Best Running Hats 2020: Top 5 Technical Caps for Trail & Ultrarunners

5 best running hats/technical caps that: wick sweat away from your face/eyes, keep your head/face/neck protected from the sun, look awesome!

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Grab Up To 50% Off Trail Running Gear at the Backcountry Memorial Day Sale (Ends 25 May)

We love that Backcountry stocks a comprehensive range of advanced trail running gear, including a broad range of brands, including some European brands of trail running shoes and hydration vests, which can be difficult to find in the US.

The Backcountry Memorial Day Sale has some significant discounts off otherwise expensive trail running gear – most of the items below are currently on sale at least 25% off their regular price, so now is a great opportunity to invest in upgrading your trail running essentials, including waterproof running jackets, hydration vests, GPS running watches and fresh new trail running shoes for this summer of trail running. Be quick as stock won’t last and the sale ends on 25th May.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, if the item you’ve been waiting for isn’t on this list, then you can take advantage of Backcountry’s secondary offer which gets you 20% off one full-priced item at Backcountry.com. This is an excellent way to get 20% off an expensive item, not in their sale or items like On-Running gear which are typically never discounted, anywhere on the web!


1. Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hooded Waterproof Jacket (25% OFF)

Arcteryx Norvan SL Hoody Best waterproof running jackets trail kale - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

There’s a reason the Arc’teryx Norvan SL Hooded Jacket sits at the top of our best waterproof jackets for trail running buyer’s guide. It’s designed for high-intensity trail running in wet conditions, weighs only 125g (4.4oz), and is a breathable yet waterproof GORE-TEX jacket.

The Norvan SL Hoody’s lightweight, minimal design makes it an excellent addition to any mountain lover’s hydration pack/vest, especially if moving fast and light is your jam (like it is mine), I’m looking at you trail runners, ultrarunners, and fastpackers. The jacket uses GORE-TEX with SHAKEDRY™ watershed technology which eliminates the need for a face fabric, significantly reducing weight and increasing breathability while delivering durably waterproof and windproof protection.

This jacket is also compressible and packable which is important when you have other trail running essentials that you may need to carry with you on your run. The jacket design is trim, slim fit which helps reduce drag and weight, it also optimizes its breathability during intense workouts. There are reflective elements on the cuffs for extra visibility at night too. If you need a headlamp for your night runs, check out our 5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in Gear Guide.


2. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro GPS Running Watch (20% OFF)

Garmin Fenix 6X - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro series of GPS watches is our top choice for trail running with, and as such it won an Editor’s Choice award and sits at the top of our Best GPS Watches for Trail Running Buyer’s Guide. Some features that make the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro the best GPS watch for trail runners and multi-sport athletes:

  • Navigation (Discover new trails and never get lost) – You can effortlessly discover or create your own routes on Garmin Connect, based on heat maps of where other Garmin users love to run the most. You can then transfer that route to a Fenix GPS watch and follow the route with a detailed navigation screen whilst running. The key difference here is that the navigation screen is so detailed (with proper maps) that it’s nearly impossible to get lost. I use this feature ALL the time to find and run new trails.
  • Pulse OX Sensor – For altitude acclimation or sleep monitoring, a Pulse Ox2 sensor uses light beams at your wrist to gauge how well your body is absorbing oxygen. This feature is very useful when running at altitude or when used as an extra indicator for current fitness levels. ALL Fenix 6 Pro GPS watches now include this as standard, awesome!
  • Battery Life – Although all the Fenix 6 Pro watches have more than enough battery life for most, the Fenix 6X Pro has the most impressive with up to 60 hours in normal GPS mode and 120 hours in max battery GPS mode which logs GPS location less frequently.
  • HR Monitor – The on-wrist heart rate monitor is accurate and more comfortable than a chest strap. This even works underwater, so you can track your heart rate while swimming, now that’s impressive.
  • Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and Actionable Features – For accurate altitude/elevation tracking and weather tracking. When following a programmed course, you can set a real-time ‘ghost’ competitor which shows a marker on the watch to motivate you to keep up with it, this can even be your fastest time running that route, very cool. When navigating a course you can also see the route profile with elevation gained and elevation remaining. I love this for being able to quickly visualize how much climbing I have left to crank out.

Those features are just some of the reasons why I personally love the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. Click the link below to learn more about this fantastic GPS Watch, and grab that elusive 20% discount.


3. Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 Set Hydration Vest (25% OFF)

Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 5 set best trail running hydration vests for men trail and kale - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 Set is built on Salomon’s SensiFit system that’s designed for a contoured, comfortable fit that’s snug and close to the body, it’s a great hydration pack that made it onto our Best Hydration Packs for Trail Running Buyer’s Guide recently.

There are lots of pockets for storage that are all easily accessible. These pockets include 2x front soft hydration pockets, 1 chest zip pocket, 2x side zip pockets, 1 back kangaroo pocket, 1 chest stretch pocket, 1 back main compartment, and 2x front stretch pockets.

Salomon uses elastic power-mesh materials for the Sense Ultra 5 Set that is lightweight and completely chafe-free while running. This breathable and moisture-wicking unisex race pack also includes a whistle (a requirement in many long mountain trail races), reflective decals for safety if running at night, and 2x 500ml soft flasks for hydration. The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 is the best running hydration pack for minimal runners who like to run fast and light.

