The Best Trail Running Gear

Main run wild the best trail running gear

When the asphalt’s on fire and the sidewalks make you sore (and they will), it’s time to take to the trails. But before you run off-road, you need some specialized gear. We asked pro ultrarunner Hal Koerner, who also happens to own specialty running shop Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, OR, to tell us what’s in his trail kit.

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1. GU Chomps

“I love these because I can dole them out as needed when I’m training. Having the ability to customize calories keeps me alert and my stomach lively.”

$35/box of 16;

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2. Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2

Koerner stresses lateral stability, flex, breath-ability, and beefy toe bumpers. The Terra Kiger 2 has a smallish bumper but checks the other boxes—including sticky rubber lugs and a firm forefoot that protects against trail debris. 


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3. Julbo Venturi Sunglasses

“These lightweight models have great nose fit and ventilation, something I look for when working hard on hot days and sweat becomes a factor, or during afternoon showers high on mountain ridges when I want the protection of a lens.” 

From $120;

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4. The North Face Better Than Naked Shorts

“Whatever length, these allow a ton of storage that’s as economically efficient as the shorts are ergonomically suited for long days on foot. I love the FlashDry, which wicks sweat completely during even the most extreme pursuits.”


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5. Petzl NAO Headlamp

“The lumen count [575] rivals a German sedan, and it is just about as intuitive when it comes to customizing your lighting preferences.”


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6. Eddie Bauer Quantum Short Sleeve T-Shirt

On those sweltering lunchtime runs, the Quantum’s unique sweat-activated vents—which are mapped to common sweat zones—open up to dump heat quickly and cool you down. What’s more, the shirt’s polyester fabric actively wicks sweat and dries in a flash. 


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7. SmartWool NTS Micro 150 Pattern Crew Top

“Whether I’m warming up in the inversion or on a blustery ridge, the next-to-skin comfort is insulating, breathable, and light. I also like that it moves well and doesn’t stink or give me the chills when I’m in the coffee shop afterward.”


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8. Garmin Forerunner 920XT

“With a 24-hour battery life, it makes the most sense for ultrarunning; and the four display fields help me keep an eye on time, mileage, elevation, and pace without having to take my mind off the terrain.” Don’t forget the other cool features, like a VO2 max estimate and automatic data upload to the Garmin app.

From $450;

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9. Body Glide

“Whether you’re plodding through a rainstorm or baking in the hot summer sun, rest assured you’ll be covered from chafing, friction, and blisters with this all-in-one prophylactic.” The Endurance Strength formulas come invisible and feel like they aren’t even there.

From $6;

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