Whether you're new to trail running or you've been escaping the road for years, it's always a good idea to have an essential kit guide to cover every eventuality. We're here with a quick guide to everything you need for trail running.
Trail running is a brilliant sport and can be hugely enjoyable. However, if you haven't got the right kit you could end up having to cut your run short and potentially ruin your day. Below is a list of essential kit you'll need for trail running as well as useful information on what to look out for when buying these items.
Possibly the most obvious thing or possibly not is a great pair of trail shoes. Sure, you could go trail running in a regular pair of running shoes, but if it's wet, muddy, and/or slippy, then you will have a really hard time and could fall over and injure yourself.
Trail shoes typically have 'lugs' on the bottom which are the bits that stick out the bottom of the shoe to give good grip. The deeper the lugs, the more grip you'll have. Look out for trail shoes with an aggressive lug design to give you excellent grip and the peace of mind that comes with it.
A great pair of trail shoes will also feature a rock plate to protect your feet from any stones or rocks that you might step on. This is an important one to prevent injury and sore feet. Finally, look out for trail shoes that offer water resistance and at a minimum excellent breathability.
Running leggings (for men and women)
Especially when running in winter or through dense woodland/jungle, you will want a good pair of leggings to protect your legs. Even if you're a man, wearing running leggings has a whole host of benefits such as compression, protection, coverage, and warmth.
If you tend to go trail running in the woods then your running leggings could protect you from nasty cuts and scratches from branches while wearing running leggings through long grass will prevent any ticks attaching to your legs! Leggings also provide warmth during the winter which can be an invaluable asset on a long run.
Trail running usually implies running for an extended period of time or at the least it means being away from facilities and running water, so wearing a hydration pack or bag will be important. Some hydration backpacks are very simple and will just contain a single water bladder and nothing more. These can be great as they are more likely to sit snugly against your body and not bounce around as you run which can be a real distraction. However, if it's such a simple bag that it has no extra pockets, you can't carry anything else like keys or a phone in it.
You then have hydration bags which have slots for small water bottles at the front. These are usually for longer distances, perhaps an ultra marathon, and allow you to carry more supplies. However, these bags can come with a very hefty price tag. Do your research and decide what level you need and how much you'll need to carry.
Running utility belt
A utility belt can be hugely useful if you don't otherwise have any pockets for storing valuables or fuel. If you like to listen to music while you run or if you take your phone with you for safety purposes (highly recommended if you're going to be isolated in the wilderness for your trail running) then you'll need somewhere to put it. Equally, you should always take a small amount of money with you for emergencies and you may well need to take your house and/or car keys with you too. For all these items, a small utility belt can be perfect.
Before you make your purchase, take a look at all the different types and styles that are available and decide what will work best for you. The last thing you want is a bulky belt bouncing around your waist and distracting you from your run and causing discomfort.
Anti blister socks
Last but absolutely not least are anti-blister running socks. If you're used to running long distances then chances are you've already figured out the perfect system for preventing and/or treating blisters. However, if you still haven't found the perfect pair of running socks which cushion your ride and prevent blisters from forming in the first-place, it's time to find some!