Trail runners like to get outside and go. Running on dirt and mud provides a slightly softer landing for your joints than pavement does. Trail running means you’re up and down hills, over rocks, maybe even scaling mountains. Whether you’re someone who likes solace and serenity or you prefer to be out running with a group, it’s always helpful to have the right gear to take you the distance. These 14 items are sure to add miles of pleasure and a boost of power to your trail runs.
Altra Lone Peak 4.0
The Lone Peak 3.5 was one of our best trail running sneakers of 2018, and the latest version provides a more durable upper and a stronger grip with MaxTrac rubber and TrailClaw. A rubber toe cap lets you clear small rocks from your path, so you never break stride. For severe weather, pair the shoes with gaiters thanks to a velcro flap at the heel and clips near the laces.
Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 4.0
A solid pack that can hold enough water for you to continue running for miles is essential for trail runners. This easy to clip vest features a blend of mesh and nylon to keep it from getting too sweaty along your back. The front mesh pockets hold two bottles, and the back cinches down extra clothes and layers thanks to a compression bungee. There’s also a special spot just for trekking poles.
Gore Wear R7 Gore-Tex Hooded Jacket
Any jacket that shakes dry is a smart one to pack for long days on the trails. Two-layer Gore-Tex means it’s going to keep you dry. The membrane is breathable, so you don’t heat up from the inside out, and when you need a break from it, just stuff it into its pocket and go.
Rab Merino+ Gloves
Keeping your extremities warm when running is of utmost importance. These merino and polyester blend gloves are lightweight and work double duty as base gloves for skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing.
Clif Shot Bloks
While everyone’s stomach handles and prefers different types of Gus and gels during a run, these Clif Shot Bloks were what worked for me during my last marathon. This sample pack allows you to test out the different flavors to see what you like best. You’ll get orange, mountain berry, black cherry, citrus, strawberry, margarita, cran-razz and tropical punch — each of which stores 33 calories per block, made from 95 percent organic ingredients. When the wall hits, you’ll reach for these.
Path Projects Muir Cap
A trucker hat is the ultimate sign of a true trail runner, but if that’s not quite your style, this charcoal hat will help you still blend in. Laser cut holes mean loads of breathability. It’s quick drying and SPF 50, so no matter where you choose to run your next ultra, you’re covered.
Suunto 9 Baro
Suunto’s 9 Baro is the ultimate trail runner’s watch. It’s got a shockingly long battery life and will track virtually every activity if you do more than trail run.
Stance Athletic Icon 2 Sock
With more cushioning underfoot, you’ll be feeling great after 10, 20 or 30-plus miles. These crew-height socks, made from a blend of nylon, polyester, elastic and cotton, are comfortable and breathe well. No matter if you’re out during the spring, summer, fall or winter, these work.
North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail
When you think of trail runners, Scott Jurek is one of the best and most well known. With over two decades of running on his resume, he’s a powerhouse. In 2015, Jurek ran the Appalachian trail (all 2,189-miles of it) in 46-days. This story tells the tale of just how hard it was and how he made it through.
Hydrapak Ultraflask Soft Flask
Lightweight and easy to carry flasks are the best way to hydrate on the run. This soft flask is packable and compresses down as you drink it, so it’s not adding bulk to your pack. Hydrapak also offers a lifetime warranty on this water bottle.
Natrapel Bug Spray
Throw this 3.4-ounce bug spray in your pack before heading out into the dense woods or fields. It’s DEET-free, but comes recommended by the CDC. Spritz once and you’re good for up to eight hours.
District Vision Nako
At just 22 grams, these lightweight sunglasses are ideal for dawn and dusk runs. The Black Rose lens will help illuminate your path and the adjustable hypoallergenic rubber nose pads and temple tips keep them in place. There’s nothing worse than sunnies that slip during exercise. No detail goes unnoticed here.
When the snow falls, your grip underfoot can get a little sketchy. Prevent any slips or spills with these easy-to-attach Kahtoola spikes. Loop them over the front of your toe and your heel cup, and they’ll stay in place while you get after those winter running goals. The tungsten carbide spikes also help protect you against ice — especially when it’s hard to see.
Salomon Trail Gaiters High
Trail gaiters are a simple way to add a bit more warmth and protection to your ankles and legs. If you find yourself running through rocky patches or sandy roads, these protect you from cuts and scrapes along the way. Velcro secures the gaiters in place, so you don’t have to fiddle with them during your run.
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