Rob Krar’s ultrarunning career began on a whim: At the last minute, he decided to run the longer distance of the 25k/50k Bootlegger. He came in second, and then followed that up a month later with a first-place win and course record at the McDonald Mountain Frenzy 50k.
Since then, the holder of the fastest known time for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim run has collected a stack of wins, including a first place finish in the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile championship, the title to the 2014 Western States 100, and huge amount of momentum in the ultrarunning world. We tracked him down to see what he’s packing when he rolls from race to race.
Gear Institute: Thanks for chatting with us, Rob. What are you up to these days?
Krar: It was a big summer with three 100-mile wins in as many months (Western States, Leadville, Run Rabbit Run). I took an overdue break after the last one and am now back training and focused on The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships in San Francisco in December.
Gear Institute: Big? That’s huge. Congratulations. When you head out for these races, what gear—other than sponsor’s stuff—do you ALWAYS toss into your pack?
Krar: Nutrition items, because you never know when a normal outing is going turn into an epic adventure. It doesn’t take much to carry a few gels or bars to get you through the day. I’m pretty easy with my nutrition choices and have a pretty solid stomach.
As a back up to a main headlamp or assurance for a late afternoon venture, an oh-shit light can be a lifesaver. The Petzl E+LITE weighs under an ounce and there’s no excuse not to bring one along. I’m such a minimal person, that’s all for the staples I carry.
Gear Institute: Keeping it simple seems to be working well for you. But as a sponsored athlete, we know you have a lot of gear at your disposal. Even sticking to your minimal philosophy, what items do you always carry?
Krar: I wear the TNF Mountain Athletics line for casual and cross-training. Circuit and strength training provide the key to my health and success. The North Face Kilowatt jacket always comes along for the ride. I also rely on TNF Mountain Athletics T-shirts, shirts and shoes—especially the Ultra Kilowatt Trainer.
The lightweight TNF Thermoball Duo Hoodie packs well, and provides waterproof protection where it’s needed. It covers so many conditions for me. The Ampere Hoodie is my go-to top for just about everything. I can run, travel and relax in this top and feel comfortable in every way.
Gear Institute: As someone who spends a lot of time with on the road and being active outside, you must come across some things that really intrigue you. What is something you are especially excited about or interested in right now?
Krar: I held off for a while but eventually took the plunge and bought an Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker and wish I hadn’t waited so long to do so. The damn thing makes incredible coffee and it comes along on all my trips, along with my JetBoil on the road trips.
Gear Institute: It sounds like coffee may be as important as their nutrition / energy snacks. Okay, we’ll let you go after one last question. Are there any special packing or gear-protecting techniques/tricks you can offer our readers when they head out for races?
Krar: I always carry my racing gear and other vitals in in my carry-on to minimize risk and worry if my checked bag doesn’t make it to my destination.
Thanks, and good luck in the coming year.