Home Blog Page 2

The 8 Best Trail Running Shoes for Sure Footing When You’re Off the Beaten Path

two men running on a trail

Choosing the best trail running shoes is a different process from picking shoes for the gym or road running. Trails are uneven terrain, ranging from muddy or sandy to hardpacked dirt or slick rock. Picking the best trail running shoe is an exercise in knowing your trail, and knowing your run.

Some trail running shoes will keep you stable on wet mud and sand, digging in with big teeth known as lugs. Others are built for long-distance endurance, making sure you don't blow out a shoe when you're miles away from the trailhead.

To pick the best trail running shoes, you need to be sure of what you'll use them for since some work better for endurance while others emphasize speed.

Comparison Table


Why You Need Trail Running Shoes

a person tying his shoelace

Image Source: Pixabay.com

If you've spent any time trail running, you know that it's a lot different from running on the road. The terrain is uneven, with rocks and roots threatening to throw you off balance. Dirt and gravel can be slippery, and there's always a chance you'll end up crossing a stream.

What you need is a shoe that can handle anything nature can throw at it. It should be rugged, durable, and most importantly, comfortable. We'll help you decide what makes the best trail running shoes work for you.

Picking The Best Trail Running Shoes


a pair of running shoes

Image Source: Pixabay.com

When it comes to picking the best trail running shoes, REI recommends three criteria to look for.

The first one is the shoe's grip. On rugged and difficult terrain, trail running shoes will help you traverse things like mud, slabs of rock, and gravel.

You'll also want to look for foot protection. A shoe that can handle dangerous terrain won't do any good if it can't also help your feet handle it! The construction of the sole should focus on protecting your feet from rocks and sharp objects. At the same time, the upper should be able to withstand damage and not rip open.

Finally, look for a sturdy shoe. Trail running shoes need to let you adjust your stride to the terrain. But, if they're not stiff enough, it could result in a rolled ankle. Think about the type of trail you usually run on and find the best trail running shoes to meet those conditions.


How We Picked The Best Trail Running Shoes

a person wearing running shoes

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Our first step for selecting the best trail running shoes was to consult professional reviewers and gear experts. Some of the best places to go for reliable reviews are Switchback Travel, Runners World, and Outdoor Gear Lab. These sites are among the best for detailed and thoughtful reviews of the best trail running shoes and other outdoor gear.

Of course, they're not the only sources to consider when it comes to finding the best trail running shoes for you. One of the most important sources of reviews around is the customers who buy and wear these shoes.

And wear them they do. Every day runners put these shoes through their paces, wearing them down in ways that reviewers may not be able to.


How Much Will You Pay For The Best?

a man running on a trail

Image Source: Pexels.com

Trail running shoes are an investment. They elevate your run and protect your feet, and you'll pay a bit more for them than you would a general pair of sneakers. But you shouldn't confuse price with quality.

Most of the best trail running shoes cost between around $ and $$$. Often, the shoes with fewer advanced functions cost less than those that are extensively engineered. However, this is not always the case. Several of the lower-cost shoes have similar materials and constructions techniques of more expensive models.

Whatever your budget is, we know you'll be able to pick a trail running shoe that works the best for you.


Our Picks For The Best Trail Running Shoes

We have listed our choices for the best trail running shoes below. We didn't rank them against each other but in alphabetical order.

ASICS Women's GEL-Kahana 8 Trail Runner


Sale
ASICS Women's Gel-Kahana 8 Running Shoe, Black/Ice Green/Hot Orange, 8...
  • Rear foot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • SpEVA Midsole Material: Improves bounce back characteristics and decreases midsole breakdown.
  • DuoMax Support System: A dual density midsole system positioned to enhance support and stability, positioned sport...

The ASICS Women's GEL-Kahana 8 Trail Runner shoes focus on comfort and durability rolled into one great product. This product has several proprietary pieces of ASICS engineering that make it worth much more than its low price tag suggests.

It gets its name from the Rearfoot GEL cushioning, which gives you a smooth landing and lets you roll easily through your whole step. That combines with a SpevaFoam midsole and DuoMax support system that give you more cushioning, durability, and stability. These shoes protect your ankles and knees from impact, helping you run longer in the short and long term.

The ASICS Women's GEL-Kahana 8 Trail Runner is well-liked on Amazon.

Brooks Caldera 3


The Brooks Caldera 3 trail running shoes are heavily cushioned and come ready to protect your feet and keep them dry. With a special mesh upper and high-stacked midsole, you'll be ready to go the distance with the Caldera 3.

The first thing you may notice about the Caldera 3 is how thick the sole is, also known as its stack. With a high stack, the Brooks Caldera 3 will shield your feet from any hazard.

Just know ahead of time, you won't be able to feel the trail as well if that's something you want in your shoe.

The Brooks Caldera 3 strives to keep your feet protected in all trail conditions. Its Ariaprene mesh upper keeps your foot airy and breathable while drying out quickly, should you come into contact with water.

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3


HOKA ONE ONE's Speedgoat 3 should inspire confidence based on its namesake. They named their shoe after the record-holder for the most 100-mile race wins. With that in mind, you should consider the Speedgoat 3 for shoes that will endure the longest distances you can put on it.

The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3 has increased durability and stability, which are both crucial if you're going to be running long distances. The midsole and toe box are also wider than previous versions for additional comfort, and this iteration of the shoe has heel support to cradle and protect your foot.

On the outside, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3 has a mesh upper that maximizes breathability so your foot won't get too warm on long runs. These shoes have a Vibram Megagrip outsole, and the lugs are 5mm, so you'll grip onto any surface with absolute ease.

Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner


The Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 are minimalist trail running shoes which emulate a barefoot running experience while giving you a comfortable and protected running shoe that will give you traction on slippery trails.

Merrell made these shoes with a Vibram sole. Vibram soles are famous for their advanced traction capabilities, so even with a barefoot feel you'll be able to keep your grip.

Alongside a TrailProtect pad, the Vapor Glove 3 shields your foot without stopping you from feeling the ground. These shoes are also incredibly light, which helps you feel like you're running barefoot.

You can purchase them on Amazon and the Merrell website.

New Balance Minimus 10v1 Trail


New Balance Men's Minimus 10 V1 Sneaker, Grey/Yellow, 11.5
  • Acteva midsole
  • Antimicrobial treatment to reduce odor
  • 4 mm drop - due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 4 mm drop are...

The New Balance Minus 10v1 Trail shoes fall into the barefoot running trend. They're small, light, low-profile shoes that protect your foot while giving you protection from hazards on the trail.

The upper of the New Balance Minimus 10v1 Trail is synthetic and mesh, which is flexible and extra lightweight. You won't have to worry about feeling your shoes weigh you down with the Minimus.

However, the shoe does have a midsole wrap which locks your foot into place. Your foot won't slide or slip inside the shoe.

One of the most important parts of a barefoot shoe is that you aren't actually barefoot. With this in mind, the sole is the most complex part of this shoe. Performance foam provides support and protection from rocks and roots. At the same time, a grippy Vibram outsole adds traction and maneuverability.

Salomon Unisex S/LAB Sense 7


Salomon is usually known for its heavy-duty, endurance-focused shoes. These shoes, the S/LAB Sense 7 are a shocking red color and built for running trail races rather than enduring heavy duty use.

In order to achieve this, the S/LAB Sense 7 shoes are lightweight and closely fit your foot. Since responding to the terrain is essential to a good run, Salomon engineered the Sense 7 shoes to have a superior ground feel. You'll be able to react perfectly to the ground under you.

To make sure your shoes carry you to victory, the Sense 7 has a breathable upper which dries quickly, supporting your foot through the whole race.

