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Gifts for trail runners

Gifts for Trail Runners: 12 Ultra Useful Items

The beauty of buying gifts for trail runners is that you know the stuff you get is almost guaranteed to be well used and highly valued. The nature of trail running means that runners get through their gear more quickly than in most other sports. When an athlete spends hours at a time, multiple days a week, using and wearing gear, it’s going to wear out pretty quickly. So, assuming that you give useful gifts that your running pals will use out on the trail, you know you’re onto a winner.

That said, if you’re not into trail running yourself, it can be easy to get lost in all the possible gear options. So, we’ve put together a list of gifts for trail runners that we think you just can’t go wrong with.

Gifts for trail runners

Swiftwick MAXUS Zero Tab Socks

Swiftwick MAXUS Zero Tab Socks

Though socks may seem like a rather pedestrian (pardon the pun) kind of gift, a good pair is completely invaluable to trail runners. Since I was given the Swiftwick MAXUS Zero Tab Socks, I’ve not worn any other sock to run in. In fact, I can’t stand all my other socks now! With light padding right across the bottom, they’re incredibly comfortable and moisture wicking. But they’re also lightweight, thanks to the thinner, breathable upper fabric – ideal for summer running or if you’re a hot-footed type. But what I love the most about them is how well fitting they are. There is zero shifting inside my shoe, and despite their low cut they never creep below the heel cuff of my shoes.

Unfortunately, I only have one pair… better add them to my birthday list immediately!

Find the latest price at:
Swiftwick


Nathan VaporKrar 2.0 12l Men’s Race Vest

Nathan VaporKrar 2.0 12l Men’s Race Vest

Long distance trail runners and ultramarathon runners, taking on wilderness routes in uncompromising conditions, will need to upgrade their running backpack to a hydration vest. The Nathan VaporKrar 2.0 12l Men’s Race Vest is a superb option that offers a ton of storage options for water and gear, and includes a water reservoir. Its highly adjustable design means that it barely moves on your body when tackling even the most demanding routes. This also makes it comfortable to wear, even when it’s not fully loaded. The ultimate gift for trail runners looking to up their game.

For more information read our full review of the Nathan VaporKrar 2.0 12l Men’s Race Vest

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Nathan


Altra Lone Peak Trainers

Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Shoes

They’re mega comfortable, super lightweight and have grip that will make you feel like you’re spiderman on the trail! The Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Shoes are made for off-road running and will happily take on most types of terrain with ease. Their zero-drop design means that the heel and toe of the soles are the same height off the floor. That, together with a highly spacious toe-box, promote a natural running style that gets the muscles working as they should. However, where they stand out compared with other zero-drop shoes is how wonderfully cushioned the midsole is; all the benefits of barefoot style running without the discomfort underfoot.

For more information read our full review of the Altra Lone Peak 2 Trail Shoes.

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Knog Bandicoot headlamp

Knog Bandicoot Headlamp

Come the winter months, when the evenings are dark and the days are short, most runners still make it out onto the trail. A good headlamp is an invaluable piece of gear that will be used right through the dark days as well as during long races that go right through the night. A running headlamp needs to have an excellent beam to avoid tripping on every root and rock on the trail. But it also needs to be so comfortable that the runner barely notices its presence – a tricky combo. Queue the Knog Bandicoot Headlamp. Its unique design is so streamlined that no matter how vigorously you run and jump about whilst wearing it, it won’t budge. It stays firmly in place, with comfort, and is waterproof enough to endure very heavy and prolonged rainfall.

For more information read our short review of the Knog Bandicoot Headlamp.

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Amazon


Salomon Trail Low Gaiters

Salomon Trail Gaiters Low

Though not an essential item for all off-roaders, the Salomon Trail Gaiters Low are an excellent gift for trail runners who like taking on loose and adventurous trails. Designed to keep debris from getting inside trail shoes, gaiters can be a real game-changer; there’s nothing that will bring on horrific blisters faster than a tiny bit of grit in your socks! The stretchy fabric also does a great job at preventing mud, snow, thorns, grass, gravel and dust from getting anywhere near those precious feet.

