Trail Running: Three Essentials

Trail Running: Three Essentials

Nike Vision Road Machine Sunglasses

Nike Vision Road Machine Sunglasses
Though the name speaks more to running on the track or pavement than train running, the high-rated, reasonably affordable Vision Road Machines offers a wide-open field of vision, decent wind protection, and smart venting on the top and sides to reduce sweat and lens fogging. They’re not polarized—which shouldn’t really matter if you’re using them on terra firma. And, as tester Erinn Morgan noted, the grippy nose and temple pads keep these glasses in place, even on really technical runs. That said, the tint may be a bit too dark for heavily-shaded trails or low-light situations.

Salomon Skin Pro 14 3 Hydration Pack

Salomon Skin Pro 14+ 3 Hydration Pack
At $160 this hydration pack is pretty pricy, especially compared to the others we tested. But if you’re a serious ultra-distance runner, it’s a worthy investment. At only 16.5 ounces, it’s crazy light, with a comfortable wrap-around design, and it boasts space enough to carry a rain jacket, head lamp, hat, and snacks. The only knock? A relatively small, 1.5-liter bladder, which may not provide all the hydration you need for seriously long runs in the peak of summer.

Timex Ironman run Trainer GPS

Timex Ironman run Trainer GPS
With a test-proven score of 90 out of 100, the Ironman Run Trainer GPS delivers all the smart-tech tracking data a trail runner needs, and does so in a refreshingly un-tech package. Tester Ben Fletcher called it “bar none—the best GPS running watch on the market.” That was back in 2012 and two years later, it still gives you everything you’d want (including heart rate, calories, pace, average speed, etc.). But now you can get it for about $75 less than the suggested retail price of $225.
—Nathan Borchelt

Want more? Check out our in-depth reviews of the top trail runners.