Cushioning from the EnergyCell+ midsole layer gives you reactive energy, which conserves yours for those long races. Plus, Wet Traction Contragrip rubber ensures hold in every condition, so a wipeout won't keep you from the finish line.

Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 Trail Sneaker


Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 W Trail Running Shoe, Poseidon/Eggshell...
  • The fourth generation of our legendary Speedcross lug pattern is an even hungrier monster for eating up soft, technical...
  • Feel one with the trail with a precise combination of Sensifit with Quicklace, performance last shape and endoFit
  • Just enough to provide protection for technical trail running. Features mid feather upper construction

The Women's Speedcross 4 features Salomon's trademark durability, combined with lightweight shoes that can maintain traction on any terrain. With an abundance of cushioning and specially engineered fit, the Speedcross 4 Trail Sneaker will serve you in the worst of conditions.

Salomon's Women's Speedcross 4 Trail Sneaker emphasizes use in wet, muddy, and otherwise challenging trail conditions. Salomon makes sure you won't take any spills with its Wet Traction Contragrip that will grab onto any terrain. Plus, the upper focuses on protecting your feet from debris and mud with a mudguard.

An easy-to-use Quicklace system keeps your shoes on tight in any condition and makes sure that laces soaked in water and mud don't come undone at the worst time.

It's available on Amazon and Backcountry.

Saucony Peregrine ISO - Trail


These shoes are the trail iteration of Saucony's

popular Peregrine ISO running shoes. Saucony updated their award-winning Peregrine model with a foam midsole and an outsole that grips on rugged trails.

The most notable addition is Saucony's proprietary PWRTRAC rubber outsole. This coating is especially grippy and durable, so it will hold up when you find yourself running on slippery terrain.

Plus, the sole of this shoe has large lugs, the teeth that help you grip into muddy or soft soil.

Saucony's Peregrine ISO - Trail also has an EVERUN topsole for energy return, so the shoes propel your foot forward with the energy you use to step. And the ISOFIT dynamic upper hugs your foot for a better fit.

As a side note, these shoes are the Men's S20483-2 Trail Running Shoe on Amazon, but it's still the Peregrine ISO - Trail.


Which Are The Best Trail Running Shoes For You?

a man running on a trail

Image Source: Unsplash.com

So which are the best trail running shoes for you? It all depends on the kind of experience you want when you're on the trail! Some of these shoes are made for speed and ground feel. Others will give you contact and protection at the cost of weight.

For women, the ASICS GEL-Kahana 8 Trail Runner is an excellent all-purpose trail running choice. It's a low-cost option, especially compared to other trail running shoes we have mentioned.

But despite costing less than other shoes here, it has quality grip and cushioning that rival the most expensive. If you trail run for fun, or are training for bigger events, the GEL-Kahana 8 is a great option.

As for the best men's trail running shoes, the Saucony Peregrine ISO - Trail is one of the best around. These shoes are based on several iterations of great shoes, and offers a good balance of grip and weight.

As a bonus, its midsole gives you energy return so you can run harder for longer. It also comes in at a reasonable cost.

However, while both of these shoes are great options, none of the shoes here are in any way bad. It's all about the running you plan to do, and the terrain you're running on.

What kind of running do you do? What do you wear on your feet? Tell us about it in the comments!

Featured Image Source: Pexels.com


What Size Kayak Do I Need? An Intro To Personal Watercraft

kayaks
image source: pixabay.com

I've found that there are few things more fun than a day on the water, paddling on a paddleboard or kayak. But when searching for the right kayak for a few hours in calm water, I found myself asking, "What size kayak do I need?"

If you've been in the same position, you may be surprised to know that the answer isn't so direct. The size of the kayak is usually related to what you're using it for. Plus, it depends on how many passengers you plan to take on it.

To find out what size kayak you need, you'll have to ask yourself a few questions. The most important is the kind of water you'll be rowing on. This could be a placid lake, a flowing river, or choppy ocean waves. Also, you'll need to consider how long you plan on being out in your kayak.

Knowing how to answer these questions will help you pick the right size kayak.

What Size Kayak Do I Need?


kayaks and people

image source: pixabay.com

When you're out on whitewater with your kayak, you want to be able to maneuver it through tight turns and dangerous water. If you're on the ocean or a lake, you'll want to go for a kayak with a little more stability. It should have room to keep supplies like water, sunscreen, and other safety tools.

The place you plan on kayaking, whether on a river or the ocean, determines what size kayak you need.

You should also look out for the number of people you usually kayak with. If you like to row with a partner, it stands to reason that you'll need a kayak with two seats. If you usually go solo, a single-seater kayak is best.

The Various Types Of Kayaks

It may surprise you to learn that there a lot of different kayaks, based on use and capacity. A lot of times, the size of the kayak is not just in terms of hull size. It also includes storage capacity and cockpit size. These are important to consider when you ask, "What size kayak do I need?"

It's not just about the size of the boat, but how much room you have inside!

Sit-inside

Unless you have experience with kayaks, the sit-inside kayak is probably what you picture first. Sit-inside kayaks are great options if you plan on moving faster, and if you plan on being in your kayak for a while.

They keep you dry down in the cockpit, protecting you from cold water. Sit-inside kayaks, in general, have the added bonus of keeping you dry. That's something their counterparts don't guarantee.

This is great for long kayaking trips. If you plan on being out on the water for multiple days, you probably don't want to get wet every day! They can also protect your supplies from getting wet. A sit-inside kayak may not necessarily be bigger (or smaller) than other options, but that choice is as important as size.

Sit-ins, because they protect you from the elements and are more stable in rough water, work best in rough water and on long trips.

One sit-inside kayak you may consider is the Perception Sound Sit Inside Kayak. This kayak has an adjustable seat and storage spaces.

It works best when used in still water, and has storage for fishing poles, coolers, and other supplies. At 10 feet and 6 inches, this kayak will work well for solo fishing trips. It only weighs 46 pounds.

Sit-on-top

Sit-on-top kayaks may sound a bit counterintuitive at first. These kayaks are more like platforms with seats than they are strictly boats.

But their open structure is actually much friendlier to beginners than the sit-inside, even though the sit-inside feels more protected. That is because the sit-on-top type of kayak is very forgiving to mistakes.

Sit-on-top kayaks are often wider than sit-insides, so they are easier to get onto. They are more stable, especially on smooth flat water.

If you plan on taking a sit-on-top kayak onto rougher water, make sure you have a little more experience. Sit-on-top kayaks can easily flip, since the center of gravity is higher than a sit-inside.

If this happens though, sit-on-top kayaks have your back. They actually have what are known as scupper holes. These allow your kayak to drain if it flips over, and your sit-on-top kayak will never actually sink.

If you want a sit-on-top kayak, why not check out the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak? This kayak is on the long side, but it sits two or three people and is great for fishing trips.

At 12.2 feet long and 72 pounds, this kayak is big enough to fit you and two angler friends. It's also light enough that you and another will easily be able to carry it.

Picking The Right Kayak For Your Adventure


people kayaking

image source: unsplash.com via Razvan Chisu

All of this doesn't quite answer the question of, "What size kayak do I need?"

Whether sit-on-top or sit-inside, it doesn't affect how big the kayak can be. What's more important to answer the question of "What size kayak do I need" is to determine how many people you plan on kayaking with, and where you want to go.

Kayaks broadly fall into three categories, which are recreational, day-touring, and touring or sea-touring. These different types of kayaks depend on what kind of water you'll be on and how long you'll be sitting in them.

Where Are You Going?

Take a moment, especially if you're a new kayaker, and visualize your goals. Where will you be taking your kayak?

