Equipment advice

Prepare and test your equipment

The choice of suitable equipment is a key factor in the success of your race. Ultra-endurance requires thorough preparation, including the choice of the equipment that you take with you.

The month of August in the Mont-Blanc area can be very hot (more than 30°C), but it can also be very cold (up to -10°C experienced above 2000m), with rain, hail or even snow. Your equipment must be suitable for confronting all types of conditions and enable you to spend one or two nights on the race route, according to the speed of your progression. In the case of an incident, your equipment must enable you to await help in sufficiently safe conditions.

The UTMB® imposes obligatory equipment which all runners must have with them permanently to avoid risk of penalty. Checks are carried out during the races. We can only encourage runners to also take with them the equipment which is highly recommended, as well as the equipment that we advise them to have.It is essential to be able to adapt your equipment to your reality, test it during training sessions in varying conditions and take everything that will be useful and necessary. Weight is a concern, but don't be too minimalist. Optimise your chances of success and your performance through judicious choice.

Obligatory equipment UTMB®, CCC®, TDS®
Mandatory material for the OCC & MCC
Mandatory equipment YCC
FAQ obligatory equipment
The ideal trail-running shoe
La montre GPS
Quel téléphone résistant embarquer pour ma course ?
La protection des yeux
Night trail running advice

How do you run through the night?

Night running is a unique experience. Physically, mentally, and in terms of your senses, it is another world. When you run at night, the challenges that you face during the day are amplified by the absence of ambient light. Your perception of the environment is distorted when you use a headlamp: first, you have the impression of running in a tunnel. Also, your ability to perceive the relief of the terrain deteriorates, as you are seeing mainly in two dimensions, requiring greater attention to distinguish obstacles. Your eyes must work harder to analyze the terrain. You also need to be more vigilant at night for locating cairns and markers. Running at night can quickly become tiring without the runner necessarily being aware. During a race like the UTMB®, this fatigue is added to the fatigue of the day - no small thing, as you are running over two full consecutive nights. To best manage this fatigue and perform at your best, three aspects are important: train to run at night, manage your lighting well during the race, and of course choose your headlamp wisely.

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Training for night running

It is essential to train at night for a night race. This allows you to be more comfortable in the dark, to improve your capacity to analyze the changes in the terrain, and thus to better anticipate any situation. Experienced trail runners train for night races not only by running, but also by practicing complementary activities such as hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing in the nighttime. The more time you spend training at night, the more accustomed you will become to nocturnal conditions, and the faster and more efficient you will be.
At the beginning, it is best to run when there is a full moon and on easier terrain. Over time, you will progress to more and more technical terrain. Consider running with one or more others. It is extremely beneficial for both motivation and safety. And of course if you are on a new trail, a compass or GPS could prove useful...


Managing your lighting

For long runs like the UTMB®, knowing how to manage burn times and brightness is vital. Some guidelines:

  • Consider running in a group: this means more lighting for everyone, and energy is saved by each runner!
  • When running uphill, put the headlamp in economical mode to conserve energy.
  • For a fast downhill section, increase the lighting intensity, perhaps even to maximum mode, in order to better anticipate the terrain ahead and to locate key intersections on the trail.
  • Plan to bring spare batteries, and don't forget your emergency headlamp, a requirement on the UTMB®!


Choosing a headlamp

The UTMB® requires all participants to have two headlamps, one primary lamp and a second emergency lamp. There are many types of headlamps, each with its own features and benefits. Certain headlamps are better suited for ultra trail running than others. Here are a few elements to keep in mind when it is time to choose.

Basic configurations

In general, there are two types of headlamps:

  • The "all-in-one": compact headlamps, with all weight in front, are ideal for short duration activities. Be sure to choose a headlamp with a headband that ensures optimal positioning on the head throughout the race.
  • Headlamps with batteries at the back of the head: generally, these headlamps are more powerful because they use either a larger rechargeable battery or more regular batteries. They are well balanced and a good choice for an ultra trail.

Power: an essential quality

In general, the more powerful your headlamp is, the better. More power means less effort for the eyes in order to see the terrain, allowing you to relax and run faster. There is also less accumulated fatigue. A critical point for a race like the UTMB®, where two nights will perhaps be run back-to-back. Petzl's NAO® +, REACTIK® + headlamps are ideal for taking advantage of performance power.

Power vs burn time

More lighting power translates to shorter burn time. REACTIVE LIGHTING technology continually adapts the beam and the brightness to the vision needs of the runner. This means fewer manipulations, greater power when needed, and thus a longer burn time. REACTIVE LIGHTING technology is available on NAO® + and REACTIK® + headlamps.
For even greater performance, the MyPetzl Light app for NAO® + and REACTIK® + headlamps allows the user to predetermine lighting profiles and to manage burn time levels during the race.

REACTIVE LIGHTING: Change in brightness based on user need

Energy source: regular or rechargeable batteries?

For occasional use, choose a headlamp that uses regular batteries:

  • No self-discharge: the batteries work even after a long period of non-use.
  • Very long storage time.

For regular to frequent use (training...), choose a headlamp that runs of rechargeable batteries:

  • Simple charging via the USB port.
  • Economical solution over time.
  • Lithium-Ion battery: very low self-discharge rate and very high performance, even at low temperatures.

Whatever you choose for the UTMB®, do not forget to bring spare batteries.

Your emergency headlamp

During the UTMB®, you need to be ready to confront the potential risks of an ultra trail. An emergency headlamp is part of the safety equipment required in case your primary headlamp fails. You have several options. To get out of a difficult situation, ultra-compact and lightweight headlamps like the e+LITE® (26 g) provide sufficient lighting. In order to continue running normally, choose a TIKKA® or ACTIK® type compact headlamp.


Petzl and the UTMB®

Petzl, headlamp creator and manufacturer, is official supplier to the UTMB. Our headlamps will light the most remote zones and aid stations. The volunteers and rescue teams who ensure a safely run event will also be equipped. The headlamp assistance crews will be at the Chapieux, Trient and Contamines Montjoie aid stations. They will help you with any technical problems with your headlamp, no matter what brand!

For more information, go to our Night Trail page at

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