Mountain Running Gear Guide

Mountain Running Gear Guide

They ramble through old vegetation, gently at first, but quickly gaining vert. The forest is still sleeping, but humidity doesn’t, soon drenching our faces and compelling us to take a break along the way to de-layer. We resume our slow jog, four small beams of light traveling through the darkness, without saying anything.

The thinned and brittle trees, the progressively rocky trail, the time when sunrise and altitude meet, usually hand-in-hand, to welcome in the light of day The air changes from dense to fresh, and the first alpine sights arise. On the organic tapestry, draw a line.

All over the proximal tibia and under the cliff band to the snow’s toe, darting across cracks and crevices before rising on a white finger to a far more undetectable peak and stopping to linger. We’ll look at the next mountainscape and become artists all over again once we arrive.

A Definition of Mountain Running

Mountain running can be misleading at times. From mellow Colorado Primitive campsites, romantic French-Alp tracks, and sub-alpine hills in the Southeast to the world’s highest, most distant summits, “mountain” is a broad phrase that can take many shapes.

Yet, as many endurance sports buddies have shown me, “running” is a broad phrase that encompasses racing, jogging, shuffling, speed walking, slow walking, glissading, boot skiing, scrambling, and—at times—even crawling. Whatever way you slice it, if you’re traveling rapidly through gorgeous scenery, you’re doing something correctly.

As a hiker and climber, you’ll feel right at home in Washington’s northern Cascades’ high land. Because there are few trails, most travel is done cross-country. You can use all of your tools in this environment, crafting and creating routes that encompass all from jogging to climbing to mountain travel. Over the years, I’ve refined my gear, reducing it to the bare minimum and shedding ounces in the process.

Mountain Running Gear Picks

Shoes: Salomon Sense Ride 4

Because of its all-around design, the Salomon Sense Ride 4 has now become the go-to mountain running shoe. It’s comfy for miles of easier trail while remaining rigid and quick enough for challenging terrain like talus and snow, thanks to mild cushioning.

The spacious toe box lets my feet expand across an 18-hour day, and the sole gives great friction on rock. Even though every pair you bought has produced gaps in the mesh top where the carabineers strap sits tight, the shoe also takes the Petzl Leopard crampon (below) rather beautifully.

The Sense Ride is a good match for you, but the Dynafit Ultra 100 and La Sportiva Bushido or Ultra Raptor are two more trail running shoes that are renowned among mountain runners.

Pack: Black Diamond Distance 15

The Black Diamond Distance 15 is the ultimate mountain running vest/pack. This pack reminds me of Hermione’s bag in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—it may look like a running jacket on the outside, but the list of things it can hold inside is remarkable.

Sunscreen, sunglasses, a phone, and a day’s supplies are kept in the front pockets. The secret trekking pole chambers, which you learned to load and unload without putting the pack off, are possibly the most popular feature.

Considering the Distance’s unisex design, you discovered the sternum and side modifications to be more than adequate for dialing in the perfect fit. Absolute Direction also makes a 20-liter FKT vest and Fastpack in 20, 30, and 40-liter sizes.

Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z hiking poles are one of the lightest on the market, weighing only 10.5 ounces each pair (120cm) and measuring 16 inches long when deflated. They’re simple to deploy and compress, and given their carbon construction, they’re fairly sturdy.

Although some runners like to use poles for balance on snow and to conserve legs on both the uphill and downhill, others prefer to go without or pack only one to maintain one hand free for food and guidance. Track running poles from Leki and Dynafit are also small and portable.

Headlamp: Petzl Actik Core

There are a variety of headlamps available for runners, but my personal favorite is the Petzl Actik Core. For its mix of low weight, long life, USB-rechargeable battery, and much more 450-lumen brightness, the Actik is a good choice.

Very strong headlamps are accessible, even though they’re excess for most sprinters remember that running with your headlight on high drains the battery quickly. This is one category in which no single model stands out, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s light, secure, and comfortable on your head, and has a lengthy battery.

Water Reservoir: Hydrapak Shape-Shift

Certain hikers like to carry a couple of soft flasks in their vest’s chest compartments, but for extended operations in the high country where running water may be rare and expensive, at least 2 liters of carrying capacity is recommended. With an incredibly simple interior and on/off valve, Hydrate’s Shape-Shift has become one of our favorite reservoirs.

Try for a lightweight and compact regardless of which model you choose. Nothing is worse than losing your water supply due to a sick valve, thus certain tanks can be heavy and bulky and a valve that you can stop off.

Water Filter: Katadyn BeFree

In the hiking scene, the Katadyn BeFree is more popular than the water filter. It’s a very lightweight device, weighing only 2.3 ounces for the filter and 1 liter for the soft flask. You may use the BeFree to fill your reservoir at water sources or run with it as a lightweight portable.

Whereas most sprinters appear to prefer the Katadyn, the Platypus QuickDraw has had a great deal of success as well, despite being a little heavier. Salomon also produces a filtration system that you can put in their soft flasks, which is a good idea, but make sure the holes on your bottles.

