Summer Spine Kit List

The Summer Spine is a peculiar beast.

Often overshadowed by its bigger, gnarlier sibling, the challenges of the summer race can be easily overlooked and has caught out many hapless Spiners over the years.

Yes, it is in ‘Summer’, but this is the summer of Northern England, on the Pennine Way. Already typically unpredictable conditions are exacerbated to extremes by the wide spectrum of environments racers are exposed to. What could be blissfull sunshine in lakeland valleys can transition into wintery storms on the peaks and plateaus through which the trail crests.

The largely self-sufficient nature of the race can exacerbate this, with many, MANY miles of unpopulated wilderness between checkpoints, kit selection – and management – is paramount. We’ve put together some suggestions to help get the most out of your race:

BASE LAYERS

Protracted races such as the Spine require many hours and days on the trail. As such, base layer choice needs to be able to perform during a wide gamut of cardiovascular outputs. When worn for days at a time, comfort and layerability is as important as technical features like wickability.

Men’s and Women’s Long Sleeve Dart Zip-Neck T-Shirt (click to view)
Men’s and Women’s Dart Zip Neck T-Shirt

Our Dart range of long and short-sleeved t’s combine the comfort and odour control (thanks to their Polygiene treatment) as Merino with the durability and versatility of synthetic layers. Ideal for a race where conditions and efforts can vary so greatly – and so often!

PACK

For most doing the longer distances of the summer spine a pack with a decent volume of carry space will be vital to carry all the kit you need between aid stations. The NEW Gecko VP20+ is an ideal option, providing efficient load carrying and ample storage solutions:

The NEW Gecko range has a variety of different sizes, and are all built around our groundbreaking COVALENT harness to provide super-efficient load carrying and intuitive pocket access. CLICK TO VIEW

INSULATION

Everyone knows you can’t rely on the UK summer at the best of times, let alone when you’re 24hrs into a 3-7 day footrace and have up to 50 miles between checkpoints or any kind of civilisation. Temperatures can vary as much as 30 degrees or more over a 24hr period, so staying warm is every bit as important as staying dry:

Unisex Extreme Smock/Jacket (Click to view)
The Men’s and Women’s Thermoplume range – including men’s icarus and women’s phoenix jackets (click to view)

The options chosen above represent both sides of spine race insulation philosophy. On one hand we have the contemporary line of thought; hi-tech synthetic insulation that mimics the structure of down, making it lightweight, packable, yet thermally efficient even when wet. There are a plethora of different jacket weights, warmths, and styles to mix and match what you want or need to the conditions.

On the other side you have the more old-school ‘Pile/Pertex’ option; one layer that does pretty much everything. The pile insulation doesn’t de-loft when wet, and temperature can be regulated by pit and side zips. It is heavy, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty much the only jacket you’d need!

Check out our blog post all bout this well-established and still relevant technology: Old School Cool

SHELL LAYERS

Just beacuse it’s a ‘summer’ race doesn’t mean there won’t be rain. For a race as challenging and prolongued as this you need something reliable and durable enough to take a beating, yet still breathable:

Unisex Podium Pull-on (click to view)
Men’s and Women’s Fleet Gtx Waterproof Jacket (click to view)

The options shown above cover both ends of that spectrum, with the unisex Podium Pull-on being lighter and more breathable yet less durable (ideal as an emergency layer for PROBABLY dry sections), and the Fleet being heavier duty but less breathable. In an ideal world you would change between the two at aid stations to suit the conditions.

LEGWEAR

For the most part, protection is the name of the game. As mentioned, conditions can be swing violently from freezing rain and snow to scortching heat. Our range of legwear provides excellent protection whilst remaining breathable and comfortable:

Women’s Ineo Lite Pants (click to view)

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