Trail Running Safety Tips

By: Tyson Baker

From seasoned veterans to
beginners, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on some well-rounded safety guidelines to navigate
the millions of miles of trail terrain this summer. We constructed this list to be simple, yet
essential to help protect you while on the trails, so your main focus can be enjoying your time in

Have a plan

Quick tips for route planning-

All Trails is a great place to start to quickly grab and reference route information. It includes information like directions to the trailhead, trail reports, elevation,
etc.—basically everything you need to get started. You can also download trails maps and load
them to your smartwatches or phones. Strava is another great tool to find routes and segments
that are popular in the area. Strava allows users to build their own routes, which can be helpful
when trying to link multiple routes together to create a longer run or loop your run. We use
Strava quite often here at Tanri to build routes and share them with friends when planning a
group running trip. There are a variety of mapping tools out there, CalTopo is another great one,
that makes planning a lot easier and efficient.


Remember to share your route with a friend, a family member, or someone reliable. If something goes wrong, a simple share of your day plans with a companion can end up saving your life! This is also why planning ahead is important, so you have the right information to
share with a trusted individual. This tip may seem excessive to some, but it’s a simple and effective way to provide yourself some extra protection on the trail and save you valuable time in the case of an emergency.


It’s always a good idea to check the weather before you head out on a trail. Knowing the forecast will not only give you a greater chance of avoiding running right into a nasty thunderstorm, it will also help you properly dress for the day and prep your pack with some
essentials to withstand the elements. Weather can change quickly in the backcountry and at higher elevations, so it’s wise to carry along a lightweight rain and wind jacket and some sunscreen. Remembering to carry these little things in your running pack can make all the difference when the weather changes. It's better to be prepared than not!

Quick Tidbit -

When in the outdoors, the UVB rays become more powerful the higher up in elevation you go, so having sunscreen handy is key to keeping your skin healthy and protected. We like to carry Tanri Sunscreen Spray SPF50. It comes with a smaller, travel size, 148 ml
aluminum bottle that's reusable and easy to stow away in your pack for those long days on the

TANRI Sunblock Spray SPF50 5oz Aluminum Bottle-Sun Care-Tanri Outdoors
Hydration and Nutrition

Hydration- This is the most important step to keeping you safe out on the trail all day. Properly hydrating throughout the day will keep you healthy, help you go further on the trail, and keep you from getting overheated. Don't cut corners with this one and be sure to carry more water than you think you will need. It may be useful to carry a compact water filter or purification
tablets with you in case you find yourself running out of water and needing to use a water source along the trail. Again, take time to plan ahead to know where the nearest water source will be. Stay hydrated and stay safe!

Nutrition- Calories, calories, calories–it's all about the calories! We need them to keep our energy up and our mind sharp so we can stay concentrated on the trail. We don’t want to take an unnecessary fall out there due to symptoms of fatigue from lack of proper fuel. Bring whatever food works for you: bars, gels, fruit, potatoes, etc. Whatever excites you to eat and goes down easy and is comfortable to carry.


Make a list and check it twice! Likely you’ve all heard that before, but unlike the list that the man in the big red suit only references during a certain time of year, this list will keep us running comfortably all year around. Running trails is not the same as running on the road so carrying certain equipment can ensure a more successful run. This is a list of our top 13 most important items to carry with you on a trail run:
1. Hydration Vest/Water Bottles
2. Food (Bars, Gels, Etc.)
3. Water Filter or Purification Tablets

4. Sunscreen
5. Wind+Rain Jacket
6. Headlamp
7. Trail Shoes
8. Lightweight Gloves
9. Sunglasses
10. Smartwatch
11. First-Aid Kit (small)
12. Phone
13. Photo ID

Have Fun

This one is self explanatory. Trails are meant for your enjoyment! We hope that this guide will make it easier for you to get out there and have fun confidently, knowing you are prepared for a day of running through the landscapes. Be safe, be adventurous, get outdoors, invite a friend or two, and don’t forget your sunscreen!
The world is full of trails to explore and at Tanri we believe everyone has a story to tell… tag us in a post/story telling us about your favorite trail.


  • Mikaela

    Very insightful! I’ve used AllTrails quite a bit over the years, but I’ve never heard of Strava or CalTopo. I will definitely check those out for my upcoming adventures this year.
    Often times I leave the house to go out on a run without letting anyone know where I am going because it’s become so routine to me, but this article kind of zapped me back to reality that doing the small things to take care of myself and bringing the proper equipment could be monumental if I am ever put into a sticky situation. Thanks for the good read, Tyson!

  • Toni E.

    Whether you are new to trail running or self renowned trail boss it’s always great to be reminded on how to prepare and plan a safe adventure out on the trail. This article hits all the key essentials… all the way down to the littlest detail, the reminder of sunscreen! I admit I’m notorious for forgetting sunscreen on my trail runs and after having an amazing trail run it’s definitely not fun having to deal with a painful sunburn afterwards. This article is super informative and has been perfect for me to share with friends new to trail running. I appreciate the writer making sure every trailblazer is safe out on the trails this summer!

  • Melanie

    Great start up for trail running! The information is both clear and concise. Very helpful for anyone wanting to get started or a quick refresher for those with more experience. I especially appreciated the list of supplies that is needed. Well done!

  • Bryce

    So much great info in this article!! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us!!

  • Adrián Guerrero

    I have been hiking for years but have been wanting to turn to trail running. I figured I’d just put on my trial runners and hit the trial, but I appreciate the guidance that this article provides. The author provides valuable insight with a hint of humor that is both refreshing and informational. I’ll make sure to pack some sunscreen and a water filter when I hit the trials!

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