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  • Writer's pictureEmily Duane

my favorite gear for running (that also works for hiking)

Here's the thing... I like stuff. I like buying stuff. I like having choices. I prioritize purchasing stuff for my various outdoor adventures, like running and hiking.

What I've discovered over the years, though, is the stuff that I originally bought for running also works well for hiking (and other outdoor activities) AND works for most seasons (although, not always)... thus, reducing the amount of stuff I actually need to buy.

It's a savings strategy. (I need it.)

So, here's a list of my favorite outdoor gear that works well for both running and hiking.


Gimmie a fitted baseball cap or trucker hat with a cute print on the front panel any day. I love hats primarily to keep the sun out of my eyes (where are my sensitive, blue-eyed babies at?), but they're also great for keeping rain and snow off of my glasses/sunglasses.

In winter, I still wear my beloved hats, but will add an ear band or Buff on top to keep my ears nice and toasty. Doesn't matter if I'm running eight miles in summer or hiking three in winter - a brimmed hat is where it's at.


In an effort to prevent my skin from looking like leather by the time I'm 40, I've made a concerted effort since moving to Colorado (where I live an entire mile closer to the sun than I did in New Hampshire) to wear face moisturizer with SPF every single day. I also have a tendency to tote a bottle of spray sunblock around with me, and it frequently jumps between my running bag and my pack.

Like hats, this is valid year-round, especially in winter when the sun reflects off of snow.

Hydration vest

Originally purchased for running longer distances, when I'm doing super short hikes, bike rides, and short trail runs and feel comfortable going ultra light with packing gear, I'll wear my hydration vest. I love these because I can wear water on my back and be mostly hands-free thanks to the straw system that loops over my shoulder.

Pro tip: Add ice cubes to your water bladder in summer. Not only is the cold water sooo refreshing on a hot day, it feels nice on your back AND it prevents your water from getting up to the same temp as your body.


Wanna run at night? Get a headlamp. Wanna do a sunrise hike? Get a head lamp. Wanna go for a bike ride at dusk? Get a headlamp. Wanna go camping and not sure how the heck you're going to find your way to the bathroom in the dark? Get a headlamp.

See where I'm going here?


These things are great... like a fanny pack, but smaller. Fun fact: "SPI" stands for "small personal item." I primarily use this to keep my phone handy when I'm wearing bottoms without pockets.

It makes it super easy to grab my phone when I want to shuffle songs/podcasts or take photos while I'm out and about.

Bottoms with pockets

So... this is a slow process for me, but I'm working on replacing all of my fitted shorts, capris, and tights with styles that have pockets so that I don't need my SPIbelt. There's plenty of room for your phone, a small wallet, your car keys, and even a snack. Some people even tuck water bottles in the pockets of their tights.

Why pockets (especially deep ones) aren't yet standard on women's apparel is beyond me.

Shoe Hoodies

These are specific to wet and winter conditions... I shit you not, my Shoe Hoodies are one of my favorite purchases, and I've got multiple colors. They're nylon shields that apply to your shoes with Velcro and are waterproof, so they do an excellent job of keeping water/snow from getting through the mesh toe box of your shoe when that moisture is falling out of the sky. However, it won't keep water from getting in if you step in a puddle. Like... don't do that.

I've worn them on both my running shoes and my trail shoes for hiking in milder winter conditions that don't require boots. In winter, it's super easy to add YakTrax (for roads) or Katoolah microspikes (for trails/thick ice) on top of your Shoe Hoodies.

GPS watch

Again, I originally started wearing a GPS watch to track my runs. I liked getting real-time data on my pace, mileage, and heart rate. I also use my GPS watch to set notification for intervals when I run (ie: scheduled walk breaks!).

However, I've found my watch to be super handy for these same data outputs for hiking, too. Never again will I be on a trail and wonder how far I've gone or how much I've slowed down. I don't think this is super important for hiking, but if you're a borderline data nerd, it's fun info to have at your fingertips!

There's a bunch of other stuff that does double duty, like the majority of my apparel and outer layers. And I definitely have stuff that is specific to each activity - different types of shoes, for one, and I carry a larger pack for longer hikes.

I love that so much of my stuff can be useful for more than one activity! Getting outside doesn't have to mean you buy a bunch of specialized gear. In some cases, yes, but for things like running, trail running, hiking, biking, climbing... there's definitely crossover!

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