Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Gifts for Trail Runners - 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for some great gift ideas for trail runners? I've listed a few goodies below, and be sure to check the comments at the end for the usual bunch of great recommendations. Happy shopping, and I hope you are all enjoying Fall!

Tribute to the Trails Calendar ($23)

This calendar has quickly become the "gold standard" gift for trail lovers. Uber-photographer and trail runner Glenn Tachiyama (along with Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs) has consistently put out the most beautiful trail running calendars to raise money for the Washington Trails Association. The gorgeous full-page shots (check them all out here) compliment a complete calendar of ultrarunning events, and forms to win free entries to 20 races! Few things can spice up the drab cubicle life like a constant reminder of epic trail runs hanging on the wall. I buy 3-4 each year. You can pick one up at ZombieRunner, Rogue Valley Runners, or other stores for $23.

Re-StringIt Drawstring Re-Threader ($15)

If you've ever had to re-string a drawstring through your shorts or hoodie, then you are going to love this little gadget. It turns the 15 minute frustrated inchworm routine into a 30-second non-issue. Available at

Parrot ARDrone Remote Control Helicopter ($300)

Want to get those killer fly-by videos as you run the trail? The ARDrone can be controlled by your iPhone and takes 720dpi HD video. Rumor has it there is software you can download to have it follow you everywhere. Let the drone wars begin! Available at

Injinji Performance Toe Sock ($13)

The latest sock from the toe-obsessed gang at Injinji are snug and breath really well. Now available in pink, blue, green and other festive colors! Available at

Solarjoos Solor Charger ($149)

If you're out on the trail a lot but fear the battery drain, then a solar charger might just be the right ticket. This one by Solorjoos is one of the more rugged and heavier models, and charges faster than most. A great pick for the always-connected runner! Available at

Duracell Instant USB Charger ($29)

Another great idea for the electronic obsessed, this battery can quickly boost a USB-driven device like an iPod or Garmin watch to get through the race. A good item for your drop bag!  Get it at

Custom Race Bib Coasters ($22)

Want to keep a memorable race bib around? Immortalize it on four coasters! Take a picture of a friend's race number and send it to Mile Stones via for a fun coaster puzzle.

Running Books ($9-30)

It's hard to go wrong with a running book, and there have been some great ones that came out this year such as Scott Jurek's Eat to Run, Marshall Ulrich's Running on Empty, and The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones. Amazon and ZombieRunner have them all!

Jawbone UP Life Tracker ($129)

Jawbone's UP tracks your day-to-day movement and can help give insights on sleep habits, tips on healthy living, and more. I like the form factor more than the Nike FuelBand and Fitbit, and the accompanying iPhone/Android app is very cool. Reissued for 2012 just this November! Available at

Personal Running Tour (Free!)

If you don't have the cash-ola, give the gift of time with a guided trail running tour of your favorite park. Set the date, make a plan, bring some snacks, create a hand-written card that sums it all up...voila, an instant free gift. And one that will certainly be treasured! If you have a friend who is constantly too busy with kids to do those long runs, give him/her some hand made gift certificates for babysitting. Trust me - they will guard them with their lives. 

Holiday Flavored Bars/Gels ($0.50-$3)

When you eat as many of these as we do, a little Peppermint Stick or Spiced Pumpkin Clif Bar is a nice break. On sale now at REI.

Columbia Omni-Heat Electric Jacket ($250)

Columbia's Omni-Heat lining is super warm, but even warmer when you flip on the batteries! Perfect for the friend/spouse who volunteers or spends long hours waiting for you at aid stations. I got one of these for Christi last year, and it remains a cold-weather favorite. The price of these has been cut in half since 2011, and now boots and gloves are also available at

Aero-Press Coffee Maker ($30)

It's a little crazy how good coffee tastes from this handy little device that fits right in with all your camping gear. Available at ZombieRunner.

Action Wipes ($3+)

Ever try to take a full shower with baby wipes? I know I have, and they don't quite do the trick. Action Wipes is here to save the day with their full body wipes. Check out their web site for the full story!

Fun Running/Running-Themed Clothes ($10+)

Trail runners have lots of race shirts, but do they have something fun or sexy? You can peruse sites like eBay for vintage race shirts, CafePress and Zazzle for comical sayings (like "I don't date, I train"), and it's hard to beat Ink n' Burn for sexy gear (or to lose a few hours "shopping" on their site).

ZombieRunner Gift Certificate ($10-100)

I've never met a trail runner who couldn't drop $100 in Zombie before their coffee is even ready. Definitely will prompt a smile. Also an easy gift to buy and send instantly.


  1. Great list! Gear Buzz has Injinji socks on sale 3 for $24. I think the special lasts another 6 days. Thanks for consistently eat reads. AmyD

  2. As a heads up, you've got a typo in your link. It's solar, not solor. Thanks for the list.

  3. I'm a recent Injinji sock convert. LOVE them and am not sure that I'll run in anything else anymore.

  4. Thanks for featuring us in your list!

  5. Thanks for featuring us in your list!

  6. Great article! I have been looking for some good gift ideas for a few runner friends. I am subscribing to this blog, what a great read. If you get a chance, stop by our new blog and let us know what you think. We are hoping to generate interest from both people new to running to others who have been running for awhile!

  7. Any recommendations for a good trail running GPS watch that can last 50-100 miles? Thanks! I've seen the Suunto Ambit and the Garmin Fenix...are there others? What's the best? Shopping for my husband for our anniversary and Christmas. Thanks!

  8. The guy who knows the most about GPS devices is ultra runner John Yarington, who tests and sells devices on his web site, Heart Rate Watch Co. Check out his great review article on all the current watches to learn more.

    In general, there are only a couple of watches that have an 7+ hour battery life by design. The Garmin 910XT, the Polar XC5, and the Magellan Switch Up (with auxiliary battery) are the ones I am aware of. They are the expensive ones, of course, but they sure are a lot of fun.

  9. Garmin still sells the 310XT, and for a lot less than the 910XT. I find the 310XT lasts about 16 hours before it warns about a low battery, and I assume the 910XT is about the same.

    So my question is, assuming you've also used the 310XT, is the 910XT worth the extra price?

    -- Mike Weston

    P.S. See you at Miwok!


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