Monday, November 19, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Trail Runners (2018)

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 2018 and some classics that always seem to please. Enjoy!

Custom Otter Pop Kit ($13)

What could be better to hand your runner at an aid station or race finish than a custom Otter Pop popsicle? These bite-sized bags allow you to create your own, and load them full of all the electrolytes and shnacks needed for a hot run. They even come in giant sizes!

Trigger Point Grid Travel Roller  ($25)

If your runner is a frequent traveler, this roller will be a godsend. Nothing tightens up your fascia like a long plane ride, and this travel roller is small enough to fit in luggage, and can also be filled with socks/clothes when you pack to take up minimal space. I've even seen people whip these out in the plane aisles. This gift will definitely get used!

Traxedo ($60)

How casual can you make formalwear? Look no further than the Traxedo, a track suit with penguin like appeal. Available in holiday colors!

Like The Wind Magazine/Subscription ($9-50)

UK runners Simon and Julie Freeman have a labor of love, Like The Wind magazine, that is truly magical. Each issue is a unique collection of long form stories, poetry and art dedicated to "why we run" rather than "how we run". From 5k to 1000k, track to trails, contributing editors, artists, and photographers combine their best work to create a page-turning masterpiece every couple of months. You'll be thanked all year long, for sure.

Life Size Inflatable Foosball Table ($5,000)

Need a fun way to cross-train with your running group? Look no further than the life size inflatable foosball table. Great for team building!

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. Think of it as a donation and gift all wrapped into one.

Injinji Toe Socks ($10-23)

About twelve years ago, an aid station volunteer looked at my beat up and blistered toes and handed me a pair of Injinji toe socks that changed my life. Over 150+ races later, blisters are a rare occurrence rather than a weekly hassle. 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!

Garmin Mini inReach Satellite Radio ($350)

For your backcountry lovers, Garmin's latest inReach weighs just 3.5 ounces and connects from anywhere in the world with text and voice. This one is a must for the FKT crowd.

Polar Seal On Demand Heated Clothing ($119-200)

Polar Seal is the latest entry into the heated clothing market, offering base layers/hoodies/parkas that can warm you up in ~10 seconds with the push of a button. I like the hoodie option the best, thanks to the heated pockets that allow for quick warming. This is a great one for crew/aid station volunteers!

Apple AirPods (w/EarBuddyz silicon ear hooks) ($150/$12)

I've tried nearly all the headphones on the market, and can honestly say that Apple has flat out "won" with the AirPods. The sound is amazing, and now that they can be paired with the new Apple Watch Series 4, it is a super lightweight package that can be easily navigated with touch or voice. Pair them with the $12 EarBuddyz silicon sleeve, and they stay put in your ear no matter what the speed or weather. 

The all-women apparel and accessories from Oiselle keep getting better and better every year. Few gifts spread #girlpower like letting your bestie choose a favorite.

Forget kettleballs - if you want to throw some weight around, tap into your inner Thor with a sledgehammer or mace from Acme Sledgeworks. Great for both stress relief and deltoids the size of grapefruits.  

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. There are some new versions this year, including the BEAR III above available in slate blue. An awesome gift for runners and volunteers alike.

Gibbs Quadski ($40k+)

For the runner who has everything (and needs to get everywhere), the Gibbs Quadski is both a Jet Ski and a four-wheeler. No aid station or trail is out of reach with this bad boy!

2019 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!

Star Wars Work Out Gear ($180)

Harness the power of the dark side with these great Star Wars-themed kettleballs, medicine balls and more from Onnit. Your inner Yoda will urge you to "complete your training!", and you learn the power of The Force for sure!

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, be sure to order before December 1st for Santa to get it to you on time.

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!

A New Running Book ($9-39)

Lots of great new running books out this year, including Sarah Lavender Smith's Trail Running Companion, Emeli Forsberg's Skyrunning, The Roche's Happy Runner Project, Catra Corbett's Reborn On The Run, and Kilian Jornet's upcoming Summits Of My Life. I also consider the fictional book Once A Runner, and the giant picture book Running Beyond by master photographer Ian Corless to be "must haves".

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. 

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.

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 or Patreon subscription in their name to, 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.

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!

1 comment:

  1. Scott, Consider goTenna as a product both for your location up in the hills and for a gift guide. We all tend to want to send a text sometime to tell loved ones we're running late (trail time is always 30min longer then real time). goTenna seems to be a great addition. One in the car at the bottom of the hill and one in your pack. check them out. No, I'm not paid, supplied, or otherwise compensated. Just like the product.


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