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TomTom Runner GPS Watch Review: The Perfect Companion on the Run

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You know you’ve made it as a runner when you start craving the data. It starts slow, but before you know it, you’re wearing a GPS running watch and obsessing about pace and distance and calories and other data we can’t even understand. Rest easy, though. In our TomTom runner GPS watch review, you won’t need to worry about that “other” category.

The company, based in Amsterdam, is probably best-known as a provider of GPS navigation units for cars, motorcycles and large fleets.

But it also produces a line of consumer products, including the Spark 3 GPS fitness watch, multisport watch, golfing watch, and activity tracker. And those products focus on keeping it simple. And for runners, that’s not a bad thing.

Sure, you might find yourself someday hungering to know about your VO2 max levels, or how much your stride varies from top to bottom or right to left. But sometimes all this data can take the joy out of running, and all you want to know is how fast and how far you’ve gone.

Let us reassure you as part of the TomTom runner GPS watch review: It can definitely do that.

That’s not to suggest that TomTom isn’t a high-tech company with sophisticated products. It’s just that there’s something to be said for the basics.

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Do You Really Need One?

Basics aside, you might wonder if you really need a GPS running watch. What does it do for your experience?

The main answer is that this technology can help you improve as a runner. What do we mean by improve?

GPS watches will help you set and keep a pace, measure your distance, record your route on a map, and measure your heart rate, among other variables. The more data you have, the more informed you become about areas to work on for improvement, depending on your goals.

Keeping a consistent pace will enable you to hit the distances required by your training program, whether you're going from couch to 5K or all the way to the marathon. Route tracking will allow you to see how you've improved when running some of the same routes again and again.

You can even train by heart rate. Keep your heart rate within specific zones at various points of your run and you will be master of your own running experience.

Whether you’re all about the data, though, is somewhat secondary to the motivation a GPS watch can provide.

Not only does it give you accountability — there’s no hiding from idle days on the calendar — but you can also use it to compete against friends and family. And become the master of all!

Watch the Watch

gps watch

Image via Pixabay

Now that we’ve made a compelling case for using a GPS running watch, let’s talk about some of the things to consider when looking for the perfect fit.

Like most products, GPS running watches generally fall into the categories of “good, better, and best.” Or, you might think of it this way, for purposes of this TomTom runner GPS watch review: basic features, intermediate, and lots of bells-and-whistles.

The first matter to decide is just how you expect to use your watch. Is it only for running, or will you want to time and pace your bike rides, swims, or other activities?

Knowing this will help you determine whether to go for “just” a running watch or to invest in a multisport device.

Another factor for you to consider: The types of data collected. Most average runners will be satisfied by a meat-and-potatoes diet.

By this, we mean the basics of running data, which are the time elapsed on your run, distance covered, and pace metrics. (Many watches allow you to see your current pace or you cumulative pace for the run. We prefer the cumulative pace.)

More advanced watches will provide data such as “VO2 Max” — essentially a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can utilize during exertion.

Many watches also offer sleep-tracking, but this feature should not be a make-or-break factor in deciding on the right fitness watch for you.

How We Reviewed the TomTom GPS Running Watch

Running watches draw plenty of attention, especially in the age of the quantified self. To prepare this review, we did a lot of reading. We started, of course, at the TomTom website itself, to understand the watches available and which runners they target.

But to broaden our understanding, we went deeper — reading reviews and ratings in publications such as Wareable.comRunningShoesGuru.com, and others.

Each of these organizations added a bit more to our understanding of the market for GPS watches. We supplemented all this with our own knowledge, from running many miles guided by interactions with our own GPS watch.

TomTom Runner GPS Watch Review

From all that input, we’ve developed this TomTom runner GPS watch review. Before we get into the heart of the matter, we must provide an important note that we turned up in our research.

In late 2017, TomTom announced that it was exiting the market for wearable consumer technology, de-emphasizing the segment in favor of the vehicle and fleet navigation systems.

TomTom continues to list GPS running and multisport watches on its website. Various models are also available at sites such as Amazon and eBay. But the availability may be spotty, and the prices may fluctuate significantly.

The company did say in its earlier announcement that it would still support its GPS sport watch customers. Just be a smart shopper. We found two models for you to consider.

TomTom Spark 3

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The first option in our TomTom runner GPS watch review is the TomTom Spark 3, which is available for both men and women. We zeroed in on the Spark 3 Cardio, which is available both individually and as part of a bundle with a heart rate monitor.

The Spark 3 has all the basics covered. It measures time, distance, speed, and pace. It also calculates the calories you burn and will deliver live statistics to you as your run is underway.

The watch includes a sleep tracker. It also offers 50 pre-programmed workouts to help you along in your fitness journey. It’s lightweight on your wrist, at about 2-1/2 ounces. You can use the Spark 3 indoors as well using run, bicycle, swim, and gym settings. It’s waterproof up to 40 meters of submersion.

