Trail running equipment: what do you need?

Trail running is no longer a niche sport. The enthusiastic following has been growing for years. In this article you will find out what it takes to get started with trail running and what you should pay attention to when it comes to equipment.

This post is presented by Scott, Mammut and Hydrapak

Whether in the rugged high mountains or in the local coniferous forest: Trail Running enjoys great popularity. More and more people value the freedom of not running on tarred surfaces and instead having an intensive experience in nature. Today, together with Scott trail runner Maria Christen and Mammut athlete Nicolas Hojac, we'll take a closer look at what equipment is needed for trail running.

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Table of Contents – Equipment for Trail Running

More and more people are enjoying nature while running off the beaten track. Image: Mammoth
More and more people are enjoying nature while running off the beaten track. Image: Mammoth

This is how you get started with trail running

“The great thing about trail running is that you practically don’t have to have any special requirements,” says Nicolas Hojac. The professional alpinist started trail running a good ten years ago. The incentive for him was always training for mountaineering.

It doesn't have to be steep and exposed tours to get started. Lovely alpine meadows and beautiful larch forests are almost better suited anyway.

Nicolas Hojac

“But the most important thing is that you enjoy it. And with a certain basic motivation you can improve on your own.” Maria Christen fully agrees with this. “It’s extremely important that you have fun and enjoy being in nature.”

The Scott athlete recommends beginners to take it slowly and improve step by step. “There are now very beautiful and developed trails that are perfect for your first runs.”

Stable shoes with good grip are the be-all and end-all of trail running as a link between the foot and the ground. Image: Scott
Stable shoes with good grip are the be-all and end-all of trail running as a link between the foot and the ground. Image: Scott

Trail running shoes and clothing

Even though the variety of products around it has grown with the popularity of trail running, getting started is still very low-threshold. What you need is a suitable shoe with a suitable sole. Maria Christen repeatedly observes that people are out and about in normal running shoes. This is not bad per se. “But especially if you’re not used to it, a good shoe with a good profile is extremely important.”

The rubber in the sole is the connection between you and the terrain. In exposed terrain, this can quickly become your life insurance. Frozen old snow can quickly become dangerous with sneakers.

Nicolas Hojac

Trail running shoes differ significantly from classic running shoes. The differences are most noticeable in the profile, which is usually very pronounced. In addition, depending on the area of ​​use, trail running shoes are designed differently in terms of support, stability and protection.

Mammut Aenergy TR 5:
Feather-light vest for trail running

Mammut Aenergy TR 5 Women

This vest is the golden compromise between comfort and features: Ergonomically shaped shoulder straps complement the ultra-light construction. The back pocket, two soft flask holders, a compartment for the hydration system plus two quick-access pockets offer plenty of space. All parts of the Mammut trail running collection are 100% decarbonized.

When it comes to clothing, it's worth paying attention to breathability and moisture management. It is equally important for Maria Christians to be prepared if the weather changes in the mountains. That's why, for example, she always carries a light trail running jacket, a headband and a small pharmacy with her. Nicolas Hojac deals with it in a similar way. As an experienced alpinist, he knows how quickly approaching thunderstorms or bad weather can lead to major problems.

When it comes to clothing, it's worth paying attention to breathability and moisture management. Image: Mammoth
When it comes to clothing, it's worth paying attention to breathability and moisture management. Image: Mammoth

It's cool to be light and fast in the mountains, but the safety reserves are not very great due to the light material and the minimalist style.

Nicolas Hojac

There is no such thing as the perfect clothing for trail running, especially since large temperature differences can occur during a run. Added to this are the pronounced fluctuations that the seasons bring with them. Multi-layered equipment has the advantage that the heat balance can be regulated more easily.

Trail running backpack vs. vests

There are now quite sophisticated carrying systems for carrying the most important equipment with you on runs. Trail running backpacks range from classic backpacks to minimalist vests. Maria Christen, who joined Scott's trail running team two years ago and has been running successfully in the Skyrunner World Series since then, recommends the latter.

Trail running vests offer good support and are super comfortable for jogging.

Mary Christians

In the end, the most common area of ​​application should also be decisive here. For example, when setting speed records on the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau together with Adrian Zurbrügg, Nicolas Hojac used a light backpack based on a vest principle.

Trail running backpacks and vests are usually very light, well-fitting and have a volume of 5 to 15 liters. In addition to a main compartment, they usually have other, quickly accessible compartments, holders for drinks and attachment options for sticks.

