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Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 05:43:26 MST Print View

What do trailrunners (hillrunners) typically carry on them when they go out for a run?

I'm guessing:
*water, 1-2L--depending on season
*high-energy/slow-burning carb snacks
*insurance card
*mobile phone

Am I missing anything? I was about to add waterproof/breathable jacket to the mix, but running with one, you would still get wet, no? But maybe you need one anyway because you might injure yourself on the trail, and you may have to hobble back (?)

This is an activity I am thinking about taking up, so I would like to hear from some experienced veterans. I would probably be starting out small, 5K, and then move up from there...

Edited by NightMarcher on 11/10/2009 05:44:49 MST.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
trail running stuff on 11/10/2009 06:12:52 MST Print View

What I bring depends on how long I plan on running, if I know the trail system, and expected weather.

I generally don't care about getting wet if it's not going to be too cold. So, no jacket, or extra clothing usually, occasionally I bring gloves if the trail is rocky and I will be pushing the pace.

I don't bring water for runs under 8 miles. I bring a gu (or two) or light snack and water for runs up to a couple of hours, real long runs and I'll bring lunch and an extra pair of socks, and salt replacement tabs.

Water carrying options are personal, but handheld bottles, hydration belts, and reservoir packs are the main options other than just holding a bottle. My take is whatever you bring, it should be easy enough to use and not forget about that you will drink regularly.

I HIGHLY recommend bringing a basic way to navigate and a light if there's any chance you can get lost or be caught in the dark. I have a small keyring with a zipper pull compass and a photon freedom micro led that's always with me. With my car key added it still fits in a running short liner pocket.

If I am not on a training/fitness run and am likely to also do a bit of hiking, sightseeing, etc., I may use my ion or some other small pack and bring a jacket, camera and real food. It's rare for me to bring id/money/phone. Those are normally in the car at the trailhead.

Enjoy, it's way more fun than road running!

Edited by roguenode on 11/10/2009 06:24:55 MST.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 07:53:03 MST Print View

Really all you need is the appropriate clothing for the conditions you will be running in. That being said, I have seen the full spectrum of clothing on people who trail run, some guys can wear short running shorts and a baselayer T in temps down to the 40's, it really all depends on the person. Once you start running your body temperature will rise quickly.

1) 16-24oz. is a typical amount of water to carry for a shorter run lasting 1-2hrs. 20oz. every hour is a good place to start, but I rarely need that much on a run lasting less than 2 hours. Of course if it is blazing hot then I may bring 48oz. for a run lasting 2 hours. (I live in NM)
* Like the above poster, how you carry is up to you, waistpack, handheld, hydration pack.

2) Appropriate shoes for the terrain you are running and the weather conditions. If you run in dry or warm regions opt for something breathable and quick drying to aid in blister prevention and to prevent your feet from getting hot.

3) Breathability is key with trailrunning, finding clothing that transfers moisture away from your skin and aids in evaporation is important. There are several companies that make clothing for high exertion activities like trail running that provide a range of light/heavy insulation and appropriate temperature regulation. The Patagonia capilene line of clothing is an excellent start for finding a good baselayer for warm to cold conditions.

A breathable windshell is a nice feature on chilly runs, they often don't weigh more than 6 oz. and can be easily balled up and stored in a waistpack or carried in hand. I bring a windshell on chilly morning runs before the sun comes up, it helps prevent the wind from robbing warmth.

Headwear, consider the conditions, make it breathable.

Legwear, it is up to you, but the options are endless, loose tights, compression tights, 3/4 tights, pants, shorts.

3) What personal items you carry is up to you and your required level of safety. I rarely carry anything besides my car key, a gel or 2, and perhaps my drivers license if I'm going on a run lasting more than 2-3 hours out on the trail. Some people run with cell phones, it is up to you and how important getting in contact with or being contacted by the outside is to you. Letting someone know what trail you are running on, when you left, and when you expect to return is good practice and only takes a second and could save your life.

Run hard.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 07:59:12 MST Print View

Eugene summed it up pretty well.
The main thing in deciding what to bring is think in terms of time (hours) not miles. Trail running is different and often slower than road running. Also consider relative remoteness of the trail you plan to run.

I typically carry more than necessary on my short runs so I'll be used to the load for my long runs. Always bring my 3oz GoLite wind breaker even if I don't need it. Lightweight wind resistant gloves are great for cool days.

I always carry ID so my body will be easier to identify after the Mountain Lion drags my carcass into the bushes :-)

Walking the up hills is allowed in trail running, so don't feel you must start out at only 5K and work up to longer distances. Even a beginner can do a 1-2 hour run if they run-walk the trail.

Edited by asandh on 11/10/2009 08:47:15 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 08:52:50 MST Print View

-I've been really happy with my Nathan hydration vest for long runs...most comfortable fit of any running/hydration pack I've ever used.