Are you going for day fishing trips, or planning a trek up the coastline? Knowing where you want to end up, literally and figuratively, will help you answer, "What size kayak do I need?"

Staying on the lake

Recreational kayaks are generally the smallest, with enough space for one or two people. They also have the least amount of space when it comes to storage. Whether it is a sit-inside or a sit-on-top kayak, recreational kayaks require the least amount of space and skill to use.

They are great if you plan on going out on the lake or a slow river, and will be heading back to shore -- maybe with a few fresh fish! They are definitely too small to support you for more than a few hours.

Out for the day

If you're more adventurous and like to spend a weekend on the water, a day touring kayak is the option for you. These kayaks are larger than their recreational cousins.

Longer kayaks actually move more efficiently through the water, letting you cover more distance with each stroke. Plus, they have room for your cooler and other needs.

These kayaks are pretty much exclusively sit-in. Since they keep you from getting wet, while you're guaranteed to get wet riding a sit-on-top, they are certainly more comfortable over long distances.

Going out to sea

"What size kayak do I need for kayaking on the ocean?"

If you want to take on the big blue, you'll need the biggest and sturdiest kayak available. These hefty kayaks are made to carry you long distances. They let you keep supplies in your craft that will support you over days or more. Plus, they can stay upright in waves and currents.

Should you decide to go after this grandest of kayaking challenges, REI recommends you decide early. Buying a sea-touring kayak at the start of your kayaking journey will save you money in the long run. Plus, it might be more difficult at first. But handling a large kayak like that will help you improve quickly.

One such kayak is the Pakayak Bluefin 14 Foot Hardshell High Performance Sea Kayak. This kayak is a seafaring machine from bow to stern.

Pakayak modeled the hull after the bluefin tuna, so this kayak is fast and stable in ocean waters. Each end of the kayak has watertight hatches to hold all your gear. At 14 feet, you won't be cramped on long ocean rows.

Who Will You Go With?

Finally, know who you're going with!

If the question isn't "What size kayak do I need", but rather, "What size kayak do we need," a tandem kayak may be for you.

A tandem kayak lets you share the adventure with your loved ones. These kayaks are great if you know you're going to have a partner along. They are larger and usually have storage built in. However, you will have trouble if you plan on ever going solo. These bulky boats are hard to maneuver alone.

One tandem kayak you may want to try is the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak. This kayak is great for relaxed days with friends and family out on the water.

Cushioned, comfortable seats are adjustable and fit to you. Plus, footwells let you brace your feet for stability. At 12 feet long, there's plenty of room for two!

Which Is The Right Size Kayak For Your Adventures?


man kayaking

image source: unsplash.com via Pete Nowicki

So, the only clear answer to the question, "What size kayak do I need?" is, "It depends!" But, there are a few guidelines to follow.

The more serious you are, the larger a kayak you need. This excludes things like whitewater kayaking and focuses on long-distance or recreational uses.

Smaller kayaks and sit-on-top models are useful if you're packing one in on a car. They're light and maneuverable on and off the water. Kayaks as small as seven feet will work for you.

If you're planning on surviving with what you brought on your kayak, then obviously the bigger the better! You probably don't want to be out at sea on a glorified raft. So, if you are going into rougher and more dangerous water, sea touring kayaks can be as big as 14 feet.

Now that you know how to make the choice, which size kayak will you buy? Let us know in the comments below.

8 Best Hiking Poles To Keep You Upright On The Trail

Hiking poles stand in front of rocks

When I finally get a chance to go hiking, I want to cover as much distance as possible. The best hiking poles can help me achieve this goal, as I know now. While I have hiked a little in the past, it wasn’t anything close to a professional excursion. With the right equipment, though, I have high hopes of day-long treks and fun adventures.

My husband is usually reluctant about hiking trips, as his knees tend to ache rather quickly. Luckily, the best hiking poles may help prevent this issue as well. The poles will also improve stability, provide impact resistance, and provide some level of protection.

Looks like he can join me after all. But which poles are the right ones?

​Comparison Table

How the Right Hiking Poles Can Help You Become the Best Hiker Ever

The best hiking poles can be your key to becoming a pro hiker. Even if you’re just doing it for fun, you need the right equipment to stay safe and enjoy the hike.

Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of getting the best hiking poles.

It's all about redistribution

The biggest reason for getting the best hiking poles is to redistribute your weight across your whole body. Without the right poles, all your weight will soon tire out your back and knees.

With hiking poles, you’re reducing the weight from these sensitive areas. Even if the reduction seems minimal at first, it’s actually a huge deal on a long hike. If you’re touting a huge backpack full of snacks and supplies, this is even more important.

You’ll be able to store your energy levels

With the weight distribution, you’ll gradually notice that you’re feeling less fatigued. Downhill hiking is especially hard on the joints, so making the poles take some of the strain is essential.

If you use your poles correctly, you’ll be able to ward off fatigue, falls, and weak muscles.

You’ll feel a higher level of stability

Obviously, having the best hiking poles will give you a lot more balance. There’s only so much these two legs can take, no matter how strong they are.

Whether you’re navigating difficult terrain or a relatively flat one, hiking poles are extremely handy. Again, this is especially true if you're carrying a backpack. A heavy load throws off your center of gravity, which means that you need a little extra support.

You’ll experience faster hiking

At the onset, no one wants a good hike to end. As the day wears on, though, you may want to reach your destination faster. The best hiking poles will help you get into a rhythm, which will then propel you quickly across the ground.

You’ll get more rest

Hiking can put a lot of strain on those limbs, especially with a backpack. You need regular rests while hiking, but who has the time? A proper rest, if you take it too frequently, can actually make it harder to go on. That is where the best hiking poles come in handy.

With the right support, you can always stop for a minute or so to rest your aching body. You don’t need to find a tree for leaning on; your poles will provide that in a pinch. That bit of relief may not sound like much, but it definitely makes a huge difference in your stamina.

Climbing Mountains like a Pro: How to Pick the Best Hiking Poles

Now that we know why the best hiking poles are necessary, it’s time to consider the factors before choosing one.

There are several kinds of poles available today, but we should seek out the features we need the most. The discussion below will help in shortlisting your final decision:

Know about the number of poles you need

Some hikers prefer just one pole, keeping the other hand free. Though two poles provide more support, a single one will give you wider grips. So, if you’re going on a long trek, two poles are a better option.

Choose between flick and twist locks

Once you want to lock your poles after getting the required length, you should consider the option of flick or twist locks. For winter hiking, flick locks are best. That’s because they're operable even with gloves and won’t get stuck in freezing temperatures.

Twist locks, though, are great for summer hiking. You can easily adjust them and take them apart for adjustment without any tools. A flick lock usually needs a screwdriver for this purpose, but you may not always have one handy.

Check if the hiking poles are shock-absorbent

Aching joints and creaky knees need shock-absorbing poles. These will resist the impact from the ground and save your body in the process. However, shock absorbers do result in you losing power when trekking downhill.

Certain high-end models of the best hiking poles may have the option of turning the shock absorbers on and off. Even if these come in your budget, you should keep in mind that these are also heavier poles.

See if the hiking poles have a telescoping option

The original trekking poles always include a telescoping feature. That makes it easy to adjust the length according to your height. You can choose between two and three sections, with both choices having their pros and cons.

While two sections are harder, they usually have a heavier weight and a larger size. You may save those for your cross country excursions and snowshoeing weather.

Three sections are the most popular option. You can pack them up for long journeys, strap them in backpacks, and generally take them anywhere. They’re lightweight but not as durable as the two sections.