Available on Amaz​​on, the Spark 3 earns a rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars, based on more than 600 reviews. A five-star reviewer describes it as a “great watch” with a very intuitive user interface for easy navigation. He also praises the long battery life.

A two-star reviewer notes that he had trouble getting the watch to pair with the TomTom phone app. He says he was disappointed and recommends against a purchase.

TomTom GPS Multisport Watch

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The second option as part of our TomTom runner GPS watch review caters to the multisport enthusiast. The TomTom GPS Multisport watch comes with a heart-rate monitor.

It also allows you to track swimming and cycling performance in addition to running. This means that the watch includes a swim sensor, for when you hit the water, and a speed sensor when you are on two wheels.

One nice feature of the multisport watch is the extra-large display, which enables you to see how your workout is progressing without squinting to monitor your progress (like we have to do).

This model of TomTom watch is waterproof down to 50 meters and it has up to 10 hours of battery life in GPS mode. That’s decent, but not extraordinary for GPS watches.

The TomTom GPS Multisport has earned an Amazon’s Choice rating. Reviewers give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. One reviewer found the watch easy to set up and put into use right away.

Less enthused was a two-star reviewer who bought the watch for use in interval training, but was disappointed to find it only allowed for two settings.

MoreMore than TomTom

smart watch

Image via Pixabay

The wearable device category has plenty of competition, triggered as it was by the introduction of the Apple Watch several years ago.

We took a look at some of the leading competitors to the TomTom watch, both in the running and multisport categories, to give you some choices to consider.

We kept our focus squarely on fitness watches, leaving the fully-featured smartwatches for another time and place. It's hard for us to think about sweating all over a fancy Apple Watch.

Garmin Forerunner 35

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Garmin arguably offers the best-known name in GPS running watches — certainly the most recognizable name featured in our TomTom runner GPS watch review.

Weighing just 1.6 ounces, you may barely remember that the Garmin Forerunner 35 is attached to your wrist. It has two interesting features that will get your attention. First, you can track your heart rate based on the embedded sensor in the watch — no need for an external heart rate strap.

But the Forerunner 35 also offers a high-resolution display that makes the data easy to read, both inside and out. The watch includes all the basic data, helping you track, as it says, “how far, how fast and where you run.”

To sweeten the deal, the watch includes a step counter so on your off days you can keep driving to the ever important 10,000 steps.

Amazon reviewers rank the Forerunner 35 at 4.1 out of 5 stars. One reviewer from 2018 raved about the watch being “sleek and sporty” and described it as very easy to use.

A different reviewer felt more bearish on the watch, writing that it was disappointing for the length of time it takes to sync with the GPS satellites.

Polar Vantage M430

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It won't keep you as cool as you would be in the Polar Regions. But the Polar Vantage M430 is another alternative to consider.

This watch, too, earns an Amazon’s choice award and offers the added benefit of wrist-based heart rate monitoring. No straps required for Polar Vantage customers. A built-in accelerometer allows you to continue to capture your running data even on days when you run indoors.

The Polar M430 is a bit bigger than any of the other watches we cover in our TomTom runner GPS watch review. But it is still light enough to forget you are wearing it, weighing only 51 grams or just less than 2 ounces.

The watch does offer some additional metrics to consider. Polar will calculate a “running index score,” which the company says is an evaluation of your aerobic capabilities.

The Polar Vantage M430 gets 3.9 out of 5 stars from users on Amazon. A very pleased reviewer described it as a perfect running companion that is lightweight and very feature rich.

A reviewer who gave the watch only two stars experienced watch failures from sweat soaking into the device. The reviewer also had problems with the strap.

Suunto Ambit 3

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The final watch in our TomTom runner GPS watch review has a fitting name for the types of activities it supports: the Suunto Ambit 3. This is the most fully featured watch on our list. We wanted to give you a taste of what extras you could grab by simply investing a few extra dollars.

The Ambit3 is a watch you can use for running to capture your time, distance, and pace. But it also has modes for other activities such as swimming and bicycling.

You’ll notice the profile of this watch is very different. In addition to all those fitness metrics, the watch also includes a compass and an altimeter. This is the watch you want if you’re climbing mountains (or, running them for that matter.)

Here’s the coolest part — the watch comes with a built-in camera. So you’ll be able to capture the scenery of your runs without having to lug your phone along.

It is big, and rather bulky, weighing an estimated 5 ounces. But that’s to be expected considering how much technology it contains.

The watch earns a ranking of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon and it's also an Amazon’s Choice product. A reviewer who gave the watch five stars praised the design despite its size.

Less enthused was a two-star reviewer who felt let down by the watch software. Glitches in the software, the reviewer wrote, made it difficult to keep track of his progress.

Time out: Choosing the Best GPS Watch for Your Running Needs

black watch

Image via:pexels

Knowing what we do about GPS watches, it’s hard for us to recommend a model on its way out. So our choice at the end of this TomTom runner GPS watch review is one you might not expect. And it’s not that the TomTom watches won’t deliver for you.

