March 12, 2021

First 99 Gear Review - Hey Bruce, What Are You Packing?

First 99 Gear Review - Hey Bruce, What Are You Packing?
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In this episode, we sit down again with Bruce Nguyen. We spoke to Bruce last November in episode 18 after his amazing Moab 240 finish. We asked him to come back to discuss his gear. Specifically, all the gear it takes to run and crew a successful 200+ mile multiday race. 

Bruce just returned from crewing his buddy Michael Li on his amazing JamOnTam200 Fatass, where Michael completed a record 21 repeats with over 56K feet of vert from the historic 1929 Lytton Square Clock in Mill Valley, CA to the top of Mount Tamalpais. This was also a shake-out for the new Ultra Taj Mahal (or UTM for short) which is Bruce’s new off-grid travel trailer that he plans to use as a mobile aid station at both Cocodona 250 and Tahoe 200. The UTM is equipped with a full-sized bed, shower, restroom, salon, and electric stove for some down-home cooking. It’s a major upgrade from sleeping on a cot in his family’s minivan. 

But don’t get too comfortable just yet. Mt Tam threw them a curveball of high winds, rain, and hail while summiting the second night. The UTM was only a few miles away and they had chosen to travel light. They had no rain gear and were forced to huddle in the ladies’ restroom at the summit for an hour doing jumping jacks as they waited for the storm to pass. Lesson learned…be prepared for that 2% chance of rain.

Bruce is a busy family man and more of a weekend warrior. Through COVID he has relied on fat races and adventure runs to keep him challenged and trained. But don’t peg him just yet, his race planning is legit. Moab 240 2020 required detailed logistical planning. He spent many hours educating himself on the off-grid lifestyle and what he would need to keep his soda cold and his Elevated Legs Recovery Boots charged. 

Prepare for the worst. Mountain races have a good 20 miles between aid stations, and anything can happen. Bruce carries two emergency bivy sacks. You can sleep on them, crawl inside, or wear them as a poncho. Make sure your pacer has their own! Bruce also carries a Garmin InReach and his smartphone equipped with Gaia GPS app to keep him safely on the right trail. He also has been known to use walkie-talkies to give his crew a heads up of his arrival and start chatting about food options. 

Don’t forget to pack your drop bags with your DUPLICATE cold and wet weather gear. Yes, You Need DUPLICATES. Walkie-talkie your crew and they can run, grab your drop bag and have it ready at the UTM. Find out if your race moves/bounces drop bags forward. Keep several pairs of dry socks in your pack for river crossings. Oh, there is so much more… 

Remember Bruce’s motto: Have a plan but live in the moment and you will find Zen.

Elevated Legs: Elevated Legs Recovery Boots

Gaia GPS:

CalTopo: Home - CalTopo

Cocodona 250:

Tahoe 200: - Tahoe 200 Endurance Run Ultra
Your hosts: Greg Larkin / Mike Turner / Jessica Harris

Artwork/logo by Krista Cavender: | IG:

Intro/outro music: Joseph McDade - Elevation:

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