Hydrate Correctly1 of 10
Since water fountains and convenience stores don't exist off the beaten path, it's important to plan ahead for your hydration needs. A hydration pack, which comes in a variety of gender-specific sizes, is crucial for hydrating those long backcountry runs. Consider whether you'll need to pack more than just liquid (don't forget your car key, identification and protein bar) and search accordingly for a pack with a pocket.
Bug Off2 of 10
In addition to Mother Nature's beauty, running off-road can also include a dose of creepy crawlers. Keep the critters at bay and ward off potential bites and stings with bug spray. Make sure to select one that has long-lasting strength and offers protection against a variety of bugs.
Feet First3 of 10
Keep your feet happy by wearing the right socks. With potential exposure to differing elements (think dusty trails and bubbling stream crossings) it's important to select socks that can handle the pressure. Look for wool fabric that wicks away moisture while regulating temperature and protecting your skin from errant pebbles. These Feetures socks are some of our favorites.
Trail Tracking4 of 10
Taking your run off-road means you may not have access to mile markers. Thanks to technology, there are tons of gadgets to keep track of your distance (and much more). With models available for every budget, you won't have to sacrifice knowing just how far you ran in the woods. Elevation-intrigued data lovers will love the Garmin Forerunner 920XT, which displays gains/losses for post-run bragging rights.
Light Bright5 of 10
Early morning or close-to-dusk runs can be even darker under the cover of tall trees. Take care and watch your step to avoid a twisted ankle by being prepared with extra lighting. Try a headlamp with an elastic band, but make sure to try it on before purchasing to ensure it fits comfortably.
Heads Up6 of 10
Keep your core temperature cool while shielding your eyes from the blazing sun with a hat made from runner-friendly fabric. This hat from Mission not only protects your noggin, but is made with cooling technology to keep you comfortable as you pound through the miles. Don't forget the added bonus of UPF 30 protection from the burning sun.
Off-Road Kicks7 of 10
While it might be tempting to not worry about switching out your shoes, outfitting your feet with the proper footwear is key to having a good trail run. With path-gripping soles, stiff upper support to combat unsteady ground and extra toe protection, trail running shoes are made to battle the elements. There are a huge variety of styles and features for men and women, so try a few different styles to find the best shoe to take you off the beaten path.
Fuel Up8 of 10
Climbing over rugged terrain is one sure-fire way to work up an appetite. Avoid mid-run bonking by packing in proper fuel. Whether you like to take your energy in one shot or prefer to nibble on jellybeans or chews, products like GU, PowerBar and Honey Stinger will keep gas in your tank until the end. With very little packaging, you'll have no problem slipping the wrapper in your pocket to throw away after getting off the trail.
All-Weather Ready9 of 10
As summer temps begin to fade into cooler weather and wind and rain become a distinct possibility, you'll want to have a jacket in the pipeline. Look for one that protects against wind and rain and remember to aim on the lightweight side. You'll want to choose a jacket that not only keeps the chill away, but also wicks heat and moisture as your body warms up. This Brooks jacket is perfect for the changing seasons, and offers wind-proof material and water-resistance for not-so-perfect conditions.