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Salomon | Amazon


Nathan SpeedShot Plus Insulated Handheld Flask

Nathan SpeedShot Plus Insulated Handheld Flask

Short to middle distance trail runners with a penchant for running in hot, sunny conditions will love this diddy little Nathan SpeedShot Plus Insulated Handheld Flask. The 12oz (355ml) flask boasts double wall insulation – the first of its kind – that keeps water cooler for 20% longer than other insulated bottles. Plus, the airy mesh hand strap and rubber palm grip on the bottle means you don’t have to waste any grip strength on keeping hold of it. It also has a handy zippered pocket for storing energy gels, keys, phone or snacks. A super gift for trail runners who want to start increasing their distances without having to carry a pack or wear a hydration vest.

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Amazon | REI | Nathan


Bridgedale Stormsock

Bridgedale Stormsock Lightweight Waterproof Socks

Preventing frostbitten toes is a constant challenge for many winter trail runners, especially when the conditions are as wet as they are frigid. Keeping water away from toes is a major step closer to comfortable feet, making waterproof socks an invaluable piece of trail running gear. Combining the moisture wicking, odour resistant and thermal properties of merino with a nylon outer layer and breathable synthetic membrane, the Bridgedale Stormsock Lightweight Waterproof Socks provide excellent protection against the rain, wind and cold. Plus, gift-giving wouldn’t be complete without a pair of socks thrown in, would it?!

For more options read our guide to waterproof socks

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Amazon


Garmin Instinct GPS Watch

Garmin Instinct GPS Watch

Some trail runners head for the hills for solace and mediation. For others, however, it’s all about the stats: pushing boundaries, smashing goals, always aiming for more, better, further. The Garmin Instinct GPS Watch is the perfect training companion allowing wearers to monitor heart rate, activity and stress, and follow preloaded routes. Runners can also automatically upload data to the Garmin Connect online fitness community for instant kudos and running stoke. Oh, and it’s quite adept at preventing you from getting lost in the wilderness. It has a built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus connection to multiple global navigation satellite systems. Pretty great, all round!

For more watch options read our guide to hiking watches.

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REI


Smartwool Headband

Smartwool Headband

It’s warming in cold conditions and sweat wicking on the warm days, making the 100% merino wool Smartwool Headband an ideal gift for trail runners, whatever the weather. The soft, no-itch fabric of the 3.8 inch headband is also odour resistant which reduces the need to wash it too often and means runners can wear it for days on end in comfort. Magical merino wins again!

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REI


Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak

Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak

Waist belts are an ideal way for runners to carry the essentials, plus a little bit of water, without the need for a backpack or vest. With a streamlined and simple design, the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak offers a highly stable, snug fitting belt that can carry a lot more than you might initially realise. It comes with a 600ml soft flask and has enough pockets to securely hold snacks, gloves, hat, phone, keys and even a lightweight layer. But the best part, it that it’s so comfortable you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it. A perfect gift for mid-distance runners who like to be prepared for anything on the trail.

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Nathan


Eat and Run- My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

Eat and Run – by Scott Jurek

There are few things that most trail runners love more than running. Get them onto the subject of food, however, and you’ll hold their interest for hours! Proper nutrition is the foundation for successful running and who better to guide you through that process than Scott Jurek – seven-time winner of the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and a two-time winner of the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through Death Valley? Not only does the book offer stories of Scott’s life as a vegan runner, but it also provides recipes and advice for trail runners. Eat and Run is as inspirational and it is informational, and an excellent gift for trail runners seeking both.

Looking for more outdoor inspiration? Take a read of our list of adventure books.

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Amazon


TrailHeads Running Gloves

TrailHeads Running Gloves

A good pair of gloves is an essential item for winter runners. But finding gloves that balance warmth with breathability and functionality can be more challenging than one might think. The TrailHeads Running Gloves offer warmth and wind resistance thanks to the Polartec Power Stretch fabric that is also highly moisture wicking when palms start to get sweaty. The gloves also boast touchscreen compatibility, a nose wiping patch, and grippy palms which are ideal for runners who use poles. They might not look fancy, but great gloves make for a highly valued gift for trail runners.

For other glove options read our guide to winter gloves.

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


We hope our list of gifts for trail runners has given you plenty of ideas for getting that perfect something for the trail runner in your life. But if you need more inspiration the take a look at our other gift guides for outdoorsy folk.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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