The Great North Face 100 Gear Debate

With all the advice on gear in the lead-up to North Face, we thought we’d run a quick survey of all those guys and gals who ran the damn thing to find out what you actually went with during the race. While we’re not going to cover off all equipment, we thought we’d cover off the basics and the most talked about as part of any race prep – Shoes, Backpack and Nutrition.

For the first two categories, there is of course just one choice, however for nutrition we know that people use any number of combinations, so feel free to pick and choose as many as you like. If we haven’t put down your choice, there is also the ‘other’ option where you can name your choice, but hopefully we have them the vast majority.

Once the data is in, we’ll give a run-down of the most popular gear along with some commentary from ‘so-called’ experts to see why they chose certain pieces gear and food in a bid to help further your choices for future races and indeed TNF2013.

So without further ado, we’d love for you to take part in our North Face Gear survey, and hopefully make it one of the most comprehensive studies of what people use during the race.

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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

21 thoughts on “The Great North Face 100 Gear Debate

  1. Also might be interesting to know what everyone did regarding foot care!
    My feet, especially my toes are still numb and tingling. I’m not sure if the purple colouring is a Blood blister or Frostbite!?! I wore injinji toe socks with New Balance MT572BR. The moisture wick was great, but unfortuantly so was the heat dissapation.

  2. Good article team. I was pretty happy with my choice of shoes, etc, but crashed badly on nutrition. Felt like I had no idea what to eat and what to drink , so I survived on next to nothing. Just water, noodles at each cp, a can of V and coffee at each cp too. Some gels, Lollies and not much more. Stomach problems from the start , plus on the back of a cold.

    Good crews also help , so they can dish up the motivation.

    So I am pretty keen to see what nutrition tips are out there.

    By the way – great runs by Dan, Darrel and most others out there. A great race, will now know what I am in for next year.

  3. I ran in Salomon XT Wings and just was not comfortable in them and switched at CP4. I’d been to’ing and fro’ing on using them and in the end I just think they are a half a size too small for me. Used Injinji socks which for me now are a proven performer. Nutrition was mostly Endura brand of gels, electrolyte and opti topped up with some snake lollies, almond nuts and quite a few salt tablets as I felt any onset of cramps. Grabbed extra food like bananas at each checkpoint on the way out, the sausage sandwiches at CP4 were a real treat! Only thing that I would have liked at the checkpoints was some coke, it really works for me, I packed some in my drop bags though. Backpack was Salomon XT Wings 10 which was brilliant

      1. Believe it or not my fav Nike Zoom Elites, felt like slippers after the Salomons. Pity Nike dont make them anymore, these are my last pair and just about done 🙁

  4. Ran in Salomon Speedcross 3s great grip, support, comfort etc but the material in the heel cup wore away to the plastic moulding and then started to eat away at my left heel and left me with a huge wound. Not too impressed as the shoes are only 200km old. I’ll be taking up the issue with the Salomon warranty this week. Their pack on the other-hand was awesome. Injinji midweight socks great too – no blisters.

    1. Agree Todd. I know Salomon offer a 12 month warranty on all shoes, so that shouldn’t be an issue in terms of replacement. I had an issue with Inov8 shoes falling apart after one run and they were changed without question, so much manufacturers are pretty good about that kind of thing.

  5. The Vibram Spyridon LS performed amazingly – not a single blister, hotspot or discomfort – despite being out there for over 22 hours.. Although my quads started cramping from 19ks, the green apple Powerbar gels every 45 minutes worked incredibly with no tiredness, doldrums or stomach problems.. Very impressed!

  6. I ran in comfortable Nike Lunar Fly2 Trails, yes I know all you young guys are saying im just an old bugger, these are ok for the easy stuff but after CP2 wished I had Salomon Speedcross 3’s CS for the hard up and downhill to grip into the next mountain. The Salomon 1.5 litre does not cut it on this run, just too small for all the gear and fluid needed on the run, I could squeaze everything except the emergency wet gear and synthetic top, which should have been given a mention by the organizers prior to the race start ie not just at the gear check with confusion but a confirmation of what, when and how an anouncement before race start depending on weather conditions where the gear could be left, not just ‘artifacts’ lets get real, this is a big event, why trivialize it!

