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The Good, The Bad, and The Burly: Arc’teryx Trail Running Kit
It may be blasphemy for a gear reviewer to write this, but screw it. Most runs it doesn’t matter what you wear. Any shirt, pair of shorts, and cap will do. But when the weather turns to foul or you’ve stopped counting in miles and started counting hours, the small things start to really stand out.
Last weekend I ventured into the Sawtooth Range of southern Idaho, for a training camp with a couple friends. We ate feasts, drank copious beer, soaked in hot springs, and ran thirty-plus miles each day, preparing our legs (and souls) for a return to racing and long days in the alpine this summer. On the trip we did double duty and tested a new trail kit from Arc’teryx.
With cool mornings, afternoon showers, and long, sweaty climbs, we had a great mix of conditions to test the new gear with. We wanted to see if the marketing platitudes lived up to their own hype. Breathable body mapping, soft materials, and clever designs sounded like they would help make long miles a bit more enjoyable– but would that be reality? Below I break down the good and bad, from head to toe.
Calvus Cap – The Calvus is far from the most breathable running hat on the market, but makes up for it in comfort, wicking, and water resistant coating. The material is soft and stretchy, making it comfortable for long days in the mountains. If you dislike trucker hats, this is a great alternative.
Motus SL T-Shirt – The Motus is a trim fit, ultra light polyester shirt that dries quickly and wicks moisture exceptionally well. The only downside is that it can be stinky, so probably not the best shirt for long trips. The attention to detail is impressive, with flat seams and reflective nodes to keep you safer at night.
Incendo Vest – The Incendo weighs just 85 grams, which makes it hard to not bring on long runs. It’s a minimalist vest that provides surprisingly good core protection from wind and light rain. The ripstop nylon and DWR finish are great in the elements, but not the most breathable combo on warm days.
Aptin Zip Hoody – From the moment I first put on the Aptin hoody, I knew that it was going to be one of my favorite pieces. It’s a great outer or mid layer, with a comfortable Polartec fleece grid and added wind protection over the chest and arms. It’s perfect for everything from warm ups to long runs on cold days.
Incendo Pants – Honestly, it took me a long time to come around to running in pants. It just looked dorky and slow. The Incendo changes that, with an ultra light nylon material that stretches, keeps rain out, and fits comfortably. I now prefer pants over running tights, because they breathe better and keep me drier.
Incendo Shorts – The Incendo shorts are good for a variety of activities outside of running, like hiking and climbing. They are made with a burly Teslin fabric that breathes well and dries fast. They come with two pockets that securely hold a phone and snacks. The inseam could be shorter, though.