Here’s my Essential Trail Running Gear List – though there’s a few bits of kit on there that I know some people wouldn’t bother with.
1 – Decent shoes – Grip and comfort are top of the list. Waterproof trail runners are a bit pointless, and I prefer waterproof socks if I think they’ll help. If it’s really grotty then nothing will keep you dry bar staying at home.
2 – Breathable, comfortable running top / shorts – Make sure you’ve tested them out on some previous long runs. Some tops just don’t cut it.
3 – Wind-proof / Waterproof. This depends on the conditions. If it looks changeable, I’ll take a windproof as minimum or a lightweight Paramo Quito tops. This also serves as something to put on at the end of the run, when I find myself often cooling rapidly. A pair of Montane windproof trousers might also be there, or even really lightweight over-trousers if conditions merited it.
4 – Map / Compass. You may know the route well, but even then I always take a map and compass. If ever I did get injured and for some reason Mountain Rescue had to be called out, they’d have a field day when they’d find out I didn’t have these on me, never mind what the local rags would claim.
5 – Phone (mainly for images!). I find it useful. I know some hate the idea of taking one. Each to their own on this one! As a bonus, I use mine as a GPS with Backcountry Navigator when I’m on new paths. It’s just quicker than manual navigation.
6 – Some cash and/or card. Always handy to have a spare stash of cash. I’ve started using the True Utility Coin and Cash Stashes, so I always have £25 cash on me. The card is next to useless where I tend to run and is usually taken on longer runs nearer civilisation.
7 – Food / Drink – maybe, maybe not depending on conditions. I like to take a few gels with me just in case, but you don’t need these unless you’re running serious distances. A banana, if you can keep it from disintegrating is even better. Get used to eating something on shorter runs so it’s not a total shock to the system when you do!
8 – Waist Pack to hold it all in. Obviously! If i’m only taking phone and cash, then a small belt -type one is enough, and can even hold a windproof on the outside if needed. On proper trails, I take a larger waistpack, usually the OMM one below.
9 – Sun Protection – Usually sunblock as well as cap and sunglasses. I find that I don’t usually need sunglasses with a cap, and this can also be dipped into water for some effective evaporative cooling.
Other extras I take are a GPS watch with heart rate monitor and perhaps a head torch if I suspect there’s any chance I might not make it back before dark. Perhaps a small first aid kit would be wise, but I’ve never bothered. If the run was to take me what would be a good few hours’ walk from safety then I might take one, along with a lightweight emergency blanket, but that would only be in extreme conditions and I’m yet to have needed such kit.
Forgotten your favourite bit of kit? Bit miffed we’ve rebuffed your buff? Add your kit in the comments below!
Featured image –
Photo credit: GORE-TEX® Products / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)