From Drab to Dayglo, or How Being a Runner Changed My Kit Colour


What colour’s yours?

I remember, a few years back before I took up running, sitting frustrated as I was trying to purchase a bargain Paramo Velez. It was the right size, (XL at that time!) but it was, horrors of horrors! ORANGE. I’d already had to buy the original OMM Mountain Mover pack, and it took every ounce of will power to buy that orange monstrosity. It was the pack I wanted, but certainly not the colour.

from drab to dayglo

The views of the outdoor goers are also mixed. Hill safety advocates insist that you should only venture off tarmac if you’re visible from 3 Km and lit up like Stanlow, while others think you should have muddied faces and twigs sticking out of your ears. OK, slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

I was firmly in the muted colours without looking like a reject from Deliverance camp. My Paramo was Navy Blue, which is a colour I’ll admit I thoroughly despise, but it was half price at the time, and the preferred kit colour being Black. So instead of the survivalist look, it was more SWAT Team. The only exception, was my winter kit, where a brash red would suffice.

The same went for tents. Green is the only acceptable wild camping colour, surely? Something a bit more colourful for winter, but a muted green for the rest of the year – such as the TN Laser and Voyager.

tents from green to greener

Then I started running.

It’s the only explanation.

Boring, drab colours have been replaced with more daring ones. My most recent tents are testament to that, with my Nemo being more lime than olive, and the Golite Shangrila a rather neutral yellow that does actually look discreet in the hills in the early spring and autumn. That’s not counting the replacement of my black Rab Survival Zone with a spanking new RED Mountain Equipment one.

Yet with the rest of the kit, drab baselayers are soon replaced by hi-viz tops that are essential for survival as half-aware drivers zip home after work with scant regard for runners. Not only the baselayers, but the windproofs need to make you visible as you start running in all conditions and in the dark. As with most people who undertake a load of different outdoor activities, you make kit function for as many of those as possible. So rather than a ‘graphite’ or black windproof, there’s now a quality hi-viz yellow jacket that the camera can’t cope with in sunlight.


The final stage is when you decide that your waterproof isn’t visible enough to run in. Black is OK off path, but you really need a bit more visibility. So my black Paramo Velez Adventure Light is gladly replaced with a Quito Jacket, in Orange.

Orange and proud.
Orange and proud.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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