These accessories won't slow you down on the trails.
By Trent Jonas
Trail runners don’t need much, but what they do decide to bring along on a run must be lightweight and essential. From breathable jackets for inclement weather to headlamps for nighttime running, here are a few trail running accessories that won't hold you back or slow you down when you head out for a run.
As careful as you were checking conditions before heading out for a run, you can never be 100-percent certain what a day on the trail will bring. This is why a super lightweight, versatile accessory like the original Buff Multifunctional Headwear is a must-have on any run. You can use it has a hat, a scarf, a headband, a towel, or even a facemask. It’s made from moisture-wicking, breathable microfiber, offers UPF 50 sun protection, and comes in all sorts of colors and patterns. At 1.2 ounces, you won’t even know you’re wearing until you need it.
On the trail, clouds can cover the sun, rain can start falling, the wind can whip up, or night may start to settle in. At such times, it’s always good to have an extra layer. Or, conditions may have been cooler, wetter, or windier when you started out on your run, and you’ll want an extra layer that you can shed later. Either way, the Patagonia Houdini Jackey fits the bill. Made in both women’s and men’s styles and sizes, the full-zip Houdini features an adjustable hood and waistband, and it zips down into its own pocket to about the size of a smartphone. It can easily be tucked into a pocket of your pants, shorts, hydration pack, or daypack.
The Exoshot 2.0 Water Bottle, from Nathan, was designed specifically with runners in mind. The BPA-free soft flask holds 14 ounces of water and boasts a bite valve for easy drinking—and reduced spillage. What makes the Exoshot 2.0 a must-have accessory, however, is its proprietary sleeve, which features an ergonomically-designed hand strap that allows a runner to carry the bottle without gripping it. The sleeve is rigid along the hand strap to support the soft flask and to make carrying the flask more comfortable as you run. The material is a breathable, wicking mesh that allows for a grip when you need it while preventing excessive moisture buildup under your hand. Another awesome feature on the sleeve are small stash pockets for storing keys, credit cards, or energy gels.
Avid runners will always need a headlamp at some point—whether for an early morning or early evening on the trail, or a long afternoon that went a little longer than expected. For anyone who knows what it’s like to be out on the trail in the dark (or semi-dark), the Black Diamond Sprint 225 Headlamp is a must-have accessory. The ultralight lamp easily fits into the pocket of your running shorts, jacket, or pack. On your head, you’ll forget about it shortly after slipping it on. The headlamp is weatherproof and will kick off 225 lumens for about two and a half hours after a full USB charge.
For longer trail runs, you’ll need more water, which leaves you with two choices: carry it or filter it. Trail runners who want to travel light—and who are running in areas with known sources of water—need the Katadyn BeFree Water Filter and collapsible bottle. All you need to do is find a water source, fill bottle screw in the filter, and squeeze while you drink. You can get various sizes of soft bottles, ranging from 0.6 liters to two and three liter sizes, all of which fit the same filter, which is more than 99 percent effective against microorganisms and bacteria in water.