BUYER’S GUIDE: ON THE TRAIL

There’s a be­wil­der­ing amount of gear out there for the would-be trail run­ner so here’s a few tips to help you de­cide what’s for you.

Action Asia - - TAJIKISTAN -

Chances are, your first hik­ing and trail run­ning ex­pe­ri­ences will be in the same shoes you use in the gym, and that your pack will be twice as large as you need and three times as heavy. This is per­fectly nor­mal. But – as­sum­ing the bug has bit­ten – you need to up­grade your out­fit ready for next time. The tips here as­sume you are day hik­ing and per­haps think­ing to try a run or two. Light is mostly right there­fore. Swap over-en­gi­neered ev­ery­day packs for some­thing thin­ner, though be sure the back sys­tem is comfy enough for a full day out. Wear breath­able lay­ers, re­mov­ing one be­fore it makes you sweat, adding one just as you start to feel cold. At­tend to hot spots on your feet (an early sign of blis­ters), or chaf­ing on the body, when you first no­tice them. Con­sider how to carry all the flu­ids you need: a blad­der makes sip­ping less of a chore while a bot­tle in your pack is too eas­ily for­got­ten. WA­TER­PROOF ZIPS A de­tail but one that sets qual­ity prod­ucts apart. In driv­ing rain, th­ese can make a real dif­fer­ence. MATERIALLY BET­TER Your shell needs to be as breath­able as pos­si­ble to avoid you over­heat­ing while hik­ing in poor weather. Pit zips – un­der­arm vents – can help too. BREATH­ING EASY For day hik­ing in sweaty Asian en­vi­ron­ments, Gore-tex is prob­a­bly un­nec­es­sary. Colder places where your feet may get wet in stream cross­ings are where it comes into its own. SOLE CON­CERN Deeper lugs give more grip on vari­able sur­faces. Look also at the amount of cush­ion­ing: go with more for com­fort; try less for greater re­spon­sive­ness, help­ing with speed. HOOD You know that re­frain that goes: ’weather can change so fast . . .‘. etc? There’s a rea­son you hear it so much. Get the hooded jacket even if you hate wear­ing the things. SIZ­ING IT UP Day hikes, and es­pe­cially trail races, are more en­joy­able with an ap­pro­pri­ate-sized pack, not one hang­ing off you mostly empty. At the most you’ll need 20 litres, prob­a­bly less. SHOWN HERE The North Face Fast Pack GTX Jacket, The North Face GTX Sur­round Shoes and Mon­tane Featherlight 23.

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