Ultramarathon Checklist

Your ultramarathon checklist will depend on the race format, climate, weather, and drop bag separations. My preparations were based on a 24-hour ultramarathon loop course with 2 aid stations / drop bag locations for a summer race (temps were in the upper 90s).

What I packed was to deal with hydration, nutrition, sun exposure, blisters, first aid, night running, and chaffing. I ran rather light, carrying a small waist pack and hand-held water bottle. In the pack, I carried some band aids, BodyGlide powder, and my cell phone. On the Nathan water-bottle pouch, I carried a container of salt tablets and my car keys. This is pictured below.

Ultramarathon - Carry Items

The next challenge was how to pack and separate my nutrition between aid stations. After reading several stories, articles, and other people’s ultramarathon checklists, I determined the best way to pack my drink powder was to pre-measure out portions in bags and mark them by time. I used baby bottle liner bags and twist ties. The neat thing about these bags is that they were sturdy, durable, and the mouth of the bag fit nicely into the water bottle for dumping it in on-the-go!

For the two aid stations, I packed a pair of dry socks in a zip lock sandwich bag, extra salt caps in ziplock snack bags, and ClifBars. I fit this all nicely into a lunch tote. For the other aid station I used a cooler and gym bag and packed extra shoes, shirt, a towel, bug spray, sun tan lotion, larger first aid kit with mole skin and an extra hat. (Note: Next time I’ll pack scissors! It took me 5 minutes to find a volunteer with a knife to cut the mole skin). For $5 at the hardware store, I bought some engineering tape (orange, nylon, non-adhesive, marking tape). By tying small pieces to the strap of my lunch tote, cooler, and gym bag, I was able to find them easier.

Ultramarathon – Drink Mix Bags

Here’s the complete ultramarathon checklist (to include a few items that I wished I had):


  • Running Hat with sun flaps
  • Cell phone
  • Salt caps
  • Water bottle or pack
  • Extra lube
  • Band-aids

Aid Station – Drop Bag

  • Extra socks – in waterproof bag
  • Extra Salt Caps
  • Energy Bars
  • Drink mix, Perpetuem / Gatorade / etc…
  • Runner lube

Loop Start / Finish – Drop Bag

  • Extra shoes
  • Extra shirt – reflective for night?
  • Extra Hat
  • Extra Salt Caps
  • Energy Bars
  • Drink mix, Perpetuem / Gatorade / etc…
  • Runner lube
  • Head lamp
  • Sun tan lotion, sweat-proof (Scape or similar)
  • First aid kit w/scissors
  • Baby wipes
  • Bug spray
  • Extra socks – in waterproof bag
  • Cooler w/ ice: Gatorade, Mountain Dew, etc...
  • Towel
  • Deodorant (Your ride home will appreciate this!)
  • Index cards & pen to exchange contact info with other runners
  • Camera – for when it’s all said & done!

Ultramarathon – Drop Bag

I’m sure there are other comfort items and amenities that you might want to add to your ultramarathon checklist, depending on your race and support team. My kids (4 boys) had misty squirt bottles at the start and finish which I thought was really cool (literally). Also, I almost didn’t bring a cooler since the race advertised that they’d have all the same stuff…however, it was nice having an ice cold drink at the end of the loop…and the caffeine from the Mountain Dew was a welcomed injection of energy!

Leave Ultramarathon Checklist & Return to The Ultramarathon page