Andy Dappen asked the Desmarais twins if they would list what they carry on trail runs. The duo also enjoys picking the brains of other hardcore athletes and included a list of all-star trail-running products to consider buying. As an interesting ‘gee-whiz’ factoid we could include, we asked the twins what their best running time was from the Stuart/Colchuck Lake Trailhead to the top of Aasgard Pass. Take a guess at their time. So that you can make an educated guess, consider that it’s about 4 miles to Colchuck Lake, then 0.75 miles around the lake on a slow trail entailing some scrambling and boulder hopping and, finally, 1.25 miles up a rocky, loose, boulder-strewn trail to the Aasgard Pass. Total elevation gain is 4,400 feet. And your guess for their best time is…?  (**Answer at the bottom of this story.) 
Equipment Lists and Gear Recommendations
by Cyrus and Niles Desmarais 
First, we’ve listed how we generally pack. Lower down is our list of recommended products.
Easier trails and short mountain trips (3-5 hours) with little to no snow.
Gear is similar for most races.
Niles Cyrus
Trucker hat Trucker hat
Beanie Buff/headband
Sunglasses Sunglasses
T-shirt T-shirt or long sleeve
Arm sleeves
Running gloves Running gloves
Rain jacket Rain jacket
Shorts Shorts
Socks Socks
Running shoes Running shoes
Vest Vest
Phone Gopro

Longer mountain objective trips (5+ hours), snow possible or likely

Niles Cyrus
Trucker hat Trucker hat
Beanie Buff, headband
Sunglasses Sunglasses
T-shirt T-shirt or long sleeve
Arm sleeves
Gloves Gloves
Rain jacket Rain jacket
Shorts Shorts
Rain pants Rain pants
Socks Socks
Gaiters (short) Gaiters (short)
Running shoes Running shoes
Vest Vest
Microspikes Microspikes
*Poles (sometimes) *Poles (sometimes)
Ice axe Ice axe
GPS GoPro
Phone  –

* If using poles, we generally only bring one pair

Recommended products
  • Headband/Hat. Buffs are super versatile for head and neck warmth. They also wrap around the wrist when you’re too warm.
  • Sunglasses. Julbo running sunglasses are popular for mountain-running. We like their running/glacier hybrid. The lighter Zebra lens is key. Other popular sunglasses include RadarLock Path Prizm Trail by Oakley, Pivlock-Smith, and Bliz Tracker Ozon.
  • Shirts. Mountain Hardwear polyester, short- and long-sleeve shirts are excellent. We also like La Sportiva’s Sonic short-sleeve zip. Among racers, Salomon is the most popular brand in performance T’s. Their S-Lab Exo Series is particularly popular.
  • Arm sleeves. We use Pearl Izumi thermal arm sleeves, which are just a tad thicker and less versatile than other brands. Other popular listings include The North Face No Hands Arm Warmers, and Salomon Sun Sleeves. Brooks and Asics also make arm sleeves.
  • Gloves. We use North Face Runners (with a mitt), and SmartWool Liner Gloves. Saucony makes a nice mitt hybrid called the Ulti-Mitt. The Salomon S-Lab running gloves, and Sporthill Summit Gloves are also excellent.
  • Rain Jackets. This is one of our favorite categories. We are particularly fond of the Ultimate Direction Ultra and Salomon S-Lab Hybrid Jacket. Another great jacket is the Patagonia Houdini. All of these are super light yet very water resistant.
  • Shorts. The North Face Better-than-Naked Shorts are superb. They have pockets, and pockets, and pockets. They also have pockets. Other great shorts include the Salomon S-Lab Twinskin, Patagonia’s Strider Pro, and Pearl Izumi’s running shorts.
  • Rain Pants. Choices abound and there are a variety of basic but functional options out there for $30. If money is no object, check out the Salomon S-Lab Hybrid Pant ($220).
  • Socks. Again the market swarms with choice. We like Dahlgren, Smartwool, and Bridgedale socks. Other interesting brands that long-distance trail runners value are the Injinji Toe Socks (which greatly reduce between-the-toe blisters), and compression socks (which increase blood flow) by CEP, Salomon, and Compressport.
  • Running gaiters. We love Salomon’s Trail Gaiters. They are streamlined, durable, and work well with many other shoes. Other choices include Dirty Gal gaiters, the Ultra Trail by Outdoor Research, and the Inov-8 Race Ultra. Some of these are quite versatile in the shoes they fit, others are quite shoe specific in their fit.
  • MicroSpikes. Kahtoola invented this category of product which adds crampon-like traction to any lightweight shoe contending with snow and ice. It’s still the standard. If you run a lot of pavement accessing trails in winter, the ICEtrekker and Yaktrax offer lower profile- traction that is less likely to turn an ankle.
  • Poles. Our advice is limited because we happen to own adjustable but hefty Black Diamond ski poles that will probably never wear out. We see other trail runners using the Leki Micro, and Black Diamond Distance Z-Pole (carbon construction, foldable, and super light).
  • Maps & GPS. We use a Garmin GPSMAP 64 because that’s what we have. The Garmin eTrex 30 are smaller, lighter and full-featured. A smartphone armed with the Gaia App gives you all the topo maps and GPS features you need. Print a paper map of your route to keep in your pocket for quicker, on-the-go reference and as a backup if your electronics fail (not too uncommon).
  • Running vest. We use and like the Salomon S-Lab 3L and S-Lab 12L, which are very light and comfortable. Other popular brands are Ultimate Direction (wide variety of models), Nike (check out the Trail Kiger), and Nathan Packs.
  • Running shoes. Finally! What do we recommend? You’re going to hate this, but it depends. Everyone’s feet are different, and perfect fit is what’s most important. Salomons work great for us and we have used (and been impressed by) many of their running shoes including: the S-Lab Sense and Ultra, Sense Pro, S-Lab Wings, Speedcross, and the Fellcross. We have also used and recommend the Inov-8 Terraclaw, and Saucony Peregrine. Other very popular shoes we see on the race circuit are the Altra Olympus, Altra Superior, Brooks Cascadia, North Face Ultra Endurance, Nike Kiger, Scott Kinabalu, and the La Sportiva Raptor.

 

 ** Best time for the Desmarais twins from Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead to Aasgard Pass is 1 hour and 38 minutes.
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