Weight: 190g / Storage Capacity: 5 Liters


4. Suunto 9 Baro GPS Watch (30% OFF)

Suunto 9 Baro HR best gps watches for ultrarunning - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

Another epic deal at Backcountry is the Suunto 9 Baro GPS watch at 30% Off. The Suunto 9 Baro also made it onto our best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning gear guide because of its impressive features. It has a battery life of 25 hours of in Performance mode, 40 in Endurance mode, and up to 120 hours in Ultra mode. This 30% Backcountry discount for the Baro 9 is unbeatable right now.

The Suunto 9 Baro is 100m waterproof rated, has an on-wrist heart rate monitor, and navigation is available but not as feature-rich as the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro series. It also has a barometer for accurate altitude/elevation and weather tracking.


5. BioLite Headlamp 330 (25% OFF)

BioLite HeadLamp 330 - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

Another product that we love, that’s hugely discounted in the Backcountry Memorial Day Sale is the BioLite HeadLamp 330, which we reviewed it in detail here. The BioLite Headlamp 330 has a really slim fit construction with 9mm front profile and is hyper-lightweight at 2.43 oz., providing a bounce-free fit and experience while running or hiking. This headlamp is the most comfortable headlamp on we have tested and it’s proudly on our Best Headlamps For Running Buyer’s Guide.

This headlamp really is excellent value for money with a 4-hour battery life on the highest setting which uses two beams, wide and focused, firing out 330 lumens of light, it’s an ideal headlamp for trail running or hiking.

The BioLite Headlamp 330 has multiple light modes too including dimmable spot, flood, spot+flood, red night vision, and strobe. Because each beam can be dimmed, you can actually run the headlamp for much longer than 4 hours but not at its brightest level. It also uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged via micro USB for convenience.


6. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Polarized Sunglasses (20% OFF)

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses front best running sunglasses Trail and Kale - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses offer a standard-size frame with enhanced lens coverage which increases your peripheral view while trail running, hiking, or cycling. They also use Oakley’s high definition optics and the overall design has been tuned to be extremely lightweight. The Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses are so good that they recently landed themselves at the top of our Best Sunglasses For Trail Running Buyer’s Guide.

Flak 2.0 XL Prizm lenses enhance color and contrast on the trails, making technical terrain easier to analyze and tackle while running at speed. The lens material also filters out 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC & harmful blue light up to 400 nm and the lenses are replaceable which is nice to know just in case you do accidentally damage them.

One of the lesser-known technologies that I love about Oakley’s high-end sport sunglasses is the grippy ‘Unobtanium’ material to keep them in place. There’s never a worry that these sunglasses are going to fly off during fast trail running, and the more you sweat you produce the grippier this material becomes, it’s quite remarkable! This material is on the nose-contact area and frame-arms to really lock these sunglasses in place while running.

Weight: 28g (1oz) / Polarized lenses available?: YES / Replaceable lenses: YES

7. Buff Pack Run Hat (25% OFF)

Buff Pack Run Cap 2 - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

Now is always the right time to start thinking about protecting your head and face from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The Buff Pack Run Hat is our favorite hat for running because it’s lightweight, packable, has a flip-up brim, protects from UV rays, wicks sweat away from your face, and shields you from the rain. The Pack Run Hat is currently the top trail running hat choice on our technical running hats buyer’s guide.

BUFF Pack Run Hat compressed stashed trail and kale 2

One of the clever features is that you can flip the bill up when running/hiking uphill allowing you to see further towards the horizon at the top of your climb, you can then flip it back down when running on the flat or downhill. It’s definitely a stylish hat with that much-loved European flair! I wore my UTMB special edition BUFF Pack Run Cap for my OCC race this year and it performed excellently for the entire 10.5 hours of mountain running!

There’s a built-in sweatband that provides moisture control without the added bulk, and the polyester UPF protective materials wick away any perspiration. The adjustable elastic cord at the rear is a nice touch to the overall minimalism, and it provides a secure fit that’s easy to adjust on the fly. The cord is a really quick way to tighten the hat when the wind picks up, I’ve done this frequently to ensure I don’t lose my hat while running in the mountains! 🙂

The BUFF Pack Run Cap is a very comfortable hat due to the 4-way stretch fabric it’s built with; this fabric makes it super lightweight too (1 oz.).


8. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Running Poles (25% OFF)

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trail Running Poles - Backcountry Memorial Day Sale

At 10 oz. for a pair, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are the gold standard for lightweight, collapsible trail running poles which is why they earn the ‘best trail running poles’ title. The Distance Carbon Z poles are made with carbon, which is why they’re so lightweight and they are also designed to fold up into 3 small pieces, which is important if you need to store them back in your hydration pack while not in use.

Black Diamond‘s latest Distance Carbon Z’s joint support has been further improved, making them 30% stiffer, and they’re now more durable with reinforcements around the locking mechanism and upper shaft. There are also non-scarring rubber tips and a lightweight EVA foam grip.


If you have any questions about the trail running gear on this list, please ask them in the comments below. I really enjoy talking about the trail running gear that I truly love and use regularly.


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Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Trail & Kale has since grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
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