Up epic hills, down coastal paths, falling over a lot into bogs – I love trail running, but it takes tough gear to withstand an outing into the wild. Here’s my favourite tried-and-tested rugged kit for getting off the tarmac and into the great outdoors.
1. Active sports bra, £9.99 from Mountain Warehouse
Simple yet effective design is key when it comes to keeping your boobs from jiggling up a storm when you’re running. Mountain Warehouse’s cheap and cheerful basic sports bra is supportive and comfortable, even over long distances, and the mesh panels wick away sweat well. Plus, for less than a tenner each you can buy loads of them.
2. Climalite running gloves, £19 from Adidas
Thin, comfortable moisture-wicking gloves you can stuff in your pocket and crack out when it’s chilly. These Adidas digit-warmers are felted and cosy but not waterproof, so they’re better kept for times when you just need a light layer. They make ideal under-gloves for skiing and mountain biking, too, as their iPhone-friendly finger fabric mean you can selfie your heart out without taking them off.
3. Petzl Tikkina head torch, £20 from Cotswold Outdoor
A no-nonsense, simple to use head torch that sits well on the forehead and stays steady even if you don’t. Whilst you might not want to go leaping over tree roots in the middle of the night, a head torch is handy if you get lost in the gloaming on the way home. It’s easy to angle the beam of light, which comes with a high and low beam settings so that you don’t blind other runners.
4. Mizuno Wave Hayate ladies trail running shoes, £49.99 from Millets
Buying a pair of trail running shoes can be a minefield of complicated design buzzword and seriously painful prices but I can happily inform you that you can most definitely purchase a fantastic, lightweight shoe for under £50. Good eh? Mizuno’s very good-looking Wave Hayate trail shoe feels really light and comfortable and adapts well to different terrain – it’s not clunky on the flat but its grip is great, even in the wet. The cushioned sole stays bouncy after aggressive running and the shoe is very breathable too, although the compromise is that the Wave Hayate isn’t fully waterproof, so it’s best worn for high-octane runs when you won’t be stop-starting and allowing your body temperature to drop.
5. Running leggings from Merrell
Cooler weather calls for running tights that keep you warm without overheating once you’re a few miles in. I’ve got a crush on pretty much all of Merrell’s running kit, and their leggings are no exception – stretchy, supportive, breathable and flattering, they also dry quickly if you accidentally take a detour via a puddle. My Parma Violet coloured favourites aren’t available in the UK but the very similar Soto leggings, £40, are much the same.
6. 13l Volt Camelbak hydration pack, £79 from Polimil
Once you get a Camelbak you never go back. My 13l Volt pack is actually on the large side for running, as it’s mainly designed for cyclists, but I can’t live without it for long runs either. Fill up the water reservoir, which sits nicely on your hips, tighten the straps and you can go the distance without needing to stop to hydrate. Learning to drink water mid-stride takes a bit of practise but it makes trail running a million times smoother and easier. The Volt is the perfect all-rounder size if you’re looking to invest in one water pack for different sports – I usually carry an extra layer, a phone, keys and money in mine – but Polimil stock smaller sizes too, which are a better pick for shorter running distances. Camelbaks are reliably rugged, too – mine has been skiing and on regular 50-mile cycles with me fuss free. Just don’t forget to give yours a wash out after your adventures.
7. Flyweight jacket, £80 from Jack Wolfskin
The Flyweight fits super slim by avoiding hip pockets (there’s a zipped chest pocket instead), so there’s no bagginess when you run. It’s also super sleek on, which is useful because we all like to pretend in our heads that we look as streamlined as Usain Bolt, right? Designed specifically for trail running, the flyweight feels loose, light and cottony on. It’s water-resistant, rather than repellant, though, so it’s only really suited for lighter showers. Its coup d’etat, and the reason it’s worth a hefty £80, is how miniscule it is – you can scrunch it up into the palm of your hand. Read my full review here.