Sunday, November 20, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide for Trail Runners (2016)

Got some trail runners on your holiday gift list? Here are a few of my favorite gift suggestions to stick under the tree (or menorah, Festivus pole, etc) including a few new ones for 2016 and some classics that always seem to please. Enjoy!

Holiday Flavored Gels ($3-11)
Stick a couple of these in a trail runners stocking, and they can squirt a little holiday cheer into their mouth on the next long run. Untapped Maple is pure maple syrup (yum!), and Gu has flavors like Mint Chocolate and Salted Carmel that ring in the cheer. VFuel also has a nice Salted Carmel Apple.

Fruit of the Loom Professional Sweat Suit ($50)



Some sweats are cool, and other are the talk of the race! Fruit of the Loom has four selections in their "Professional" line that must be seen to be believed. Choose from Wall St banker, casual preppy, or the above Corporate Cowboy that says "this ain't your first rodeo".

Dirtbag Runners Apparel ($20-70)



News flash - all trail runners are kinda dirtbag. Why not flaunt it with some swag from Dirtbag Runners? These folks know their stuff, as noted by the quality products like this Oiselle Running Short.

National Parks Annual Pass ($80)


An $80 pass that gets you into 2,000+ national parks? That's a damn good excuse for a road trip.

Hover Camera Passport Auto-Follow Drone ($599)


Selfie sticks are so, like, 2015! Why not get a one pound drone that can fit in your backpack, and will auto follow you up your favorite trail and do a 360 around you on a mountain top? I've been having a lot of fun with mine. If you want to go bigger drone, rumor has it that eBay is going to mark down certain DJI products like the Phantom 4 by 40-50% this week (in case you need 1.7 mile range, crash avoidance, and 35 mph top speed).

Flecston Reflective Wings ($11)
Although probably more of a street runner thing, these reflective wings are really easy to spot and pretty awesome in a FTD sort of way.

66 Audio Over-The-Ear Headphones ($54)


If your trail runner listens to music, they most likely have earbud style headphones. I've been using these lightweight over-the-ear headphones from 66 Audio, and love rotating them in for some extra bass, a little warmth, and a new look. When most headphones cost $150-200, these are a steal at $54. 



Technical, seamless underwear called "Rundies" that say fartlek on the butt...honestly, I don't think I need to say any more. Seven pair, each with a different run theme and color. The designers at Giselle are geniuses!



You know those benches you see in parks and open space preserves that are dedicated to someone? It turns out for 5,000 clams, you can gift one of your very own! An heirloom for your loved one and all the trail runners who frequent the same trails, this is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Victory Sportdesign Drop Bags ($40-85)


By far the gold standard for drop bags, the Victory Sportdesign Drop Bag is one of those "how did I ever live without one of these" kind of gifts for ultrarunners. They carry EVERYTHING is an easy-to-access design, and look awesome, particularly when you dress it up with custom panels that have your name and race number. I have the BEAR II, and it's been with me through dozens of races, not to mention is my go-to trunk bag in my car. An awesome gift for runners and volunteers alike.

Fitbark ($70)



It's a FitBit for your dog, complete with an app that lets you see who is getting more exercise. No fair they get twice as many steps with four legs!

2017 Tribute To The Trails Calendar ($20-23)





Another "gold standard" trail runner gift, Glenn Tachiyama's visually stunning annual calendar can light up any drab cube or laundry room with glorious visions of west coast trails. This stunning calendar also includes lottery race entries for over two dozen races, and proceeds fundraiser go to the Washington Trail Association, so you know your dollars are going to a good cause. I buy 3-5 each year!

BioLite NanoGrid ($79)



The NanoGrid is a lantern and flashlight with two detachable lamps that can quickly light up a tent or impromptu aid station. It also comes with its own solar charger, making it an Outdoor Magazine Gear of the Year favorite. The hanging Luminoodle camping LED light ($29) from BioLite is also a lot of fun. 


Injinji Toe Socks ($10-23)

I'm a huge fan of the Injinji toe socks (and am sponsored by them), which have saved my toes from blisters for over 150+ races. This year there are some great new winter designs, available in warm NuWool, Over The Calf compression style, and fancy pink, green, and blue colors. I can never go wrong with this stocking stuffer!

