Are you taking on one of the Action Challenge Ultra Series walks this year and need help deciding what gear to take? This guide will showcase some top picks for Ultra Challenge Series gear and kit. Outlining the stuff required for this challenging event. As someone who has completed both a 50KM and 100KM Ultra Challenge, I cannot stress the importance of having the right gear.
Table of Contents: Gear & Kit For Ultra Chalnge Walks
Best Ultra Challenge Series Gear For Walkers
A walk or hike of this distance requires you to be physically prepared and equipped with the necessary items to keep you comfortable, safe, and on track to the finish line. From footwear to hydration packs, every piece of gear serves a purpose in ensuring your success in this challenge. So, let’s dive into the essential Ultra Challenge Series gear for walkers and hikers.
Hiking Boots A Ultra Challenge 50/100KM Walk
One popular option for those who need ankle support is a hiking boot. Hiking boots are designed to provide extra stability and support around the ankle, which can be especially important when tackling rocky or uneven terrain. Additionally, hiking boots come with sturdy soles that provide excellent traction, making them a good choice for those who expect to encounter plenty of mud, rocks or other obstacles during their walk.
However, remember that hiking boots are heavier than other footwear, so this may not be the best choice if you prefer lighter shoes. Additionally, hiking boots take longer to break in than other footwear, so you’ll want to wear them around the house and on shorter walks before taking them on a long trek.
Trail Running & Walking Shoes For A Ultra Challenge
Trail running shoes and walking shoes are often preferred due to their lightweight and breathable design. Trail running shoes are designed for off-road terrain and provide excellent traction, making them a great option for covering trails or rough terrain. Walking shoes, on the other hand, are designed with long-distance walking in mind. They usually feature cushioning and shock-absorbing technology that helps to reduce the impact on your feet and joints.
Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Shoe
Merrell Moab 2 GTX Hiking Shoe
Salomon Sense Ride 4 Trail Running Shoe
Merrell Accentor Walking Shoe - Great For Ultras
Best Socks For A Ultra Challenge
Good-quality socks can help prevent blisters and keep your feet in good condition for longer. You should make sure to look for socks that are specifically designed for hiking/walking and also keep an eye on the material they are made from. Merino wool, bamboo and synthetic fabrics can be exceptional materials that balance comfort, breathability and durability.
Danish Endurance Long Distance Running Socks
Danish Endurance Graduated Compression Socks
Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks
T-Shirts For A Ultra Challenge
When selecting T-shirts for a long walk, look for fabrics like merino wool, nylon, and polyester. These materials are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, making them ideal for all weather conditions. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs sweat and moisture, takes a long time to dry, and can lead to chafing and discomfort. If you’re walking for a specific charity they might provide you with a technical T-shirt with their logo on like Help for Heros did for me in 2019 (not 100% sure if they still do). I’m a big fan of Under Armour, Montane and Salomon. However brands like NaviSkin also have some great options which are more affordable.
Under Armour UA Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve Tee
Under Armour Tech SSC Twist T-Shirt
Montane Dart Technical T-Shirt
Salomon Agile T-Shirt
Mid-layers are essential for long walks in cold climates. They provide an extra insulation layer and help keep you warm in cold weather. Mid-layers are usually lightweight and breathable, allowing air circulation to regulate your body temperature. Check what the temperature will likely be when you walk at night and make a judgement call. Just remember that temperatures can be lower in more exposed rural areas.
When it comes to bottoms, you have several options. If the weather is hot and sunny, lightweight walking shorts made from durable, breathable fabrics are a fantastic choice. These shorts should have pockets to store snacks and other small items and an adjustable waist. I like shorts with plenty of pockets. If the weather is warm, I use 2-in-1 running shorts because the liner provides additional protection against chafing. You should also consider using an anti-chafing balm or cream if you’ve experienced discomfort on your training runs.
Waterproof Jacket Or Poncho
When you are out walking, having a waterproof jacket or poncho with you is crucial in case of rain. Look for waterproof materials such as Gore-Tex, which are breathable and waterproof. Gore-Tex products can be expensive, though, so unless it’s going to get regular use after your challenge, it might be worth the extra expense. If it’s only for light showers, then some, like a lightweight poncho or shawl, is enough. These are often inexpensive and can be folded into small sizes, making them easy to carry in our pack.
Backpacks For Your Ultra Challenge Series Gear
Having the right backpack is essential when going on a long walk. A good backpack can help you carry everything you need and make walking more comfortable. The best bags have many pockets to keep items organised and easy to find, adjustable straps to fit correctly, padding for comfort, and a water-resistant material to keep things dry in wet climates. You won’t want anything more significant than 20L; if you can get away with smaller, I recommend that. Having a bag that is too big will lead to unnecessary weight and strain on your back when it moves around. If you want something more lightweight and streamlined you could opt for a trail running hydration vest.
Lowe Alpine AirZone 18L Active Rucksack
When packing for your walk, make sure that you choose items carefully. You should bring enough food and water to last for the duration of your walk, as well as any medications or first aid supplies that may be necessary. It’s also helpful to bring other essential items such as extra layers of clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen and a breathable hat or cap.
Hydration Bladders For Your Backpack
Hydration bladders, or hydration systems, are essential for any long walk or hike. Hydration bladders sit inside your backpack and feature a tube with a bite valve that you can quickly drink while on the go. This makes them ideal for walks and hikes where you need to keep your hands free, such as when scrambling over rocks or traversing slippery terrain. Another benefit of using a hydration bladder is that it allows you to carry more water than regular bottles, so you don’t have to stop to refill as often. I would suggest you opt for 1.5L or 2L hydration bladder for your ultra-challenge walk. You might also want to consider using electrolytes or fuel in your hydration bladder for that extra energy boost and to replace lost body salts.
