Trail Running 101: What Do I Need to Trail Run?

The Next Level

As you increase mileage, going further into the backcountry or into more difficult terrain, you may find a few other extra items useful. A GPS watch, for example, can help you keep track of how far you’ve run, and at what pace. Some runners enjoy the free feeling of going without a watch and simply enjoying the experience. But if time, distance, or mapping your runs is of interest to you, a GPS watch can help with training and navigation.

Trekking poles are another addition to the kit that can help you go further. Whether it’s helping to take some of the weight off on the way uphill or aiding in balance on a descent, a pair of lightweight poles can help keep you upright longer. Most running-friendly trekking poles will break down and fold up so they can be carried easily or attached to a running vest when not in use.

If there are water sources along your route, a filtration bottle can let you refill safely without worrying about contamination. This helps you stay hydrated without having to haul as much water in your vest and can allow for much longer runs, but it also requires knowledge of available water sources.

Another nice-to-have but not completely necessary item are trail gaiters. Gaiters attach to your running shoes and cover the opening around your ankle to keep dust, gravel, and other trail debris from getting kicked in along the way. Obviously, this isn’t crucial, but it can help avoid blisters and hot spots from foreign objects getting into your shoes and socks.