T-Shirt Quilt ($250-400)



Tired of your roommate or spouse stacking race t-shirts?  Look no further than the marriage-saving T-Shirt Quilt, which creates a 7x7 (=49) King Size cotton quilt out of old race T's. I got my first one from a desperate need to create closet space, but we quickly found out that we use the quilt all the time (it's just t-shirts after all, so spill away!). Added bonus - when you are at a kid function wishing you were running instead, you can just glance through the shirts and relive those memories! Available at CampusQuilt.com, be sure to order before December 1st for Santa to get it to you on time.

Tiger Lady Self Defense Claws ($29)


Did your girlfriend read the November issue of Runner's World with the five page story on all the ways women get harassed while running, and promptly freak out? Look no further than the Tiger Lady, a handheld self-defense tool with retractable claws made to maim and "built with special channels in each claw to capture DNA to assist in making a positive ID". Whoa. Then do NOT surprise her. Ever.

Outside Shower ($800-$5,500)



The mother of all marriage saving gifts is the outside shower, which my wife graciously gave me a few years back. Dirt and dirty clothes stay outside, and I get to be naked in the sunlight on a regular basis...what more could a trail runner ask for?!? Each summer I go 70+ days showering outside only and it is HEAVEN. Well worth it!

tentree Apparel ($35-75)


The folks at tentree have great looking mountain and forest themes in their t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, and jackets. Bonus - they plant 10 trees with every purchase, and you can log your code to find out when they are planted! Almost 10 million trees to date...


Running Beyond, the Book ($29)


Master photographer Ian Corless released his long-anticipated book this year, and it was well worth it. HUGE photos of epic ultras, sky running races, complete with profile charts and notes from participants that will ensure this one gets handed around at the holidays. There are plenty of other good running books too - take a look at Dean Karnazes' Road to Sparta, Shalene Flanagan's Run Fast, Eat Slow, or Krissy Moehl's Running Your First Ultra, or help long-time ultrarunner John Morelock with his medical bills by purchasing his book of ultrarunning tales, Run Gently Out There.

On the Track Prefontaine Necklace ($35)



Steve Prefontaine's sister has original art and jewelry designed to capture the spirit of Pre, all at affordable prices. I heard that it enhances large mustaches and sideburns as well. 

Icebreaker Apparel ($40-240)

You likely already know Icebreaker as a brand that makes super soft and warm Merino Wool base layers, but if you haven't followed them in the last year or so, you haven't seen the dozens of new designs and patterns that make these welcome additions to the wardrobe. Bonus - you get a huge warm thank you hug when they put it on!

Subscription to UltraRunning Magazine ($29.95)


This is the magazine we all pour over, likely before we even make it from the mailbox to the house, and wonder why there can't be an issue every week. Now with outstanding color, their own national competitions, and the usual awesome reviews, writing, and training/nutrition advice, an annual subscription to UR (now 25% off!) is a safe bet for any trail runner.

Suunto Spartan Ultra ($599-899)

We are in the golden age of fitness watches, with amazing new products from Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, and more. Some like the Suunto Sparta Ultra in copper are sleek enough to wear with a suit, and you can change the look and feel of the screen with ease. 


Gift In Your Name to iRunFar, UltraRunnerPodcast, etc. ($TBD)


If your trail runner obsesses about race coverage (like we all do), consider making a donation in their name to iRunFar.comUltraRunnerPodcast.com, or one of the other many passion-driven media outlets we thrive on. Every dollar makes a difference for these guys, and the gesture will be well received. A perfect gift for the runner who has everything!

The RinseKit Portable Shower ($90)

If you've ever had to do the quick creek rinse or gravity-powered hanging shower, you know there isn't enough water pressure to get that muck and poison oak oil off your body. Behold the RinseKit portable shower, which provides up to three gallons of pressurized water that can fit in your trunk. You can even fill it with hot water for a mini-shower!

A Coupon Book for a Catered Run (Free!)



Got a friend who is short on time, but long on a need for adventure? We all do! One of the simplest gifts is to give them a coupon book with all the things they need to make it happen - get someone to watch their kids, make an aid station and a map, create a finish line and snacks. and round up their friends to have a once in a lifetime experience. Extra points for a homemade trophy! Easy and super fun.

ZombieRunner Gift Certificate ($5-500)


I've never met a trail runner who couldn't drop $100 in Zombie before their coffee gets cold. Definitely will prompt a smile. Also an easy gift to buy and send instantly, and their online store means it can be spent just as fast!

Got any other suggestions? Leave a comment and let us know!

Happy Holidays! - SD

* Note - I am sponsored by inov-8, Injinji and others. so no surprise I am a big fan of their gear!