briefing and via the event app and event Facebook Page.
- Long leg thermal pants - cotton, COOLMAX and lycra garments are NOT suitable. Compression garments and thermal compression garments are NOT suitable. Compression garments may still be used in the race but they must be worn in addition to your mandatory thermal top and not replace it. Look for high performance synthetic materials made up of hydrophobic fibres (think PVC, polypropylene or polyester) or of lightweight wool. Modern thermals may use a small amount of spandex, elastane or Lycra to provide better shape retention and fit for greater warmth.
- Thermal gloves - lightweight and full-fingered, ideally made of polypropylene or wool.
- Small backup headlamp - sufficiently bright to see course markings while walking, in case your main headlamp fails. The Petzl Tikkina is a great option.
- Collapsible cup - important if you want to take soup, tea or coffee at checkpoints, as UTA is a cupless event.
- Anti-chafe body lubricant - like BodyGlide.
- Cap or sun hat
- Spare socks - good quality socks can be make or break for your feet.
- Spare headlight batteries - perfect for headlamps with replaceable batteries.
- Spare good quality headlamp - in case your primary headlamp stops working and so you don't have to run the rest of the way with your backup light!
- First aid kit - sterile dressings, strapping tape, blister care, antiseptic wipes and any relevant personal medications are all recommended.
- Female urinary device - to help female runners pee on the go.
- External phone battery charger - to keep your phone topped up.
- Additional warmer clothing at supported checkpoints - in case you get cold.