Materials

The best hiking poles come in carbon or aluminum forms. A carbon option is lighter, but also more delicate and expensive.

Aluminum is definitely heavier, but it won’t break your budget. Plus, it’s a much more durable option, so you should go with that one most of the time.

How We Reviewed Some of the Best Hiking Poles Available on the Market

We’ve reviewed a handful of the best hiking poles available now, taking care to only cover highly-rated products.

You need the very best on those trails. Therefore, you may expect to find a range of prices, features, and several other factors.

Top 8 Options for a Great Hiking Experience

hiker stanting on the rock looking a the great view of nature

​Via Pixabay

We now come to the top options for the best hiking poles today. Your perfect choice might be on this list.

Hiking poles for men

We'll be looking at the best hiking poles for men first:

1. MOON LENCE Adjustable Trekking Poles


MOON LENCE Adjustable Trekking Poles Lightweight Telescopic Walking...
  • 1.Durable and Compact: The main part of Moon Lence trekking poles is made of high quality 6061 Aluminum which is sturdy...
  • 2.Adjustable and Easy to Use: You could adjust the climbing poles to a proper position by screw the locking device,...
  • 3.Comfort and Labor-Saving: The handles feature ergonomic design which are comfortable to grab. Anti-shock Mechanism...

The MOON LENCE Adjustable Trekking Poles are a sturdy yet collapsible choice. These are perfect for mountaineering, backpacking, or wherever the hiking trail takes you. The telescopic feature ensures that you can carry them around easily without the fear of breaking.

At an Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, this choice is quite impressive. However, some have reported that these poles are a bit on the heavier side. This is surprising since they’re advertised as ultralight. It might be a matter of personal preference. The money-back guarantee will come in handy here.

2. Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles


Hiker Hunger 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole 2.0 Ultralight Weight,...
  • BUILT TO LAST - Our poles are 100% Carbon Fiber and made to last! They are the strongest and lightest poles in the...
  • STRONG & DURABLE - Our hiking poles are strong and durable. From Backpacking, Climbing Ice Mountains or an Easy Urban...
  • COLLAPSIBLE - These poles are great for women, kids, and men because they are adjustable! Our poles can extend from...

The Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles are made of carbon fiber material, with cork grips and adjustable construction. There are also several excellent features, such as rubber tips, mud baskets, snow baskets, and rubber feet. What’s more, you’ll also get a carry bag as well as a wrist strap.

The Amazon rating is 4.6 out of 5 stars so we can estimate that the investment is worthwhile. The Quick Flip lock mechanism here is great for winter hiking, so you won’t be afraid to head out in the snow anymore. The only issue is that the baskets and protectors may add on some weight.

3. ​Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles


Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles - Aluminum Hiking Walking Sticks...
  • HIGH QUALITY STRONG VALUE - Built with "Aircraft Grade" aluminum that can withstand more force, is highly durable, and...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & VERSATILE - 10.4 oz or LESS THAN a pound - Our aluminum poles provide hikers, walkers, back packers,...
  • QUICK LOCK & EXTENDABLE - Our quick lock will support you during all your adventures, it is easy to use and reliable for...

The Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles come in a two-pack with a Quick Lock System and anti-shock properties. These are a great choice if you suffer from knee or back pain while hiking.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice or an experienced trekker; these poles are designed for all experience levels. The Amazon rating here is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

4. BAFX Products Anti Shock Hiking Poles


Bafx Products Trekking Walking Hiking Poles Adjustable for All...
  • Great for Everybody - Our hiking poles are a perfet fit from beginners to experts, children, teens, adults & seniors....
  • Comfortable - Ergonomic grips, lightweight aluminum, an extra wide padded wrist strap and an anti shock feature in each...
  • Extras - Each pole comes with 2 rubber tips plus 2 spares (4 tips total), a carbide tip (built into each pole) and 2 mud...

The BAFX Products Anti Shock Hiking Poles are suitable for hiking and backpacking in all sorts of weather. The shaft material of these hiking poles is aluminum while the grips are rubber. As is the case with most of the best hiking poles on the market today, the construction is adjustable.

We love the range of features here, which include anti-shock sprigs, carbide tips, mud baskets, and padded wrist straps. There’s also a turning lock adjustment.

One possible downside is that the tips tend to fall off. You may want to fix that with some strong glue. However, the Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars wouldn’t be there if this problem was in every single piece.

5. Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles


Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles
  • Shaft: carbon fiber
  • Length: 100 cm, 110 cm, 120 cm, 130 cm
  • Collapsed Length: [100cm] 33 cm, [110cm] 37 cm, [120cm] 40 cm, [130cm] 43 cm

The Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles are available in both materials: carbon and aluminum. Granted, the carbon variety is more than double the price of the aluminum one.

If we look at the Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, the user experience is more than average. With the non-slip EVA foam extensions and the three-section design, these poles are certainly a brilliant choice.

The only possible issue we can find here is that its collapsing process is a bit awkward. A little practice will hopefully sort out any such issue.

Hiking poles for women

There are also some stellar options for women who are looking for the best hiking poles. Here are some of the top options for their excursions:

6. Sterling Endurance Hiking Poles


Sterling Endurance Trekking Poles/Collapsible to 13 1/2" / Hiking...
  • FOLDABLE – Collapses to 13 ½ “ to fit in your backpack or your carry-on bag. When not in use, store the poles in...
  • BUILT TO LAST - Made of a special T6 alloy of 7075 aluminum. The T6 alloy combines a number of metals including zinc and...
  • ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT - Our poles feature our Quick Flip Lock so you can adjust the height of the poles from 44" to 54"...

The Sterling Endurance Hiking Poles are excellent for any female who wants to trek anywhere and everywhere. They’re comfortable, enduring, and can adjust to any height. There's also an ultralight option, which works to decrease your fatigue when on the go.

There are foam grip handles that give you a soft holding experience. All this makes the Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars quite unsurprising.

But watch the screws, which may come loose. However, the instructions do have guidelines on how to tighten the screws to keep them from rattling.

7. Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles


Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles, Black (Matte) , One Pair
  • ✅【EASILY ADJUSTED】Adjustable quick locks allow you to QUICKLY & EASILY lengthen the poles from 24” to 53” in...
  • ✅【FREE LIFETIME REPLACEMENT PROMISE】We at Montem promise to replace your poles for life. Shop the most trusted...
  • ✅【ULTRA STRONG & LIGHT 】Montem trekking poles weigh only 9.6 ounces per pole so you don’t feel weighed down -...

The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles are a highly durable option. If you’re a female who likes hiking on multiple terrains, the tungsten tips here are your best bet. Plus, the EVA foam grips on the handles are stronger than the cork versions.

The support is unmatched while its aluminum is the kind used in airplane construction.

What’s even more delightful is that this 3-section pair has an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

These poles are even recommended by physical therapists at times. So, you can imagine how lightweight and sturdy they are. However, you’ll have to stock up on some rubber tips as the ones with these hiking poles may wear out rather quickly.

8. Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles


Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles - Women39;s
  • Women's-specific dual-density grip and 360-degree padded webbing strap
  • Non-slip foam grip extension
  • Control Shock Technology

The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles are handy for all levels of hiking. Even grannies can get their support from these multi-feature models, provided they know their hiking rules.

You’ll get a great level of comfort with these hiking poles. And there’s no lacking in strength either. The aluminum shafts have a narrow diameter, which makes the experience lightweight. We especially love the teal and grey color options along with the baskets that let you explore several terrains.

But there aren’t any shock absorbers. That means this may be a deal breaker for some users. However, the Amazon rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars tells us that most users are more than satisfied.