It’s just, for the money, we think it's a better idea to stick with a company that’s continuing to explore the category.

With this factored in, there's no choice: the Garmin Forerunner 35 is a great buy for the money. (Also, who can resist the watch in Amazon's No. 1 slot?) And who knows? After a period of time, you might decide to trade up to one of the company's higher-end watches.

Our choice is the Forerunner 35. What is your choice? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image via Pixabay

21 Helpful Camping Hacks For Roughing It In The Wilderness

Dome tents on overlooking mountain ranges

image source: pexels.com

Camping – The only reason we all look forward to summer. It's the only time of the year you get to gather around campfires telling stories, making memories, and eating food you wouldn't be caught dead eating in a civilized society. And with the best camping hacks, your experience will be even more unforgettable.

Spending a day or two in the great outdoors doesn't have to be a nightmare.

With the right solutions to keeping bugs away, dealing with the cold, and preparing your meals, your experience will be nothing short of epic.

So let's get started:

Saving On Space And Reducing The Load


person beside a tent

image source: pexels.com

The last thing you need on a camping trip is a heavy bag especially if there's trekking involved. It will not only make you lag behind but also make it impossible for you to enjoy the little moments.

So how do you save space? Here are some useful space-saving camping hacks.

Make Use Of Your Clothes

A pillow is one of the things that take up too much space. So don't carry one. To make one, all you need is a pillowcase and the clothes you intend to carry on the trip. Stuff the pillowcase with your clothes and voila! You have a pillow.

Make A DIY lantern

If you'd like to have some extra light at night, you don't have to carry a large lamp. All you need for this hack is a headlamp and a clear bottle. To make your lantern, all you have to do is to wrap the head strap around the bottle with the light facing inward, and you have yourself a lantern!

The Best Toiletries Hack

It's a fact that most ladies don't know how to travel light. But what if I told you it's possible to carry everything you need without increasing your load?

One of the best camping hacks on this list is how to deal with your toiletries.

For toothpaste, all you need to do is to make toothpaste dots on a plate and allow it to sit for two to three days. After this, sprinkle some baking soda on it and let it dry. Next, place the dots in a resealable plastic bag. To use, simply put one dot in your mouth, add water and brush away.

For soap, you have two options: you can either carry a multipurpose bar of soap or make mini soap bars to save on space.

You can also make use of contact lens cases by carrying your lotions in them.

An Alternative To Regular Towels

If you've used regular towels while camping before, you know all too well how heavy they can get when wet. Luckily you don't have to deal with this. Microfibre towels dry really fast and don't soak up as much water.

An Excellent Way To Carry Your Eggs

The last thing you'd think of carrying on a camping trip is eggs. They're fragile and would break easily anyway. But who said you can't enjoy a fantastic breakfast outdoors.

For this hack, all you need is a plastic bottle. Pre-scramble the eggs in a bowl and pour the mixture into your bottle.

Meal Preparation


group of people sitting on the ground while cooking egg

image source: pexels.com

Another thing people struggle with while camping is meal preparation. But with the following incredible camping hacks, preparing your meals will be a breeze.

Let's jump right in.

Cut Down The Cooking Time

After a long day of walking to your camping site, the last thing you want is to spend hours preparing your meals. You can cut down the time by chopping and cutting everything before your trip. That way, all have to do is throw everything into the cooking pot -- how's that for convenience!

Spice It Up

While camping involves mostly making do with what you have, you don't always have to. For instance, just because you're outdoors doesn't mean you should eat bland food. Simply carry all your favorite spices in tic-tac containers, and you're good to go.

Splurge A Little

Just because you are camping doesn't mean you can't enjoy nice things. One of the best camping hacks is using compact cooking sets. You probably thought these were only meant for backpackers, but they can come in handy for camping as well.

The benefit of compact cooking sets is that they're easy to clean, durable, multi-purpose, and easy to stack.

A Genius Alternative To Frying Pans And Plates

If you love bacon and eggs, this will be among your favorite camping hacks from now on. For this incredible hack, all you need is a paper bag.

First, line the bottom of the bag with a few strips of bacon to create a fatty "bacon nest." Next, crack in some eggs and fold the bag over. Attach the bag to a stick and roast over hot coals for about 7 to 10 minutes.

When it's done, eat out of the bag -- tell me that's not one of the best camping hacks you've ever heard!

Pancakes Anyone?

I know what you're thinking, "who would go through the hassle of carrying all the ingredients required to make pancakes on a camping trip?" But you don't have to.

Are you ready for one of the best camping hacks?

All you need to do is to pre-mix your ingredients and pour them in a plastic bag — store in a cooler to preserve them and snip the corner to pour into a griddle for preparation.

Cutting Costs


Man making camp fire

image source: pixaba​​y.com

You don't have to rob the bank to have a fantastic camping trip. With the following hacks, you can have an incredible camping experience on a budget.