Modern trail running vests are ultra-light, lie very compactly on the body and are hardly noticeable when running. Image: Mammoth
Modern trail running vests are ultra-light, lie very compactly on the body and are hardly noticeable when running. Image: Mammoth

Scott Supertrac Speed ​​RC
Performance trail running shoe for any terrain

Scott trail running shoe_view page

Scott has a shoe for every terrain. The Supertrac Speed ​​RC is the ideal shoe for everything from mountain running to obstacle courses. Thanks to the new firm and robust outsole you will never lose grip. Muddy or rocky, rain or snow, it accompanies you in any weather. One thing is certain: With this robust shoe you can move quickly. 

Hydration systems: drinking bladders, flasks & Co.

Maria Christen and Nicolas Hojac also have something to drink with them on longer runs. The woman from Uri appreciates the flexible flasks, which are usually carried in the chest pockets of trail running backpacks and vests and are therefore quickly accessible.

I find flasks very practical because you can change and refill them very quickly.

Mary Christians

Most vests and backpacks designed for trail running are also compatible with hydration bladders. The water bags with drinking tube, which were originally designed for biking, can be particularly interesting for those with a lot of drinking needs due to their larger volume.

There are also lightweight drinking bottles that you can refill, which can be carried in appropriate straps, for example.

Food – as individual as each person

Anyone who regularly pushes their personal limits when exercising will know the feeling when suddenly nothing works anymore. “A period of hunger can come very quickly,” says Maria Christen. This makes it all the more important to have something to eat with you, especially on long and remote tours.

Hydrapak Velocity 1.5L
Ultralight hydration bladder for trail running

HP23_velocity_1_5L_front_WebRes.png

Velocity is the lightest hydration bladder from Hydrapak and is deliberately kept minimalist. With its slim profile, it fits more comfortably into vests and backpacks. The drinking tube can be easily removed and the automatic shut-off valve prevents leakage. Thanks to its extra wide opening, the Velocity can be quickly refilled on the go.

Nutrition in sport is a highly complex topic that we do not want to go into in depth at this point. “It’s important to find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t,” says Maria Christen. Even though she has been doing trail running very intensively for two years now, she is still trying things out.

At races it can sometimes be a gel. Basically, solid food like Biberli is better for me.

Mary Christians
Trail running in impassable terrain is not only strenuous, but also costs a lot of energy. The storage needs to be refilled early, especially on long runs. Image: Scott
Trail running in impassable terrain is not only strenuous, but also costs a lot of energy. The storage needs to be refilled early, especially on long runs. Image: Scott

Navi

There are numerous gadgets available to runners for trail running. Watches are almost one of the basics. Maria Christen uses a GPS watch to record her training and send the data directly to her trainer via an app.

Whether this makes sense or is necessary for beginners remains to be seen. However, having the opportunity to read your own heart rate on your wrist, for example, can help inexperienced runners not to tackle the adventure of trail running too quickly. Because - and here Maria Christen and Nicolas Hojac once again agree - a typical beginner's mistake is not listening to your own body and overestimating yourself.

The active runner also sees the advantages of GPS watches in the area of ​​safety: “If you are unfamiliar with an area or if the weather changes, it is helpful if you can navigate and orientate yourself with a GPS watch.”

Content partners

This five-part series on trail running is presented by Mammut and Scott

Mammoth logo

Mammut is a Swiss outdoor company founded in 1862 that offers high-quality products and unique brand experiences to mountain sports fans around the world. The world's leading premium brand has stood for safety and groundbreaking innovation for 160 years. Mammut products combine functionality and performance with contemporary design. With the combination of hardware, shoes and clothing, Mammut is one of the most complete suppliers in the outdoor market. Mammut Sports Group AG operates in around 40 countries and employs around 800 people.

SCOTT_LOGO_BLACK-sm

Scott Sports is a leader in the development, manufacture, distribution and marketing of high-end performance products for biking, winter sports, motorsports and running. Innovation, technology and design are the essence of Scott products and the vision of the engineers and designers.
The brand portfolio includes Syncros, Bergamont, Bold Cycles, Unparallel, Dolomite, Powderhorn, Bach and Lizard. R&D, marketing and sales are managed from the headquarters in Givisiez, Switzerland. Scott employs more than 1500 people worldwide and operates in more than 100 countries.

HydraPak logo

Since 2001, Hydrapak has stood for flexible, high-performance hydration systems that reliably accompany athletes on their adventures. Hydrapak's performance-focused design and equipment are distilled down to the essence of functional performance. Hydrapak has earned its reputation on dusty desert trails and icy mountain peaks. Partnerships with Salomon and Osprey are the ultimate seal of quality. Hydrapak not only supplies its brand partners, but also works closely with them during the design and development phase.

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