The Hiking Pole Brand That Promises to Be Your Hiking Partner

Two hiker hiking on a rocky mountain

​Via Unsplash

For women who love hiking, the Montem Ultra Strong Hiking Poles seem to be the best option. They're not the most expensive pair but boast several high-end features. For the male hikers, the Hiker Hunger Trekking Poles will probably be a great way to cover all their requirements.

Now that you know how to get the best hiking poles, grab the most likely choice and hit the trails!

Have you ever hiked with hiking poles? Tell us about your adventures in the comments!

​Featured Image Source: Pixabay

Best 35 Below Socks: Plan Ahead Your Christmas Shopping

Several different men's socks

We all have our tips and tricks on how to keep warm in the winter. Living in an area where snow and ice are regular occurrences in the winter means that you have to know how to keep yourself warm. Everyone understands the importance of scarves, hats and gloves. It is what to do about your feet that you don’t want to forget.

After all, most cold stems from your feet. You can wear a jacket and completely cover your body with clothing, but if you don't have proper socks on and have exposed your feet, you will be cold. 

Your hands and feet tend to lose heat faster than any other part of your body. In temperatures that are 40 degrees and below, you are going to want something that can keep your feet from getting cold. Sometimes a regular pair of socks and boots won’t cut it. There are thermal socks, sometimes referred to as 40 below or 35 below socks, which designers make with the colder months in mind. Whether you are lounging around the house or hiking through the snowy woods, there are socks to keep you warm.

We’ve put together this guide on what we consider to be the best thermal socks on the market.

Thermal Sock FAQs

Some cold weather socks are an investment. Before you go out and buy a pair, you probably have a few questions. We’ve gathered some of the most common questions asked.

What Are Thermal Socks?

Are Thermal Socks Itchy?

What Style Do Thermal Socks Come In?

What Characteristics Should Your Thermal Socks Have?

Are Thermal Socks Right for You?

How We Reviewed

When it comes to honestly reviewing a product, there is a lot that we take into account. We researched the characteristics of each brand and type of sock to find out which are best in cold weather environments.  We considered which are best for outdoor activities and which are more suitable for indoor lounging. In addition to being thorough with the socks’ characteristics, we made sure to see what consumers were saying. We wanted to know the reputation of the brand and the pros and cons of every type of sock on the list. This way, we know that we’re giving you a full idea of whether or not the sock will work for you. Our aim was to list several socks and all its details so that you can decide if it's the right one for you. We have provided sufficient information on each sock that will help you to make a decision.

Overall Price Range of This Product

Thermal socks come in a range of prices. On the low end, you can get them for less than $10, and on the higher end, they may cost you upwards of $25. You also have to keep in mind that some of the more expensive options may have more socks per pack than the cheaper ones. If you are looking for value, then you have to pay attention to how many pairs and what characteristics you want to spend your money on.

Top 10 Thermal Socks

Carhartt Cold Weather Socks
  • FastDry Technology moves away sweat
  • Fully cushioned for warmth and protection against the elements
  • Reinforcement throughout the sole

Carhartt is a staple brand for outdoor clothing. If you know them, you’re familiar with the fact that they produce quality apparel. They are a top choice for people who work outdoors. Construction workers, hikers and those who have careers and hobbies in the cold swear by Carhartt. These socks are no different. Their synthetic/wool blend keeps your feet warm and draws the moisture out. You can count on them to be durable, odor resistant and to keep you toasty. Despite how great they are, you should keep in mind that they are bulky and may make it difficult to wear tighter footwear.

Soxnet Eco Friendly Heavy Weight Recycled Cotton Thermals Boot Socks...
  • Soxnet Eco Friendly Heavy Weight Recycled Cotton Thermals Boot Socks 2-Pack
  • Thermal Socks designed to be worn under boots, direct from the manufacturer.
  • The fully cushioned foot and leg of the shock absorbs impact to make it easier on your feet.

As the months turn colder, thick and cushioned socks sound like a dream for your feet.  These Soxnet thermal socks are an eco-friendly option. These are one of the cheaper options on the list, so if you’re looking for style, warmth and value, they are just about perfect. If you work outdoors for long periods, however, you may want a thicker brand. Some reviewers reported that their feet were still cold.

Sale
3 Pairs Thermal 80% Merino Wool Socks Thermal Hiking Crew...
  • DESIGNED FOR EXTREME TEMPERATURES: For optimal level warmth, these are very warm winter socks for women and men. Merino...
  • INCREDIBLY SOFT & COMFORTABLE: Brushed fleece lining with nylon/spandex for stay up performance, and added stretch,...
  • SUPERIOR CUSHIONING IN THE FOOTBED: With reinforced toe and heel, plus added arch support they will keep you standing...

When it comes to thermal socks, wool is one of the more popular materials used. In this case, DG Hill Thermal Socks uses 80% Merino wool. While extra comfy, the fleece lining can make the socks a little slippery. For some customers, they found that the socks slipped off while they were going about their day. However, what DG Hill does right is that the sock does keep your feet warm and has a cushioned heel for extra comfort.

Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion,Black,Large
  • MIDWEIGHT WITH FULL CUSHION - A midweight sock with high density cushioning throughout the entire sock for full on...
  • BOOT SOCK HEIGHT - Sits mid-calf for added protection and warmth. A sturdy companion. See chart below if other heights...
  • COMPOSITION - Designed and Knit in Vermont with 66% Merino Wool 32% Nylon 2% Lycra Spandex. The fast action wicking...

One thing that keeps Darn Tough Socks off of people’s radar is their price. They aren’t a cheaper option. Now, what they do have is merino wool to keep your feet dry and warm, no matter what you’re up to. These socks are designed with hikers in mind. They even have fibers to stop odor-causing bacteria from collecting.

People Socks have some of the best materials to seal in warmth. With wool, nylon and polyester, you can bet that your feet will stay warm. They have a moderate thickness, so they aren’t too bulky for a lot of winter footwear, and you can stay active. With a reinforced heel and toe, you can guarantee they’ll last you a while. Now, these socks do keep your feet warm, but some reviewers said that they kept their feet too warm.

Heat Holders - Mens Thick 2.3 TOG Winter Warm Original Twist Thermal...
  • 1 Pair of Mens Heat Holders - Available in size 7-12 US and in a range of great solid colours, bringing style and warmth...
  • Heat Holders Yarn - Our specially developed thermal yarn provides high performance insulation against cold with superior...
  • Heat Holders Loops - Innovative knitting technology produces our unique, extra long looped cushion pile to hold in more...

If you’ve heard of Heat Holders, then you already know the quality products that they produce. These socks are thick and are perfect for hiking and outdoor work. Now, if style is also what you’re after, they come in a variety of colors. They are a little more expensive than most of the socks on this list, but worth it, if you have the budget.

No products found.

When it comes to style, these are the trendiest on the list. Not only do these socks look good, but they are also durable and comfortable. Some reviewers said that they were on the thin side. When you get your hands on them, you’ll probably notice this too. However, they still keep your feet warm.

Boys Under Armour 3-Pack HeatGear Crew Socks (4Y-8Y/YLG)
  • 3-pack
  • HeatGear material wicks away moisture for dry comfort
  • Ribbed trim

Everyone knows Under Armour for their quality clothing.  Not all sports wait for winter to be over. If you are into winter sports, these socks allow you to stay active. It has anti-odor technology, moisture-wicking properties and seamless toes. On the downside, they may be too tight for some customers.

Wigwam 40 Below Sock F2230 Sock, Black - LG
  • Reverso toe closure
  • Stay put top
  • Heavy cushioning throughout is the trademark of this weight. Typically cushioned not only for comfort but for warmth as...

