50 Miler - 80K Ruck Normandy: What to Bring and What to Wear

50 Miler - 80K Ruck Normandy: What to Bring and What to Wear

This is my favorite event and I’m doing it in Normandy June 1-2 with some buddies. I’ll talk about gear first - then training in a later post.

50 MILER Weight Requirement: 20/10 LBS (Male/Female) - Ruck Plate in your rucksack. Totally doable to travel with a Sand Ruck Plate and fill it up with Normandy sand to equal 10 lbs (or 2 for 20). The Special Forces curse states that the more space you have, the more you’ll fill. Do NOT live a cursed life — your goal is to ruck as little weight as possible. The time standard is 20 hours.

Normandy Weather - Rain is possible. Average temps: 70 by day, 52 at night. It felt colder than that 5 years ago by night, and hotter than that by day.


  • Rucksack - 20L Rucker. I want it above my belt line entirely so there’s no friction there at all. Smaller is better, as long as it’s comfortable.
  • Sternum strap and Hip Belt — I typically hate hip belts - over 100K steps, though, and every once in a while it’s nice to transfer some of the weight to the hips to get some blood flow to the shoulders. Call it 20 minutes out of 16 hours I’ll use the hip belt. Engaging any hip belt changes my gait (and yours). I’d feel differently if we were carrying 100+ Lbs. which would also be much slower. I’ll very infrequently engage the sternum strap, too. It makes it harder to breathe but it does transfer the load a little differently which is good from time to time. By around mile 40, a 30 lbs rucksack feels more like 65-70, it’s crazy.
  • Water bottle pocket on the side, simple side pocket on the other side (both attached to the MOLLE, on top of the hip belt). 3L Bladder of water inside, with a tube.
    • Water bottle - easy external access means I’ll drink electrolytes on the move (and you can share with your buddy). Needing to stop to get your Nalgene bottle out is a recipe to not do this very often. The bladder is so that I drink often - discipline with access is a great combination.
    • Simple Side Pocket - for snacks. There are a lot of ways to carry snacks so you can eat on the move. You can add a fanny pack, but that’s just more stuff to carry, and it can adjust your gait. You don’t need more, you need trail mix or a bar. When you stop, you can replenish your side pocket with whatever you have in your main ruck.

SNACKS - TBD, here’s a guess.

  • 3x PB&J’s - no thin spreading here or ever
  • 3x electrolyte packets
  • Big Bag of Peanut M&M’s/Trail mix. I’ll make it my mission for this to be all gone by the end.
  • Something with some real protein. (Peter Attia owns my headspace on this one)


  • Shoes - Rough Runners. I’ve put thousands of miles on mine. We developed them for “ruck running”. They’re ideal for high mileage while still staying supportive (the foam is not marshmallow foam and doesn’t collapse so easily). Important - size up, your feel will definitely swell. I wore my MACV boots for the 75th. If the weather is really rainy, I’ll probably wear them again.
  • Merino Challenge socks - (plus two more pairs in my ruck in a dry bag) - if you wear anything but merino wool socks, you’re wrong.
  • Simple Pants - Lightweight ToughDry fabric (with a belt). It’s chilly enough by night, then by day we’re trekking through plenty of Gladiator-esque fields and under a hot sun. You could do it in Ranger Panties, and some people do but your legs will get a little scuffed up and burned. The belt is VITAL. You lose a lot of (water) weight during this event, your waist size will definitely change. Pants falling down around your ankles while rucking is not how you meet the standard.
  • ToughMesh Sun shirt (shown - still a prototype) - you will burn by day at this event unless you stay protected. I prefer fabric to gobs of sunblock. Most people rock a t-shirt. That’s cool too.
  • Tac Hat - worn by day
  • Shades - always
  • Windbreaker - very lightweight. Emily wore hers overnight (with a shemagh) and then went down to a t-shirt when the sun was up. A windbreaker/outer shell is a must. Imagine if it’s 52 and raining. You’ll be plenty warm with a ruck and a windbreaker on. Less so with just a t-shirt.


  • Headlamp - it’s an 8-hour night. You can add a strobe and/or some chem-lights to your ruck, too, for greater visibility.
  • Small footcare packet, definitely including Neosporin. You can use that to lube where the sun don’t shine, too. Monkey butt is not the goal, people.
  • Ibuprofen x Tylenol cocktail for midway point.
  • iPhone + JBL Speaker. High morale from this one if you need it and have the right tune at the right time.

The most important thing about the gear is the person carrying it, and this is even more fun when you do it as a team. Have fun and see ya there!

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