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Bernadette Benson

My Background

Bernadette first started running in her early 30s, out of necessity to earn "beer and chip credits." She stumbled upon the world of trail running and was quickly lured into the world of ultra running, fending off bears and cougars, running as a back-of-the-packer in the Canadian Rockies. She became competitive in the sport in 2010, after moving to Australia. Since then she has competed in numerous road, track, and trail events around the world, including World and Commonwealth ultra distance championships.

Statistics

Nationality Canadian
Born 1969
Height 164cm
Flavour Ultramarathons
Highest Score 6 hours, 70.406km (Canadian W40 Record)
Sea To Summit MOSQUITO NET NANO Single

Brilliant for fast packing in summer. To keep the bugs away from your body,... View Product

Skip the Tent in Summer!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on July 28 2016

Brilliant for fast packing in summer. To keep the bugs away from your body, place items like shoes, a pack, a pile of clothes, a book around the inside 4 corners, rather than just tucking the net under your sleeping pad. It gives you more comfy spaciousness, too. I've hung it in the open (treeless area) by using 2 hiking poles with a string between them. It's low, but it's workable when the environs don't easily suit hanging it.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Skip the Tent in Summer!
MSR WHISPERLITE INTERNATIONALE 600 Stove

I've got a couple of these Internationales. Don't ask me how it happened, but... View Product

A Decade or More of Good Use

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 17 2013

I've got a couple of these Internationales. Don't ask me how it happened, but I do seem to travel a lot and do love them that much, I guess! Been using it over 10 years. Consistently solid performance around the world. Below about -20C, it does get tricky to light, as fuel thickens. Fair enough. Need for cleaning and maintenance has been almost nil.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

A Decade or More of Good Use
Montane PRISM Glove

Used the Prism gloves for the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2016 and they were... View Product

Favourite winter hiker glove!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on March 24 2016

Used the Prism gloves for the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2016 and they were my daily wear during a solo winter subarctic thru-hike of 850km in 2017. Great in temps down to about -15C or -20C whilst hiking. Lower than that, I'd put a mitt over them. Really robust, dry quickly if sweated in and stay warm when wet.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Favourite winter hiker glove!
Montane PRISM Pant Men's

It's hard to beat the description provided by Montane for these pants, "formidable warmth... View Product

Packs small but with a powerful warmth

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 17 2013

It's hard to beat the description provided by Montane for these pants, "formidable warmth for their low weight and pack size; perfect for long distance trekking...." These were my back-up/emergency bivy type lower layer for the 500km Yukon Arctic Ultra. Though I only needed them a few times, they were exceptional and well worth carrying, for the low weight. Easy to put on over other layers and shoes.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Packs small but with a powerful warmth
Montane EXTREME Jacket Men's 2014

To confirm, I tested the smock (pullover version) rather than the jacket. It was... View Product

Extreme Smock, Extreme Warmth

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on December 10 2013

To confirm, I tested the smock (pullover version) rather than the jacket. It was hard to decide between rating the Extreme Smock 4 or 5 stars. In the setting I used it (500km pulk-pulling race in the subarctic with temps -15C to -30C), I found it too hot for working in (thus, a 4 star). Though there are great side zips in the smock for venting, they are compromised if you're wearing a harness. The snowmobile drivers were often seen wearing the smock, suggesting that it works extremely well for those who aren't generating their own body heat through movement and it obviously has exceptional wind-break abilities (suggesting 5 star used in that setting). I liked the "drop in" style horizontal zip pocket on the front of the smock - reassuring for not losing things.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Extreme Smock, Extreme Warmth
Montane BLACK ICE 2.0 Jacket

This jacket was my top choice over the 5+ days I spent pulling a... View Product

Favourite for Yukon Arctic Ultra

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on December 16 2015

This jacket was my top choice over the 5+ days I spent pulling a pulk in the Yukon Territory over 500km in February 2016. The pockets were plentiful and well thought out. The face/chin protection was fantastic (and soft on skin). I was able to run in it without hindrance. Wore this with a base merino layer (~220g) in temps down to at least -25C and stayed plenty warm on the move and with my short stops. It vents well, too, if you are alternating between harder work/less work (more/less sweat).

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Favourite for Yukon Arctic Ultra
Montane Primino 140g Short Sleeve Crew Women's

Being merino wool, I had to give it the stink test. 3 days straight... View Product

Passes the Multi-Day Test!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on January 21 2015

Being merino wool, I had to give it the stink test. 3 days straight of running, hiking, scrambling and bushwhacking over 21.5 hours and I would have happily worn it a fourth day. Fit perfectly, no chafe, dried quickly. Saved heaps of space in packing for adventures and in doing laundry later!

