trail-running gear reviews

Gear Review: Lorpen and Merrell Socks

Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock

Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock
$13, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Midweight Hiker Sock
$21, 3.5 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Merino Light Ski Sock
$22, 3 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for all models): men’s M-XL women’s S-M

Merrell Men’s Chameleon Stretch/Women’s Siren Sport Sock
$18, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Merrell Men’s Courant Solid/Women’s Scamper Solid/Stripe Sock
$18 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for both models): men’s and women’s S-XL

How much can you say about socks? The best feel comfortable, keep your feet dry to prevent blisters, and hold their shape for more than just one day—important when you’re on a multi-day backcountry trip. After numerous days of trail running, dayhiking, backpacking, and backcountry and resort skiing, I’ve picked out some favorites.

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Gear Review: Petzl NAO headlamp

Petzl NAO

Petzl NAO
$175, 7 oz.

Stepping outside my tent during a black night in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, I turned in the direction of our food stuff sacks hanging from a tree more than 300 feet away—and saw them lit up brightly in the beam of this headlamp. Then I swung my gaze back to the ground before me to watch where I was walking, and the Nao’s beam instantly switched over to wide-area mode, brightly illuminating a broad perimeter around me. And it did this without me touching the device.

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Gear Review: The North Face Apex Lite Jacket

The North Face Apex Light Jacket

Ultralight Wind Shell
The North Face Apex Lite Jacket
$130, 6 oz. (men’s medium).
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL.

An ultralight wind shell can save you from a serious chill and is all but mandatory gear for a long trail run or ride, especially in damp, windy, and cool spring and fall weather.

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Gear Review: CW-X Pro Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts

Trail Running Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts
$72, 6 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XL

After numerous hilly trail runs in my local Boise Foothills—ranging from six miles to a 25.5-mile, 4,600-foot, seven-hour July morning trail run-hike—I’m completely sold on the physiological benefits of these compression running shorts. Even on that 25-miler (running about three-quarters of the distance, walking the rest), a distance that would typically leave my quads feeling very worked and bloated with lactic acid, I felt strong right to the finish. My recovery from that run was faster, too, with much less stiffness and residual fatigue than I’m accustomed to after that long an outing.

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Gear Review: Native Eyewear Blanca Sunglasses

Native Eyewear Blanca

Sports Sunglasses
Native Eyewear Blanca
$129 to $149

Hiking, rock climbing, backpacking on blinding snow on a sunny day, road and mountain biking, trail running—I’ve turned to these wrap-around shades to protect my eyes for all of these activities. The standard N3 lenses rendered the glacier-fed, emerald-colored lakes and rivers and blue sky of Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park in vivid color.

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