The Wadi Rum Desert Ultra Mara­thon, Gear Essen­tials

Fer­gus, a taste for endur­ance adven­ture.

27 Septem­ber 2018

I wanted to share with you the kit I used for the 242km Wadi Rum Ultra. Of course much of these choices are per­son­al, but per­haps there will be some use­ful inform­a­tion for you. If you’re inter­ested in read­ing my exper­i­ences and story of how the event went, you can read that here.

The race took place last Octo­ber, and was over a total of 5 days, with an over­all run­ning time of 29 hours 36 minutes. The longest day was a gruelling 70km through soft sand, and you can be sure you want to have con­fid­ence in your gear on a 10 hour day like this! Each morn­ing we star­ted run­ning before the sun rose and mid­day tem­per­at­ures soared to 40c.

Fergus’s Adven­tures

242km Wadi Rum Ultra.

I would say, do try and get hold of each piece of kit at least 4 weeks pri­or to the start, although ideally a lot longer than that. With regards to the all import­ant train­ers, try to decide a couple of months from your event the par­tic­u­lar make, mod­el and size that works for you.

I then per­son­ally got a new pair just 2 weeks out, and ran about 50km in them — this way they would be broken in, but equally not too worn out to loose any sup­port and cush­ion­ing which you obvi­ously want.”

An example of test­ing ALL your kit before race day was my water bottles, which star­ted leak­ing after about 20 seconds from the start line day 1! So I had a wet right knee for the whole 5 days.

The fol­low­ing is a full list and review of the kit I used for the mara­thon. You can also view a short You­Tube video I put togeth­er of my kit by click­ing here:


New Bal­ance Lead­villes v3

The most import­ant bit of kit you’ll have. I pur­chased and tried out HOKA One One Mafate Speed 2 (295 grams), Inov8 RocLite280 (280 grams), but I nev­er really hit it off with either of these. I think the HOKAs could have been good, but bought a size too big and I was reluct­ant to spend anoth­er £110. When run­ning the Lon­don mara­thon in 2015 (03:00:30), I did this in the much light­er and road run­ning ori­ent­ated Adi­das Boston Boost (226 grams) which were great, and I con­tin­ue using these for short­er 10km type runs now.

Ulti­mately, for the desert mara­thon, I came back round to a great sol­id train­er that I had tried and tested from some years pre­vi­ous. Com­ing in at 293grams, the New Bal­ance Lead­ville v3 were my selec­ted train­er — they’re cer­tainly not the light­est option, nor the snaz­zi­est train­er in terms of tech or looks. But I wanted a train­er which would be safe as houses and would not cause me a moment of both­er over the 5 days and 250km. I got this pair a couple of weeks pri­or to the start, and ran approx­im­ately 50km in them to break them in. Every oth­er com­pet­it­or had dread­ful blisters all over their feet, nails com­ing off, some pretty nasty sights! For­tu­nately, I had no such prob­lems and my feet were in per­fect order from start to fin­ish. They were the dream pair of train­ers, and I would highly recom­mend without hes­it­a­tion. I am still using them for runs now 6 months on..!


Raid­light desert gaiters

A short stumpy kind of gaiter spe­cific­ally designed for the desert. The way these work are that a vel­cro strip which comes with them, is stitched dir­ectly onto the train­er just above the sole, by a cob­bler (wouldn’t recom­mend doing this your­self!). I found a great cob­bler near Green Park tube who turned it around in 24 hours. It was called ‘Sole Man’, 1 White Horse Street, and they did a fant­ast­ic job. The gaiter then affixes onto this vel­cro strap, and is excep­tion­ally effect­ive — no sand came in at all, and had no issues with these what­so­ever. Highly recom­men­ded.


X-Socks mara­thon

Bril­liant socks which I use across the board for any kind of run­ning I am doing. Com­bined with with 2Toms Blister Shield, my feet with in tip top con­di­tion through­out the ultra.

Calf Guards:

X-Bion­ic Spyker

Bril­liaVery effect­ive at keep­ing away the cramps, and I would also keep on for sev­er­al hours after fin­ish­ing run­ning to act as com­pres­sion and recov­ery.

Wadi Rum:

day 4

Pic­ture above: after day 4 of the Wadi Rum, myself and fel­low com­pet­it­ors get­ting out of the sun in recov­ery mode!

Run­ning pants and top:

X-Bion­ic Twyce com­pres­sion gear

Des­pite being skin tight and black, this no doubt kept me cool. I did find I had to tuck into my shorts to pre­vent from rid­ing up at the bot­tom, but I was really impressed with this.


