What is up everyone, it’s been a while since my last post here. I’ve been more active creating content (memes) on my facebook page, so feel free to check me out there. Anyways, I finally had the time to create a longer post and it will be about the gear I use for trail running! It’s late March and the trail season has already begun so I think a good rundown of my equipment can help those looking for cheap but effective running essentials. As you all know, I am kuripot af so I’m always looking for the best bang-for-buck items. Let’s go!
Around 80% of my gear is from Decathlon. They have two branches at the time of this writing, Alabang and Pasig. I am not alone in saying that they have the most complete stock of equipment for a sports store. Plus the prizes for their stocks aren’t as high as other, more well-known brands. The store is definitely worth checking out. Just make sure you have money to spend or a high amount of self-discipline. 😂
So let’s start with this gear review, starting from the bottom and up.
I’m still using the New Balance 590 v3. I’ve already written a review about it so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. It’s a good shoe for runners like me who have wide feet. I switch it up with an old Salomon pair, but only on the rare occasions when I forget to wash the NB pair.
For races, I mainly wear my single pair of Feetures High Performance Socks. They were given to me as a gift from a friend because they were pink. I can’t find them in the current catalog so I can’t say much about the price, but here’s a review for the exact pair. They fit snugly on my foot, are very durable, and aren’t blister prone even after getting wet. I finished a 100km race wearing just this pair.
For the bulk of my training or on road races, I use Kalenji socks. When I’m treating myself, I have a pair of Kiprun Invisible socks which are P250 for a pair. They also have the Comfort Socks at P190 for 2 pairs. But mostly, I use the Ekiden Running socks which are only P150 for 3 pairs. Now that’s a bargain! Kalenji socks are light, airy, and good for most runs. They are also blister-free on my feet.
For my runs, I used to subscribe to Dickies boxer briefs that aren’t cotton. They’ve been doing great so far, but I have slowly made the switch to Kalenji’s running boxers. These provide great support, no chafing, and the fabric is breathable and light. They’re so comfy I even use them as everyday wear. At P220 each, they’re not that cheap. But after breaking them in on long runs, my delicate parts don’t want to be handled by anything else.
On races, I used to run using my former team’s tri shorts. It’s stretchy, snug, chafe-free, and just what I need. But due to all the trail abrasions, they’ve developed some holes in them. So for fear of showing my buttocks to the whole trail running community, I switched to shorts.
I’m not too picky with my shorts as long as they’re light, don’t snag on my knees, and don’t get too heavy when wet. I’ve been cycling through different brands through the years and as long as my underwear is perfect, the shorts don’t really matter. But one big help on trail runs are pockets. Pockets for things that don’t bounce around when I run up and down. And once again, Kalenji has the perfect shorts for the job.
It has front and back zipper pockets as well as flexible mesh pockets so I can carry almost everything I need. It’s not the cheapest at P560 a pair, but that’s comparable to the price the top sporting brands are demanding for shorts with less pockets.
For training runs, basically any tech shirt will do. As long as it’s not cotton, I’m fine with it. For races, I usually wear any of my pink shirts. Either the race shirt I had PSI Customs make, or the #Pinktados shirt. They haven’t given me any problems at all so why fix what isn’t broken.
My only no-no is sleeveless singlets. They chafe my underarm after a few kilometers or so and then leave a dark mark on my skin. So I usually use them as sleepwear only.
I seldom use jackets and windbreakers during a race, but I always have it stowed away in my vest. I used a generic non-branded one before, but I recently scored a Kalenji Running Jacket for a low price of P490. It’s packable into a bundle as big as my fist and it fits almost everywhere. It’s good to have around in case of emergencies, though I hope I’ll never have to use it.
I’ve been using the local Amihan hydration pack for a while until it started to chafe on my neck area. I heard about Kalenji’s hydration vests having the same price range and decided to buy the small one. This Gilet Trail pack is very light, very breathable, and doesn’t chafe. For P1,600, it’s enough to carry all my race essentials and more. I don’t see myself replacing this pack anytime soon.
I used to have a Black Diamond headlamp that was worth more than P2,000. Then it broke after less than a year of use. So I bought the Onnight 700 which costs P700. So far so good. I prefer headlamps that use batteries because they’re just more consistent in light output and I can always carry some more batteries in my vest and replace instantly, as opposed to rechargeable headlamps that you can’t use when charging.
There are lots of brands out there for sunglasses. I don’t think they’re mandatory in the trails besides for looking good. I used the free ones from old races like Color Manila. But because of another trip to Decathlon, I bought the black and pink colorway of the Quechua MH500. They are definitely a luxury item at P550, but still a very low price compared to other eyewear brands.
I seldom wear a hat nowadays, but when I do, I just use one of the many snapback foam caps that were given away at the many races I have joined. These trucker caps have become a fashion accessory and they can be bought everywhere. I prefer the ones branded with the races I’ve run to support the race directors who are good friends of mine.
For GPS tracking, I used to use my phone. However, there was an incident where my phone got wet on my training runs. I felt the need for a dedicated GPS watch. I tried a refurbished Garmin watch for around half a year before its strap disintegrated and everything else went to shit. Garmin products are notorious for their low quality materials despite the price. The GPS part is high quality, but everything else is questionable.
Fortunately, my friend recommended me Xiaomi’s low-priced but quality Amazfit line of smartwatches. I got the Amazfit Stratos from my bebelabs as an early birthday gift and it’s been everything I needed ever since. High battery life, ease of use, and customization is top notch. Thank you, bebelabs!
I’ve been using this bottle for 3 years already and I love it! It’s only been sidelined for 2 of the 3 years because of a broken cap. But recently, I was able to get a new replacement cap and it’s doing great! It’s the best accessory for short runs and trainings because it keeps me hydrated for up to 2 hours of running. It’s really convenient to bring along and I’m glad I bought it before it became really expensive.
Nature Hike Soft Flask
I use these purely for races or long training runs, only in conjunction with my running vest. They’re easier to use and carry more capacity than the simple hydration. Sloshing isn’t a problem and I can drink them while walking without removing them from the vest. I think that soft flasks are becoming a standard partner for hydration vests and almost everyone uses them now. They can be a bit hard to clean but they are certainly easier to pack and use.
I don’t usually use trekking poles on a race, except as a last resort. Trekking poles made me finish my first 100km run 2 years ago. Up to now, I bring one or two trekking poles on my ultra-distance races, but usually just use them in the last few kilometers or not at all. I use the Naturehike 4-section Alloy poles. They’re light enough to not make me care about the weight, but still strong enough to support me. They’re also one of the cheapest trekking poles in the market so don’t hesitate to buy one or two of them.
Again, something I seldom use. But on training runs, I use the Mi Sports Bluetooth earphones. I don’t listen to music out on the trails but those earphones can last up to a slow half marathon in my case.
And that about makes up my trail running gear. I think I can say I’ve dialed in the things I need and want on the trail so I don’t think I’ll be making changes to this line up anytime soon. If ever I do, it’ll just be incremental improvements. And if it’s a big enough change, I’m sure you’ll see it posted in this blog pretty soon.
Thanks for reading up to this point. If you have any questions or recommendations or violent reactions, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment or an email. Let’s help each other be our best out on the trails!
Train hard, race happy.