Saturday, November 23, 2019

2919 Gift Guide for Runners: Electronics, Lighting, Hydration, Sunglasses, Packs, and Recovery

Article by Sam & Dominique Winebaum and Jeff Valliere
The RoadTrailRun team bring you a carefully selected and tested collection of running and beyond holiday gift ideas .  

See our Holidays Savings Guide HERE

We found so much great stuff that we split the guide into two parts! Part II covering apparel from IceBreaker, Gore, Salomon, Buff, Title Nine, Mammut, UA, Outdoor Research, Brooks, OROS, La Sportiva, and Rockay is HERE

Day and Night Vision

Kogalla RA Adventure Light ($159) 

Portable Daylight!

A perennial favorite here at RoadTrailRun, the Kogalla RA Adventure Light, with 5 warm temperature LED bulbs supplying a maximum of 800 Lumens, near endless mounting options and a variety of battery options, the Kogalla is akin to bringing portable sun along on a night run/hike, casting a warm swath of bounce free, far and wide stable lighting.  

The Kogalla has revolutionized our night running, where previously running at night was a reluctant necessity, it is now a joyful experience. If you run/adventure off the beaten track at night, then this is an absolute must have piece of gear. Full Review
Shop for Kogalla at their online store HERE
15% Discount by entering code: RoadTrailRun

Petzl Swift RL ($120)

Reactive Power Lighting
New for 2019, this compact headlamp weighs just 100 grams, yet puts out 900 max Lumens which will burn for 2.5 hours with many more hours on lower settings. It has a very secure reflective strap with no bounce, has reactive lighting (automatically adjusting between proximity lighting and spot beam depending on focal point, thus conserving battery and providing optimal light distribution) and a very easy USB charging port, so it is easy to keep the battery topped off with no need to futz with and throw away traditional batteries.  Paired with the Kogalla, there is hardly a better combo. (RTR Review)

Biolite Headlamp 330  ($50)

Low Profile High Performance Lighting 
The very reasonably priced 330 is uniquely thin and light for a no bounce ride with plenty of lumens for all road running and hiking, most trail running and of course walking the dog. I literally forgot it was on my head! Only 9mm thick and slightly curved to fit the head flush and securely with no bounce as the rear battery and front light units are nicely balanced in weight. The light module tilts down if needed.  USB rechargeable. you will get a 100 lumen flood LED and a 230 lumen spot LED which when combined for the highest output mode provide 330 lumens with 40 hours of battery life on the lowest level and 3.5 hours at the highest output. 

Julbo Aero Segment Sunglasses ($209)

Regardless of Light Conditions, Adaptable Eye Protection
Sam: We are huge fans of Julbo’s Aero line of sunglasses with their photochromic lenses and have tested multiple iterations in recent years. The Segment has Julbo’s Reactiv.photochromic lenses. The lens can adapt to light conditions in a huge range from 12% of visible light transmitted (dark tint) to 87% (almost clear).

I use them daily for all but the sunniest high altitude conditions. In their clear state they can be used in near night time conditions.  Julbo’s Reactiv photochromic lenses also are less temperature sensitive, mitigating more than any other lens we have seen the phenomenon that in cold once dark from bright conditions as light dims, say at the end of a short winter day, they remain dark.  Very light and comfortable with adjustable nose padsand temples they are easy to wear all day long and are secure and bounce free. To keep their wide view clear the lenses have an internal anti fog coating and an external oil repellent coating. 

Julbo Sniper L ($90  Spectron 2 lens,  $160 Reactiv photochromic)

The Big Picture
Sam: When Julbo sent the Segment they surprised me by also sending the Sniper biathlon shield. I always wear prescription eyeglasses and "go over" with shades including the Segment. The Sniper has a truly gigantic, distortion free field of vision. 
They have proved  perfect trail run eyewear and of course I can't wait to also nordic ski with them. Need mind the looks, I will also take them road running as at days end in fading light all I need to do is flip them up!

