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Running gear for backpacking
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Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Running gear for backpacking on 02/19/2013 09:06:08 MST Print View


I'm a barefoot/minimalist runner. When I run on beach I run barefoot, on asphalt I wear my Saucony Hattory.
I've thought that most of running gear is very light and may suit for backpacking (fast drying, light, suited for action sports). I'm using my Nike Dri-Fit baseball cap at 47 gram. Some folks here backpack in their trail running shoes. I'm not doing this yet, but really considering to switch from high mountaineering boots. How do you handle dust and sand? Doesn't it get into the shoe? For our hot climate (I hike in Israel) I really appreciate breathability of light running shoes. But sand/dust is keeping me away from buying trail runners for my trips.

What running gear do you use for backpacking? And more particularly, how well trail running shoes perform as hiking "boots"?

Thank you.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Running gear on 02/19/2013 10:45:27 MST Print View

The shoes and apparel that I use for backpacking are the same ones I use for trail running (although I carry a couple more insulation pieces for backpacking). The breathable fabric areas on the uppers of some trail running shoes are tightly woven fabric rather than mesh. Combined with low gaiters, trail running shoes can keep dust and grit out of your socks very effectively.

I have found that some fine sand can get in despite gaiters if you are wading through deep, dry sand. I've done several multi-day hikes on the beach on the coast in the Pacific Northwest, and after the first one of those, I made integrated gaiters for a pair of trail running shoes by sewing on a 6" long tube-like cuff of tightly woven fabric. This completely protected my socks from sand infiltration, even after trudging through deep dry sand.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Trail Runners on 02/19/2013 11:05:20 MST Print View

A lot of trail shoes account for dust with tight weaves. Check out a lot of the Salomon shoes to find one with good protective membranes and anti-abrasion uppers.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Running gear for backpacking on 02/19/2013 19:25:13 MST Print View

I've had a much lighter backpack the last 9 years or so and switched from leather boots to trail runners. I'm on my third pair of trail runners, with the second pair about used up and the original pair used for short hikes in case they fall apart completely. I have some low gaiters, but forget to bring them. I get some debris in my shoes, but no big deal surprisingly. The tops of my wool socks get pretty dirty from the dust all day. They get washed after one day of use on week long vacation trips, I carry an extra pair so they can dry if caught out on a cool day and they fail to dry. I only jog on the day I come out as the jolting my ankles, knees, hips are subjected to takes a few weeks these days to recover from at my age.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
five fingers on 02/19/2013 20:08:45 MST Print View

I always run in five fingers. Usually my See Ya Running... I think they're 9.5oz for the pair. Less if you cut off the Velcro strap. In warmer weather I hike in five finger Spyridons, as they have a more aggressive tread design and a little more cushioning from the rocks.

mesh on 02/19/2013 20:35:15 MST Print View

Dust isnt that big a deal. It comes thru the mesh, thru your sock, and builds up over a couple days. Your feet do get to be filthy. Wiping them off at night is all I find I need to do. And changing socks every 2-3 days at least.

Sand, is far more abrasive. I have gotten sand washed into my shoes in sandy creeks. wet sand will abrade the foot within a few miles if not rinsed out in my experience.

Never hiked in loose sand, I dont think it would be a great combination with the mesh.

I love cold, fast flowing rocky streams, shoes and socks come out clean as a whistle.

Edited by livingontheroad on 02/19/2013 20:36:26 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Running gear for backpacking on 02/19/2013 20:40:38 MST Print View


From pictures you have posted in the past, your hiking areas look just like the place I live and hike. I hike in normally hike in XC flats. Some dust gets in my shoes, and it usually doesn't bother me. Sometimes I may take off my shoes and socks once or twice a day and just wipe off the dirt with my hands -- not a big deal. Ocassionally I wear Dirty Girls Gaitors, but usually not. Running shoes in th desert just doesn't create a problem.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Trail runners on 02/24/2013 06:42:40 MST Print View

OK folks, I understand that trail runners are OK for backpacking. But what about minimalist trail runners? Kinda NB minimus? I know that walking barefoot is completely different from running barefoot. When I walk I'm not landing on forefoot I think... Is there any experience with minimalist runners on trail?

Do you use inserts in minimalist trail runners?

Anyone use their running socks, pants, T-shirts for hiking? I think Nike's Dri-Fit are awesome for hiking. Very light and dries quickly.


Andy Chasse'

Locale: The Front Range
Minimalist trail runners on 02/24/2013 07:00:41 MST Print View

I've done almost all of my backpacking (mostly NM & CO) in minimalist trail runners and find that they work just fine. Most of my miles have been put on various pairs of VFF, Merrell trail gloves and the original NB Minimus trail - all of these I've used for trail and road running as well.