Mont­ane VIA Dragon 20

A great back­pack with a 20l capa­city, although with the roll top it is quite accom­mod­at­ing at squeez­ing in more if needed. Loads of pock­ets around the side and on the front for stuff­ing in gels, dates, music play­ers, sun cream etc. We actu­ally only had to carry what we needed for the day, so this was plenty big enough — had it been neces­sary to be suf­fi­cient and carry all the food, it’s dif­fi­cult to say, but I would ima­gine so. One of the water­bottle hold­ers on the front is a zip pock­et so this would from time to tim unzip itself and the bottle would fall out, but oth­er than that a great pack.


2 x 750ml Raid­light

Pretty stand­ard water bottles with small mouth piece extenders so you can drink from them whilst keep­ing them in your front ruck­sack pock­ets. I would find they would leak from time to time, but over­all func­tioned fine. You unscrew the tops of these, so per­haps not as quick as flip-top bottles to refill with water at the 10km check­points.

Arm Guards:

Mont­ane VIA Arm­guards

SPF50, very light­weight and fit the descrip­tion, albeit they would fall down at the top a little (my arms are quire skinny, but not too skinny)


Ver­tic­al Saha­ra

Very good cool­ing light­weight cap, with the exten­sion to keep the sun off your neck which worked very effect­ively. This could also be removed to clean it / just remove it if you didn’t need it for any reas­on.



An essen­tial and ver­sat­ile piece of kit, great for keep­ing the sun off your neck, soak­ing up sweat, and use­ful for a num­ber of oth­er impro­vised uses.


Leki Black Series Micro Vario Car­bon

I ran for most of the mara­thon, so only used these a couple of times, but when I used them they were very handy. Some of the oth­er com­pet­it­ors used their poles every day and I would say for them they were invalu­able. Because they are so light and com­pact, I would carry them with me on the long stage ‘just in case’ I was to need them in softer sand.

Wind­proof Jack­et:

Mont­ane Feath­erl­ite 7 (48 grams)

The world’s light­est wind­proof jack­et at 48 grams is a great piece of kit if weight and size is an import­ant factor for your activ­ity. It is more for early morn­ings or camp use, as it’s not breath­able and you sweat quite quickly in it when you start to run. Note, it isn’t breath­able so if you start exert­ing your­self and get a sweat on, it gets pretty sat­ur­ated on the inside. Nor is it water­proof, so it does have lim­it­a­tions, but for just keep­ing a chill off at the begin­ning of the day when the stage had star­ted, it was really use­ful.

Down Jack­et:

Leki Black Series Micro Vario Car­bon

The world’s light­est down jack­et, weigh­ing in at a phe­nom­en­al 154 grams. Fits very well, packs into noth­ing, and per­fect keep­ing warm in the even­ing, and in the morn­ing when get­ting ready. A great piece of kit.


Pet­zl Nao Headtorch

Water res­ist­ant and with 575 Lumens, this torch was just the job for run­ning across the desert for 3 hours before sun­rise. A num­ber of bright­ness and beam width cus­tom­is­able beam set­tings too. It is a little on the heav­ier side (187 grams), but I was happy to carry this extra 50 grams or so over a less power­ful equi­val­ent and have great vis­ib­il­ity.


Garmin 920 XT

A great watch, and bril­liant bat­tery life which hap­pily got me through the longest day of 14 hours without the bat­tery going.


Rudy Pro­ject Tylex

Light­weight, kept out the wind and sun per­fectly, and would with­stand drops and being thrown around no prob­lem. Also, the nose sup­ports can be adjus­ted, so they fit all sorts of shapes really well.


Bose Sound­S­port

Great head­phones, with volume and forward/back a track con­trol. Once placed in your ear, they would not move and gave good sound qual­ity


GoPro Hero4

Highly recom­men­ded piece of kit. The bat­tery would last a good couple of days, and safely on selfie stick, it tucks into your back­pack eas­ily and is to hand to cap­ture any inter­est­ing moments quickly.

All in all, I was really happy with the choices I made with kit. I don’t think I would make any changes if I was going back out there tomor­row and had the choice of any piece of kit.

Photo above:

Lee Fudge

Lee Fudge top­ping up one of my water bottles at one of the many, many, many 10km check­points!!

Lee Fudge top­ping up one of my water bottles at one of the many, many, many 10km check­points!!

Lee Fudge top­ping up one of my water bottles at one of the many, many, many 10km check­points!!

Lee Fudge top­ping up one of my water bottles at one of the many, many, many 10km check­points!!

Lee Fudge top­ping up one of my water bottles at one of the many, many, many 10km check­points!!