Windbreaker: Patagonia Houdini Air

Each runner needs wind resistance, and the Patagonia Houdini Air is a favorite for trail running. It’s compact and lightweight, weighing only 3.6 ounces for the women’s version. It has all the features you need, including the ability to suspend it from your harness, plus it’s more flexible than most  nylon wind shirts.

A windbreaker jacket gives enough shelter from the environment in most summer situations, particularly when constantly moving, and is a considerably lighter and more elegant alternative than a fleece vest or fleece. It is a good idea to bring a pair of wind pants with you, which can give game-changing coverage on windy ridgelines or if the day doesn’t go as planned.

Down Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL

During a mountain run, you should rarely wear a down jacket. However, at only 6.2 ounces, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL is always worth carrying along, either as an extra layer or if you expect exceptionally chilly summit conditions. This jacket is quite warm for its weight and backpack straps are extremely tiny, making it a good mid-layer alternative to a softshell or fleece.

The negative is that the 5D fabric nearly shivers in the proximity of rock, but holes, in our perspective, add character and recollections, and they are readily repaired. If there is a chance of rain, keep them down at home and bring the Patagonia MicroPuff  instead.

Sunglasses: Ombraz Classic

Until recently, We were unconcerned with sunglasses, cycling through a pair of Goodr spectacles every season or until they were lost or misplaced. Ombra eliminates another most dominant failure point of sunglasses by substituting the sidearms with cord, while also providing a terrific solution to keep them tight on your head at all times.

Satellite Messenger: Garmin inReach Mini

It’s become quite usual practice for at minimum one part of a team to carry a satellite messenger when trekking in isolated mountain areas. For most people, the Garmin inReach Mini is the best option: it’s small and light, integrates with a smartphone for easy texting, or works as a solo device and connects to the Iridium network quickly.

Watch: Coros Apex

There are several excellent running watches, but the current favorite is the Coros Apex. The Apex is without a doubt the greatest price for mountain runners. For under $300, you get a meteorological altimeter and compass with top-notch accuracy, as well as an amazing battery life.

You particularly like that the Apex is available in both a 42mm and a 46mm variant. The watch will follow your trip and provide real-time mileage and vertical statistics throughout the day, but navigation will be handled by the Gaia app on your smartphone. Consider the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro or Forerunner 945 if you want to utilize your watch for mapping.

Crampons: Petzl Leopard FL

Putting an aluminum trekking pole on a pair of running shoes is never a sure thing, but the Petzl Leopard FL is the best option available. At 13.5 ounces, this trekking pole is extremely light, packs down small, and has several resource adjustment points to accommodate practically every running shoe.

We suggest getting a good fit while you’re still at home. Do so with your footwear on and the sole flat. Because it is a time-consuming process You may also wish to shorten the cords, as they’re designed to go over a thick climbing or skiing boot.

Ice Axe: Camp Corsa 50cm

One of the most exciting aspects of traveling to the mountains is facing the unfamiliar, and in the situation of steep snow, having the right tools is essential. An ice ax, along with crampons, can turn treacherous climbs or treks into easy travel.

Camp’s Corsa is the lightest ice ax on the market, and they like to keep it that way with the short 50-centimeter version, which eliminates the need for a long shaft for identity. If you’re expecting really heavy snow or even ice, Petzl’s Ride, which replaces the Corsa’s aluminum head with steel, might be a better option.

Helmet: Petzl Sirocco

Wearing a climbing headgear isn’t a runner type to do, but it’s a smart idea if you’re traveling over zones with rockfall hazards or utilizing sharp gear like boots and an ice ax to cross the snow. The Petzl Sirocco, like the Leopard crampons and BeFree filter mentioned above, is a no-brainer for most lightweight skiers.

No other helmet comes even close to the Sirocco’s low weight, and it’s also more aerodynamic than others. The Sirocco is an exceptionally resilient helmet, composed nearly entirely of EPP foam that does not shatter under the impact, unlike some other types.

Harness: Blue Ice Choucas Light

Consider the Blue Ice Choucas Light harness if the summit route incorporates glacier crossing, rappels, or technical rock climbing. That’s the lightest gear on radar, weighing only 3.1 ounces for the medium size, which is approximately what most “runners” require.

It does have certain drawbacks. The normal Choucas has more racking choices but adds around 2 oz., and the absence of leg loop adjustability means you may need to size higher.

Rope: Petzl Rad Line 30m

The 30-meter Petzl Rad Line is a very compact solution for small rappels or glacier travel, weighing only 1 pound 7.2 ounces. If the route calls for a long rappel, which usually necessitates a 60-meter rope, both your partner and you will bring a 30m Rad Line.

This is a terrific method to distribute strength instead of trying to stuff a 60-meter rope into someone’s racing vest. Remember that the Rad Line is neither a reactive nor a single rope, thus it’s not designed for lead abseiling.


In addition to the items listed previously, there are a few extra items you should carry. These lists, when combined, make a full kit, neither more nor, almost all of the time, no less. You discovered that your 15-liter Black Diamond Distance pack is ideal for keeping your load light. If you can fit all of your belongings within, you can be assured that you will not be overly burdened throughout the day.

Must Read: The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022

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