Winter Trail Running Picks
6th December 2023 by Luke McLuckie
Staying comfortable and safe on winter trail runs is a tricky affair. Conditions are often a mixed bag, changing with every mile. Therefore, here at the Epicentre we have found that it is best to call upon a portfolio of versatile kit that can keep us protected, whatever the elements may throw at us. Here are our 3 favourite picks of winter trail running gear at the Epicentre.
Arcteryx Norvan 14:
As the temperatures drop, and the days get shorter, the need to carry more kit is inevitable. The Arcteryx Norvan 14 has you covered in all departments. The 14 litre capacity allows for all the necessary winter trail running gear. Extra layers, micro spikes, and even a flask of tea will all find a home in the main compartment of the pack. Your winter trail running gloves and hats can be conveniently stowed in the mesh running vest straps. Here, you also have storage for two 500ml soft flasks (included with purchase). The outer fabric of the pack is made from a durable nylon ripstop, resistant to the alpine snags and tears that may total a traditional running vest. Furthermore, dual ice axe attachments allow for the carry of two ice tools, making the Norvan 14 an ideal pick for winter mountain running.
Additionally, the high capacity lends itself for 4 season day hikes, where the additional comfort of soft and fitted straps can be enjoyed. The added versatility of a high capacity, durable running pack makes the Norvan 14 a very appealing prospect for runners and hikers, who cover long distances in all mountain conditions. Equally adept for an icy bolt up Helvellyn, or an overnight fast pack to Warnscale bothy, this pack is a must have for the year-round fast and light mountaineer.
Scott RC 2:
Winter trails are often an unpredictable mix, especially in the UK. The Scott RC 2 trail runner incorporates a unique lug pattern. The direction of the lugs radiate from the ball of the foot, where pressure is most often applied to the ground when running. This provides unparalleled, multi-directional, grip on those winter fell running routes. As seen on our recent excursions on the classic lake district running rounds, the Scotts performed impeccably over varied terrain, tackling mud, gravel and even road.
Furthermore, the RC 2 offers superb weather protection. The upper is constructed with a patented Schoeller material, designed to shed surface water, preventing splashes from soaking the shoe. When subjected to a drenching, the Schoeller technology disperses water across the upper, allowing for quick dry times. This technology also works in reverse, helping perspiration to evaporate effectively through the upper. Falling into Scott’s race shoe lineup, the RC 2 boasts all of these features in a very lightweight package. This shoe is my pick for all terrain winter trail running, whether that be a low-level Lake District route in Grizedale, or a fell race on Blencathra.
The versatility of this shoe means that you are never caught out. You can be confident of grip on the very muddiest of grassy trails, something even more paramount in the winter months. When conditions up high are uncertain, the Scott RC 2 is my go to winter trail running shoe.
The North Face Summit Superior FUTURELIGHT:
The North Face Summit Superior FUTURELIGHT is a 3 layer running jacket, occupying a unique space in the waterproof market. Sufficiently light and packable for year round trail running, whilst durable enough to use as your lightweight summer rain jacket. Packability is key here, as the 30D polyester face fabric easily compresses into an incorporated stuff sack. This stuff sack doubles up as an internal dump pocket, making room for stowing away your gloves and hats, a rare feature for a running jacket. When on trail, the jacket has a light and airy feel, owing to its use of North Face’s FUTURELIGHT waterproof membrane. This technology emphasises breathability, whilst remaining fully waterproof. Consequently, this jacket is ideal for high output activities in UK conditions, where high humidity can cause less breathable shells to falter.
The USP of this jacket is its versatility. As we transition into the warmer months, the Summit Superior can remain in your pack. This is the ultimate, unobtrusive, emergency rain shell for summer showers and strong summit winds. We are keen advocates for the purchase of multi-use outdoor gear, keeping your kit draw concise and streamlined. Therefore, this jacket is perfect for our winter trail runs, as well as our summer thru-hikes.
As we have emphasised above, the versatile nature of this gear is what makes them so appealing. The Arcteryx Norvan 14 takes you from icy mountain runs, to summer day hikes. The Scott RC 2 takes you from boggy fell runs, to hard gravel tracks. The North Face Summit Superior takes you from sideways rain in January, to summit wind protection in August.
Shop the full range of Winter Trail Running gear Here