-Homemade goo and bars! I don't like having to spend money on stuff to go run. I say don't believe all the hype about all the "performance" foods/drinks- eat what you like and make your own stuff. I've become a big fan of mini-bean burritos on long runs; just wrap in a little plastic. I also like almond butter mixed with a agave syrup- put it in a small ziplock (buy them as pill bags from the drug store- cheapest)...bite the corner off and eat.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 20:15:56 MST Print View

Craig, what do you use for your DIY gels and bars? I'm tired of purchasing carbs $1 at a time, and I don't like carrying a gel flask so I don't do the multiple serving bottle thing. I'm interested in your gel recipe/concoction though. Do you include sodium in some form in your gels? I've considered trying to replicate the Clif shot recipe, seems simple enough. It would be nice for runs and backpacking trips to make my own supplemental carb fix.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 20:30:23 MST Print View

Sorry to go off-topic, but...

I am pretty comfortable with road running 5K. Does that mean I'm good to go for hitting the trails, or should I first build up to 10K and then take on a 5K trail?

Great replies, by the way. They are helpful. Thanks...

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 20:50:10 MST Print View

Mike Clelland! (on this site) had posted a homemade Clif shot recipe on the forums...I've never tried it though. I know Clifs are pretty simple- pretty much based on brown rice syrup and sweetener.

The "gels" I've been eating are the one's mentioned above- almond butter and agave sweetener, a pinch of salt added. Pack it all into a 2x3" ziplock. You can then safety-pin them to your shorts and rip them off. Bite the corner off and suck out the goodness- fat, protein, carbs, salt. I'm not a dietitian, nor an obsessive mineral/electrolyte/carb-to-protien micro-manager...but this has worked fine for me running up ~35 miles so far.

Homemade bars: dates, granola, chopped almonds, dried cranberries...unleash the inner artist and go wild. A great trick is to coat your bars in sesame seeds to keep them from sticking to each other in the fridge/on the trail. I don't follow much of a recipe- too gooey, add more dry dry/crumbly, add more dates.

Sounds kinda weird, I know. I think I read about these on Scott Jurek's blog, thought I'd try my own, and recently fell in love.
I use pinto or black beans and rice on wheat tortilla, rolled into tiny, energy bar sized burritos.
Easy to chew and swallow; way better than some of the dog-chew-toy-esque commercial bars (you gotta love trying to eat a Powerbar while running and it's below 50 degrees...can we say "Backcountry Dental Emergency?"). Carbs, protein, salt, yum. Still haven't had a problem with them getting gooey, just gotta take care not to smash 'em. I only carry these when I'm going long and wearing a pack. No hot sauce while running though, I think that's begging for a flaming trip to the bushes.

I'm trying to experiment, follow my own tastes...and ween myself off the HYPE. I'm pretty convinced half the high-tech food offerings out there are probably nothing more than a low-sugar candy bar with a 10 cent multivitamin crushed in it.

Isn't running a kick!?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 20:56:05 MST Print View

Protein balls:

1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup dried fruit (I use the Just Tomatoes brand)
1/2 cup rice protein powder (chocolate flavor)
1/8 cup agave nectar
shredded coconut

Mix first four ingredients. Form 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat. Delicious! I love them on the trail, I'd think they'd be good on a run as well.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Trailrunning Gear on 11/10/2009 21:01:38 MST Print View

Listen to your body Chris!
If trails inspire you more than asphalt, you'll probably run "better" there anyway- even if that means slower.
There are so many books and training plans and systems and opinions out there...but ultimately I think you should just do what feels right to you. Ditch your watch. Don't check your mileage before the run. Go hit the mountains, see what happens. You might find you've got something you never knew you had.

I know that's a totally unscientific answer...but so long as we're just running for fun and fitness (not the Olympic trials), what does anything but the feel of a run really matter?

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Trailrunning Gear and... Burritos! on 11/11/2009 17:06:01 MST Print View



By the way, do you have links/recipes for those burritos or the trail bars you mentioned? They sound great.

Oh, on the rain coat, I think I will just go with one of those cheap one-use vinyl ponchos that fold down to the size of a passport. The suggestion for the wind shirt was a good one.

Now I just need to find some trails! The only thing is, it will probably take me longer to get to them compared with the time that I would actually be running on them...

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Trailrunning + Clif Bars = OK? on 11/25/2009 02:53:00 MST Print View

I was wondering, does anyone use energy bars, such as Clif Bars, LaraBars, or Pro Bars for, well... energy? Despite the high energy/weight ratio they seem like they would be kinda heavy on the stomach I would imagine.


Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Trailrunning + Clif Bars = OK? on 11/25/2009 04:27:12 MST Print View

I've only done 1 run this year where I needed to eat during the run and that was a 3is hour jaunt. I don't think you need to eat during a run for anything up to say 2 hours. Of course I don't carry water for anything less than 1.5 hours either. YMMV.

To answer the question, it was a Clif I ate on that 3 hour run and it didn't bother me.

Edited by simplespirit on 11/25/2009 04:28:03 MST.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Trailrunning + Clif Bars = OK? on 11/25/2009 06:38:23 MST Print View

Wow, I can't imagine NOT carrying water for anything over 45 minutes. Then again, I only just started trailrunning a month ago, so maybe when I get in better shape it won't be the same. I've definitely noticed a serious decrease in the amount that I drink as my stamina has increased.

I've only carried food on one trail run, and it was a small fruit/nut bar with only 130 calories. Even that felt a bit heavy in the stomach (but it did give me an energy boost that I was thankful for). If I were to go even longer, I'd probably take a Clif Bar and eat one half of it at a time. Otherwise, I'd think it would be far too heavy in the stomach.