Trail running can feel like the ultimate freedom. When you’re really in the zone—floating through the forest and bounding over obstacles like a sweaty, Strava-synced deer—your mind and body join forces in that easy flow state where everything feels natural and right.
You certainly don’t need a lot of gear to have a stellar trail run, but if you’re going to be out there pounding the dirt, what you do bring along matters. The stuff here is so comfortable and worry-free that it lets us focus on the scenery, the terrain, the race competition, or even just nothing at all. These 10 essentials for running trails in the wilds.
The clothing on your body is the most essential component of trail running, and all you really need for a short run. Everything should fit well, and be free of tags or other annoyances that will only grow with every mile. Choose proper trail running shoes for your environment, shorts or tights, a synthetic or possibly light merino wool shirt, and quality socks for the job. A light windbreaker like the Patagonia Houdini is great to carry in case the weather turns windy and cold.
Hydration is a no-brainer. Runners tote H20 with hand-held water bottles or a running vest or pack (see below). Many bottles will do the trick, but the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus has served us well for runs under about seven miles.