The Gear Closet

The gear addiction is real...
We share our opinion on the things we use to make adventure happen

Patagonia Men's Houdini Jacket
High alpine running brings variable temps and windy conditions - making a good wind coat a must for long runs. Michael was in search of a light, yet durable option for the summer months.

Why he likes it
This coat is super light weight, yet wind resistant and folds into it's own tiny stuff sack for easy transport in a running pack or shorts pockets. The hood is clutch and simple to put up rather than digging through your pack for a hat. Finally the Patagonia ironclad guarantee eliminated the concern around durability.

What could be better
The sizing is a little bit off from the normal Patagonia attire, running smaller across the shoulders, causing Michael to go with a medium rather than a small. Also, the sleeves are rather long. The coat is built for "slender" runners, yet we hear they've revised the cut in the most recent version.

Click here to check it out on the Patagonia website

Photo credit:

Altra Lone Peak Trail Running Shoes
When looking for a running shoe that alleviated pressure on her bunions, Tracy turned to Altra’s. Altra thoughtfully designs their shoes with a wide, foot-shaped toe box and a fully cushioned zero drop sole in order to align the feet, back, and body posture for less impact. She regularly runs in the Lone Peak model, which is designed to be a trail shoe.

Why she likes them
These shoes do offer a wide toe box and certainly alleviate pressure across her metatarsal. They are also very light which is a plus on long runs. The zero drop has helped her to clean up her running form, forcing her not to rely on an elevated heal when she gets lazy.

What could be better
While the shoes do deliver a comfortable run on soft or moderately rocky trails, they are not always conducive to rugged mountain runs where she really needs a strong grip and a tough rock plate.  On steep descents, she does experience some sliding within the toe box.

Click here to check them out on the Altra website.

Photo credit:

Tailwind Endurance Fuel
Finding the right nutrition to keep you fueled yet keep your stomach happy during a long run can be tricky. After trying solutions from Hammer Perpetuem to homemade concoctions we finally tried Tailwind Nutrition powder. Four scoops per bladder of water provides a good foundation for running nutrition.

Why we like it:
Our favorite flavor is the mandrine orange because it adds just a hint of orange flavor without being over-powering, making it pretty easy to get down for hours on end. The mix has a good amount of sodium and electrolites to aid in hydration and sodium to prevent cramping. 

What could be better:
While the product claims that it can completely replace gels, chews and pills, this just isn't the case on longer runs. If you are sweating a lot, inevitably you need more salt and electrolites than the mix can provide. *You will also need to eat additional solid foods for calories.

  Click here to check it out on the Tailwind Nutrition website  ​​

Photo credit:

Saucony Peregrine 6
This is both Michael and Tracy's primary trail running shoe. It performs really well on rocky trails where it's critical to have good footing however it's also comfortable to use for long distances on softer, groomed trail or dirt road. (These come in a variety of colors!)

Why they like it:
The grip on the bottom of the shoe is critical and is very reliable. The shoe also has a rock plate that serves as great foot protection in variable conditions. The design of the shoe also holds the foot in one place, reducing slipping around that leads to blisters.

What could be better:
The rubber tip of the shoe by the big toe often comes loose after a few long runs. This can be fixed with super glue, but can be a bit annoying and can otherwise catch on rocks.

  Click here to check it out on the Saucony website  

Photo credit: Saucony

Nathan Vaporshadow Hydration Vest
A hydration backpacks comes in handy for more than just running - biking for example - but this pack is particulaly equipped to handle long mountain runs. 

Why she likes it:
This pack holds 2L of water for long days, which is clutch. The bungie straps on the outside of the pack allow you to easily strap on clothing layers that might need to go on or off as the temperature changes. The small front pockets are perfect for a gel or an ipod.

What could be better:
The material that lines the back of the pack most close to the body can be a bit scratchy against bare skin. It's a key to wear a shirt that protects against rubbing.

Click here to check it out on the REI website

Photo credit:

Patagonia Men's Strider Pro Shorts 5" Inseam

Photo credit:

Salomon Speedcross 3 Running Shoe
If early season trail running is in your training plan, the Salomon Speedcross 3's are pretty awesome. Tracy bought these at the end of the 2015 season to be prepped and ready for 2016 training.

Why she likes them:

No need for yak tracks with these babies. The rubber cleats on the bottom work great in snow and mud. I got this particular color for a sick deal on

What could be better:
The only downfall is that your feet can still get pretty wet if you don't wear gators with them. There is also a pretty dramatic drop, which is a change from my typical running shoe - not bad, just different.

Click here to check them out on​

Photo credit: