Running 101: Essential trail running gear items

28 Apr, 2019 • by Admin

When getting organized for trail runs, it can be difficult to bring everything you might need without overpacking

Having the right gear is crucial to maximize performance and avoid unwelcome side effects of dehydration, electrolyte deficiency, or being stranded or injured in an emergency. Your biggest concern when hitting the trails is dehydration and visibility, so always be prepared ahead of time. Planning accordingly means your next trail run will be your best and most enjoyable.

The beauty of trail running is that you don’t have to carry a bunch of gear to get out there. In its simplest form, trail running requires only a pair of quality shoes and comfortable running clothes. However, most runners will carry some amount of food, water, clothing and extra gear with them.

There are a number of different methods for carrying these things and choosing which one is right for you is not always simple. Things like weather, location, terrain, length of the run and your level of experience all influence which method is best for you.

Feet first

When you're hopping over rocks or slogging through mud, you may find that road shoes just won't cut it. Find a trail shoe that is comfortable with a tread that will work on the terrain you run on, be it rocks or desert or hard-packed dirt. Do your research before buying, try on a few pairs, and find out what other trail runners in your area are wearing.

The same shoe will not work for everyone, so trust your personal preference and instinct. You may also want to opt for a size slightly bigger than your normal shoe size—your feet may stretch out as you develop stronger foot muscles and better balance on the trails. Or they may swell on longer trail races.

Keep your feet happy by wearing the right socks. With potential exposure to differing elements (think dusty trails and bubbling stream crossings) it's important to select socks that can handle the pressure. Look for wool fabric that wicks away moisture while regulating temperature and protecting your skin from errant pebbles. These

Reflective Gear

Whether you’re going on trail runs or simply cruising through busy urban streets, reflective gear is crucial, especially when working out at dusk or in the dark. Being visible to other people and vehicles prevents dangerous, even deadly, collision mishaps. Consider a reflective vest for optimal visibility. But also stock up on other reflective items, such as reflective snap bands, reflective wrist sleeves, reflective stick-ons, LED clip lights, and even reflective run laces to stay safe during trail (and all types of) training sessions.

Protection Kits

In addition to Mother Nature's beauty, running off-road can also include a dose of creepy crawlers. Keep the critters at bay and ward off potential bites and stings with bug spray. Make sure to select one that has long-lasting strength and offers protection against a variety of bugs.

A combination of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat (a trucker hat works!) and clothing that covers your shoulders for optimal sun safety.

While this isn’t a necessity for your average trail run but because conditions change quickly in the mountains, coming prepared with wind jacket could be the difference between hypothermia and a comfortable, safe adventure.

Food and electrolytes

Don’t forget calories. We skip food for short runs, but anything beyond about 90 minutes of running and you want to keep energy up with bars, cookies, or store-bought gels. 100 – 200 calories an hour is best if you can stomach it on the trail.

If you’ll be hitting the trails for longer than an hour, don’t forget to bring electrolyte drinks with you to replenish all you’ll lose during your sweat session.

Marathon Pack

Essentials like keys, your phone, mace, and first aid materials (band-aids, for example)

Consider a smartphone carrier when you don’t want to deal with zippers and pouches, but still want easy access to your phone. Phone carriers wrap right around your arm comfortably, as they’re made of performance fabric.


  • Stay Organized: Always keep your headlamp, pocket knife, food, phone and other essentials in the same place in your pack so you’ll know right where to reach without stopping running. Packing the same way every time will also help you leave home without forgetting a critical item. Having a dedicated pocket in your pack for trash will keep you from accidentally littering when you reach into a pocket for another energy bar.
  • Carry Extra Clothing: For short runs in pleasant weather you may not need more than what you’re wearing, but when you head out for longer, more-challenging runs, extra layers are essential.
  • Keep Food and Water Within Reach: Most trail runners prefer to eat while running. So, unless you plan to stop for a lunch break, it’s important to keep your food and water accessible.
  • Protect Your Phone: It’s important to shield your phone from moisture. This means not only keeping it away from rain, but also sweat.
  • Always Secure Your Keys: Don’t be that runner who loses his or her keys along the trail.


Explore more similar news