Winter Running Gear 2017

When you're balancing a young family and a busy work life, the time for hobbies can be squeezed out. Despite a very understanding wife, sometimes an hour or two is all I have spare in a day. This makes longer days out climbing or walking tricky, which is why I have started to run a lot more – I can cover the distance quicker! I have found myself becoming increasingly addicted. After an hour or so out fell running I feel like I’ve done something productive, seen some nice views, released the endorphins and then I can get on with the rest of my day doing whatever needs to be done. As the shorter, colder days are now here I have a few essential items that allow me to carry on with my new-found hobby on these cooler winter days.

Ultimate Direction Groove Mono Waistpack

This must be my most used item for short to medium runs. I don’t know how I used to manage with a traditional bum bag as this is so much better! Sometimes all I need is my key and phone but when necessary the Groove Mono can be stretched to carry a windproof, 500ml soft water bottle, an energy bar, gloves and Buff. There is no bounce and with its two Velcro adjusting straps you can make it fit nice and snug without feeling restrictive. You will be surprised how much you can fit in it…


OMM Sonic Jacket

This time of year, you will almost certainly need an extra layer on the tops and they don’t come much lighter than this at 60g (except the smock version at 52g!). Although it is not officially waterproof I find it is water resistant enough for most conditions including the odd shower.  It has no hood, but for me that is an advantage I find they just bounce around or flap in the wind unless securely packed away, which then makes it awkward to get them out when you need them. I just prefer to wear a hat! The Sonic Jacket packs up into a very neat stash pocket in the back of the neck about the size of an egg. I also carry this when out on the bike as a spare layer as it is so compact. There is a full zip jacket or pull over smock version, depending on your preference.


OMM Flash Tights

I much prefer running in shorts but now it is dark and cold the leggings have come out. I have had my Flash Tights for a few years now and they are still going strong, despite being dragged through heather and bracken. The grip strip at the bottom of the legs stops them riding up and there is a handy little pocket for a key if you need it. It’s hard to get too excited about a pair of leggings, but these have stood the test of time and I have found them durable and comfortable, and there’s not much more you could ask for. Mine also double up for road cycling with my padded summer cycling shorts, as I like to get the most out of my gear!


Outdoor Research Surge Sensor Gloves

Light, bright gloves! You can also use your phone with the touch screen sensors to take those all-important Strava photos. They are not heavy, dry very quickly and they are water resistant enough. An essential item for this time of year.

Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 Fell Running Shoes

I am fortunate enough to live very close to Win Hill and find most of my runs involve slogging my way up its very muddy sides. My go-to shoes are the Inov8 Mudclaw 300 for their exceptional grip in very muddy, soft terrain. I also like the rubber compound they use (Dual-C Sticky)which copes well with the occasional slippery paved path. The Dual-C Sticky is soft enough that it fells quite grippy even on Kinder slabs, giving you the best chance of staying upright in wet conditions. I wouldn’t suggest these shoes for harder terrain such as dry hardpacked trails but for off-path routes where the ground is soft or muddy I wouldn’t use anything else. 

I’ve also used the Mudclaws for bigger days in the in the Scottish mountains; let’s call it going fast & light rather than full on running. They are low profile enough so that I don’t feel like I will go over on my ankle and I find they are warm enough with waterproof socks on. They are not a substitute for a full-on boot when carrying a load or moving at a slower pace but when you are going with a fast & light/running mentality they are perfect, and a lot lighter than any walking boot. 


Sealskinz Waterproof Socks

Winter running can be cold and miserable. To try and make it less so I use Sealskinz waterproof socks in my running shoes!  For a long time, I was a real sceptic, but I have now been converted. They feel like you are wearing normal socks, keep your feet warm and dry and don’t even feel too sweaty. They also stop your feet from becoming engrained with the black peat that gets under your toenails and in-between your toes – a phenomenon fell runners will know well! They also work well in cycling shoes as they are warm and prevent those annoying puddle splashes soaking and chilling your feet.  If you run every day it's worth having a couple of pairs as they can take a bit longer to dry than your normal socks and no one wants to put on soggy socks! 

Petzl eLite Headtorch

This is more of a safety piece than anything else, and for the 26g it weighs I suggest everyone stash one away even if you are only planning to be out in daylight hours. It weighs less than spare batteries for a standard light weight headtorch. No one wants to rely on a mobile phone as a torch when they get caught short by the dusk.  I wouldn’t suggest this as a main or only headtorch, but as a backup it will certainly get you out of trouble, plus its strobe setting can be used as a safety beacon. There is a red light function so as not to affect your night vision and it is also highly water resistant so no issues if your bag gets soaked.

Petzl Nao+ Headtorch

For running in the dark however, head torches don’t come much better than the Nao+. Light, bright, highly water resistant and comfortable with no bounce (185g & 750 lumens), it is also rechargeable via USB so no need to keep buying replacement batteries. It has a reactive light setting that can automatically adjust the brightness of the torch depending on ambient light, which makes it very battery efficient.  You can quickly override this to give a constant output at different brightness levels if you prefer. There is an app called MyPetzlLight that allows you to manage the setting of the torch via Bluetooth but don’t let this daunt you, if you don’t want to get overly technical you can simply use the switch on the side of the torch to get the pre-set and most used settings and forget about the app altogether! There is a red light on the back of the torch to signal your location, very useful if running in a group and for visibility getting to your trail run, but again this can be switched off if you prefer. You can also get the Accu Nao+ which is a spare rechargeable battery so worth having two if you are out for long events or running regularly.


So there you go, with the right kit, running through winter can be just as fun as in the summer. Often more so, as you're less likely to overheat. If you're in the Peak District, the Outside staff are regularly out running en masse. Join our Facebook group for details when, you're welcome to come join us!


By Rob Turnbull
Managing Director

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