Trail running can take you far away from the amenities of city parks and neighborhood loops. There aren’t any water fountains or streetlights, so trail runners need to bring their own.
If you’re buying gifts for a trail runner, think about gear that’s built to stand up to the elements: rugged GPS watches and low-profile packs. If they already have the best trail running shoes, here are some things to round out their kit.
Check out these gifts for trail runners:
[This article is part of our 2020 Gift Guide for Runners. See all the best gifts for runners by price, category and more. Can’t make up your mind? No worries. Check out our gift cards for a gift that keeps on giving.]
Engineered for tough environments, the Garmin Instinct makes a perfect gift for trail runners who might find themselves in unpredictable conditions.
Garmin housed the Instinct in a fiber-reinforced polymer case topped with a chemically strengthened glass display. The case adds substantial durability to the watch, and the scratch-resistant lens provides high contrast and easy readability, even in direct sunlight.
Thanks in part to the case and glass, the Instinct is built to U.S. Military standards for thermal, shock and water resistance—Garmin gave the Instinct a 100-meter water rating.
In smartwatch mode, there’s enough juice for 14 days of use. In GPS mode, you’ll get 16 hours, and you can squeeze in 40 hours of tracking in Garmin’s battery-saving UltraTrac mode. No matter what you’re doing, the Garmin Instinct has plenty of power.
With a wrist-based heart rate monitor and built-in sports apps, the Garmin Instinct is a rugged GPS watch that any trail runner will love.
Carrying water is essential on long trail runs, and there’s no easier way to carry it than in the Nathan VaporAir 2.0 and VaporAiress 2.0 hydration packs.
The versatile VaporAir and VaporAiress are lightweight vest-style hydration packs that hold your water and gear on the run. But the key to Nathan’s pack is the fit: Adjustable straps let you dial in the fit to keep the pack from bouncing around on your back.
The 7L pack holds a 2L bladder with a quick-release valve and has two front pockets that hold 22 oz bottles or flasks. Zippered pockets on the front give you quick access to essential items, and a kangaroo-style pocket on the back holds extra layers, another flask or anything else.
With fits tailored specifically for men and women, the Nathan VaporAir 2.0 and VaporAiress 2.0 are a simple, comfortable way to carry your water on long days off road.
A compressive fit and longer cut means the CEP Short Socks 3.0 are perfect for trail runners.
Compression can encourage blood flow to keep your muscles fresh and speed up recovery, so CEP designed the Short Socks 3.0 with targeted compression for your arch, ankle and Achilles. The snug fit also reduces bagginess that can cause blisters.
The crew-cut length sits above the ankle but below the calf to help keep dirt and debris out of the socks, while the polyamide-spandex blend keeps feet cool and dry.
With plenty of colors to choose from, the CEP Short Socks 3.0 are a gift every trail runner will love.
All-day performance is important when your run will actually take all day, and the women's Capilene Cool Trail Long Sleeve is up for the challenge.
Patagonia cut the Capilene Cool Trail Long Sleeve from its softest performance knit fabric. The fabric helps keep you cool and comfortable by wicking sweat away from your skin and drying out quickly—important qualities when cool morning temps give way to afternoon heat.
Designers also thought of the small things: underarm gussets give you a full range of motion, a drop-tail hem fits under a climbing harness or pack, and a tagless neck means one less distraction.
Made with recycled polyester that’s easier on your skin and on the planet, the Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Long Sleeve is a shirt for the trail, the grocery store or the couch.
On early morning starts or evening runs, it’s important to bring a light source to see the trail ahead. That’s why Black Diamond made the Spot 325 Headlamp.
Black Diamond’s Spot 325 is a lightweight, waterproof headlamp that packs a serious punch; the highest setting pumps out 325 lumens of power—enough to see up to 80 meters away. Powered by three AAA batteries, the Spot 325 lasts up to four hours on high, eight hours on medium and 200 hours on the lowest setting.
With an IPX 8 waterproof rating that stands up to the heaviest downpours, the Black Diamond Spot 325 will light up the way no matter where the trail takes you.
Not every trail run takes you over mountain peaks and through remote streams. For the mellower runs, the FlipBelt Classic running belt boasts enough storage for everything you need.
The FlipBelt is a wide, flat belt that sits snugly around your waist. Slits in the belt open up into a roomy inner pocket that swallows your phone, keys, energy gels and credit cards so your hands stay free. Flip the belt over so the slits are against your body to secure your stuff inside.
The FlipBelt’s stretchy fabric and snug fit ensure your stuff doesn’t bounce around as you run, and the low-profile appearance lets you easily conceal the belt beneath your shirt.
The men’s Vuori Trail Shorts offer lightweight performance for the toughest trail runs.
Vuori cut the Trail Shorts for an athletic fit. The 6.5 inch inseam hits mid-thigh for an out-of-the-way feel without showing off too much.
An elastic waistband with a drawcord lets you find the perfect fit, and a CoolMax liner improves comfort and breathability. Designers included a drop-in hand pocket on each hip, a small pocket hidden in the waistband and a zippered back pocket to let you carry all your essential items.
The polyester-elastane blend wicks moisture and dries quickly, and it resists odor to keep you smelling fresh. With a soft touch and barely-there feel, the Vuori Trail Shorts are a streamlined pair of running shorts built with trails in mind.
We picked the best gifts based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy a gift from us and you don’t love the way it looks, fits or performs, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.