Best Trail Running Gear of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2015

A look at the best gear from the 2015 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

By on November 12, 2015 | Comments

With winter bearing down on us, let’s take a look at some of the best new trail running gear that’ll be hitting the market in the next few months… if it hasn’t already. All this gear was shown off at the 2015 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this August in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Keep reading to find out more about the latest in packs (from Ultimate Direction, UltrAspire, and Salomon), apparel (from Altra, Brooks, Montane, and Ternua), headwear (from BUFF, Patagonia, and Salomon), and other gear (including Julbo running sunglasses, UltrAspire lighting, Leki trekking poles, Suunto GPSs, packable cups, and trail maintenance gear).


Ultimate Direction Signature Series 3.0 ($110-170 – January 2016)

The Ultimate Direction Signature Series has been around for a couple years now, but UD’s not sitting on their laurels. For Spring 2016, the Signature Series line is expanding to 4 vests:

  • Timothy Olson Race Vest – $110
  • Scott Jurek Ultra Vest – $125
  • Anton Krupicka Mountain Vest – $150
  • Peter Bakwin Adventure Vest – $170

Multi-pack changes include “T-Hook” front adjustments rather than a rail-slider system to adjust front strap heights, significant lightening of each vest, the addition of vertical trekking pole storage on the front, and all packs move to small, medium, and large sizing.

Ultimate Direction Timothy Olson Race Vest - rear

The rear of the Ultimate Direction Timothy Olson Race Vest.

While the entire lineup receives updates, the two most notable models are the Race Vest and Mountain Vest.

The Timothy Olson Race Vest is stripped down with only a much smaller set of pockets on the rear than its predecessor. Without the included bottles, it weighs in at a scant 4.8 ounces (two ounces less than its predecessor, the Anton Krupicka Race Vest), while adding front storage capacity. The TO Race Vest is not meant to be used with a hydration bladder.

The Anton Krupicka Mountain Vest is a new addition to the line. It’s got 11 liters of storage with a 10.9-ounce weight that’s in line with the smaller-capacity Jurek Ultra Vest from the previous Signature Series 2.0 line. It’s also got roomy side pockets and, for the adventurous, ice-axe loops.

UltrAspire Revolt ($80 – Spring 2016)

At 7 ounces, it’s far from the lightest race vest out there, but the forthcoming UltrAspire Revolt does minimize its body footprint, particularly in the rear with a pronounced hourglass shape. Still, the rear had a top mesh stuff pocket and a dual-opening lumbar water-bottle (or other gear) pocket.

UltrAspire Revolt

The rear of the UltrAspire Revolt.

Also from UltrAspire

  • UltrAspire Epic ($190 – Spring 2016) — UA’s replacement for its Fastpack, which looks much more like a top-loading traditional hiking pack. It’s got 25 liters of storage (11L in the main rear compartment), a huge rear mesh stash pocket, 2 front bottles, and an integrated rain cover.
  • UltrAspire Speedgoat ($80 – Spring 2016) — A dual-bottle waist pack with a small central rear zip pocket along with zip pocket on one side and a garbage stash pocket on the other. The most notable feature to this evolution of the company’s previous two-bottle waist pack, the Impulse, are its front straps for horizontally carrying trekking poles.
UltrAspire Speedgoat

The UltrAspire Speedgoat.

Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Set ($225 – February 1, 2016)

With the Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Set, the brand enters the fastpack arena. Built onto Salomon’s popular S-Lab vest system, the packs straps are a bit wider at the shoulder to better carry 15-20 pounds on the run. Salomon also added a third Twin Link closure, a hook-on-elastic-band cross-torso strap, for more stability. In addition to two front pockets for soft flasks, there are four more sizable front pockets with zips. The large rear compartment has a center zip. The back panel detaches for a seat on the go.

Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Set

The Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 Set.


Altra Fanny Jacket ($130 – March 2016)

Altra? Apparel? Yup. Next spring, Altra will launch a full, but modest range of apparel options. Think high-quality, stripped-down shorts, tops, etc., with a twist. The item with the biggest twist is the Altra Fanny Jacket. Undeployed, the Fanny Jacket looks like the simplest of running fanny packs, an elastic strap with a small fabric pocket. Well, when it starts to cool off or rain, swing the pocket to the front, undo the hook-and-loop closure, pull out the 1/2-zip DWR-treated hooded jacket, pull it over your body from front to back, and fasten in the rear below the back with a hook and loop closure. Jacket on. Even more interesting, the jacket was designed specifically to be used with a hydration pack… in that there’s a big cutout in the jacket where your pack sits.

Altra Fanny Jacket Demo

Altra Fanny Jacket demo.

Brooks Run Through Jacket ($110 – January 2016)

The Brooks Run Through Jacket moves microclimate zoning toward its extreme. The jacket features wind-proof-ness and water-resistance on upper portions of the torso and sleeves with open mesh on the bottom of both sections. While a small detail, the headphone cord attachment on the zipper pull also caught my eye.

Brooks Run Through Jacket

The Brooks Run Through Jacket.

Montane Featherlite 7 ($150 – March 2016)

While no longer groundbreaking, a well-made 1.7-ounce DWR wind jacket is still a sweet thing and such is the Montane Featherlite 7. In that 1.7 ounces, you get a full zip, the DWR finish, a jacket that folds into its collar, and full French seams (for durability) in high-wear points.

