Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ
Trekking poles are necessary when tackling steep, technical terrain, particularly in the mountains. But it’s no fun dragging around heavy, cumbersome gear that you’ll only use sparingly during a day of moving fast through singletrack. We recommend the Distance Carbon FLZ because, just as the name suggests, they are made of carbon fibre, which makes them ultra-light. They are also easily collapsable and easy to stow.
Salomon ADV Skin 5
When it comes to carrying all your gear with you, the lighter the pack, the better you’re going to be, particularly if you’re planning on going out for an ultra-long time. Weighing in at well under 500 g, the ADV Skin 5 really does just sit on your back as if it weren’t there. The main back cavity is sizeable, there are plenty more clever and easily accessible stash pockets and the two front hydration bottles are perfectly placed.
When the going gets dark, trail runners get out their trusty headlamp and keep going. We suggest this USB rechargeable, “intelligent” 220-lumen companion to guide you through a 100-miler. It has a reactive lighting design, meaning the Reactik automatically tweaks its brightness level based on the ambient light it senses in the area. Depending on the setting, the Reactik can also provide up to 12 hours of light from a single charge, good enough for a full overnight run.
Salomon Trail Gaiters
Don’t kid yourself – your feet and ankles are going to take a beating while out on the trails. Gaiters may initially seem like overkill, but as you hack and slash your way through a thorny patch or along a pebbly scree field at high speeds, it’s best to have a pair keeping the elements out so you can soldier on. No one wants an errant stone in there mingling with your foot mid-mountain descent. We recommend the Salomon gaiter as it’s tough, easy to quickly adjust and just does the job right, every time.
Patagonia Duckbill Cap
A good hat is key on the trails. You never know when you’re going to get blasted with either heavy rain or blinding sunlight. Either way, rockin’ something with a solid brim, that is also breathable is a wise move. The Patagonia Duckbill Cap is a clever move because it’s so incredibly light and built almost entirely of highly perforated Coolmax mesh. Its flopping duckbill is also easy to fold up and stow, if need be, and it pops right back into shape.
Garmin Fenix 5
Quite simply, the Fenix 5 is the most advanced watch available for trail runners. It accurately tracks your location by either GPS or GLONASS, as well as elevation and even offers at-a-glance full-colour mapping. It works as a powerful tracker for pretty much every data point an athlete can think of, and works a coaching system based on analyzing your daily performance.
Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hoody
The Norvan SL is paper-thin, remarkably tough and is actually breathable, which is a revelation for a legitimately waterproof running jacket. It’s slim cut behaves nicely with a pack on, and the fitted hood stays up and doesn’t bounce around during a run. The Norvan SL can pack into a handheld size for easy carrying when the weather improves. Simply put, it’s the best option for serious outdoor running.
The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul
Trail runners often wisely opt for a slightly longer short. The Better Than Naked Long Haul does an excellent job protecting your thighs from branches and thorns while on the fly through tight singletrack. This short (and others by the North Face) have nice details for trail runners, such as a tuckeable outer drawstring and plenty of stow pockets. The built-in underwear are also indeed better than being naked out on the trails.
Like Kleenex or Q-Tips, YakTrax are synonymous with what they do. This lightweight pair are key in changing conditions, particularly when going up, and down, a mountain. They fit any shoe and work seamlessly, saving you from sliding around on uncertain footing.
Osprey Duro Handheld
If you’re going into a trail run slightly overprepared, the very first thing you should overthink is hydration. A handheld is a must-have for a long, hot day on the trails. It’s easier to run with than a bulky hydration pack, and if you’re running a race, it’s just enough to get you from one aid station to the next. The Duro Handheld is ergonomically designed to rest comfortably on your hand, carrying 250 ml of fluid. It also has a handy stash pocket for a gel or keys, and works with trekking poles.
This story appears in Canadian Running’s 2018 Trail Special.