Road running gear is fine for new trail runners. But as you get more experienced and start running more and more on trails, you will greatly benefit from getting dedicated trail running shoes, clothing, and gear.
Trail running shoes provide greater traction and protection from rocks and roots. Clothing is more versatile for changing weather conditions. And storage becomes more necessary when you are reliant on carrying all your own water and nutrition.
We’ve rounded up the 5 key pieces of gear you’ll want on your next trail. Here they are in no particular order
1. GPS Watch
With twisting trails, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve run, how far you need to go, and how fast you are running. If you get a top rated GPS watch, you’ll know how far you ran and how fast. The best GPS watches will also help you navigate on the trails. They have maps, compasses, and ways to direct you back to where you started.
2. Trail Running Shoes
When you need traction going uphill and downhill, you can’t beat a good pair of trail running shoes. They have big lugs on the bottom to dig in the dirt and provide traction. They will also provide extra grip on rocks and other outdoor surfaces.
3. Hydration Pack
You already know that you need to be well hydrated when you are running. But on the trails, there are no water fountains, stores, or other places to stop and get water. So you must carry it yourself. The most efficient way to do that is with a hydration pack. These have plastic bladders that hold up to 3 liters of water that carry stored on your back. A tube lets you drink from them. Many have extra pockets for carry other supplies.
4. Running Jacket
A running jacket will provide protection and comfort from wind, rain, and cold. Depending on where you are running, conditions can quickly change in the wilderness. A running jacket can help with the elements. It can be taken off when you get hot, unzipped for ventilation, and many have a hood for rain protection.
Regular running socks will work fine, but often it’s better to have extra cushioning and socks that go higher up the calf for protection against sticks and other prickers that might scratch you.