Next autumn & winter we would like to participate in some nighttime-trails. The distance is in no way a problem for us. But as we are unfamiliar with nighttime trailruns, I was wondering if someone here might help us along. If he (or she) might give us some tips,tricks,advices from personal experience. With regards to visibility, fighting sleepiness & fatiguee, handling the dropping temperature, avoiding unfriendly wildlife, faults you made on your first night trail,...

I know this question might be to broad. Therefor I apologize! I've read up on some internet posts but they seem extremely general. Some links I've found so far:




Any advice would be dearly appreciated!

  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on outdoors.stackexchange.com
    – John
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 12:19
  • @JJosaur Perhaps your right. To be fair, to me the board "Outdoors" has more of a non-competitive /non-sports connotation.
    – User999999
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 12:32
  • 1
    I would retract my close vote if the question was geared more towards "What fitness training can I do to help me prepare for a competitive night trail run?"
    – John
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 13:12
  • @JJosaur I absolutely understand your point of view. And I would even support it if there were more posts about Trail Running on Outdoors. But for now I'll let the other users decide what should happen with my question.
    – User999999
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 14:09
  • @User999999 the question would be good if it was more narrow. focus on one area such as lighting, temperatures, etc and ask separate questions for each Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 5:30

1 Answer 1


I've been a competitive Adventure Racer and Ultra-Runner for the past 15 years, and have spent a lot of time traveling at night. The most important part of making it safe and enjoyable, is good lighting. I find that small, LED headlamps are either not strong enough, or cast shadows on the ground which make it hard to see. Make sure to get a light that you can switch to Halogen, or can increase the lumens on. This is necessary when you are route finding, or need to get a bearing on your surroundings. I've also seen people use Red or Blue lights at night, which helps you to see variation in the terrain better. Some people like wearing a light around their waist, others on their head, and some like to just carry a hand light (or a combination of all three). You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. I like to wear a headlamp, but after many hours, the weight of the battery pack can give you a headache. I alternate with a lightweight Surefire hand light. Expect to spend a bit of coin in this department.

I rarely get cold at night, as long as I keep moving. Don't stop for too long if you can help it, and always pack warm clothing. A wind jacket, rain jacket, hat and gloves should be part of your basic kit. Layering is key.

A good trick to combat sleepiness, is packing chocolate covered espresso beans, or small 5 hour energy shots. Just keep in mind that caffeine is a diuretic, so don't forget to stay hydrated (even if you're cold and/or not thirsty). Some people get a bad case of "Sleep Monsters" when going for long periods of time, others don't. It just depends on the person. If you've been going for over 40 hours, it's proven to be more efficient to take a quick 10-15 min nap. You will wake up refreshed, and re-energized. Most people do not need to sleep when running overnight.

I've rarely encountered wildlife at night, but don't be surprised to see eyes reflected back at you in the bushes. Mostly you'll just see bugs.

Running at night is magical. It's a whole different world that few people have the opportunity to experience. Enjoy it!

  • Wow great answer! Surely the lighting-issue is well explained!!! Thanx!
    – User999999
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 6:41

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