In terms of durability (in my experience): trail glove > Minimus > VFF. I have 1000ish miles on my original pair of trail gloves and they're still kickin'. I will say that after lots of miles and trips in my trail gloves and VFF, I really appreciate the extra support of the Minimus. It's become my primary running and backpacking shoe.

Edited by AndyC on 02/24/2013 07:17:52 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Trail runners on 02/24/2013 07:12:04 MST Print View

I wear Salomon running shorts in warmer weather. They're great for hopping in a stream to cool off because they dry much faster than regular hiking shorts. I wear the same Capilene tops and Smartwool socks for running and hiking as well. In either activity you want clothing that wicks sweat away so why not have your clothes serve double duty especially with how much some of it costs.

I've worn Inov8 and Montrail trail runners hiking for the past few years but never tried hiking in my Merrell Trail Gloves. Its pretty rocky here and I'm afraid I'd have bruised heels by lunchtime :D


Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
Running gear for backpacking on 02/24/2013 10:05:15 MST Print View

A Salomon Acti-Therm zipneck running jersey is my current favourite cold-weather base, 4 way stretch, fleecy inside, with mesh armpits (awesome!). The horizontal pockets with tiny invisible zippers at front and back hem are perfect for batteries, Bic lighters, ProBars, whatever I want to keep warm. Those pockets are so useful for winter backpacking that once I had them, I wondered why my other winterweight baselayers don't.

I can't find it on the website now, but from MEC I have an incredibly lightweight zipneck pullover made of a very thin windproof laminate material, with thin stretchy underarm panels, which does very well as a windshirt.

Both these layers have long cuffs with thumbholes, another useful feature that's more common on running gear than on hiking clothes, for some reason.

Daniel Russell

Locale: Creation
Altra on 02/24/2013 10:26:00 MST Print View

Altra Superior, enough said.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Altra on 02/24/2013 12:30:57 MST Print View

"Altra Superior, enough said."

How's the rubber on these? One of the reasons I started using Inov-8 after exclusively using NB was the sticky rubber. I found the sticky rubber has really made a dramatic difference in my confidence running downhill on rocks.

Sorry for thread drift

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Altra- Do some more Research on 02/24/2013 13:03:10 MST Print View

Someone else mentioned that in 2012, Altra changed their manufacturer. Same shoe, dramatic drop in materials quality and durability. It was a convincing enough comment that I skipped the shoe.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Great! on 02/24/2013 22:23:18 MST Print View

Thank you guys. The only thing keeping me away of switching to minimalis trail runners for hiking is the fact that when I hike I actually walk in a "heel strike" manner, but when I run I "forefoot strike". So a little absorption is needed in a heel part of the shoe.

Do you "forefoot strike" when you hike/walk in minimalist trail runners?

Thank again, you are helping me a lot!

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Great! on 02/25/2013 04:51:12 MST Print View

I don't forefoot strike when I walk, but the impact is less than running and the foot placement more deliberate. I couldn't hike in something as minimal as VFF but have been fine in F-lite 195s.

Why do you want to use minimalist shoes for hiking?

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Thanks for the input on 02/25/2013 06:14:38 MST Print View

Hi Nathan. Thank you for the answer.

My primary goals:
0) As a barefoot/minimalist runner I want to be minimalist also on trail:
- more natural way
- increase strength of muscles that not that strong due to walking in hiking boots or running with minimalist shoe on road.
- I believe it's more healthy in long run. I'm running barefoot/minimalist for some time and I hope I have now enough adaptation for minimalist trail running also.
1) Decrease weight of my footwear and therefore make the hike more pleasant, more efficient (read faster, farther)
2) I want to feel ground just as I do when I run barefoot on beach. I feel each shell I step on. I always run into water when sea waves splash on the shore.
3) For fun.

Edited by tauneutrino on 02/25/2013 06:16:38 MST.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Minimalist shoes: avoid the hype on 02/25/2013 06:45:51 MST Print View

Just an FYI: aside from anecdote, there is zero scientific evidence that minimalist shoes prevent injury or improve your hiking experience in any way. (Even for running, the evidence is thin, pun intended, and mostly theoretical)

My experience has been that orthotics plus nicely cushioned shoes have allowed me to backpack and run injury-free for years, including a PCT thru-hike with zero injuries in 2700 miles. But I do not tell others to go out and get orthotics and cushioned trail runners. Everyone's feet and legs are different. Don't expect what works for a vocal group of folks here on BPL to work for you.

I would say to ignore reviews and just try a bunch of different shoes and go with what fits/feels best. That's always worked for me.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Minimalist trail runners on 02/25/2013 08:14:28 MST Print View

Barefoot Jake

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Trail runners on 02/25/2013 08:28:19 MST Print View

I think that if you can trail run in minimalist shoes you can probably hike in them assuming you pack light. That said I personally like something in a medium weight trail runner like the Brooks Cascadia and might consider going with something a bit sturdier for more demanding conditions.