Trail running is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the United States right now. It seems that people are waking up to the amazing power of the beautiful outdoors. In this gift guide, I’ve put together a list of items that every trail runner is sure to enjoy. It doesn’t matter if they’re a beginner or pro, training for a 5k or a 100 miler, some new gear for the holiday season is sure to make those early morning training runs a little more enjoyable.
1. GPS Watch: Coros Pace GPS Sports Watch
A GPS watch is a must-have for every trail runner looking to track and monitor their performances and improvements over time. Many will start their search with a Garmin or Suunto GPS watch, but this new company called Coros is creating some really amazing GPS watches. The new Coros Pace can currently be picked up for $240! This is currently my favorite GPS watch, as it is lightweight, has accurate GPS measurements, tracks heart rate, and lasts up to 25 hours in GPS mode.
2. Nutrition: Tailwind Nutrition Stickpack
Nutrition is a major component of physical training. You can ask anyone that has been training and/or competing in trail running long enough, and they’ll tell you that poor nutrition is the fastest way to ruin a run. Eat the wrong things and you can upset your stomach, lack energy, or lack hydration. Tailwind powder has been a staple of my running, hiking, and backpacking nutrition over the past few years. I usually buy a large bag, but have found these individual packets work better while traveling.
3. Socks: Drymax Socks
Blisters can make the easiest runs turn into a real challenge. Having quality socks that reduce friction, stay dry, and remain durable can go a long way to keeping your feet blister free. For hikes, I like Merino wool socks like Darn Tough and Smartwool, but I prefer synthetic socks like Drymax for running.
4. Hydration Vest: Salomon Advanced Skin 12
As trail runners scale up the distance on their training runs, they’ll find themselves needing to carry more gear than before. Unlike road running, you can’t always find places to stop and get water or nutrition on the trail. You’ll also need to pack additional layers for variable weather on certain runs. This Salomon pack is one of the most popular in the business for a reason. It’s very comfortable and can hold a lot with its 12 liter design.
5. Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance FLZ Poles
Most trail runners don’t use trekking poles, but there are certain runs and races that require them. The Black Diamond Distance FLZ poles are amazing for trail runners because they are super light, have adjustable lengths, and can fold up and be packed away quickly and easily.
6. Multipurpose Headwear: Buff Headscarf
The Buff is a trail running staple seen on mountain runners everywear. The Buff can be worn as a headband, beanie, or scarf and comes in a multitude of fun colors.
7. Winter Traction: Yaktrax Pro Cleats
As the winter months approach, the trials will begin to ice up. For serious routes a crampon is needed, but for possible light snow and ice, these Yaktrax Pro cleats are nice to keep in a running pack.
8. Winter Layer: Patagonia Houdini Jacket
When the weather gets cold, trail runners need to layer up. A great running jacket needs to be lightweight and breathable, but also tough enough to stand up to light rain and strong winds. The Patagonia Houdini hits all the right notes here and makes a great gift that can also be worn off of the trail.
9. Sunglasses: Julbo Aero
If you follow any trail races or keep track of top athletes on social media, you’ll see that Julbo is one of the most popular sunglasses brands. Julbo makes high quality eyewear that is designed to be worn in high output activities. My favorite frame of theirs is called the Aero. These sunglasses are light, don’t fog up, and stay on my face without movement regardless of how fast I’m moving.
10. Chafing Stick: Body Glide Anti Chafing Stick
Few things kill a run faster than chafing. It can start between your toes, under your armpits, between your legs, or at any other friction point on your body. Keep that friction to a minimum with Body Glide.