Let me show you how:

DIY Fire Starter

Starting a fire is one of the challenges you may experience especially if you're new to camping. But you don't need fancy and expensive fire starters to get your bonfire started.

With trick birthday candles you can start your fire in seconds. And the best part? Candles won't be blown away by the wind.

Other incredible at-home items that are great for starting fires include cotton balls, lint, tampons, a lighter, and paper products like newspapers, toilet paper, and paper towels.

Be Creative With Your Ice

For most people, the obvious choice for ice is ice cubes. It makes sense, but it's not cost-effective. If you want to cut back on costs, consider getting a block of ice for your cooler instead. An ice block has a smaller surface area which means it will take a longer time to melt.

Keeping The Pesky Mosquito's Away


Mosquito repellent spray

image source: pixabay.com

Ah, mosquitos! These pesky bugs can make an incredible night go south very quickly. But they don't have to. Here are some fantastic camping hacks to keep your night buzz and bite-free.

Sage Is A Miracle Worker

Here's an incredible camping hack to keep your campfire mosquito free: burn sage in the fire. Mosquitos hate the smell of sage, so it will be an excellent repellant. And the best part is that the scent will linger on your clothes hence keeping them off throughout the night.

Ticks also hate the smell of sage, so you can rest assured you'll be tick-free as well.

Use DIY Mosquito Repellant Spray

Don't have access to sage? No worries, you can make your own mosquito repellant in a few simple steps.

For this hack, all you need is a combination of any of the following essential oilscitronella, lemongrass, clove, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, cajeput, cedar, catnip, geranium, lavender, and mint.

All you have to do is to mix 100 drops of each oil into a bottle, and you're good to go. Since the oil mixture may irritate your skin, it's best to apply it on your clothes instead of directly on your skin.

The best thing about DIY mosquito repellants is that they don't contain the harsh chemicals typical of store-bought repellants.

Some Jewelry Might Help

No, not the ordinary jewelry you own. We are talking about bug repellant bracelets.

This has got to be the most hassle-free way to keep mosquitos at bay, and one of the most interesting camping hacks yet.

So how do these bracelets work?

They have active ingredients that emit vapors into the air to repel bugs. And you don't even have to wear them for them to work. You can place them on top of a flat surface or hang them somewhere to enjoy their benefits. How cool is that?

Don't Forget The Vinegar

If you hate strong smells, this hack isn't for you. However, if you don't mind, this is a hack that will keep the mosquitos away from you all night.

All you need is some vinegar and a cotton ball. Pour some vinegar on the cotton ball and rub it on your body. The bugs (and some people) will not want to come close to you after this.

If you think having the vinegar on your body is a bit too much, don't worry, there's another option. You can rub the vinegar on table surfaces and other surfaces around you to repel insects as well.

Keeping Warm


Couple feet mountains view from tent

image source: unsplash.com via Alí Díaz

Nothing ruins a good camping trip like staying up all night because you're freezing. We've all been there. But this doesn't have to be the case. You can stay warm and cozy in your sleeping bag and have a restful night.

Doubt it? Here are some hacks you'll want to try.

The Best Camping Investment Yet

I don't know about you, but my feet freeze the most and make it impossible for me to sleep. But after coming across air activated warmers, freezing has become a thing of the past.

All you have to do to take advantage of this amazing invention is to place it inside your sleeping bag and enjoy hours of warmth. You're welcome!

Tag Your Bae Along

Nothing will warm you better than a human body. So, if you're thinking of leaving your bae behind, bring him or her along. You won't regret it. I promise!

And for the singles, it may not hurt to get to know your tentmate really, really well. You'll get not only a good night of warmth but also memories you can cherish forever.

A Weird Yet Effective Hack

It's the simplest and weirdest hacks that yield the best results, and we have no doubt you'll love the hack we are about to share.

Ready?

We call this hack the "crotch bottle."

For this hack, you'll need a hot water bottle. Fill it up and place it between your thighs. You see, there is an artery between your thighs that's crucial for regulating body heat. Therefore, take advantage of it and enjoy a cold-free night -- a great hack for the shy individuals afraid to befriend their tentmates.

Splurge On Great Camping Gear

Well, this isn't exactly a camping hack, but I have to mention it. It's a no brainer that you'll have a better experience with more expensive camping gear compared to cheap ones.

I'm not saying you should go for the most expensive gear. Just make sure you analyze the features to ensure you're getting a good product that will last you longer and keep you warm for a longer time.

Lay Off The booze

Yes, drinking is one of the things that make camping fun, but if you want to keep warm you might need to avoid it.

You see, the initial warmth you feel after taking a shot of whiskey backfires very quickly for two reasons. One, alcohol dehydrates you, and this lowers your body temperature. The other reason is that alcohol may make you feel warmer than you actually are.

And let's not forget the danger of passing out in potentially dangerous places.