You should also consider having a collapsable race cup in your kit bag to use at an aid station can also help you rehydrate quickly and efficiently. These cups are lightweight, durable, and even fit in your pocket to take them anywhere and won’t take up hardly any space. Collapsable cups are also reusable, so it saves on using disposable plastic cups, which might be provided at rest stops.
JoyHill Hydration Bladder - Various Sizes
Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir - 1.5L or 2.5L
Headlamps Are Essential 100K Ultra Challenge Series Gear
Headlamps or head torches can be handy for continuing your walk when the sun goes down. Headlamps provide hands-free lighting, meaning you can focus on the trail in front of you while still being able to see. If you walk a 50K, you might still be finishing in low-light conditions unless you can move very fast. If you are taking on the 100K challenge, then you definitely will, and you will be required to carry a headtorch – they might even check if you have one at the aid stations. Look for headlamps with adjustable beams and long battery life. It is also vital to ensure the headlamp has a secure and comfortable fit to keep it on during your hike. Taking on a 100K option? Then headlamps are 100% classed as essential Ultra Challenge Series gear!
Petzl Tikka Headlamp
PETZL Tkkina Headlamp
Fenix HM65R-T Headlamp
Hiking Poles Are Useful Ultra Challenge Series Gear
A pair of hiking poles or trail running poles can be a great addition to your kit, as they’ll make your walk or hike easier on your legs, back and hips. Hiking poles help you balance and support your body weight when traversing steep or uneven terrain. If you decide to take hiking poles, remember to practice using them during your training. Some specialist poles can be very expensive, however for occasional use there is no need to spend too much on your poles. I would not say these are essential Ultra Challenge Series gear, but they will help you. For my first 100K I did not use poles and I wish I did.
TheFitLife Hiking Poles
TrailBuddy Walking Poles
First Aid Kit Is Mandatory Ultra Challenge Series Gear
Carrying a basic first aid kit is mandatory, no matter how long the distance you choose. Therefore you will need to have one on your list of Ultra Challenge Series gear kit list. This should include plasters, antiseptic wipes, pain relief tablets and a blister kit. You can put this kit together and keep it in a zip-lock bag or buy one of the available mini-kits. Keep your first aid kit in an easily accessible part of your bag, such as a front pocket or top compartment, in an emergency. I would definately buying some Compeed and adding them to your kit.
Masterplast Compact First Aid Kit
Lightweight Power Bank Is Vital Ultra Challenge Series Gear
A lightweight power bank is an outstanding solution to avoid running out of power for your electronic devices on a long walk. Power banks come in all shapes and sizes, with some even designed specifically for running, walking or hiking. You don’t want anything too big, because that will mean extra weight. For more information, look at our lightweight power banks for ultras guide. Alternatively, see my top picks below.
Auskang Power Bank: I Own 2 Of These
Food and Snacks Are Provided At A Ultra Challenge Series Event
Action Challenge offers a fantastic range of snacks and food at each aid station at their events so you can refuel during your walk. If you are not fussy about what you eat, you’ll find something you like at each aid station. When I walked my Action Challenge Ultras, they had the following types of foods;
- Energy bars
- Trail mix
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Chocolate bars
- A hot meal at the halfway point and finish
However, it is still essential to pack additional snacks of your own. Nutritious snacks such as fruits and nuts are ideal; they provide essential vitamins and minerals to energise you. Packing your favourite energy bars, gels and snacks that you have eaten during your training walks is also helpful because you know your stomach can handle them better.
Study the route and the distance between aid stations, and remember to stock up with enough nutrition to see you through to the next rest stop. Cram enough fruit, bars and whatever into your backpack – don’t be shy; it’s expected.
Save Money & Barrow Ultra Challenge Series Gear & Kit
If you want to take on an ultra-challenge and save money, borrowing gear or buying second-hand is a great way to save some cash. Many people will have the necessary items and are willing to lend them or sell them at a discounted rate. If you have a friend who is into hiking and ultra-challenges, they may even have some items you can borrow. The important thing to remember is that the gear should be of good quality, so borrow or buy from a person that you trust. Check all items before using them, and repair any items if necessary. Remember finding the right gear for a Ultra Challenge is important and you need to do some research.
Train With Your Ultra Challenge Series Gear & Kit
You’ve probably heard this before, but it is well worth repeating. Train with the gear you plan to use for your Ultra Challenge. This is particularly important if you are a first-time participant. You want to ensure everything works as it should and there are no unforeseen problems on the day; for example, your socks, t-shirt and backpack might feel fantastic on a short walk. However, how will it feel after 4 hours? I strongly suggest you wear all your gear for an ultra challenge on long training walks. Doing so will help you identify any problems before race day. If you encounter any problems, this gives you plenty of time to try something new or adjust.
Final Thoughts On Ultra Challenge Series Gear
These tips will help you successfully experience your next Action Challenge and find suitable Ultra Challenge Series gear. Remember to stay hydrated, wear the appropriate equipment, bring the necessary supplies and remember to have fun. You’ll love it and get the Ultra bug if it is your first time. You’ll find the volunteers extremely helpful and encouraging, and you’ll be surrounded by a great community that understands the challenge you are taking on. Some events also have foot specialists and medics to deal with foot or muscular problems. While you might feel a little nervous, that’s healthy, and you can use those nerves to ensure you stick to your training plan and prepare for your adventure.
Disclaimer: This guide contains affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from any sale that occurs via my links. This, however, does not change my opinion; I always do my best to provide the facts and suggest products that will benefit my users. You pay no more and no less for using these links. It does, however, help to sustain my blog.