Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2020

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Trail Running Shoes in 2020 (So far): The Ultimate Buyers Guide!

Our ever-evolving list of the best trail running shoes for every scenario; whether you run ultramarathons, race 10k's or plan to do a Spartan/Tough Mudder..

5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2020 (So Far)

This concise list of the 5 best headlamps for trail running will help you decide which one to buy, based on your individual requirements.

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX Review 2020 – The Best Winter Trail Shoes?

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX in-depth review! Find out why these awesome waterproof winter trail running shoes win an Editor's Choice Award.

5 Best Waterproof Running Jackets for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2020

This concise list of the 5 best waterproof running jackets will help you decide which jacket to buy for your Winter trail running adventures.

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail Review 2020 – Did Nike Just Crush Its Competition?

Editors Choice Award for the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail! Everything you need to know about these awesome all-mountain trail running shoes.

What To Pack For Trail Running: The Essential Guide

- Advertisment - Continue reading below -

What do you need to pack for trail running?

When we wanted to start trail running we found there were not many comprehensive sources of information out there on what to take with you. Using years of trail running experience, we have put together the essential guide on what to pack for trail running.

RELATED: The Ultimate Trail Running Gear Guide: What To Wear Trail Running

While a lot of it is common sense, and what you pack for trail running very much depends on where you are going running, and for how long, this guide will help you if you are:

  • new to trail running
  • interested in starting trail running and not wanting to hit the trails under-prepared
  • already a trail runner but have been focused on running shorter distances to date, and are exploring what to pack for trail running over longer durations or distances.

Trail running race vest
Running the c.30k Routeburn Track in NZ, with a race vest packed full of the necessary kit for a long day out

Location

Where you are running, including the country, climate and terrain or type of trails you are planning to run on will all affect what you should consider taking with you in your pack for trail running.

The terrain, for example, may influence what shoes you take, and the technicality and climbing /descending will affect how long you are out for. If you’re running in mountain areas or somewhere particularly hot then you need to be prepared for the weather and temperatures you may get exposed to.

ENDING SOON:- DEALS FROM REI & BACKCOUNTRY:


For a guide on which running shoes to use for different types of terrain:

The Best Trail Running Shoes: The Ultimate Buyers Guide!


In the mountains

This could mean scorching hot weather and freezing cold rain and thunderstorms, all in the same day, so you need to bring kit for hot weather as well as warm layers and a waterproof jacket.

Running in Chamonix
Running in the Alps around Chamonix. A hot, T-shirt weather day can quickly change to a cold, wet stormy day: it pays to be prepared

In hot climates

Think about how you will access safe water sources to refill your bottle, if needed – and a cap / visor, sun cream and good sunglasses will be essential.

Running Transgrancanaria Marathon
Running in Gran Canaria (Transgrancanaria Marathon) was hot – definitely a day for a cap, sunglasses, cream and plenty of water

Planned (or potential) duration of your run

If you’re going out for an hour or so then you won’t need to carry the same amount of kit that you’d need for four hours or a full day out on the trails.

Having said this, it’s not unusual for a run to take longer than planned – prepare for the unexpected!

A run could take longer than planned  because you’re having such a lovely time than you choose to stay out longer, or it could be you get lost or end up making slower progress than expected, whether due to the terrain, weather, or an injury meaning you end up being out for longer than you expect.

Essentials to carry on a trail run

On a trail run shorter than 1.5 hours, and assuming no mountains or extreme heat or cold:

If going out longer than 1.5-2 hours (say 3-5 hours) but not all day, I would also take:

RELATED: How Can I Prevent Muscle Cramps While Running?

Other items to consider taking:

To read an in-depth list of what I take in my ‘blister repair kit’, read this post: Treat Running Blisters: a how-to guide

For all-day adventures I would normally add:

Depending on how many items I am taking, I’ll either stuff them in pockets or carry them in a race vest or pack – normally the latter.

A good race vest isn’t cheap (typically £70+/$100+) but a good one is worth the investment. You can wear it on every long run, hike or race for years to come!

There are a lot of brands out there offering race vests. We use two of the most popular, Salomon’s S-Lab Advanced Skin 5 litre, and Ultimate Direction’s Womens Ultra Vesta (c.4 litre capacity).

My new go-to race vest is the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta 4.0 (Women’s) – the new and improved version of the original Ultra Vesta, which can carry larger soft flasks and has more storage.