As a biathlon shield they flip up for shooting at the targets, or to take pictures or when in deep shade. They have a thick soft, foam sweat band. I use a hat or Lightweight Merino Buff to give the shield a touch more standoff from my glasses. The lens in my pair is the Spectron 2 with a visible light transmission of 25% for mid range light conditions with high contrast for white out conditions. Photochromic Reactiv 17% to 75% light transmission as well as Zebra Light 7%-35% transmission lenses are available with lenses removable. Compared to many sunglasses they are a relative bargain. Also available in M model for smaller faces. 

The Best of Times
Sam: I tested many GPS watches in 2019. The COROS Apex Pro, Garmin Forerunner 245, and Polar Vantage M each stood out for different reasons. If your runner has an older GPS watch, all of these watches provide longer battery life, more accuracy, and more useful features than older models and make great gifts

Garmin Forerunner 245 ($300, $350 Music)

A Serious Training Smartwatch that Won’t Weigh You Down
The 245 combines light easy on the wrist 38 g weight, 24 hour training battery life, a highly legible screen, navigation and the new Pace Pro strategy feature. 
It has a plethora of training data fields and physiology insights along with and all the essentials of an up to date smartwatch including notifications, sleep and stress tracking, music control, and even new the new Incident Detection feature and emergency alert. As accurate as its more elaborate and expensive siblings such as the Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6 it is our 2019 holidays Garmin pick.
For more details read our in depth 2019 Garmin GPS Buyer’s Guide and ReviewsHERE

Running Warehouse HERE   REI HERE    Amazon HERE

COROS Apex Pro ($500)

A Rugged, Capable, Stylish Watch for Any Sport or Adventure 
With a titanium bezel and sapphire crystal the Pro has a 40 hour training battery life, as solid as anyone GPS and wrist heart rate accuracy, a pulse oximeter and barometric altimeter, the trade mark COROS digital knob, and even a swipe only capacitive touch screen to rapidly and effectively move through screens. The most comfortable watch we tested this year, it has a stretchy soft silicone strap and admirable 59 grams weight, a mere 9 grams more than its closest competitor the Garmin Forerunner 945, a plastic bezel glass lens watch. Yes, $500 but a genuine value for a premium multi sport watch with newcomer COROS effectively improving its software on a regular basis. 
Our Apex Pro review is HERE
Running Warehouse HERE    Amazon HERE

Polar Vantage M ($280)

More than just run stats. Deep insights into long term fitness, training, and recovery
Polar was the first company to bring heart rate monitoring to sports, way back in the 1980’s. and has long been a favorite of top level athletes in many sports. Why? It’s not just the very capable 30 hour battery life, accurate GPS and wrist heart rate, and great style of the Vantage M  but it is the deep, long term, cardiac fitness, and training workload trend insights provided through its Polar Flow app and web site. Unique to Polar Vantage, as far as we know, it is the only watch that calculates and displays your sleep stats directly on the watch without having to synch to an app. 
And with a recent upgrade Polar now not only analyzes your sleep but how your autonomic nervous system (ANS) calmed down (or didn’t) during the night from the stresses of training and life giving you insights into what Polar calls your Nightly Recharge, your readiness for more effort or an easier day.  The Vantage is a great tool for understanding and deciphering your sleep and recovery patterns to help you optimize your approach to training.  (RTR Vantage M ReviewRTR Vantage V Review)
Running Warehouse HERE RoadRunner Sports HERE Amazon HERE

Kick Back and Take Care After the Run

Nordic Track Percussion Massager  ($100)
The Nordic Track is more gentle on the body and wallet than the pricier, noisier and “rougher” competitors. With 3 speeds, 3 massage heads, and a 1.5 hour battery life it is especially good on more sensitive areas such as the neck, shoulders, and feet.
Nordic Track Percussion Massager available  exclusively for the holidays at Wal-Mart HERE

Superfeet Aftersport Cloud Slides ($59.95)
Combining a smooth polyurethane construction with a softer center foam insert, these slides are rugged, comfortable, and will not only cushion and comfort you post workout but provide stout support.
Running Warehouse HERE RoadRunner Sports HERE Amazon HERE