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Passes the Multi-Day Test!
Sea to Summit SPARK SP1 UD 1-3 ZIPPER Sleeping Bag Regular

I actually opted for the Spark II, for that wee bit more warmth I... View Product

Finally, Warmth as Promised!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 27 2013

I actually opted for the Spark II, for that wee bit more warmth I seem to need. Finding in the past that "comfort" ratings seemed optimistic on other bags, I still took my silk bag liner and thermals for the test nights on the Bibbulmun Track. Unnecessary! The bag really kept me comfortable in my short sleeve Icebreaker shirt, as promised. And it's insanely small and light and easily stuffs into its compression sack. The material is nice on the skin, too. The best bag I've ever had. And I've had a few.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Finally, Warmth as Promised!
Sea To Summit NANO MOSQUITO NET Single Permethrin Treated

Got this for an upcoming trip to rural and remote NE India. However, also... View Product

A soloist's must!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on October 30 2014

Got this for an upcoming trip to rural and remote NE India. However, also tested it fastpacking the Bibbulmun Track in WA. Keeping my pack weight down was key for fastpacking - this thing really is nano! I was so grateful to sleep without fear of mossie and tick bites. It was user friendly and feels robust. I will treasure it for years to come!

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

A soloist's must!
Icebreaker 150 AERO CREWE SS Women's

This was one of the top treasures in my suitcase for a season spent... View Product

Perfect multi-day shirt!

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on April 2 2014

This was one of the top treasures in my suitcase for a season spent in Europe and Canada. Fantastic on long (8hr) runs, no chafe spots, etc. Wore it on a 5 day fast-packing run through the dolomites, where I couldn't wash gear and just had to wear things again and again. It lived up to its reputation for "no stink." And is hard-wearing, as well!

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Perfect multi-day shirt!
Marmot SAFIRE Jacket Women's

I got this for a recent trip to the Victorian alps, where despite it... View Product

Instant Warmth

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on October 8 2013

I got this for a recent trip to the Victorian alps, where despite it being the beginning of summer, forecasts were still for 2 degrees at night. Fantastic instant warmth and packs down well to fit in the running pack if needed for a cold day's run/hike up summits. I also chose it because it seemed to have that wee bit of extra length near the waist - good to keep breezes out. The arms were similarly long enough that I could tuck my hands up if I was too lazy to dig out gloves. Now I can stop coveting the down "puffies" of all my Canadian mountain running mates! Can't believe I waited so long to get one.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

Instant Warmth
Chaco Z/1 VIBRAM UNAWEEP Sandals Women's

My first pair of Chacos must have lasted over 10 years. Awesome grip as... View Product

The "One" Shoe

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 17 2013

My first pair of Chacos must have lasted over 10 years. Awesome grip as river shoes for multi-day trips. Then I started to extend their use.... On motorcycle trips, where space is tight, they were my "one" shoe I would take when out of boots. I even wore them for easy 5k runs! When I spent a month solo backpacking/hiking through Mongolia, they were the ONLY shoe I had! (Just wore big warm socks with them on cold days). And they are a dream shoe after my ultra running events, as they allow tired, swollen feet room to expand and toes to be free! I think these shoes must rank as one of top 3 best value purchases in outdoor equipment I've made.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

The
Montane VENTURE Jacket Women's '11

This jacket's been through some tough stuff and never missed a beat! From an... View Product

From Bluff Knoll to the European Alps

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 17 2013

This jacket's been through some tough stuff and never missed a beat! From an all day Stirling Ridgetop Walk (scramble/climb/run), to my Fastest Known Time run of the 1,000km Bibbulmun Track in WA (where it rained steadily for days), to the 8 day TransAlpine Run in Europe, this was the jacket. And not a bit of wear on it, after all those ... and more ... adventures.

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

From Bluff Knoll to the European Alps
Montane SONIC T-Shirt Women's

I first picked up this shirt in April 2011 and tested it out on... View Product

The "Go To" Winter Trail Running Shirt

Posted by Bernadette Benson, on May 17 2013

I first picked up this shirt in April 2011 and tested it out on a 90km fastpack over one night on the Bibbulmun. It kept me warm enough on the cool mornings, didn't get too hot in the afternoon and didn't seem to smell badly on Day 2 either! Since then it's often been my "go to" winter running shirt. Picked it out again for a 67km long run on the Bibbulmun just this month (June 2013). From first light, through clouds, rain, sun, to end-of-daylight, the Sonic did its job well, Despite hard use with packs on all day, it's stayed in great condition. And I love the green!

Bernadette Benson, Ultrarunner

The

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