Another lower priced sock, you can get a lot of value out of Wigwam socks. Stylish, with 13 different color patterns, they are built to be comfortable. With wool and synthetic fibers, they are cozy. However, some customers did say that they didn’t stand up as well in actual temperatures of 40 below.

This is one brand of socks that is named for exactly what they claim to do. 35 Below socks are a little different from the rest because they use aluminum thread. They minimize perspiration so that you don’t have to worry about wet feet. Unfortunately, some reviewers claim that their feet were still cold when they were using them. Generally, these socks don't handle anything less than 25 degrees well.

Comparison Table

PRODUCT

IMAGE

DETAILS

STAR RATING

PRICE

Carhartt Cold Weather Socks
carhartt
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Four pairs, Machine-washable
Soxnet Eco Friendly Heavy Weight Thermal Socks
Soxnet Eco Friendly Heavy Weight Thermal Socks
No odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Three pairs, Machine-washable
DG Hill Thermal Socks
DG Hill Thermal Socks
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Machine-washable
Darn Tough Merino Wool
Darn Tough Merino Wool
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, One pair, Machine-washable
People Socks Premium Merino Wool
People Socks Premium Merino Wool
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Four pairs, Machine-washable
Heat Holders Original 2.3 Tog
Heat Holders Original 2.3 Tog
No odor protection, Moisture breathability, One pair, Machine-washable
Loritta’s Vintage Style Thick Knit
Loritta’s Vintage Style Thick Knit
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Five pairs, Machine-washable
UnderArmour HeatGear Crew
Under Armour HeatGear Crew
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Three pairs, Machine-washable  
Wigwam 40 Below Heavyweight
Wigwam 40 Below Heavyweight
No odor protection, No moisture-wicking, One pair, Machine-washable.
35 Below Socks
35 Below Socks
Odor protection, Moisture-wicking, Three pairs, machine washable

Our Final Thoughts

The options that we mentioned come at a variety of different price points and in a variety of different styles. To choose the right option means that you have to look at your budget and at what you need from your socks. Some of these options are better if you’re going to be active or working in the cold. Or, if you just need to take the edge off of the cold, there are options for you.

If you’re looking for our top pick, however, we’d have to go with Carhartt Cold Weather Socks. While these run a little higher-priced, when you are investing in Carhartt, you invest in long-lasting, rugged outdoor clothing. Most people, who need 35 below socks, need socks that can hold up in cold weather while they’re out on the job or taking part in a hike. You need socks that are going to keep your feet dry and warm. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, then this is the brand we’d suggest.

Our review has provided a concise, yet comprehensive review of the different socks that you should consider. Not only have we taken materials into consideration, but we have also included socks with different prices to suit the various budgets that exist in households. 

We'd love to know what you thought of the review and if you have any questions or queries. We certainly hope that it has provided you with the information that you needed to decide which socks are the most suitable for you.

The Ultimate Spartan Race Training: Test Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

spartan starting line race racing

Are you bored with your workouts? Are you ready for a new challenge? Do you want to test your body, mind, and spirit? Well, then you're ready to start doing some Spartan Race training.

Now, we aren't going to sugar coat this for you. Spartan Race training is going to be hard. But it will make you stronger, and it will prepare you for what you'll face on race day. You don't even have to like it. You just have to do it and know that all of your hard work is going to pay off big time.

Have you ever seen those memes where a guy has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? That's what we all face when we try something new or try to change our lives. Our devils are continually telling us that we can't. Fortunately, we also have that angel that says, "Yes you can!"

It's time to ignore that devil. Listen to your angel!

What Is a Spartan Race?

spartan race training

Image Public Domain, by Steven L. Shepard, via Flickr

A Spartan Race is no ordinary marathon. It's a unique race that will test your body, mind, and spirit. It's also some of the most fun you could legally have as an adult athlete. Is it tough? You bet it is! It will kick your butt.

And you will love every minute of it.

The Spartan Race debuted in 2010. Then in 2013 Reebok became the title sponsor for the event. The race has come a long way in the past nine years, and it has grown a sort of cult following. People love it, and with good reason!

Spartan races involve running and a series of obstacles. Remember how much fun obstacle courses were when you were a kid? Well, this is a grown-up course that requires cardiovascular fitness, strength, plus agility.

Beginners to elite athletes love this race

I know that when you see the people covered in mud, scaling a greased wall or climbing a rope, it can be intimidating when you're a couch potato. But believe it or not, with a little Spartan Race training you can get yourself off the couch and into a race. Yes, even if you're a beginner.

One of the cool things about the Spartan races is that they are all different. You never know what obstacles you are going to face until you show up at the event. It's kind of like life that way. However, some obstacles frequently show up. Some of them include wall climbing, climbing under barbed wire, mud crawling, rope climb, heavy object carrying, monkey bars, Herculean Hoist, long jump, and tire flips.

Another great thing about this race series is that there are several different types of races available.

Each separate race varies in length and obstacles. If you've never worked out in your life, this probably isn't where you want to start. But if you have any fitness level at all, you can do this, even if you are a beginner.

Are you in great shape? Are you an elite athlete? Well, this race is for you too. In fact, this is a challenge for athletes like no other.

Pro Tip

Helene Dumais is a Spartan SGX coach and a Canadian professional endurance athlete. She says that you should practice the 3/4 safe, 1/4 race method. “For the first ¾ of the total race distance, focus solely on your nutrition and pace with the goal of completing this distance safely. For the last quarter of the distance, start thinking about racing and competing. At the start line, it’s not about other racers, it’s about you.”

Dude, What's the Deal with All the Burpees?

Burpees are one of the best overall full-body exercises you do. And oh man, does Spartan love them! By the time you finish with Spartan Race training, you're going to love them too. It might be a love, hate relationship, that's true, but you will certainly be familiar with the move.

As I just mentioned, Spartan races include some super challenging obstacles. Not everyone will be able to do every one of them. So does that mean that you won't be able to finish the race if you can't climb a rope, for example?

Nope!

If you can't do one or more of the obstacles, there's no need to fret. You can do burpees instead!

Every time that you fail completing an obstacle you have to do 30 burpees as a penalty before you can move on in the race. Every obstacle will have a designated area for burpees. Each athlete is responsible for counting their own.

When you're working on your Spartan Race training, it is essential that you do a ton of burpees. The more you practice them, the better you'll do in the race. Burpees work your legs, arms, trunk, and core while testing your cardiovascular fitness. You don't have to love them. You just have to do them.

If you're a beginner, watch this short video to see how to do burpees.

Spartan Sprint

If you're new to obstacle course races, the Spartan Sprint is a great place to start.

Sprint races are between 3 and 5 miles long, and they have 20 to 23 different obstacles. This race is considered the starting line of champions. Newbies love this one, but so do Spartan veterans.

Every time you run this race you have the opportunity of crushing your last time and conquering the obstacles that you previously struggled to complete.

The Spartan Race training guide below will help you to get in shape before you run this one. You will need to train for endurance, agility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

spartan race at at&t

Image Public Domain, by Steven L. Shepard, via Flickr

This race is perfect for

  • Newbies
  • Experienced athletes
  • Runners and triathletes who are looking for a challenge
  • Health and fitness enthusiasts
  • Anyone ready to change their life

Stadium Series

The Spartan Stadium Series is similar to the Sprint in length. These races are 3 miles long and have 20 different obstacles.

The thing that's different about this race is that it takes place in historic stadiums around the country. Generally speaking, these races contain no water, mud, or barbwire. You will, however, be running a ton of stadium steps.

Your Spartan Race training for the Stadium series should include endurance work, stair climbing, and indoor track racing.

