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New Year, New You: The Gear You Need to Start Trail Running

Photo: Brian Erickson (Unsplash)

‘Tis the season for holiday cookies, eggnog, and copious amounts of food. Gluttony notwithstanding, the last week of the year is rife with resolutions as everyone promises to make next year their best yet. The majority of new year resolutions are based on the promise of a fitter version of oneself, so why do nearly 80% of them fail?

Make 2019 be the year that you fight back against the statistics and get into the healthiest shape of your life. Trail running is a great way to do so as it strengthens your legs, improves your balance and coordination, increases your cognitive health, and takes place in a beautiful environment. Of course, you need shoes (duh) but there are some other niceties that will make those scenic miles tick by with ease.

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The North Face Flight RKT Shorts

The North Face Flight RKT Shorts
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Designed with the help of ultrarunner Rob Krar, these snazzy shorts are a toucher longer than performance shorts and have a windbreaker-esque texture that you won’t find in other shorts. The secret is the nylon-poly ripstop that gives you full range of motion while breathing well on those big climbs. Bonus: There is one zip pocket in the back.

Oiselle Spandos Capris

Oiselle Spandos Capris
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Many women prefer running in capris. If that’s you, consider the Spandos by women-specific brand Oiselle. I’ll admit: the colorful patterns aren’t my favorite but they make up for the clashing colors with a thick waistband and a buttery-smooth interlock fabric that creates one comfy capri. Plus, they are made in the USA (California to be exact) so you’ll sleep easy supporting the local economy.

Ultimate Direction AK 3.0

Ultimate Direction AK 3.0
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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The mind behind this design is trail runner extraordinaire Anton Krupicka, so you know it has to be good (I mean, he won the Leadville 100...twice). Two front straps store the included two 500 ml “body bottles” and a 1.5L hydration bladder fits in the back with plenty more space for snacks, keys, a phone, and a spare jacket. If you’re headed out for runs over 6 miles, this vest is tough to beat. Now, if only it would give me Krupicka’s flowing locks...

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Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask

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If you’re brand new to trail running or know that you’ll be out for less than an hour, it’s often easier to cart a handheld bottle instead of a pack. To that end, the 18-ounce SpeedDraw plus is tough to beat. It’s cheap (less than $40) and comfortable. Thanks to the double-wall flask, your water was stay cool while you’re on the trail.

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Salomon Bonatti Pro WP Jacket

Salomon Bonatti Pro WP Jacket
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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If you carry one piece of bonus clothing while running, make it this jacket. It’s not complicated, with just a single pocket and headphone port, but its minimalistic nature is what makes it work. It weighs only 6 ounces and packs down to the size of a small mango, but it’s still waterproof so you’re covered should the skies open up on you.

Snickers Minis

Snickers Minis
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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You can spend your hard-earned cash on fancy running fuel if you want, but I’d recommend heading to your nearest grocery store and stock up on Snickers. These delicious morsels have both carbs and fat (lots of fat) for instant jogging energy. Sure, they’re candy but….you’re running. You deserve it.

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Julbo Aerolite Sunglasses

Julbo Aerolite Sunglasses
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Jury’s out: are these sleek or goofy looking? I vote sleek. Either way, at less than one ounce, they are virtually weightless so you won’t feel them on your face as you bounce down the trail. Plus, these lenses are tech savvy. The photochromic lenses shift from darker under full sun to a lighter in dense trees, so you’ll always be able to see where you’re going.

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prAna Journeyman Trucker Hat 

prAna Journeyman Trucker Hat 
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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Let’s be real: any hat will cover your face, so why not make it a fun one? I like the Journeyman hat thanks to the clever animal prints on the front. Take a look for yourself, but Buck Wild quickly wormed its way into my closet.

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About the author

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort is an outdoor expert and full-time freelance writer and author in the outdoor industry.