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Trail Running Kit Essentials

You run, but do you need specific Trail Running kit if you’re heading out on the trails? Find out what we consider Trail Running Essentials, and how these can improve your experience and keep you safe!

Running has always been known as a cheap sport; in fact, there’s an old adage that goes,  “All you need to do is put on a pair of trainers and head out”.

This is certainly mostly true for road running, especially for the beginner. When it comes to trail running, and definitely mountain running, you need to put a lot more thought into your kit. In this article we’re going to look at some trail running essentials you should consider before heading out onto the wildest trails. 

Trail Shoes

One of the most important things is trail shoes. Road shoes tend to have a lot of cushioning and lack of grip which is great for tarmac but when you are on the trails you need something with extra grip and thinner midsoles so you can feel what’s under your feet.  

Things to look for: size of lugs; protective rand around front of shoe; gaiter traps.

Price: £60 – £200


While you can happily run around your local neighbourhood in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in most weather, if you are heading into wilder terrain you need to consider extra layers. A lightweight windproof, light mid layer, gloves, buff, hat, waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, gaiters, are other pieces of trail running kit to consider.

Things to look for: wickable material; light weight and easily foldable; great warmth to weight ratio 

Price: Windproof: £30 – £150; Mid-layer: £15 – £70; Waterproof Jacket: £40 – £300 

Running vest

If you are going to take all this kit, you will need something to carry it in and the most popular bit of kit to use is a running/race vest. These come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and cost. A 5-10 litre vest should be sufficient for most runs, depending on your kit size.  

Things to look for: fit (most come in assorted sizes); pocket quantity; ease of access to pockets; bottle/bladder compatible 

Price: £15 – £150 

Calf Guards/Compression sleeves

Whilst you may be used to wearing calf sleeves for your regular running for their compression qualities, they also offer additional benefits when on trails, where you may encounter long grass and nettles.

Price: £10 – £50

Additional kit

The further afield you go, the more trail running kit you are more likely to need. First aid kit, mobile phone, emergency shelter, gps, whistle, nutrition, hydration, map, sunglasses, tick protection, sunscreen… You need to think of what you might need in an emergency. Consider this: You have headed out on a new trail which you have not been to before and is quite remote, you slip and twist an ankle. Will you have phone signal; do you have enough food until help arrives; will you be warm enough; will you get too hot; do you have enough water; do you know exactly where you are? If you have the right kit you be safe and well until help arrives. 

Things to look for: With all safety kit it should be practical, and you should know how to use it. 

Price: Prices range from a few pounds for a first aid kit to £300+ for a gps 

A lot of these trail running essentials can be bought second hand on Facebook groups or eBay. For clothing and shoes, it is always best to try before you buy. For general running kit, visit the TrueSapien store and take advantage of your member discount!

If you would like more information, contact me direct or comment below.

Rob, The Highland Running Coach is a TrueSapien Partner. Visit his page here.

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