Trail running isn't about the gear, but I find it useful and safer to have some
gear, especially in winter when I'm miles from shelter, water, or transportation.
I've put 3 miles short of 200 on the Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 3 and am
pleased with how they are holding up. The uppers are like new with the
exception of matching worn spots above the top inner eyelets. Evidently I clip
the top of each shoe with the sole of the other when I run. My telemark boots
are even more beat up on the inside than my running shoes, which suggests to me
that I could pick my feet up a little more on trail. Maybe?
The lugs on the bottom are showing some wear. I expect them to go long
before the uppers do, which seems normal for the trails I'm running this
winter. I was out on snow and ice last weekend and the shoes still have plenty
of grip. I've been able to keep up with folks wearing lightweight crampons.
I overstride and I see this in my bottom of my shoes. My heel lugs are slightly
more worn than my forefoot lugs. But not by much. I've been working to increase
my cadence and am slowly improving.
I expect to use these shoes up before Quad Rock and will get another pair
for the race. I like them a lot. A little more toe room would be nice. 8/10.
I'm happy with my Smartwool "PhD" cold weather wool and nylon socks. My feet
are comfy and don't blister, and the toe fabric has no signs of holes yet.
9/10. I carry a second pair
of socks in my pack on long runs, but haven't had to use them yet. I don't have
blisters, but do have black and blue toenails that I've had to tape down.
I found the toe taping instructions in the Trail Runners Companion to be very
helpful. Intervention can snowball, of course, and use of tape then requires
lubrication. Squirrel's Nut Butter, which I've been getting as swag for years,
turns out to be good for this. 9/10, a little grainy when cold.
Compression shorts and tights are off my gear list now. Capilene boxer briefs
from REI (10/10) and SNB are my recipe for comfort. I like warm legs, and my Patagonia
Crosstrek fleece tights would be perfect if they were 1" longer. 9/10. I usually wear a 150 or 250
weight wool top (7/10) and carry a light nylon windbreaker from Patagonia that I love but almost never wear. 9/10.
I also keep a basic capilene cap and gloves from REI (6/10) in reserve, in case I get caught out in
changing weather. Mostly, I don't need them when I'm on the move in daylight.
The vest I plan to wear during the Quad Rock to hold water, spare socks, and
such is too small for long, self-supported, training runs. I've been using my
bigger, heavier Camelbak. I take 2+ litres of water, a nutella sandwich, gels,
a mini first aid and toilet kit, jacket, gloves, hat, extra socks, and my phone
when I go out for 4-5 hours. My minimal vest is Camelbak's Ultra Pro (from
2017). It's breathable, fits me well (I am big but not a bodybuilder, so YMMV),
and is well made. It's completely fine. I read that some people like to attach
straws to their soft flasks, but I've become adept at slipping them out of and
back into their pouches. Camelbak should make a Colorado edition with
a frightful demon face printed on the back to ward off mountain lions. 11/10
with demon, 8/10 without.
Speaking of gels, GU brand Campfire S'Mores and Gingerade are the least
terrible flavors and I carry 3-4 on a long run in case my breakfast and
sandwich aren't enough. 6/10. There will be VFuel at Quad Rock and I should start
getting used to that unless I want to carry my own fuel for 50 miles.
I mentioned previously that I've been wearing a Garmin Forerunner 35 since
Christmas. It's not fancy at all, but is reasonably comfortable, and the
battery life is good. The GPS is reliable, only flaking out on me one time in
50 runs. The heart rate monitor is less reliable. It has gone out of whack
during one workout and briefly during 3 long runs. I don't know whether this is
good, fair, or poor compared to other similar devices. 6/10 or 8/10 depending
whether I'm feeling sentimental about 80s watches or not. The Garmin Connect
app is fine. Better than many other apps on my phone. 8/10.
Coppertone Ultra Guard 50 sunscreen (7/10), trucker hat (8/10), Thermos vacuum mug of
third wave coffee (10/10) for the drive to the trailhead... that's it, my
current list of equipment, rated.