Monday 8 February 2010

Atacama Crossing 2010 Kit list

Less than 4 weeks to go to the Atacama Crossing 2010.

I'm still working through my mental approach issues. I'll let you know how that goes as it improves. Thanks for all the emails and comments from last weeks post.  One way to help myself, is to ensure I'm fully prepared in other areas. I'm happy with my fitness. I had a lighter recovery week last week. A 3 mile flatout on Tuesday, as posted about previously, then two 5 miles runs to work, with a backpack. I rested at the weekend but will catchup and do my long run tonight after work (12 miles probably), no doubt starting and finishing in very dark coldness - it's chilly again here in the UK.  I got my weeks mixed up - last wekeend wasn't the Anglezarke Amble which I said I wasn't going to do.  Turns out it is this weekend coming.  So, I've entered.  I decided to risk it, since I'll get worried I'll lose my fitness if I don't do a decent distance before the Atacama Crossing. The AA is 24 miles long, bleak, and pretty hilly - getting on for 4000ft of ascent.  It basically consists of moor, moor and more moor...oh and hills.  I'l be doing a couple of 11 milers mid week too.  This time next week I'll begin to taper for the event. 

I'm considering some Hypoxic training over the next few weeks after reading one competitor used it last year (maybe more?).  It's using a bike or treadmill wearing an oxygen mask, simulating the required altitude.  I spoke to a place in London and it turns out that quite a few other Atacama Crossing competitors are already doing it, sufficient enough numbers that they have organised a special programme and price anyway.  Essentially, it's 2 supervised intro sessions (2 x £45), then unlimited use of the exercise facility for the next month (£200).  I don't live nearby enough to use it every day (optimal), but I could probably get 3 sessions in a week for the next month (better than nothing?).  I'm going to speak to them this week and read around the subject to see if there is any research papers to say it actually works.  If you happen to know already, please let me know if it's worth it.  Obviously nothing beats those guys I read who are getting out to Chile a week or two early to properly acclimitise, but I can't take a month off work!  Failing that, I'll walk around with a pair of socks in my mouth for month, as that pretty realistically simulates running at that altitude - I'll let you decde if I'm joking or not.

The other area I can ensure I'm fully prep'd on is my kit. I've more or less finalised my kit now, and my food. Standing on the start line of day 1 my backpack should weigh a little under 7kg, then I will have water ration on top of that. My backpack weight with all equipment contents will be 3.2kg, and my food will be almost 3.8kg (after breakfast is eaten before the start); so 7kg.

What am I taking?

I thought it might be useful to post them for anyone still pondering any equipment choices. These are just my thoughts. I'm not saying my choices are perfect (or even half right!), but I know what worked for me last time and it's mostly the same choices as last year (and tried and test in other deserts) - but this year stripped down to even more to bare essentials really.  I've hyperlinked as many items as I could to make it easy for you to see what I am using.  Pretty much all itmes I found I could now source at the cheapest prices (I compared a few websites for price and range being the bargain hunter that I am!) from RTPs new online store.  I've hyperlinked the UK store website, but all the same items you can get from their international store as well I imagine.  The delivery was very cheap and fast; a flat rate £3.50 and came by Fed-Ex courier the next day, so full marks to RTP for that.  Last year I had to shop around for my kit and food from about 10 different online stores and paid 10 delivery charges, so this has saved me the hassle, as well as money.  My sleeping bag and down vest were from PHDesigns in the UK; a well known supplier to desert competitors, as well as Arctic ones.  The other items you can buy more or less anywhere.   

750g - Backpack - OMM Classic Marathon 32L Backpack (includes a whistle and tiny sleeping mat)
15g - Backpack LED - Flashing LED Safety Light
60g (30gx2)Drinks System - OMM I-Gamy Bottle Holster x 2
160g (80gx2)Drinks System - OMM Ultra Bottle (500ml) x 2
100g - Drinks System - SIS 1 x 1000ml water Bottle
- Total drinks capacity of 2 litre as per requirement.

66g - Torch - Petzl Tikka 2 with 3x Lithium batteries
30g - Backup Torch - Black Diamond Ion
50g - Space blanket
7g - 20 safety pins
200g - Blister Kit + pain relief meds
40g - Compass - Silva
26g - Knife -  4 Deserts SwissCard
15g - Medicated Lip Balm; Sun Block, 0.15 oz, SPF 30
376g – Ultralight down Sleeping Bag +8C rated (clothes must be worn to supplement this)
230g - Sleeping Mat - Therm-A-Rest Prolite – extra small to use with backpack sleeping mat
200g - Thermarest compressible Pillow – priceless!
70g - Hand Cleansing Alcohol gel
79g - P20 once a day suncream – ½ bottle decanted
10g - Light My Fire Spork
2g - 6 x disposable earplugs
10g - Chlorine Tablets
50g – 14x wet wipes
10g – toilet paper

Wearing this - Eye Protection – Oakleys
Wearing this - Railriders Adventure Top (inc patches)
Wearing this - Skins Sport Long Tights – day and night
Wearing this - Helly Hansen Seamless boxer shorts
Wearing this - Running Shoes – New Balance MT840
Wearing this - RaidLight Stop-Run Gaiters
Wearing this – Nike Running Cushioned socks
Wearing this – Asics socks (over the Nikes)
Wearing this - Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
140g - Montane Featherlite Marathon Jacket – evenings and asleep
40g - Icebreaker Pocket 200 – evenings and asleep
36g - Hilly Gloves - evenings
40g (2x20g) - Nike Running Cushioned socks x 2 - spare
40g – Asics socks - spare
150g – Helly Hansen LIFA – evenings and asleep
150g - Ultra Lightweight down vest – evening and asleep

So all that lot, plus a few minor items weighs around 3.2kg

Food - My daily menu is more or less the same, with different flavours of electrolyte, snack bars and evening meals. As follows:

111g - Cereals and powdered milk 418 kcal
50g - SIS PSP22 carb drink (breakfast) 187 kcal
123g - Nuts bar 212 kcal x 3(41g) (636 kcal total)
26g - Peperami 126 kcal
150g - SIS - Go Electrolyte 175 kcal x 3(50g) (525 kcal total)
50g - SIS Rego recovery powder 175 kcal
133g - Evening Meal – Mountain House Chicken Tikka 592 kcal
12g - Vacuum sealed in a vac bag

1 day total - 660g - 2659 kcal

The long stage food menu has more snack bars and electrolyte.  There is less food on the rest day and final stage. Giving a grand total of, for food:  3799g, 15259kcal  For many people, this won't be enough food.  I'm quite a light frame, about 64kg, so I can get by on this amount.

So, all of these things are to keep my mind busy and make me happy in the knowledge that I have prepared as well as I can.  The mental prep continues.

Have a good week.


  1. Glad to see you're taking another crack at this Rich. I have no doubt that you will do well this year. Interesting to see that you are doing specific altitude sessions. How long are the individual sessions? Total time t altitude for the training plan?


  2. The altitude sessions are an hour long. 3 x 15 minute intervals wearing the mask, on the treadmill, 5 mins running in beteen without the mask.
    I'm did 1 last week, 3 this week, 4 next week, and probably 3 the week after that. Running at a slow speed of around 8kph, sufficient to put my oxygen sats down to about 80% and maintain that.


  3. Blooody hell, that sounds painful. I'll be interested to hear if you think they were useful.