RELATED: 5 Best Trail Running Poles this year (So Far): For Ultrarunning & Hiking too!


Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta 4.0 race vest - Trail & Kale-12-min

Examples of trail running packs & contents

We’ve put together a video where we run through all the items we considered or chose to pack for the Matterhorn Ultraks 46k/30k:

Also see below some kit pics we have taken before trail running races showing all the pieces of kit we pack for trail running.

Ultraks race kit
The kit I took on Matterhorn Ultraks 30k

Runners medical kit, plus headtorch, Buff, ipod and Salomon S-Lab windproof jacket
Runners medical kit, plus headtorch, Buff, ipod and Salomon S-Lab windproof jacket (note I decant the anti-chafe cream into the little lip balm pot)

Ultrarunning race vest
Packed race vest, full of essentials, including 2x water bottles, gels and folding carbon poles

I hope this post helps you pin down what to pack for trail running. If you have any questions just post them in the comments below and we will be happy to help answer them 🙂

6 COMMENTS

  1. This has been helpful. I’ve never run with a pack but have entered a 105 mile race where I’ll need to carry one. Just need to find a comfy one. A plastic bag for the phone is handy & cheap but I agree that it’s a faff, I’d always recommend an Aquapak or similar – phone works fine through the pack & photos come out clear, I use them for kayaking with no trouble (attached photo taken on HTC 10 from within an Aquapak just the other day). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/489b2f6ffc2dc45cd7264f99e8a01881a6c221e356ef71f5dd3c78d5c6cabf73.jpg

    • Hi Leigh, thanks for sharing! Great recommendation re the Aquapak for the phone, definitely less faff than keeping the phone in a plastic bag.

      Best of luck for the 105 mile race! The Salomon vests are very popular but I think it’s worth checking out the newer ladies Ultimate Direction Vesta, which has good-sized bottle holders, bigger than the pockets in my old vest shown above. I find both comfortable but prefer the fit of the UD one. Helen x

  2. Always carry a safety whistle. If you get lost and someone is searching for you, it is much easier to hear a whistle than a person yelling in the woods. And a headlamp, in case you do get lost and night falls.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Helen
Helenhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hi, I’m Helen. I write about all things trail running, outdoor adventures and mindful living. Aiming to be a positive influence and have a positive impact on the environment and those around me.
- Trail Running Phone Cases - 25% OFF code: TRAILANDKALE25 -

TRENDING NOW

5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2020 (So Far)

This concise list of the 5 best headlamps for trail running will help you decide which one to buy, based on your individual requirements.

Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2020

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Trail Running Shoes in 2020 (So far): The Ultimate Buyers Guide!

Our ever-evolving list of the best trail running shoes for every scenario; whether you run ultramarathons, race 10k's or plan to do a Spartan/Tough Mudder..

Best On Running Shoes Ranked & Reviews 2020: Ultimate Buyers Guide!

The ULTIMATE 'Best of' list for On running shoes (Trail & Road), ranked & reviewed. Find out which On running shoes are best for YOU in 2019!

POPULAR ADVICE

Is Trail Running Better For You Than Road Running?

Is trail running harder than road running? Is trail running better for you than road running? In this post we explain the pros and cons.

8 Health and Fitness New Years Resolutions for 2020

8 New Year's Resolutions that will motivate you to become the best version of yourself in 2020! Try out this practical, balanced lifestyle.

5 Tips For Keeping Feet Warm on Winter Hikes & Everyday Adventures

Having cold feet is not pleasant, or great for the joints. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your feet warm during winter hikes.

latest gear reviews/guides

5 Best Women’s Waterproof Running Jackets for Trail Running in 2020

Our list of the 5 best women's waterproof running jackets will help you decide which jacket to buy for wet winter trail runs and ultras.

10 Environmentally-Friendly Gift Ideas For Outdoor Adventurers

Looking for an environmentally-friendly gift for the outdoor adventurer in your life? Read our sustainable gift guide for 10 great ideas!

Best Women’s Running Books – Inspiring Reads by Female Runners

Our curated list of the best women's running books, showcasing true stories from inspiring female athletes and adventurers.

Gifts For Trail Runners in 2020: Shoes, GPS, Accessories, Nutrition & More

After gift inspiration for the trail runner in your life or yourself? Check out our list of the best affordable and useful gifts for trail runners.

Receive our Newsletter

Enjoy first class Trail Running, Hiking & Adventure Inspiration, delivered straight to your inbox.

Welcome to the Trail & Kale Community! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.