50 Mile Ultramarathon: What I Packed in my Drop Bags and Hydration Vest

March 21, 2023

HI! I’m Molly.

Here to encourage you on your own bold pursuit of intentional living as I live out my own. I’m passionate about running, spending time doing what I love and cheering others on to approach running with joy.

I ran my first 50 mile ultramarathon in Antelope Canyon, AZ, and I wanted to share everything I packed in my drop bags and my hydration vest.

I’ve done one ultramarathon before, a 50k, and the prep for this 50 miler felt entirely different than that one. Makes sense since it was 19 more miles! For a distance of this caliber, you’re able to utilize “drop bags”, which are bags you can pack ahead of time to have the race organizers leave at designated aid stations. I ended up packing two drop bags and only used contents in one of them! I couldn’t remember which aid station I’d left my other one at and neither had the energy to look for it nor did I really need it, so I didn’t use it! I definitely overpacked, but would most likely pack all of this stuff again since I would rather have it all and notneed it vs. not have it all and need it!

Here is what I packed in my drop bags for 50 miles: 

Drop bags: in hindsight, I wish I had used waterproof bags since it ended up pouring and my stuff got all wet. However, the size was perfect and these are affordable, too.

Bag of fuel: I packed a ziploc bag full of all my fuel, equating to almost 1000 calories worth of fuel. 

Bag full of medical stuff: I packed my roll-on gel in case my muscles were hurting, more anti-chafe rub, moleskin for blisters, sunscreen, KT tape for muscles, zinc oxide in case I was chafing and needed to ease the pain in those spots. I also had typical items like tylenol, benadryl and imodium, as well as these ginger candies in case I was nauseous. I wear contacts, so I brought both extra contacts and eye drops, too! 

Extra gear: I brought an extra pair of socks and shoes in case I needed a refresh. I ended up staying in what I was wearing, but I know plenty of people change halfway through! 

Salt pills: I brought a lot of salt pills with me and took one every hour throughout the race. I’m glad I had extra too, though, because I shared with people around me who needed some! 

Portable charger: I was worried about my phone dying halfway through since I am on it frequently to film – and I was right! This is one of the best portable chargers I’ve found because of its size and I used it around mile 33 when my phone was close to dying. 

What I packed in my hydration vest for my ultramarathon:

Fuel + salt pills: I packed enough fuel to get me to my first drop bag, which was at mile 20 

Emergency medical gear: I kept a space blanket and a whistle in case of emergency, as well as my epi pen (keep anything you’d need with you ASAP with you, not your drop bag) and immodium and tylenol. 

Gear for later in the race: I wasn’t sure what the weather would do (little did I know what was coming!), but I had sunglasses and gloves in the back big pouch. I never used my sunnies, but did use the gloves! 

Extra pair of headphones: I didn’t start listening to music until mile 22, but I had an extra pair of headphones just in case the battery on mine died. Mine didn’t die, but it would certainly be a bummer to be without headphones when you need them, so I definitely recommend having another pair just in case! 

Hand sanitizer: I wasn’t sure what the bathroom situation would be like, so I brought hand sanitizer just in case. I also had some toilet paper with me, which I never used!

Soft flask for water: In hindsight, I didn’t need this much water with me, but I was nervous about running out before I got to an aid station! These soft flasks are perfect for slipping into a front pouch. 

I have everything linked in my Amazon Storefront if it's easier for you to shop everything all in one there! I hope this is helpful for you if you’re planning to run an ultramarathon soon and aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to packing your drop bags. 

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