Montane Featherlite 7

The Montane Featherlite 7.

Ternua Apparel

While Ternua has been around in Europe for 35 years, it’s just now making its way to the U.S. The Basque company make super-high end gear that looks as good in town as it performs on the mountain, which is to say quite well. You’ll pay accordingly with something like the soon-forthcoming Malaspina Jacket made with Polartec Power Wool coming in at $300. The 6.5-ounce (in a size large) water-resistant Neutrino Jacket coming out next Spring comes in at $200.

Ternua Neutrino Jacket

The Ternua Neutrino Jacket.


BUFF Hats (Spring 2016)

So over the past couple years, we’ve seen BUFF move past making only, well, BUFFs to some caps and visors. Early in 2016, we’ll see BUFF take their headwear expertise and apply it to an incredible array of running hats. They’ll come in light tech fabric, Polartec, microfiber, Windstopper, wool, and more.


A selection of BUFF hats.

Patagonia Duckbill Visor ($25 – Spring 2016)

There’s a small, but fanatical group of trail runners who wouldn’t go running without their Patagonia Duckbill Hat. Well, now, they might consider something else, the Patagonia Duckbill Visor.

Patagonia Duckbill Visor

The Patagonia Duckbill Visor.

Salomon Race Visor ($30 – February 2016)

The Salomon Race Visor is an ultralight (both weight and fabric) soft-billed visor that’ll stow just about anywhere

Salomon Race Visor

The Salomon Race Visor.

Other Gear

Julbo Aero ($130-180 – October 2015)

This Spring, Julbo launched the Venturi. With its exceptional venting, even I switched over from my beloved Julbo Race when things get humid or I’m on huge climbs. That said, the Venturi was aesthetically too big for my face. Enter the Julbo Aero, which are a pair of fully-vented running sunglasses that are more suitable to a smaller face. The Aero have an adjustable nose piece and will be available with a range of lenses.

Julbo Aero

The Julbo Aero.

UltrAspire Lumen 170 ($100) and 600 ($180) (Both Autumn 2015)

While GoMotion has sold waist lights for years, UltrAspire jumps into the category with the Lumen 170 and Lumen 600 waist packs. The Lumen 170 uses 3 AAA batteries while the Lumen 600 has a rechargeable battery. The horizontal lighting cylinders rotate both 90-degrees upward and downward. The Lumen 600 will work as a component piece to UA’s MBS belt system, a swappable component system that allows interchange of multiple belt styles and accessories.

UltrAspire Lumen 170 and Lumen 600

The UltrAspire Lumen 170 (top) and Lumen 600 (bottom).

Leki TrailStick ($200 – Spring 2016)

For the past half decade, if you were an American trail runner who wanted to use trekking poles, there was a good chance you were using Black Diamond Z-Poles. Come Spring 2016, there’ll be another player in the game with the introduction of the Leki TrailStick. Like the Z-Poles, the TrailStick uses a button on the top section of the shaft to initiate the pole’s folding into three sections. One nice feature of the TrailStick is the Trigger Shark 2.0 grip/strap system that releases the hand strap from the shaft at the push of a button with the strap easily reattaching to the grip by slipping a loop on the strap into a groove on the shaft. The TrailStick is also available in 5-centimeter sizing from 105-130 centimeters. The TrailStick weighs about one-third more than an equivalent Carbon Z-Pole with a pair of 120-centimeter TrailSticks weighing 394 grams (13.9 oz) versus 290 grams (10.2 oz) for the Z-Poles.

Leki TrailStick

The Leki TrailStick.

Suunto Traverse ($450 – October 15, 2015)

The Suunto Traverse looks like a bit more of a ‘lifestyle’ piece than the Ambit series of GPS running watches. It’s included here not for what its equipment can do, but rather for what its software can do. Specifically, the Traverse includes a real-time breadcrumb view of the recorded track. In my opinion, this has long been a notable hole in the Ambit’s functionality. With luck, the breadcrumb view will be added to the Ambit via a future software update. In addition the the breadcrumb view, the software appears to have other enhancements over the Ambit, such as step counting, that point toward continued improvement in Suunto’s software.

Suunto Traverse

The Suunto Traverse.

[For our current favorite GPS watches for running, check out our best GPS running watch guide.]

Packable Cups

Okay, can we all agree that current flat, packable pocket cups suck? Good. Fortunately, there were two great cupless-race alternatives at OR!

  • Hydrapak SpeedCup ($9 – Available now) — 5-ounce capacity, 0.210-ounce weight (6 grams)
  • UltrAspire C2 ($12 – October 1, 2015) — 6-ounce capacity, 0.71-ounce weight (20 grams)
UltrAspire C2

The UltrAspire C2.

Trail Maintenance

  • Gerber Freescape Camp Saw — I don’t know about you, but I enjoy doing a little trail maintenance when I can. In the past, that’s included disassembling a bow saw and awkwardly stowing it in a pack. Enter the Gerber Freescape Camp Saw, which folds into a completely straight, blade-enclosing beam.
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw

The Gerber Freescape Camp Saw.

  • Gerber Myth Folding Lopper — Like the saw, they basically fold into themselves making for less awkward, safer in-pack carriage.

Call for Comments

  • Which of this gear has you excited?
  • Any other forthcoming gear your psyched to try out in the coming months?
Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.