Remember These Camping Hacks On Your Next Camping Trip


Man sitting beside a tent

image source: unsplash.com via Matt Gross

As you can see, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a great time in the great outdoors. You can use items at your disposal to cut back on costs and find some clever ways to save on time and space and keep warm at night.

So don't forget to try some of these hacks on your next camping trip. And remember to share your experience with us.

Which hack is your favorite on this list and which one do you think we left out? Please share your views in the comments below. We love hearing from you.

Mountaintop Backpack Review: Spacious and Supportive Enough to Carry All Your Gear

woman holding a camera on top of a mountain

Whether you're ready for a short weekend away or a long backpacking trip, you might be looking for a new backpack. In our Mountaintop Backpack review, we hope to shed light on one option for your next camping backpack.

There are tons of backpacks available, but not all of them are excellent quality. And if you're out camping, you want your gear to last. So, you want to make sure you choose the best backpack. If you're curious about Mountaintop, keep reading our Mountaintop Backpack review.

Initial Mountaintop Backpack Review


If you want to go camping, you need a sturdy backpack for storing your gear and personal items. There are tons of backpacks on the market, but you should look for a high-quality backpack that won't constantly need replacing.

The company Mountaintop has a ton of backpacks that you can choose from for your next camping trip. Their backpacks come in a variety of sizes and styles.

So, we wanted to look at a few backpacks. We found a smaller backpack, a huge backpack, and one in the middle. Each backpack has its own set of features.

 Small Mountaintop Backpack

If you're only going camping for a night or two, you don't need tons of space. The Mountaintop Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack can fit 22 to 40 liters, depending on the color.

This backpack comes in about 20 different colors, and some have a smaller capacity, while others are slightly larger. Some colors include blue, black, and red.

Regardless of the color and capacity, the backpack has a front pocket with organization slots. You can store tools and gadgets for easy access within the front pocket.

This backpack also has a hip-belt pocket, a bladder sleeve, and two mesh bottle pouches. It has a sternum strap with an emergency whistle, and the padded shoulder straps provide air circulation to your back and shoulders.

The backpack itself is water-resistant, so you don't have to worry about water leaking into your stuff. There's even a laptop compartment if you want to take your laptop.

If you've ever gone on a long hike, you know that eventually, you'll probably want to take off your jacket. This backpack has a front loop, which is perfect for hanging a jacket or another lightweight item.

Mountaintop Backpack Medium

If you want something a little bigger than 40 liters, consider the Mountaintop Internal Frame Hiking Backpack. Depending on the color, its capacity ranges from 50 liters to 65 liters. Colors include blue, brown, and black.

The backpack has good quality zippers that open and close easily, and there are plenty of buckles that also keep your items contained. This backpack uses water-resistant fabric, and it also comes with a rain cover.

Mountaintop's medium-sized backpack has an extension collar with a drawstring that can increase the capacity up to five liters. The backpack also has plenty of pockets to organize your stuff.

This backpack has two hip-belt pockets, two lid pockets, a bladder sleeve, a front pocket, and two mesh bottle pouches. Like the small backpack, this one has a sternum strap with an emergency whistle buckle. The padded shoulder straps also let air circulate and reach the back and shoulders.

There are two key hooks in the main compartment where you can attach your keys or a water bladder. The backpack also has a trekking pole attachment and bottom loops for your hiking pole.

Both shoulder straps have a D-shaped hook where you can attach small items.

Mountaintop Backpack Large

Maybe you've gone on a weekend camping trip, and you're ready for something more. Well, in that case, you need a backpack that can fit everything you need. The Mountaintop Hiking Backpack also comes in larger capacities up to 80 liters.

Different colors come in different capacities, but black, blue, and red all fit up to 80 liters.

Regardless of the size and color, you can easily access the front pocket as well as the main compartment. This backpack has daisy chains where you can attach hiking poles, a tripod, or other accessories.

The backpack has eight compression straps. You can use them to tie up your pack or hang items like your tent or sleeping bag. This backpack is compatible with hydration systems, and you can access the water bladder from the side of the backpack.

You can also adjust the length of the backpack to fit your needs. If you get caught in the rain, the backpack comes with a rain cover.

What Customers Have to Say


2 man sitting while looking at the sea

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

While each backpack is slightly different, customers love all three backpacks. Amazon's average Mountaintop Backpack review for each tops 4 out of 5 stars. But of course, each backpack has its own set of ratings and reviews.

Let's go in size order.

SMALL

MEDIUM

LARGE

How to Choose a Backpack


backpacks and shoes for sale

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

Of course, backpacks come in different sizes and colors, and there are tons of companies that make them, too. That variety can make shopping for a backpack more confusing.

So we knew our Mountaintop Backpack review wouldn't be complete without some shopping tips.

