Depending on the type of running you have done so far, you may need to supplement your existing wardrobe to suit your holiday. Waterproof trousers might be a worthy buy, for example.


If this is the case, we would recommend that you use one of our kit partners: Cotswold Outdoor, Castleberg Outdoors and MyRaceKit. They will be able to point you toward specific products in line with our more general advice below.


What you wear next to your skin often gets forgotten, but in terms of comfort it's critical - the last thing you want is for your holiday to be ruined by sore points, chafing and rubbing seams. Of course, the liberal use of Vaseline over points of friction can also help!

Wicking is the process that draws sweat away from the skin, helping to keep it dry. This helps with cooling in warmer conditions, as well as maintaining body warmth in cooler ones, by reducing the chilling effect of wet material.

Using materials that will wick the sweat away from your skin without becoming heavy and sodden will make for a much more comfortable day out.

Base layers

© Martin Leonard

Like underwear, base layers sit next to your skin, so you should prioritise wicking properties and comfort above all else.

For this reason, cotton base layers are best avoided; they hold sweat. Go for either a wool-based product or one made from "technical" manmade fabrics designed specifically for their wicking qualities.

The closer the fit, the better the base layer is for wicking away sweat, but looser garments may be more comfortable and they also allow air to circulate in warmer conditions.

Although it's dependent on your budget and personal preference, it is possible to buy base layers that feature compression technology to support specific muscles; built in odour protection; or a layer of reflective material to help with heat retention in the cold or provide UV protection in sunnier times.

The other key point to consider is thickness. How thick, and therefore warm, do you want your baselayers, and should they have long or short sleeves? While this will depend on the conditions and how much you feel the cold, keep in mind that it's always easier to start with a lighter base layer and then add or take off outer layers. This reduces the chance of ending up with a base layer which is too warm and might cause a sweaty, uncomfortable run.

Mid layers

As the name suggests, this is the layer that you add over your base layer. A long sleeved t-shirt or, for cooler conditions, a slightly thicker top made from brushed fleece or a similar material normally does the trick.

For cooler days with more inclement weather, or when high on the hills, carrying an additional thermal mid layer, or a lightweight down/thermal jacket, is often a good idea.


@copy; Sangudo

Personal preference and the weather conditions will determine whether you wear traditional running shorts, tighter fitting Lycra shorts, three-quarter-length tights or full-length tights.

If it is cold enough for full leg cover, then lycra tights have the advantage over trackster-style bottoms. They will not hold as much water if it rains, so they won't become heavy or soggy.

Unless the conditions are exceptionally poor, you are unlikely to need more than one layer on your legs while running. If the weather is truly awful, lightweight waterproof or windproof over trousers are ideal.


After your shoes, a breathable, waterproof top is probably the most important piece of running kit that you will need. Given the normal propensity for rain in this country, it's one that's likely to see use even when your trail-running holiday is over!

Although many products claim to be waterproof, it is always difficult to find a garment that protects fully, particularly if you are keen to keep the weight as low as possible. For breathable waterproofs, Gore-tex remains the benchmark against which to judge others. E-vent is another popular choice.

When deciding what to buy, consider the following:

  • Weight. It is possible to get a waterproof top weighing under 150g, but they tend to be less durable. This is true even of Gore-tex.

  • Length. Do you want the jacket to fully cover your backside or be waist length?

  • Sleeves. Are they long enough? Do you want thumb loops to help keep your hands dry and warm?

  • Hood. Do you want a hood, either attached or detachable?

  • Pockets. Do you want side or chest pockets? Can you access your pockets if carrying a rucksack?

  • Zip. Do you want a full-length zip or half-length? The former tend to be heavier but provide more temperature control options; the latter is lighter.

  • Fit. How close-fitting do you want the jacket to be? How many layers might you want to have on underneath? Is it comfortable when running, not just standing in the shop? Women should look for a women's specific fit.

  • Packability. How easily does the jacket fit into a bum bag/small rucksack for carrying while running?

  • Waterproofness. For a fully waterproof jacket, taped seams are essential.


When there's little rain but plenty of wind, a lightweight windproof jacket or gilet can be invaluable to help keep out the chill.


With the right socks, your feet will hopefully be happy for the duration of your holiday. Get them wrong and it's not only your feet that will be sore and unhappy.

There are a myriad of different socks on the market, including ones specifically designed for trail running. These are normally black or grey to help hide the mud.

Sock thickness

Typically, mixed fibre or wool socks of different thicknesses are good for all-year-round use. If you do decide to go for thicker socks on colder days, remember that the guiding science behind the layering principle is still in place for your feet.

Your feet will be most comfortable and warmer if you have slightly thinner socks which restrict neither your feet nor their blood flow. They should allow a small layer of air to be trapped between sock and trainer.

Waterproof socks

In colder, wetter conditions, waterproof socks are useful in helping keeping your feet warm, although keeping them dry in anything beyond damp conditions is unlikely.

Waterproof socks tend to have the same effect as a wet suit: they trap a layer of warmer water. The downside is that your feet are submerged for some time, which can lead to softening and blisters/small tears - something to be avoided on a multi-day running holiday.

Sock care

It is worth being pretty ruthless regarding sock tear and wear. Setting off with socks that are starting to thin or have small holes appearing in key places such as the toes and heel is asking for blister trouble.

Washing socks

Likewise, keeping socks clean and free from grit is important, especially if you are re-using them/washing them as you go while on your trip.

If you have ended up with wet, muddy socks, then turn them inside out for washing. When they're dry, give them a good shake and rub to get any fine bits of remaining grit out before using again. Perhaps the best option is having the luxury of a clean pair of socks for each day - which is easily managed when Contours are transporting your overnight bag!

Further choices

Some people like dual-layer socks. The theory behind these is that you have a second layer to help prevent friction while still wicking away sweat.

Others swear by "single toe" socks. These are like a glove; each toe has its own "housing". Converted users find they help prevent between-toe rubbing and blisters, reducing the need to use tape or padding.


© Impossible Imports

Whether running in summer or winter, carrying a buff or lightweight hat is worthwhile.

In cooler weather, one will help reduce overall heat lost.

Waterproof hats are useful in really bad weather, and having a chin strap or other holding device is useful if it is windy and you are on an exposed route.

Head cover is also sensible in sunny weather, especially for those who are fair skinned, have less hair, or who know they "suffer" in the heat.

A light-coloured baseball style-cap is best, ideally made from material which is heat-reflective and has added UVF protection. In extreme heat, a mesh back to keep the sun off your neck is worth considering.


@copy; GORE-TEX® Products

Gloves, and probably a spare pair of gloves or overmitts, are a trail running essential in all but the warmest of weathers. Numb fingers aren't simply unpleasant, they make it difficult to do even simple things like open and close gates, open or close your rucksack, or, importantly, fumble with the trail directions.

If conditions are bad or have the potential to be so, gloves should always be carried. Windproof material is useful in helping to keep fingers warm if not dry, while reasonably tough fabric is useful if you are likely to be scrambling over any rocks.

For those who suffer badly from cold hands, lightweight Gore-Tex over-mitts are worth considering. So would be a pair of chemical hand warmers, which will give you around 8 hours warmth once opened.