March 16, 2023
We, at Ultimate Direction, have an incredible selection of running vests and other great outdoor apparel options. In this quick guide, we’re going to have a look at some gear that we consider to be hiking and trail running essentials. It is always a good idea to be as prepared as possible before braving the outdoors and this applies to your choice of clothing, backpacks, running vests, and other trail running accessories. Keep reading as we cover some of the benefits of these items and a few situations where they might make a big difference to your wilderness experience.
Let’s begin with one of the most essential gear choices – running vests are an extremely popular choice for both hikers and trail running enthusiasts, and for good reason too. One of the biggest advantages of using running vests is the unparalleled convenience they provide. With multiple compartments and pockets to choose from, you can easily carry and reach all of your essentials without needing to stop and rummage through a bulky backpack. Items like snacks, extra layers, and hydration can be accessed quickly while staying on the move and maintaining momentum – which can be especially crucial when trail racing or during hikes with steep ascents or descents.
On top of the major convenience of running vests, they also offer greatly improved comfort and stability during trail runs and hikes. Our running vests can be custom-fitted to ensure optimal comfort and even weight distribution. If running vests fit snugly against your body, it should help to reduce unwanted side effects like bouncing, jostling, chafing, and other irritations during your run. Your balance and stability should also be improved in comparison to wearing a regular backpack – this is a result of the enhanced weight distribution that running vests provide.
Another major benefit is the easy access to the hydration bladder and/or additional water bottles, allowing you to drink on the go and avoid dehydration during your adventures. With all of these advantages, it’s very easy to see why so many hikers and trail runners consider running vests an absolute must-have accessory.
When outdoor adventuring, having the correct footwear is absolutely essential for your safety and comfort. Hiking and trail running shoes are designed specifically to provide the necessary support and protection you will need to successfully traverse any trail. Hiking boots normally offer sturdy, ankle-height support, as well as hardy soles that should have good tread to assist with difficult terrain. Often, they include features like waterproofing and toe guards to keep your feet safe and dry on your excursions. On the other hand, trail running shoes are designed to be lightweight and enable fast-paced movement and quick adjustments.
Whether you are investing in hiking boots or trail running shoes, you should consider purchasing a high-quality pair. We say this because footwear is crucial for preventing injuries and maximising your experience outdoors. Good boots or shoes will reduce strain on your feet and ankles, provide adequate support, and offer stability and grip when navigating difficult terrain. Your choice of footwear can have a huge impact on your experience and overall enjoyment on the trail.
Similarly to your choice of footwear, choosing the correct clothing can make a world of difference to your overall comfort and performance. Base layers and moisture-wicking clothing are especially vital for outdoor adventures, as they assist in regulating your body temperature and help to keep you dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. Moisture-wicking fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from the skin and evaporate it as fast as possible, this helps to prevent chafing, discomfort, and irritation. The Ultralight Tee in our online store features moisture-wicking technology, as do some of our other fantastic products. It is one of those things that is worth trying for yourself – the difference is impressive!
Base layers are equally as important in terms of clothing choices, as they provide an extra layer of insulation to regulate your body temperature. Base layers should consist of lightweight, breathable fabrics that will remove sweat and keep you from getting too hot or cold whilst on the trails. They should be able to fit against your body without being too tight, and layered under your other clothing to maximise effectiveness. These types of apparel choices will help to keep you dry and comfortable on your hikes and trail runs, allowing you to focus on enjoying the great outdoors with as little irritation as possible.
Compression clothing is becoming an increasingly popular choice among hikers and trail runners for many reasons. Compression-style garments are designed to fit tightly, applying pressure gently to your muscles and helping to reduce fatigue and soreness. This can be extra-important for longer hikes or runs because they allow you to maintain your stamina and continue moving for longer periods.
As well as providing support and reducing fatigue in your muscles, compression clothing will also significantly improve your circulation and prevent injuries. By stimulating the blood flow to your muscles, they assist in delivering oxygen and nutrients more effectively. This should mean that your endurance is bolstered and you can successfully avoid swelling and inflammation.
