I am still working on expanding my heatmap (and as I write this, I realise I have not penned down an update on that in ages, will get on that soon™). For this particular mini-adventure, I wanted to run from Eupen (Belgium) to the three country point of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. Nothing particularly difficult, but it was a bit far for an out and back. I thought instead I could continue on to Aachen (Germany) and then take the train back.
Cross border trains get a bit more expensive though, so with the warmer weather starting and wanting to make the most out of the ticket, I decided to make it all more expensive still and make a long weekend in Aachen out of it. That means I needed to carry a bit more than I usually do on a run, which in turn is the reason I am jotting this down as a reminder for a possible future attempt at a similar endeavour.
I had to bring enough stuff to survive the weekend in Aachen and I had to carry it on my back while running. I believe the community calls this “fastpacking”. I made it easier on myself by renting a room in Aachen to crash, so I did not need a tent or anything like that. Evidently I could also just buy food in the city. So in essence what I needed was: clothes, footwear, some essentials.
Eventually I settled on the following. Sadly I am writing this after the fact from memory, so I hope I am not making a mistake. Also, I forgot to weigh the setup beforehand. It definitely was heavier than what I have run with in the past.
- Surviving the long run from Eupen to Aachen
- 10 litre running backpack from Decathlon to hold everything
- 1 litre water bag with drinking tube
- 2×0.5 litre soft flasks filled with water (it was warm enough to warrant both)
- 4 energy gels from decathlon
- Power plug
- USB-C charging cable
- Watch charging cable (I planned on doing, and tracking, more walking and running in Aachen so I knew my forerunner 245 would not make it without a top up)
- Toiletries (travel sized)
- Contact case + contact fluid
- Toothbrush + tooth paste
- Clothing for when I am not running
- Underwear and socks
- 1 running sweater that weighs less than my regular sweaters
- 1 T-shirt
- 1 pair of light fabric shorts
- Espadrilles (sort of like slippers)
- ID card, bankcard, Brussels public transport card
- Some cash bills since Germany is 20 years behind on using cards and do tipping
- Some plastic and ziplock bags to keep things dry while I sweat through the backpack.
Besides all that, I was also wearing running clothes, running shoes, and my running watch. I reused those running clothes (including the socks and underwear) for the two runs I did in Aachen the two days after. This went OK. Shower washing of clothes is also always an option when things can dry quickly enough.
I made sure to cut nails and shave before as well, to not have to worry about those while there.
I was very happy to have brought clean clothes for when not running. Nothing like a shower after the run and not having to squeeze back into dirty clothes.
The espadrilles were not a good choice. They were a bit heavier and they are stiff so not as easily stuffed into the backpack. Disregarding that, they started cutting into my feet after walking a lot in them. That was slightly unexpected since I have used other espadrilles in the past that worked just fine when touristing. In the future, I might be tempted to look into some more minimalist shoes, by the looks of things there are more foldable options in that market. Otherwise I also have some light watershoes I am tempted to give a try once. Just using the running shoes for everything is also an option, but it is nice to be out of those for a while too. Especially after sweating a bunch.
The place actually provided a toothbrush and toothpaste, but I was not aware of that. Would not have saved much weight anyway.
A powerbank would have been useful for the longer touristing days. Would also add a bunch of weight though.
I would have liked my ereader (Nook Simple Touch), but I did not think it would fit in nicely in my backpack since I had to stuff to get everything in. I did not want to put weird pressure on it. Could have used it when just sitting around chilling on a terrace or in a park. Next time it might be better to just bring it.
In the end, this is the result of 60.2 km of running (30.3, 11.1, 18.8) and 43.5 km of walking over the three day weekend. Saturday was the long point to point run. Sunday the south loop. Monday the north loop. I tried to follow nature walking routes where possible. The rest is walking to do tourism.