This race is perfect for

  • Newbies
  • Experienced athletes
  • Parkour and CrossFit athletes
  • Sports fanatics
  • Anyone who wants to change their life
spartan race sgx trainers

Image Public Domain, by Steven L. Shepard, via Flickr

Spartan Super

So you're ready to step it up a notch? Do you want an even more difficult challenge than the Stadium or the Sprint? Well, then it looks like you're ready for the Spartan Super. It's longer than the Stadium or the Sprint, and it has even more obstacles. The Super is 8 to 10 miles long, and it has 24 to 29 obstacles.

This race is a real athletic challenge that combines endurance and speed. This race will kick your butt; there are no two ways about it. But if you're up for a new challenge, it will push you beyond what you ever imagined you could do. It will test your mind, and it will most certainly test your body. If you've already tried the Stadium or the Sprint, then you're ready for the next level. That's the Super.

This race is perfect for

  • Athletes
  • Anyone ready for more of a challenge

Spartan Beast

So you've tried the Sprint, the Stadium, and the Super, but you still need a tougher challenge? Then the Beast is your next step. This race is not for the faint of heart. You're going to need to dig deep to get through this one. The Beast is 12 to 14 miles long, and it has a whopping 35 obstacles!

To conquer the Beast, you're going to need strength, endurance, and a whole lot of resolve. This race will separate the serious from the posers. And it will also test your will. If you're looking for something to push you deep into your discomfort zone and past what you thought were your self-imposed limits, then look no further than the Beast.

Like the other races, you will need to do Spartan race training for endurance, strength, agility, and speed for the Beast.

Most people get hooked once they run their first Spartan race. It's very common for people to run several Spartans. For those people, Spartan offers a Trifecta award. To get the Trifecta, you have to complete a Sprint, Super, and Beast in one calendar year.

spartan race crawling on mud

Image CC by 2.0, by Edwin Martinez, via Flickr

This race is perfect for

  • Athletes who want to test themselves
  • People ready to push beyond their limits.

Spartan Ultra

Wait, there's more??

Oh yeah, there's more.

For elite athletes who need an even more significant challenge, there's the Ultra. Seriously, if you can make it through this race, there's truly nothing you can't do. The Ultra is crazy long at 30 miles with a mind-blowing 60 obstacles.

Your Spartan Race training for this one should focus on endurance, strength, and speed.

This race is perfect for

  • Elite athletes

Spartan Race For Kids

Your Spartan Race training can work for your whole family. Yes, even the kids!

One thing that I can tell you for sure after teaching fitness to adults and children for more than 20 years is that when kids learn to love exercise at an early age, they are far more likely to be healthy as adults. So forget the babysitter, bring the kids with you to the Spartan race!

Spartan offers three separate kids races:

  • Ages 4 to 6: 1/2-mile of more fun that you can imagine
  • For ages 7 to 9: 1-mile course of epic proportions
  • Ages 10 to 13: 2-mile course at all outdoor events

The Spartan Race Training Schedule

spartan race contestant on the mud

Image Public Domain, by Senior Airman David Owsianka, via Air Force Medical Service

You should begin your Spartan Race training two months before your race.

Here's an example of a Spartan Race training schedule:

  • Monday: Strength circuits
  • Tuesday: Running hills finishing with sprints
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Interval training with the stair master or stadium steps
  • Friday: Strength circuits
  • Saturday: Running for endurance training
  • Sunday: Rest

What Should I Wear to a Spartan Race?

First, you should try to wear light-weight, breathable, quick-dry shorts, t-shirt, and underwear. You will also want to wear thin, breathable socks, preferably not cotton. One excellent option is compression runner's socks.

The next thing you're going to need is some running shoes that offer good drainage and traction. Remember that you're going to be running through mud and water. An excellent option is quick-drying trail running shoes.

It's also a good idea to wear a heart rate monitor watch both while you're doing the Spartan Race training and the actual race. Fitbit is one example. They make a waterproof smartwatch specifically for runners that has GPS so you can see a map of the event. You can also keep time with it and monitor your heart rate throughout the race.

The Fitbit Ionic even plays music and keeps track of the stairs you climb, which would be ideal if you run the Stadium series. Whatever watch you choose make sure that it's waterproof.

In addition to that, you should wear some gloves. The weight lifting gloves that you use during your Spartan Race training are a good option. The gloves will help you grip better on obstacles like the rope climb and the wall climbs.

The last thing you'll need to wear is sunscreen. Don't forget that!

Pro tip

Save your hat and sunglasses! Leave them in the car or throw them in your gym bag instead of trying to wear them in the race. They might not make it to the finish line otherwise!

What You Need to Bring with You

When you finish with your Spartan Race training, and you're finally ready for your big day, there are a few things that you don't want to forget to bring with you.

  • ID, money, and directions to the race
  • A gym bag to carry all of your gear
  • An extra outfit to change into after the race
  • An extra pair of shoes to change into, flip flops are a popular choice
  • A towel
  • A plastic bag for your dirty clothes after the race
  • First aid kit
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Snacks

If you are a veteran Spartan or are running the Beast or the Ultra you should also bring:

  • A hydration pack with stash gels and food bars
  • A small cooler with post-race recovery drinks and snacks

How Much Does It Cost to Do a Spartan Race?

The prices for each race will vary depending on the type of course and the length. Another thing that affects the price is how many people have signed up for each heat block. As more people sign up for each block, the cost will go up. So sign up early!

Generally speaking, doing a Spartan race will cost you from $60 to $200 per person. If you race with a team, you can get a 5 to 10 percent discount.

Spartan Race Training

In the Spartan Race training schedule above I mentioned that you should do strength circuits twice a week. The nine exercises below are an example of a kick-ass strength circuit.

Here's how you put it together:

  1. Dumbbell burpees: 15 to 20 reps
  2. Pull-ups: 5 to 10 reps
  3. Box jumps: 12 to 20 reps
  4. Walking lunges: 10 to 15 reps on each leg
  5. Planks: 3 to 5 reps
  6. Single-leg deadlifts: 8 to 12 reps on each leg
  7. Kettlebell swings: 10 to 15 reps
  8. Jump squats: 10 to 15 reps
  9. Push-ups: 10 to 15 reps

Go through the exercises one through nine in order, completing all reps for each. That equals one Spartan Race training circuit. You should do two to three of them total for each workout. Try not to rest more than one minute between exercises.

1. Dumbbell Burpees

Remember when I told you that you were going to get very familiar with the burpee? Well, you have to start by doing them in your Spartan Race training.

You can practice doing the regular burpees that we went over earlier, or you can add weights to them. The dumbbells will make the exercise significantly more difficult. Once you get used to doing them with the added weight, the regular burpees will feel like a breeze. Okay, maybe not a breeze, but they will definitely be easier.

Don't go too heavy with this; use light weights. Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in each hand. Drop down to the push-up position while gripping the dumbbells. You can either then do your push-up next, or you can skip it. Don't worry about it if you skip the push-up. We're going to do a bunch of them in a minute. Next, jump back to your feet and stand up in a squat position. And then finish with a jump.

In your Spartan Race training, that counts as one rep. You will be doing 15 to 20 reps for each set.

Muscles Targeted

The dumbbell burpees will work your whole body including your arms, chest, core, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They will also work on your cardiovascular system. This Spartan Race training exercise is a prime example of functional fitness.

Not only will they help you to get through the 30-burpee penalties in the race, but they will also make you stronger to get through those obstacles. If you do enough of them in your Spartan Race training, you won't have to do as many of them on race day. Not a bad deal, right?

