Blizzard Bags

Winter fell and trail running in remote areas can be hazardous.

Have you ever had to stop running whilst wearing only a thin base layer and waterproof top? If so you will have realised that it doesn’t take long to get cold.  Although you might not feel too cold whilst running, even in wet and windy weather, as soon as you stop exercising and thus producing heat you begin to cool down rapidly.

Descending White Side

remote running in bad weather

An enforced stop, a sprained ankle for example, can easily lead to the onset of hypothermia in such conditions.

One great piece of kit that I carry on remote runs is a Blizzard Survival Bag.  This is made of a highly thermally efficient material with a warmth to weight ratio exceeding even goose down.  What’s more it is durable and efficient even when wet.

Blizzard Bag

Blizzard Bag

The Active Range version weighs only 280 grams and is small enough to fit into a bumbag.  It comes vacuum packed for ease of transport and once opened unfolds into a full length sleeping bag.

Blizzard Survival Bag for running

lightweight and easy to carry

Blizzard Bag for runners

easily opens to sleeping bag size

It works by trapping a layer of air between two layers of thermally reflective material.  Once inside, the draw cord can be pulled tight around your head leaving a small breathing space and keeping you out of the wind and rain.  Any heat your body gives off is retained within the bag rather than being lost to the elements.

Sat in a Blizzard Bag

snug inside the bag

At a little over £20 Blizzard Bags are a really good investment.  It’s the first thing that goes into my bag when I’m off running or walking in remote areas.

Next time you’re out on a remote run think about what would happen if you or one of your group had to stop for a length of time.  What state would you be in by the time help arrived?  This bag might be the difference between an uncomfortable wait and something much more serious.

So get out there, run and enjoy the worst that the winter can throw at us, but stay safe.

 

Running on Ice

Icy conditions have made fell running training a little difficult recently.

Although deep snow is difficult to run through it is actually great for training.  You have to work harder as the snow provides resistance to your forwards movement, you have to lift your knees higher and so bring into play muscles that you don’t normally use and if you do fall over (which is inevitable) you usually end up with a soft landing.

The problems start when conditions underfoot are icy such as when the snow melts during the day then refreezes at night or where it gets compressed into a hard, frozen layer.  I have been asked by several people recently how I continue training when it gets icy.

One way is to use Micro-spikes.  I use Kahtoola. These are basically scaled down walking crampons that simply attach to your shoe and are held in place by stretchy rubber. They can be put on in around 10 seconds per foot and taken off in a fraction of that.  Reasonably small and light I simply carry them in my bum bag or rucksack and put them on when needed.

I find them a really great piece of kit which allow me to keep training on terrain that might otherwise be too difficult to run on.

The video shows you how easy they are to use:

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