This is a question that is asked frequently – let’s have a look at the differences. A fastpack is an ideal choice for backpackers and hikers who need to carry a large amount of gear and supplies for extended periods. With multiple pockets and compartments, you will be able to easily organise and access your gear when you need it. Our fastpacks also come with specialised features like waterproofing and ventilation systems, which will help to keep your gear dry and prevent you from overheating. They have also been painstakingly designed to distribute weight across your back and shoulders, reducing the strain that often comes from using backpacks for a long time.
On the other hand, running vests are an excellent choice for trail users that prioritise agility and speed. They are specifically designed to be lightweight and breathable, allowing for maximum mobility and flexibility. Comparatively, running vests have fewer storage compartments than fastpacks, but they are more strategically placed for ease of access. While they may not be perfect for longer journeys or carrying large amounts of gear, running vests are optimal for runners who seek quick and efficient movement on the trails.
In short, the answer to which of these options suits you better, is completely dependent on the length of your prospective adventure and on the amount of gear you feel you will require. If you are looking for an incredible backpack, we highly recommend the Fastpack 30 from our website. We have designed it to fit like a vest but retain all the storage space that one expects from a great backpack! The FastFlow technology we included ensures that breathability and moisture-wicking are abundant – a truly excellent choice for those looking to move fast and light on the trail or in the backcountry.
Gaiters are frequently overlooked hiking and trail running accessories, but they can make a massive difference to your comfort and performance on the trail. The point of gaiters is to cover your lower legs and feet, providing protection from water, mud, snow, and other debris. By preventing moisture and debris from getting into your boots or shoes, gaiters will help to prevent blisters, keep your feet dry, and minimise chafing and other foot issues. They also protect your footwear from wear and tear, extending the shoes’ lifespan.
Some gaiters offer fantastic ankle support and should help to prevent twisting or spraining on the trails. The FK Gaiter is our all-in-one hiking and trail running solution. It is compatible with all brands of footwear and has been painstakingly crafted to ensure that your products do not stretch nor ride up your leg during a run. We have three different gaiter sizes to accommodate everyone. With an emphasis on durability, breathability, and strength, you won’t need another set of gaiters for a long time to come.
Trekking poles are an invaluable accessory for hikers and trail runners of all levels. They offer greatly improved stability, support, and balance on the trail, especially on steep inclines or tough terrain. Trekking poles assist in evenly distributing weight, reducing strain on the knees, ankles, and hips – allowing you to maintain your strength and momentum for far longer. Many of our running vests come with convenient holsters for your trekking poles too, meaning you won’t always need to hold them in your hands.
Trekking poles can increase your speed and efficiency on the trails. By using your arms to propel yourself forward, you are able to conserve energy and make sure that your legs don’t take too much strain. This is incredibly handy for longer hikes or trail runs, where a consistent pace is key to finishing strong. Additionally, they are normally adjustable and can be tailored to your height and comfort level, making them a versatile accessory for any outdoor adventurer. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned veteran or just starting out, they are amazingly useful tools for performance improvement and increased enjoyment and comfort.
When trail running or hiking, relying on high-quality gear and adequate preparation is absolutely essential to ensure an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience – here are four reasons why:
1. Safety: Using good quality equipment can help to prevent injuries or accidents whilst on the trail. For example, wearing proper hiking or trail running footwear with good traction can stop you from slipping or falling, while making sure that you have enough water or food will prevent exhaustion and dehydration.
2. Comfort: Using high-quality gear can improve your comfort on the trail, allowing you to focus on enjoying the experience more. For example, wearing moisture-wicking clothing can prevent chafing and blisters, while using trekking poles can reduce strain on your joints and muscles. Adequate preparation, such as dressing appropriately for the weather, will also improve your comfort and enjoyment when on the trail.
3. Performance: Making sure to use proper equipment can significantly boost your performance. Using a lightweight running vest instead of a heavy backpack can greatly increase your speed and agility, while compression clothing can reduce muscle fatigue and enhance your endurance.
4. Sustainability: Carrying reusable water bottles or food containers can help to reduce unnecessary waste while using eco-friendly clothing or running shoes can minimise your impact on the environment. By making sure to be mindful of gear choices and practices, you help to preserve the natural beauty of the trail in question for many years to come.