Beyond the Pavement


20 Trail Running Essentials

Trail running’s popularity is surging, and whether you’re new to the scene or a seasoned off-road athlete, these innovative apparel and gear picks can improve your experience…and might even make you faster.


1. Nathan Vaporcloud

Designed for longer runs, the Vaporcloud pack stabilizes and lifts your load to keep water from sloshing and stashed trail treats from shifting. A smartly placed front zip phone pocket puts tunes in reach, and well-thought additions like front bottle storage, trekking pole clips, and a safety whistle net serious bonus points. $160

2. Optic Nerve Omnium PM Sunglasses

Feature rich and bargain priced, Omnium PM shades weigh next to nothing, but do plenty to improve your run. The photochromatic lenses shift from rose to smoke hues in seconds, making them a fit for routes with rapidly changing light conditions. $79

3. Mission Athletecare EnduroCool Cap

The science of Mission’s cooling technology is complicated, but the benefits are simple. This new hat uses innovative fabric that provides a cooling sensation when wet to prevent overheating. $25

4. Patagonia Nine Trails Jacket

Bring this packable ripstop nylon jacket when dark clouds loom. It’s coated with a Durable Water Repellant finish to keep you dry and has stretch-woven panels under arms and on back for breathability and easier movement. $99

5. Patagonia Strider Pro Shorts

A stink-fighting liner, high side split, and a wealth of pockets make the Strider our favorite trail short. The polyester fabrication dries fast and five pockets (including one zippered) provide ample storage space for small essentials. $59

6. Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor

Monitor your heart rate and train in your zones without the pesky chest strap! This accurate monitor assesses training intensity and alerts you when you go beyond your max. Connects to your favorite fitness apps via Bluetooth 4.0. Available locally at Sports Chalet. $199

7. Asics Light-ShowTM Favorite Tee

If you buy just one running shirt this year, make it this one. It’s built for summer from lightweight, anti-odor fabric with stay-safe retroflective seams to ensure you’re seen after dark. $46

8. Asics Fuji Trail Long Sleeve Half Zip

Made for off-roading, this shirt’s shoulder grippers keep your pack in place, and two spacious pockets stash gear. The unique fabric offers sun protection and odor control while repelling wind and water. $90

9. Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Shoe

Smart updates like toe drainage ports and a Velcro tab for attaching running gaiters make this award-winning shoe better than ever! Designed with a wide toe box so your toes can spread with a zero drop from heel to toe to promote low-impact running. $115

10. Ogio 8.0 Endurance Bag

Most of us have to drive to reach our favorite trails, and a run-ready bag keeps everything organized on the way there and back. Sunglasses and breakable items go in the crushproof case while shoes, nutrition products, and sweaty clothes travel in their own compartments. Perfect for race day too! $100


11. Achiva Energy Drink Mix

If eating much before a run upsets your stomach, try this locally produced drink mix for energy—without stimulants. Comprised of a simple blend of chia seeds, coconut water, and fruit juice, Achiva has a gel-like consistency and tastes surprisingly good. $18 bulk bag

12. Camelbak Marathon Vest

Fitting close to your body like a vest, this stable pack won’t bounce and carries two liters of water. Large hip front pockets keep frequently used items in reach, but there’s also a bit of space around back for a jacket and other goods. $100

13. Sugoi Jackie N Ice Tee Short Sleeve

Stay cool with an Icefil® fabric top that reacts to moisture to provide a chilling sensation when you’re sweating! $50

14. Asics Fit-SanaTM Rib Tank

Beautifully designed back straps make this fitted tank stand out, but the quick-dry ribbed polyester and affordable price are why it’s a favorite trail. Pair with your favorite bra. $30

15. Asics Fuji Trail Capri

Cut to hit just below the knee, this capri’s breathable panels regulate your temperature and two zippered pockets hold a phone and snacks. $68

16. Athleta Fast Track Half-Zip

A next-to-skin fit, seam-free design, and silicone grippers keep this baselayer put on the run while preventing chafing. Love the flattering side shirring! $74

17. Athleta Go the Distance Shorts

Swishy, but never sticky, these liner-less running shorts stay dry and do double-duty as a swim cover up. $39

18. Swoob Idona Sports Bra

Toss your armband and stow your phone, key, and energy gels without a pack, thanks to this pocketed sports bra. Created in Salt Lake City, this compression style offers enough support for most cup sizes to run in. Available locally at Black Diamond. $45

19. Sugoi RSR Stamina Bra

Designed to minimize movement the Stamina bra has a front channel to keep your bust from bouncing and is made of chafe-free silky fabric. $60

20. Brooks Pure Grit 3

Comfortable at first wear, this shoe was rebuilt with input from Scott Jurek and rock climbers for a semi-minimalist run with the protection trail runners need. The rock climbing-inspired sole gives this shoe its mad grip on steep terrain while an underfoot rock shield protects on technical trails. $120


About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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