Hoka ONE ONE Ora Recovery Shoes ($79.95)
Maximal Recovery Cush
Taking Hoka’s max cushion to the post workout side of things the ORA Recovery Shoes are super light ( a mere 6.6 oz in men), and of course wonderfully soft and cushioned. With the foot embedded down in the midsole using the same Active Foot Frame as Hoka running shoes they are also very supportive and stable. They also make a  great travel shoe and anytime you have been on your feet for hours and seek some cush. Whole sizes only. Men’s sizing was fine at a 9 for me (half size up) but Dominique’s first pair of women’s at her usual women’s 9 were way to big with heel slip while a second pair at 8 fit far better with very little slip. Women likely should size down a size for a secure fit, particularly if you have a narrow heel. Also available in a slide.
Shop for Hoka ONE ONE Ora Recovery Shoes and Slides
Running Warehouse HERE   RoadRunner Sports HERE Amazon HERE

Hydration & Packs

Salomon Advanced Skin 5 Set ($135)

Go To Vest for Any Run, Long or Short
Jeff: The 2019 version of the Advanced Skin 5 Set is much improved over the previous versions with an easier to use and lighter chest strap, softer materials with improved clothing like fit that is reminiscent of the Sense Set with a little more structure.

The newer version has one of the best zippered front pockets that can easily fit any size smart phone and is very quick to access, secure (with zipper, no worries of it bouncing out).  Bottomless, easy to reach stuff pockets abound front and rear, has secure flask pockets and is bladder compatible (not included), though ot comes with an insulated sleeve that doubles as back protection for carrying along any harder gear in the back pockets.  Available in 4 colors, Red (pictured above), Blue, Yellow and Black, this is the pack I (Jeff) reach for the most.

Running Warehouse HERE   REI HERE   Backcountry HERE

Camelbak Ultra Handheld 17 oz / 0.5 L ($30)

Easy Grip
The Ultra combines a soft 500 ml flask with a soft open mesh case with very secure X stretch straps that allow multiple hand and finger grips. Full or empty, the Ultra molds to your hand. The flask has an easy to open and close valve lever so inadvertent leaks can be avoided. A zip pocket secures your keys and a few cards while an outer stretch mesh pocket holds gels and small trash items.

Running Warehouse HERE Roadrunner Sports HERE Amazon HERE

Katadyn BeFree (0.6L $40, 1L $45)

Quick, Clean Water, Anywhere
The Swiss Made Be-Free .6L (20oz.) and shown above 1L (32oz.) are soft flasks with filter integrated with the threaded cap is a great way to go light on long runs or hikes when you know you will have access to reasonably clean water sources along the way (such as mountain creeks and lakes).  They also make a great option for travel and everyday use if your water supply is questionable. This filter is amazing, as is produces no funny tastes of its own while removing microorganisms and it is easy flow, meaning the water literally pours out instead of having to suck through a resistant filter. The drinking nozzle is protected from leaks and impurities by a very secure snap cap.  The only downside of the .6L bottle does not fit in traditional running vest flask pockets, but is easy to use to fill up any bottles/flasks with filtered water while on the go.
REI HERE   Backcountry HERE   Moosejaw HERE  Amazon HERE

Camelbak Pivot Roll Top Backpack ($60)

Made from 50% repurposed materials, including single use plastics, the unassuming Pivot is packed with useful features. 

Somewhere between a commuter pack and technical pack, it has mesh shoulder straps as well as sternum strap, is hydration bladder compatible, has 2 side outer pockets one that can stretch for any size bottle, the other secured by a zip. The back has a stuff area.  Inside you will find another zip pocket. It makes a great day hike and run pack, race day gear pack. and everyday companion.
Amazon HERE

Part II of our Gift Guide covering apparel from IceBreaker, Gore, Salomon, Buff, Title Nine, Mammut, UA, Outdoor Research, Brooks, OROS, La Sportiva, and Rockay is 
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The products reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.

See our Holidays Savings Guide HERE

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1 comment:

Enrique J. Garcia said...

There might be a comment around this, but have you tried them with a ski and/or cycling helmet by any chance?