MANY MATERIALS

BE LIKE GOLDILOCKS

WHERE TO SHOP

Searching for the Best


woman checking some things to buy

image source: unsplash.com via Joseph Devera

We could end our Mountaintop Backpack review here. However, we want to compare the backpacks to some of the competition.

Looking at the competition can help us make a more informed Mountaintop Backpack review because we can learn what else is out there. While the Mountaintop Backpacks have fantastic features, you don't want to narrow your search too much.

A BACKPACK FOR EVERY BACK

We found similar backpacks to Mountaintop. For our Mountaintop Backpack review, we found backpacks of varying sizes, so each competitor backpack is similar to a Mountaintop Backpack.

To figure out whether Mountaintop Backpacks are the best, we compared features such as size, materials, and comfort for each backpack.

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack

The OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack has a capacity of 50 liters which puts it between the small and medium Mountaintop Backpacks.

It's an excellent weekend backpack, and you can use it for hiking, camping, and as a carry-on. The backpack has tons of pockets for organizing your stuff, and it's very durable. It even has a laptop compartment that can fit laptops up to 15.6 inches.

This backpack includes a waterproof rain cover, and the straps are comfortable. In addition to pockets, there are attachments for your tent, hiking poles, and other accessories.

The backpack comes in different colors, including black, blue, and red.

Multiple customers say it's great for different forms of travel. However, others mention the bag is pretty poor quality.

BOLANG Hiking Daypack

The BOLANG Hiking Daypack is a medium-sized backpack with a capacity of 45 to 55 liters. This backpack has good ventilation, which keeps you cool.

This backpack has padded shoulder straps that are comfortable. There are tons of compartments, so you can keep all of your gear organized. You can access your hydration system from the side of the backpack.

There's even a special compartment for storing dirty shoes.

The backpack also has compression straps, which are great for hanging your tent or tying up your backpack. This backpack is also waterproof, and you can use it for day hikes or overnight trips.

One customer loved that it can fit a lot despite looking small. However, other customers mentioned the bag is pretty cheap and not for serious hikers.

TETON Sports Explorer 4000

The​ Explorer 4000 from TETON Sports is a good option for longer trips or when you just need to bring more stuff. It's versatile and suitable for men, women, and children.

This backpack's capacity is 65 liters, which is perfect for trips up to 5 days long. You can adjust the torso at different points, so you can customize it to fit your body.

The shoulder straps are also adjustable. This backpack has padding that keeps air moving through your back and shoulders.

It also includes compression straps and a variety of pockets, which means you can carry a lot of stuff with the backpack. There's also a rain cover. You can protect your gear in the rain and store the cover when you're not using it.

This backpack has a compartment just for your sleeping bag. It also includes a water bladder pocket.

Multiple customers love the bag's quality. However, other customers say you get what you pay for with this backpack.

On the Mountaintop


A man holding his cellphone on top of the mountain

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

For our Mountaintop Backpack review, we looked at three popular choices. Each of the backpacks is a different size, but they all have very similar features.

If you're set on a Mountaintop Backpack, you only need to worry about the best size. But what if you're not convinced Mountaintop is for you?

That's why we included some competitors in this Mountaintop Backpack review. We wanted to find out if Mountaintop makes the best backpacks.

While we think there are tons of great features, there's nothing unique about Mountaintop Backpacks. Each of the backpacks we looked at had good and bad customer reviews.

So, we think you should choose the backpack that fits your needs, whether it's from Mountaintop or not.

Have you used a Mountaintop Backpack? Leave your own Mountaintop Backpack review down in the comments!

Discover the Best Yoga Mat of 2019: Reviewed

yoga mat
Caucasian prime adult females in yoga class.

Yoga is a great way destress and build flexibility. Every yogi needs a yoga mat that can contribute to the best possible workout, but it can be hard to find the mat that’s right for you. With this top 10 list, you can easily choose a  yoga mat that fits your needs.

Product FAQs

1. What Factors Are Important When Picking a Yoga Mat?

2. Why Does Mat Thickness Matter?

The Benefits of Using a Yoga Mat

This prop has become essential for yoga, but is it really essential to purchase a mat? We believe so! Here are some of the top benefits of using a yoga mat during exercise.

Creates a Space to Exercise

If you have limited space to exercise, a yoga mat helps to create a physical space that’s dedicated to yoga. Roll out your mat and devote a specific space to use. No matter where you are, you can create an area that’s specific to relaxing your mind and stretching your muscles.

Offers Stability

If you’ve ever exercised on an uneven surface - such as a carpet - you’ll appreciate how difficult it becomes to hold a pose and remain stable. The best yoga mats remain grounded, so nothing is impacting your stability. Therefore, you can to stretch to your full potential. A yoga mat also makes the transitions between different moves much smoother.

Provides Comfort

Another great benefit of purchasing a yoga mat is having the additional padding and comfort when you’re performing your moves. This is ideal if you have sore joints, but it’s also a sensible solution to prevent any discomfort.

