Best Trail Running Gear for Summer

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By Jacquie Cattanach | For

Trail running comes with some unique gear requirements for ideal comfort and safety. From water-repellent socks to comfortable hydration systems, performance sunglasses and more, here’s a list of the best trail gear for the summer.

Trail running is a bit different from regular running in terms of the equipment you’ll need. The more challenging the path, the more having the right gear can be the difference between an enjoyable experience and a difficult or even potentially dangerous one.

The basics include a hydration belt, fanny pack, GPS or heart-rate watch. Here are some of the best trail-specific buys you’ll find for hitting the dirt this summer.

Gear Suunto Ambit

The Suunto Ambit provides everything you need to navigate the trails this summer. A wrist-top device that incorporates a GPS, accelerometer, barometric altimeter, 3D compass and optional heart-rate monitor, it’s also water-resistant up to 100 meters.

The Ambit gives you 15 hours of battery life when it’s set to find your location every second—you can adjust this setting if desired. The GPS and accelerometer work together to give you faster and more reliable speed and pace updates, while the 3D compass helps keep you oriented on unfamiliar trails.
The unit also incorporates Suunto’s training effect and recovery time tools to help you manage your training program.

Be warned: The Ambit is pricey, but if you’re looking for the best, you’d be hard pressed to find a GPS system with better features or a more resilient design.

CamelBak Ultra LR Vest

By now, everyone knows the importance of staying well hydrated on the run. The CamelBak Ultra LR Vest holds up to 70 ounces or 2 liters of water or sports drink so you can maintain your fluid intake even during the hottest days of the summer.

More: Best Long Run Hydration Habits 

The stylish blue and white vest weighs just over one pound when empty and comes with a PureFlow tube, making it easy to drink on the run. The reservoir is centered on your lumbar region, minimizing lower back strain. It also includes small cargo pockets for keys, cash or a cell phone and is held secure on your torso with dual Slider Sternum Straps.

The reservoir should be cleaned and dried after each use and is not machine washable.

More: 12 Trail Running Tips for the Summer

Drymax Lite Trail Running Socks As much fun as trail running is, it can be a miserable experience if your shoes and feet get wet. The best way to keep your feet as dry as possible is with a pair of socks that wick moisture while combining comfort and blister protection.

Drymax Lite socks repel the water you might encounter from puddles or even small creek crossings. The padded heels provide added protection from the pain of steeping on small rocks or other debris; extra padding around the ankles provides added comfort, and the band around the ankles create a seal that keeps water, dirt and pebbles from slipping into your shoes and causing irritation.

Optic Nerve Squeezebox Photomatic Lens Sunglasses

Running during the summer means dealing with a wide range of lighting conditions—blinding sunlight, overcast conditions, shady woods and everything in between.

The Optic Nerve Squeezebox Photomatic lens adjusts to changing light automatically to give you the best possible vision in changing lighting conditions. These performance sunglasses are extremely light and come with ventilated lenses, which help maintain an active airflow and prevent fogging. They also come with an adjustable nose piece for a snug, comfortable fit.

More: 5 Hot Weather Running Gear Tips

AMK Ultralight/Watertight .3 Medical Kit

Hopefully you’ll never have to use this item, but it can save you a lot of trouble if you do happen to run into a minor medical issue on the trails. At less than 3 ounces, the Ultralight/Watertight .3 is AMK’s lightest medical kit.

Packaged in a waterproof kit bag, it contains key supplies such as moleskin for blisters, butterfly bandages and even tick forceps. Small enough to fit into just about any pocket, it won’t weigh you down or get in the way. Most importantly, the kit gives you extra peace of mind when you’re out on the trail.

Summer’s the best time of the year for trail running, so why not get out there and add a new dimension to your running? You won’t regret it.

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