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Gear for difficult trail run

I am “running“ the Hyner Trail Challenge 25k in PA on April 18. It is my first true trail run. I have two questions:

1. Are Salomon Speedcross IVs or Vs good for actual running? They seem good for the steep climbs and descents, but I need to make time on the rolling parts as well. I wear Brooks Glycerins on the road. 
2. Do I need a rain jacket? Do they really make a positive difference in a 17-mile race? If so, is there a cost effective (I.e. $100 or less) solution?

4 Replies

@ScottMiller5000 thoughts on the second question:

  • Typically, for high-output activities like a difficult trail run, where you will likely be sweating quite a bit, you will either wind up wet from sweat or wet from rain and that choice is pretty personal. The technology in most rain jackets, especially under $100, just cannot keep up with your sweat output, and therefore the moisture will get trapped inside the jacket and your layers will wind up wet, almost as if you hadn't been wearing a rain layer to start with.
  • That said, if you think it's going to be cold and/or windy, or an absolute downpour, the rain layer can provide some much-needed protection from those elements.
  • A nice compromise for a wet run is a soft-shell - these are highly water resistant (not proof, meaning they will shed some water but may ultimately soak through) but are significantly more breathable than a waterproof shell (meaning you'll feel less clammy) - you can find an example here. We've also got an article that covers some basics of dressing for running.
  • Because you will likely wind up wet (either from sweat or from rain), what you wear as your base layer really matters. No cotton for sure. We'd recommend a lightweight wool or synthetic base layer that will wick moisture away from your body and dry much more quickly than cotton. This article covers the basics on base layers.

Hope this helps a bit, and good luck with your first true trail run!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks. Older “dad bod” type here so I have mercy on the rest of the runners by wearing baggy stuff. I’m not worried about getting wet if it rains so I guess I will just “embrace the suck” as they say. 


Also, as far as the shoes go... Rhys at the Woodbridge, Va., REI recommended Hoka One One Speedgoats. I walked around the store a bit in them and bought them. Today I put them through their paces at Hyner, Pa. we went 12.66 miles with more than 3100 feet of elevation gain. (And as you know, what goes up must come down). Not a blister. Not a sprained ankle. No knee problems. I ran into five other runners wearing the same show. Thanks Rhys. 


Thanks for circling back to us and letting us know what worked for you! We'll be sure to pass along your appreciation to Rhys!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.