2. Pull-Ups

The next exercise in your Spartan Race training is the pull-up. I'm not going to lie; pull-ups are hard. But they are also necessary if you plan to make it over the wall and climb the rope. You need to be strong enough to pull yourself up if you want to avoid endless burpees.

Start by gripping the bar a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your core engaged and your body in a plank position as you pull your chin toward the bar. Then slowly lower your body back down. Be sure to go through the full range of motion.

If you're not strong enough yet to do pull-ups, you can use a spotter to help you, or you can do this Spartan Race training exercise with the lat pulldown. If you do the lat pulldown, make sure that you go as heavy as you can without sacrificing your form.

You should do 5 to 10 reps for each set.

Muscles Targeted

Pull-ups work your back and your biceps. This Spartan Race training exercise is another example of functional fitness that will help you pull yourself up that rope or over the wall on race day.

Pro Tip

“Once a client is interested in doing a Spartan Race, I make sure they’re working on grip strength,” says Sparta Race training coach Nicole Rosa. “I’ll have them start doing dead hangs, toes to bar, jumping pull-ups, assisted pull-ups, and kettlebell or dumbbell walks to help them build the grip strength they need to succeed at obstacles.”

3. Box Jumps

Box jumps are another important Spartan Race training exercise that you should master before race day. There are many times in Spartan races where you have to jump or leap. The fire jump is the final obstacle at most events. You don't want to be the Spartan who can't complete that last obstacle do you? Well, then you need to practice your box jumps.

Make sure before you start this exercise that you have a stable box or platform to jump onto that won't move.

Then, with your feet about shoulder-width apart jump straight up onto the box. Use your arms to help drive you up. Either jump back down or step down after each jump.

You will do 12 to 20 reps for each set.

Muscles Targeted

Box jumps are another full body Spartan Race training exercise. They work your core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and they even work your arms as you use them to get more height. In addition to the strength training with this one, box jumps also work your cardiovascular system.

4. Walking Lunges

As I said earlier, I have been a fitness trainer for over 20 years, and I can tell you for sure that walking lunges are one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your entire lower body. You'll need that on race day.

When you're doing your Spartan Race training, you can do them with or without weights. You can also practice them with a heavy sandbag on your back or shoulder.

Start standing with your feet together and then take a giant step forward with your right foot, lunging straight down, not forward. Be sure that when you're in the lunge position, neither of your knees bend beyond 90 degrees. Your right knee should be lined up directly above your ankle. Then put your weight into your right heel and stand up. Repeat the movement on your left leg and continue with the full set alternating legs.

Each set will include 10 to 15 lunges on each leg.

Muscles Targeted

Walking lunges work your core, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. They will also give you some cardio work. On top of that, they're excellent for endurance and balance, both of which you'll need to make it through the obstacles.

5. Planks

Perhaps the most crucial exercise in your Spartan Race training is planks. Planks are excellent for your core. And you will need a strong core throughout your race, especially on the heavy-lifting and carrying obstacles.

Start by laying on the ground on your stomach. Place your elbows on the floor directly lined up under your shoulders. Then pull your abs in tight and lift your body off the ground so that you balance on your elbows, forearms, and your toes. You want your body to be in a straight line from your toes to your head. One thing to avoid is letting your back sink. Focus on keeping your bellybutton glued to your spine.

You will hold each plank for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute. One set includes three to five planks.

Muscles Targeted

Planks are another full body exercise that targets your abs, obliques, back, glutes, arms, shoulders, and quads. The reason that I say planks could be the most crucial exercise in your Spartan Race training is that you are going to need a strong core for every single obstacle you face on race day.

6. Single-Leg Deadlifts

The next exercise in your Spartan Race training is the single-leg deadlift. You can either do them with a kettlebell or without weights.

Start by standing up straight with your core tight and the kettlebell in your right hand. Slowly lift your right leg behind you and bend forward, hinging at the hip.

Then squeeze your hamstring and your glutes on your left leg and stand back up. Repeat all of the reps on your right leg before you shift to your left leg. One thing to remember is that you want the kettlebell in the opposite hand of the leg you're working. Incidentally, the working leg is the leg you're standing on, not the leg you're lifting.

For your Spartan Race training, you will do 8 to 12 reps on each leg for each set.

Muscles Targeted

The single-leg deadlifts work your hamstrings, glutes, and core. For muscular balance don't use weights with the deadlifts unless you're using weights with the walking lunges.

7. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings are the next exercise that you should focus on in your Spartan Race training. If you don't have a kettlebell, you can also do this exercise with a dumbbell or even a heavy bag of sand.

Start standing with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips to pick up the weight. Then swing the kettlebell between your legs. From there you pop your hips forward and straighten your legs as you swing the weight up to chest height in front of you. That counts as one rep. Repeat by swinging the kettlebell back between your legs as you hinge forward and squat.

To protect your back on this Spartan Race training exercise be sure that you keep your core tight.

For each set, you will do 10 to 15 reps.

Muscles Targeted

Kettlebell swings work your lower back, abs, shoulders, legs, and glutes.

8. Jumping Squats

For more explosive power, the next Spartan Race training exercise is jump squats. You can do these with light weights or no weight at all.

Start standing with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Then sit back into your squat making sure that your knees stay lined up above your ankles. Your knees should never go forward of your toes or bend beyond 90 degrees.

Think of the movement like you're sitting down into an imaginary chair. As you squat, let your arms swing behind you a little so that you can use them to propel you into the air. From the squat position jump straight up as high as you can, bringing your arms overhead. If you're holding weights, don't swing your arms.

For each set, do 10 to 15 reps.

Muscles Targeted

Jump squats work your legs, core, and glutes. They are also an excellent Spartan Race training tool to help you with explosive power. That will help you with many of the obstacles on race day. Another reason that jump squats are part of your Spartan Race training is that they work your cardiovascular system.

9. Push-Ups

I know what you're thinking. Everyone hates push-ups. That's okay. You don't have to like them. You just have to do them.

Push-ups are one of the very best Spartan Race training exercises that you can do to strengthen your upper body and core.

Just like with the burpees, the more push-ups that you do in your Spartan Race training, the better you will do on the obstacle course. You can either practice regular push-ups, or you can challenge yourself and take it to the next level.

Try doing your push-ups declined.

For declined push-ups, you will put your feet up on a chair or a bench. Keep your core tight as you get into a high plank position. From there you will lower your chest toward the ground, go as deep as you can go. And then push back up to the plank position.

For each set, you will do 10 to 15 push-ups.

Muscles Targeted

Push-ups work your arms, chest, shoulders, and core.

Be sure that you concentrate on using the correct form with this Spartan Race training exercise. If you get pain in your lower back when you do them declined, that is an indication that you're either not using the proper technique or you're not quite strong enough yet to do them on the decline. If that's the case, go back to regular push-ups on the floor.

One Last Thing

One important thing to remember while you're doing your Spartan Race training is that your mind can be the biggest obstacle. We all have that negative voice in our heads that sometimes tells us we're not good enough or that we can't do it. The key to your training and ultimately your success in the race is learning how to ignore that negative voice.

You really can do this. You just have to be ready to change your life. Spartan will do precisely that.

So as you do your Spartan Race training keep reminding yourself that you can do this. Appreciate your hard work and your dedication to your health. And take note when you have successes. Are you finally strong enough to do a pull-up or declined push-ups? Celebrate that! That's a hell of a lot more than most people can do. If you're not there yet, don't fret. Just keep up the hard work.

Now, are you ready to get off that couch and test your mind, body, and spirit?

Let us know what you think. Share with our readers your experience with Spartan. If you have some words of encouragement be sure to share that too.

Today's the day my friends. Let's do this!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This