The Ultimate Christmas Wish List for the Trail Runner in Your Life

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Run, Buyer's Guide, Gear Check

It’s that time of year when things start slowing down (or speeding up in certain industries) and people start getting into festive holiday mode. With Christmas around the corner, you as a trail runner want to make sure that whoever is doing the gift shopping for you knows exactly what you would want under the tree. Or, if you are planning one of those all-too-important ‘to me from me’ gifts, (you really deserve, it, after all) here is a hit list of some of our favourite Christmas gift ideas for trail runners:

Sports Watch

From tracking training and recovery to navigation and beyond, a good sports watch is an invaluable tool for trail runners of all levels. There is a myriad of sports watches available today so it’s not always easy to know exactly what to go for. We’ve spoken to some of SA’s top trail runners to get their input and collated some tips as well as watch models to suit the needs, budget and fitness level of all trail runners, click here and find the best Christmas gift.

Sports Watch For Trail Runners
Sports Watch (C) Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Hydration Pack

Hydration packs come in innumerable shapes — from ultra-lightweight racing vests to expedition packs — all offering varying amounts of storage and water-carrying capacity. When shopping for a Christmas gift for the trail runner in your life, carefully consider what type of running (and what distance events) they mostly do. For example, they need just enough space for some water, a soft shell jacket, phone, car keys and perhaps an energy bar, or, if they are planning on tackling a long-distance event where they would be required to carry a minimum amount of compulsory gear and so need a bigger pack. Click here to read our guide on the five best hydration packs out there right now and find the right one.

Running Poles

Running Poles are a highly efficient aid when running uphill. You’ll notice that ever more pros and serious amateurs carry them when racing (and not just on ultra distances). The reason is that poles have evolved a lot over the past few years and have becoming lighter (made from carbon fibre) and far easier to pack away when not in use (most fold down into 2 or 3 segments). and are easy to carry when not in use. We know from experience that once you’ve run with poles on steep technical terrain, you’ll never want to go without.

Running Poles Are Great Christmas Gifts For Trail Runners
Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel running with poles. (c) Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool

Soft-sided cooler

Keep your recovery drink chilled in your car at the trail head or make sure you have an ice-cold beverage (non-alcoholic if you’re driving, of course) to toast your run with the Hopper Flip 8 from YETI. The Flip 8 is the smallest (and most affordable) YETI soft cooler but it is still huge in features. The Hopper is constructed from a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to other soft coolers and has a capacity of up to six cans plus ice. It features a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper and high-density fabric designed to withstand the toughest African sunshine and weather conditions.

Yeti Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler

Trail Shoes

This is a tricky one and can easily backfire. So, unless you fall into the ‘to-me-from-me’ buying category or know exactly what shoe your partner runs in (or what type of pronator they are) it is best not to make this a surprise gift. Find some ideas amongst our favourite trail shoes for less than R2000!

A Race Entry

Few things are as a big a motivator for focussed training than having a big goal event to shoot for. If you know the trail runner in your life well enough (and we hope you do) then you’ll know that they might have certain races on their bucket list. This could be anything from a local 10km to the spectacular 24km Four Peaks race in the Eastern Free State, or a big one such as a Maxi Race or the George MUT. Click here to get some more understanding of just why your partner will appreciate that entry as a Christmas gift.