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VIDEO: The 10 essentials for trail running and backcountry adventure

Endurance runner Gary Robbins, notable for his Barkley Marathons performance this year, lists his 10 trail running essentials to stay safe.

Considering he was on the verge of becoming the first-ever Canadian to finish the famous Barkley Marathons this year, Gary Robbins knows trail running as well as anyone. The North Vancouver-based runner offers his 10 essentials for safe mountain and trail running adventures in his latest video. The essentials and tips apply to runners of all levels.

The 15-minute instructional video describes what the Salomon endurance runner feels safest with on his runs. In addition to his 10 essentials, Robbins outlines some other items runners should bring on trail and mountain runs. Generally, it depends on the terrain and the part of the country where one is located (bear territory, for example).

One of the country’s better known trail runners, Robbins made headlines for attempting the 100-mile Barkley Marathons in April. The Tennessee race is considered one of the world’s toughest endurance races. He made it to the fifth and final lap of the event before dropping out. The race has close to a 100 per cent dropout rate.

RELATED: Hallucinations, sleep deprivation and vertical cliffs: What Gary Robbins’ Barkley Marathons was really like.

The outdoor enthusiast regularly goes on 10-hour-plus runs in the mountains and in the forests of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.

RELATED: Two ultrarunners finish Colorado’s Hardrock 100 hand-in-hand as co-champions.

Gary Robbins’ 10 trail running essentials

1. Headlamp: Robbins also carries a spare battery and spare light source.
2. Signalling device: One of the most important things you can carry is a whistle, says Robbins. A whistle “can pierce” the air better than simply yelling in case of emergency. Other items include a mirror to reflect the sun and create a signal as well as a flare.
3. Fire starter kit including waterproof matches.
4. Spare clothing. A question Robbins asks is “can you stay warm for 20 minutes in your environment if you were forced to stop moving?” He carries gloves, arm warmers and a head wrap among other pieces.
5. A knife.
6. Shelter, which Robbins says is one of the most important items. He recommends an emergency bivvy.
7. Food. Bring enough food for both the run itself and extra in case the run gets extended. Robbins carried 4,000 calories for a 13- to 14-hour run recently.
8. First aid kit.
9. Navigation. Robbins uses a compass and a map in addition to a GPS watch.
10. Communication. “Your number one tool when you’re in cell range is your phone,” says Robbins. “A phone can save your life.” Without reception, he recommends a spot tracker.

Full video

Additional items include sunblock and sunglasses, lube, electrolytes, water purification, bear bangers and bear spray.

After he lists off some of his essentials, Robbins touches on how to communicate with a group in terms of what items should be brought along. He then goes on to emphasize the importance of a veto in relation to someone speaking up and wanting to turn back if they don’t feel safe.

Below are some of Robbins’ photos from his trail runs and backcountry adventures

Lots of people were asking Robbins to post a future video about how exactly he packs up all the items into a backpack. Expect another video from the bearded trail runner in the coming weeks and months.

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