THE “shoulder seasons” between winter and spring/summer can be tricky. It’s hard to know what to expect weather-wise and plan how much to wear or what extra clothes to pack without the dreaded weight of overpacking.

A Run Through Time event in March is a perfect example of this shoulder season. The morning temps were just above freezing and a brisk breeze cut through baselayers, yet the afternoon high was around 50 degrees. So what is the best thing to wear/ pack without overhauling a small pack to trek between 13 and 26 miles?

Clothing items laid out for display


1: Darn Tough over the calf light weight compression running socks (helps with circulation)

2: Under Armour spandex shorts (helps with anti chafing) 

3: The North Face lightweight running shorts

4: Rab quarter-zip mid-weight base layer (love that quarter zip for fine-tuned venting) 

5: Rab Borealis jacket lightweight soft shell jacket (wind resistant and breathable) and I wanted to represent our local Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue team (AVSAR). 

6: Outdoor Research hat (sun protection)

7: Outdoor Research lightweight Balaclava just in case the wind started to pick up in higher terrain. I ended up wearing this just around my neck for the entirety of the day. It was so light I forgot it was there. 

8: Outdoor Research Convertible glove liners. These are my favorite mitt/liner combo, great for more than just running on the trail.   

9: (Not Pictured) Salomon Sense Ride 4 Trail Runners… “They are my magic shoes” – F. Gump.

IT is important to remember, as I said before, all bodies are different and also regulate temperature differently. I tend to run hot, so “I am bold, and start cold.” If you tend to tear away layers within the first 10 minutes of hiking, running, or even walking, maybe think about starting with one less layer than you normally would. Or, if you are the opposite and feel cold most of the time, even when in motion, think about doubling up on lightweight base layers with a breathable midlayer, which will help ventilate but also provides a little more to stay warm. 

Participating in an event with aid stations is very different from going out on your own or with friends and being self-sufficient. A Run Through Time had an amazing staff and pool of volunteers running three different aid-stations throughout the marathon/half marathon. They provided additional water, snacks, tailwind energy and of course cow-bells and fun costumes to keep that morale up! 

Ultimately what you pack is your prerogative, but here are some things to keep with you that are lightweight, versatile, and can really help in a pinch. 

  • A small first aid kit including gauze wrap, tweezers, safety pins, band aid or moleskin, and some kind of antibacterial hand wipe (I like to save up the individual packets like the ones you get after eating ribs in a restaurant). Do some research on first aid kits. Ask questions like; How many people are you with? Where are you going? What is your activity? What season is it? All of these things can help you choose what to pack in a first aid kit. A great resource check out Mountain Rescue Association’s free public education courses
  • A bandana is always is helpful. How many different uses can a bandana have? SO MANY! My bandana saved my knee on the downhill! 
  • Extra socks. These can be useful if your socks get wet OR your gloves get wet. Socks work just as well on hands as they do feet. 
  • Extra jacket or shirt/baselayer. I don’t know how many times I sweat out my shirt on the ascent then take my pack off and the wind chills me to the bone, even in the summer months. Wet is cold, dry is warm. Change your shirt! 

More information: Alamosa Volunteer Search And Rescue posts “Safe Sundays” on its social media platforms. Follow on Instagram to read more about how to stay safe in the backcountry. 

gear laid out for display


1: Scratch Energy snacks

2: Darn Tough extra socks

3: Doterra essential oils (patchouli and peppermint, why you ask? Patchouli keeps me focused and peppermint keeps me alert, plus it smells good. I get compliments all the time). 

4: Adventure Med Kit personal size (just in case of a fall in between aid-stations)

5. Platypus crushable water bottle (for additional hydration mix) 

6. Bandana

7. Rab ultralight windbreaker (just in case winds were bad in higher terrain)

8. Polaroid camera (this is a luxury item for me)

9. Ultimate Direction Running pack the pack itself (great option for longer exploration in a compact pack/vest)

10. Osprey 2L reservoir (this event required all participants to carry a water source) 

What I didn’t bring

11. sunglasses. ooof ! 

“When you bring ’em, you don’t need ’em, and when you need ’em, you don’t bring ’em”  – S. Cline (climbing partner and AVSAR teammate)  

NO matter where you choose to explore as we come into the warmer months – local trails along the river, mountain terrain, or a marathon – please keep in mind The 7 principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) 

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Stay on the trail
  3. Pack it in pack it out
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impact
  6. Respect wildlife 
  7. Trail etiquette, be considerate of others on the trail. 

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