Hygienic

Yoga is difficult, so you’ll likely break a sweat. Many of the yoga mats we’ll present to you later are designed to absorb sweat. This feature is more hygienic than having to wipe up sweat off the floor.

How We Reviewed

We based all our choices on features and quality. We looked at the top yogi reviews and determined which yoga mats stand out and why.

Top 10 Yoga Mats

1. Hugger Mugger: Eco Para Rubber Mat

Hugger Mugger: Eco Para Rubber Mat

This product is a high-quality yoga mat known for its unique textured traction on both sides, preventing the mat from sliding. The mat is 6.35 mm thick and has a colorful, calming design.

Where to Find It

You can find this mat almost everywhere, including Yoga Outlet, Amazon and Hugger Mugger’s official website. It generally comes in two sizes: 70” x 24” or 78” x 28”.

Warranty

N/A

Coupons/Deals

You can find all kinds of coupons and deals on websites such as Groupon and Coupon Cabin.

Pros

  • nice cushion to help stabilize your pose and protect your joints
  • natural rubber is also eco-friendly
  • durable and made to last for years of yoga practice

Cons

  • rubber is quite heavy when it comes to traveling or transportation
  • doesn’t absorb sweat as well as other top-performing mats and can be pricey for beginners

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2. Lululemon: The Reversible (Un) Mat

The Reversible (Un) Mat

Lululemon is known for making wonderful yoga mats that people love. This  71” x 30” mat is a top favorite of customers because it is so lightweight and easy to travel with. It’s only 1.5 mm thick and has a polyurethane top, which absorbs sweat.

Where to Find It

You can find this mat on Lululemon's website. Lululemon has free shipping for all of its products.

Warranty

N/A

Coupons/Deals

RetailMeNot has discounts and deals available for Lululemon.

Pros

  • perfect to take anyplace
  • a great alternative to heavier and bigger yoga mats

Cons

  • mainly for low-sweat workouts
  • become slippery when sweat increases

3. Manduka Pro Mat

manduka mat

Yogis love this mat for its high quality. It’s durable, and it has a 6 mm thickness to help support your knees during any workout. The standard size is 71” x 26,” or you can choose the extra-long size, which is 85” x 26”.

Where to Find It

A variety of colors and add-on accessories can be found on Manduka’s site as well as on Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Warranty

Manduka has a lifetime warranty.

Coupons/Deals

Manduka is a favorite among users and is widely known. You can find coupons and deals on Groupon or other coupon websites.

Pros

  • phthalate-free and made with eco-certified PVC
  • comes with a lifetime guarantee and can handle a lot of wear and tear
  • helps you avoid odors

Cons

  • does not have sweat-absorption qualities
  • become slippery when sweat increases
  • can get slippery if you are doing a high-intensity workout

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4. Yoloha: Chakras Native Cork Yoga Mat

Yoloha Chakras Native Cork Yoga Mat

If you’re looking for a mat that is different than ones you’ve tried in the past, consider looking at this product. It’s made from recycled cork, which contains antimicrobial qualities and has a lot of traction. This mat has the chakras aligned so that you can remind yourself why you practice yoga.

Where to Find It

You can find this mat on Yoloha’s main website. When you order the product, the company specifically waits to roll up the mat until after you have purchased it, helping your mat lay flat for your first practice.

Warranty

If you aren’t happy with your yoga mat, you can exchange it or get a refund within 60 days.

Coupons/Deals

Groupon may have coupons available for your use. You may have to search the internet for coupons or deals that can be useful to you.

Pros

  • non-slip qualities, this mat is great for hot yoga
  • eco-friendly and durable, helping you make a difference while you work out

Cons

  • it is very expensive for a beginner or intermediate yoga fan

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5. Gurugrid: Eco-Friendly Premium Yoga Mat

Gurugrid: Eco-Friendly Premium Yoga Mat

This mat features a pattern of circles and numbers that help you align your body correctly in any pose. Placement is everything in yoga and can often be the difference between a good workout and a boring one. It’s 5 mm thick and is made with natural rubber and polyurethane.

Where to Find It

The only place to buy this mat is on Gurugrid’s website.

Warranty

N/A

Coupons/Deals

Promopure’s website has some great fitness and exercise deals that may supply you with a few Gurugrid coupons. Groupon may also have available deals.

Pros

  • allows you to track your progress by helping you notice how closely you can align with the poses correctly
  • rubber material offers excellent grip as well

Cons

  • alignment may not work for people who are a lot taller or shorter than the average height

6. Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat

Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat

This is the perfect yoga mat for beginners. It has a non-slip surface and extra thickness to provide cushioning. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry. It comes in many stylish designs, too.

Where to Find It

You can get this mat on Amazon with free shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member. You can also find it at Walmart, Yoga Outlet and Gaiam’s website.

Warranty

Gaiam has a lifetime guarantee on its yoga mats. If you aren’t satisfied or believe your mat is defective, you can submit a claim for a replacement mat.