    This left competitors who have not run the race before advised to leave gear at CP4 or 5 dependeing who you spoke to open to disqualification. Initially Perpetum for fluid, then mostly Endura brand of gels on the run, electrolyte topped up with some snake lollies, almond nuts and 3 salt tablets after the Golden Stairs due to leg cramping. Grabbed extra food like bananas at each checkpoint on the way out. I agree with David B, it would have been great to have coke at the checkpoints it really works or a cup of tea is also good! The reality is to do the 100 the average runner should use a support crew to help get you there and prepare the best you can, groups like Ultra168 are a rare godsend and literally can be the difference between the ‘unkonwn’ and getting you to the finish based on sound trail running product support and knowledge , thank god for Ultra 168!

  7. Ran on Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras, Camelback Octane, Ronhill running compression shorts which I will never use again as I think they are too tight at the waist and caused stomach problems, Kathmandu thermals, balaclava for first 4cps then buff as it started to cool. Good crew helps, but next ultra will pre- prepare running backpacks for quick changeovers.

    Great website team.

  8. Thanks for all of your feedback guys on this. There are some great insights here, and the survey is taking great shape too. Hopefully it will become a great resource for people to use for next year, so keep the comments coming and thanks Craig as well for your very kind words.

  9. Ran with Mizuno Wave 6 Ascend runners…great shoe but now need to replace them,(taped feet = no blisters) Camelback Octane (just the right size), I/O Merino (Australian Brand LS Crib 150g and Graphic-T 160g and Track Jacket “fleece” 250g. Wool was a really great choice for the 3 layers I wore. Not hot, not cold….Plus when cold and dark The North Face “Torpedo” Jacket, Icebreaker Wool gloves and fine wool Beanie… I was out for 23 hours…and finished. No Nutrition issues, plenty of poweraid and protien bars worked a treat…..And agree a good crew really helps!!!

  10. Camelbak Lobo 3.0 and Endura did the trick for me. The feet were a problem though – started with Merrell Trail Gloves and swapped them for Mizuno Wave Elixer 7’s until the end which are more of a road shoe but were good for the night time in terms of some extra support.

    So no dramas at all with the gear or nutrition, but dramas with the shoes – my own fault though as I don’t quite have the style yet to be wearing transition shoes.

  11. Wore new balance shoes to halfway. All gear except new balance shoes worked well. Nutrition was spot on. Injinji socks looked after my feet, no blisters.

  12. Shoes: Inov8 Talon 190 – which proved fantastic on the climbs and descents but in the closing stages did not provide enough protection under the ball of my foot, feet were a little tender as a result. Eagerly awaiting the release of Salomon Sense!

    Socks: Toe Rags from – have used them for years in enduro MTB and never had a blister. Same deal for TNF100 with only one change in to a fresh pair at CP3.

    Nutrition: Hammer Perpetuem – approx one 750ml bottle every 4 hours (6 scoops). 3 x Hammer Endurolyte tabs at each CP and 4 x Shotz Electrolyte Tablets in my 2L hydration pack (went through 4L over the course of the race). Took in a couple of Mother Earth Oaty Slices and Vegemite Cheesybite Snacks at CP2 and CP4.

    Overall had an awesome time, met some fantastic people and will be back again to do it all again next year!

  13. Hi guys,
    First time over the distance so happy with my 15hr finish
    Nutrition I nailed with High5 products and what was avail at CP,
    possibly an overkill on the Salt Stick Tablets but after starting to use these I have not found cramping or overheating an issue and have seen a big improvement.
    Backpack wise I went with a Camelbak Mule fitted everything I needed however I was v jealous of those with the Salomon SLAB12, this should be a Xmas in July present to myself.
    Footpoint sorted me out with some North Face Hayasa s and they were fantastic! I couldn’t take them off for a couple of weeks leading into the race. I think they will wear fairly quickly though so I am going to need an everyday trainer but as a race shoe I think this is perfect. Feels light as a feather.
    I have a year to get my pack lighter as it seemed that I was carrying twice as much weight as those around me


    1. The Mule is good Simon. It only looks bigger than the others. My roommate was laughing at my pack prior to a race last year but stopped when he realised his pack and mine weighed the same. The only danger with it is it has so much space you fill it with stuff you dont need.

      It’s a shame those poll results aren’t live guys

      1. Sure thing Charlie. We could have made them live, but we thought it would be better to do the thing justice with a more detailed post that analysed the results and provided a bit more value. Couple of work deadlines have ensured that I was unable to post that today, but it will be coming soon, so thanks for your patience.

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