Coupons/Deals

Gaiam is well known, so you can often find coupons and deals for their mats. Coupon Cause and Coupon Cabin often have several discount deals for this company.

Pros

  • an affordable buy for yogis who are starting out or don’t want to invest in an expensive mat
  • also non-toxic and comes with a free downloadable yoga workout to help you get motivated

Cons

  • have a strong chemical smell, so you may need to wash it before using

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7. Jade: Harmony Mat

Jade Harmony Mat

This product is a popular choice for many yogis. It has great traction and comes in three accommodating sizes (68”, 71” and 74”). There are also many colors to choose from.

Where to Find It

Jade has a reliable website you can purchase the mat from, and you can be sure that they will plant a tree after you buy the product. You can also find it at REI and Yoga Outlet.

Warranty

You can get a full refund or exchange if you contact the store within 30 days of your purchase. This specific mat has a 1-year warranty, as well.

Coupons/Deals

Coupon Follow and RetailMeNot have some great coupons for Jade products.

Pros

  • very comfortable and durable product
  • Jade plants a tree for each product that it sells and have planted over a million trees so far

Cons

  • This mat isn’t ideal for hot yoga, but it can work better when washed.

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8. Liforme: Original

Liforme Travel Yoga Mat

This yoga mat is another excellent option for alignment. With specific markers on the mat, you can place your body to get the most out of your workout. This mat is longer and wider than most, and it has great grip.

Where to Find It

Liforme is a little bit cheaper than Amazon and has free worldwide shipping.

Warranty

N/A

Coupons/Deals

Deals Cove, Coupon Okay and Wethrift have some available coupons.

Pros

  • great for yogis who sweat a lot during the workout
  • it’s eco-friendly
  • alignment guide is etched into the product rather than printed
  • the mat supports your knees

Cons

  • mat is expensive and can be a pain to carry around

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9. Aurorae: Synergy Yoga Mat

Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat

This mat is known for its comfort. With a 5 mm thickness and eco-friendly design, it’s made to support your body in any pose. It’s very soft and comfortable and comes in different colors.

Where to Find It

You can mainly buy this mat on Amazon, but Yoga Outlet and Aurorae’s website are also good options to buy from.

Warranty

You can receive a 2-year warranty if you buy through Aurorae or Amazon.

Coupons/Deals

Groupon may have some coupons that are available.

Pros

  • grip of this mat is exceptional
  • it absorbs sweat and doesn’t become slippery
  • five times thicker

Cons

  • heavy mat and sometimes has a chemical smell when it first arrives.

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10. Pogamat: XL Yoga Mat

Pogamat XL Yoga Mat

This is the top choice for many who have longer limbs or torsos. The mat is very resilient and has a 7 mm thickness that is comfortable and supportive.

Where to Find It

Pogamat’s website is one of the best places to buy this mat. You can also find it on Amazon and Yoga Outlet.

Warranty

This mat has a lifetime warranty.

Coupons/Deals

Groupon, Coupon Cabin and RetailMeNot may have available deals.

Pros

  • It’s eco-friendly and has no chemical smell
  • material doesn’t peel or fade over time, and the design prevents the mat from slipping

Cons

  • this mat might not be the best option for people who are shorter
  • don’t like a lot of yoga mat space

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Product

Image

manduka

Details

Hugger Mugger: Eco Para Rubber Mat

Hugger Mugger: Eco Para Rubber Mat

Mat Thickness: 

6.35 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Lululemon: The Reversible (Un) Mat

The Reversible (Un) Mat

Mat Thickness: 1.5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

No

Manduka Pro Mat

manduka

Mat Thickness:

6 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

No

Yoloha: Chakras Native Cork Yoga Mat

Yoloha: Chakras Native Cork Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

1.5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Gurugrid: Eco-Friendly Premium Yoga Mat

Yoloha: Chakras Native Cork Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat

6. Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Jade: Harmony Mat

Jade: Harmony Mat

Mat Thickness:

5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

No

Liforme: Original

Liforme Travel Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

4.2 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Aurorae: Synergy Yoga Mat

9. Aurorae: Synergy Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

5 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

Pogamat: XL Yoga Mat

Pogamat: XL Yoga Mat

Mat Thickness:

7 mm

Eco-Friendly:

Yes

Non-Slip:

Yes

The Verdict

Yoga is all about you. Choosing the best quality mat with the right features for your routine is important. With this guided article, you can see the top mats that can benefit you in different ways. That said, the Manduka Pro Mat has been recommended as the top yoga mat for most expert yogis. Despite what you choose, these mats can each benefit you and your workout.

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

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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


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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.

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Brooks Caldera 3


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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.

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HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3


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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.

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Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner


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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.

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New Balance Minimus 10v1 Trail


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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.

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Salomon Unisex S/LAB Sense 7


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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.

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Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 Trail Sneaker


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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.

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Saucony Peregrine ISO - Trail


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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.

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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


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