My Minimalist Travel Running Gear: Your Essential Guide

paul and ben finishing 2016 tcs nyc marathon

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Do you travel a lot for work but still like to go for a run while away on business? Are you a digital nomad who loves to run wherever you live in the world? You may have your running gear packing list down pat. But chances are you’re reading this because you haven’t (or you’re not quite sure). Well, let me give you some reassurance. After more than seven years of being location-independent, this is my recommended minimalist running gear list.

I run six days a week – all year round, in any climate and any weather. As I am location-independent with carry-on luggage only, my running gear only contains what I (and I believe you) really need.

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This list for women and men was created as a result of more than seven years of full-time travel around the world in all seasons with only carry-on luggage. This is the packing list we have used as we embark on our adventures into 2024.

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paul finishing papakura half marathon in the 80s

Paul finishing the Papakura Half Marathon in the 1980s

As part of our focus on our values-based lifestyle, I will not only look for the most suitable gear that meets my needs and stands the test of time, but I will also consider how eco-friendly and ethically a product was made. If I do not replace an item with a more eco-friendly or ethically sourced one, I will state the reason/s. I will also link to organisations that have reviewed the sourcing practices of the manufacturers of my gear. Before I talk about the different items you need, let’s start with some basics.

What to consider when buying running clothes, shoes and gear

These features are important for any sports clothing but especially so when buying running clothes. Use it when you purchase new/replace old running gear.

Moisture-wicking fabrics

Moisture-wicking fabrics are designed to move water away from the skin to keep you comfortable when you sweat. And for better or worse, most are synthetic although merino wool and bamboo are considered moisture-wicking, while cotton is not. Moisture wicking is designed to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Move (or wick) sweat to the fabric’s outer surface
  • Drying quickly so that the sweat doesn’t saturate the fabric

Unfortunately, there is no one test to determine how good the process of wicking is. Brands use a variety of fabrics and methods to move moisture through the structure of the yarns within their fabrics.

Quick-drying garments

If you don’t carry much gear, being able to wash what you have and wear it again the next day becomes important. Fabrics such as polyester and nylon are known for their quick-dry properties.

Sun protection

You can buy fabrics specifically treated to provide sun protection. However, even just looking for tighter knits with smaller holes, especially fabrics with elastic threads that keep the fibres tightly together, will help you protect your skin against harmful UV rays.

Chafe-free seams

Stay away from garments that have seams in inappropriate places. Instead, look for flat or welded seams placed away from areas that could impede your natural running motion.


These can unobtrusively hold your ID card, debit/credit cards and keys. Common in shorts, concealed pockets are sometimes offered on shirts as well.

Reflective properties

High-visibility clothing is any clothing that has highly reflective properties or a colour that is easily discernible from any background. Being visible is especially important if you are running at dusk/dawn and on roads without footpaths.

running at night

Make sure your running clothes have reflective properties so that you can be seen in the dark

What fabrics to consider for which qualities


Bamboo is a great eco-friendly alternative to synthetic fibres and is naturally sweat-wicking, anti-bacterial and incredibly soft.

Merino wool

Merino is ideal for both hot and cold weather running, as it is extremely breathable, moisture-wicking and quick drying. Its anti-bacterial properties make it naturally odour-resistant. It is often combined with synthetic fibres such as spandex to give it a more fitted shape. It is also incredibly lightweight and allows you to stay cool in hot temperatures.


Quick-drying, super-stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking nylon is frequently used alone or blended with other fabrics and offers excellent durability in running shorts, pants and lightweight jackets.


Moisture-wicking, quick-drying polyester is marketed under a variety of names. Each has proprietary characteristics to enhance performance. On the negative side, it smells after a while. It is important to only wash polyester in warm water (no greater than 30 degrees Celsius) and not add bleach. Although you aren’t meant to put polyester into a dryer, I do when I am in travel mode, especially if I don’t have an opportunity to dry it outside. That said, my polyester items do dry quite quickly in the bathroom overnight.


An excellent choice for the base layer as it is water-resistant.


Commonly referred to by its brand name Lycra, spandex is used to make your running gear stretch, offering you unrestricted movement while retaining its shape.

paul running in nz army cross country championships

The downside of owning only one pair of running shoes is you may have to wear them wet or dirty


Without proper running shoes, you can’t run. Simple, right? Unless you are a barefoot runner.

So, always keep your shoes in your carry-on luggage. Don’t ever think about checking them in. Trust me on this one: I once travelled halfway around the world for a half-marathon only to almost not start the race thanks to a luggage delay.

I only own one pair of running shoes at a time. Since I use the Strava app, I’m able to keep track of the kilometres I run in them. And given the fact that I wear and recommend Xero Shoes HFS II, together with real data from Strava over the past ten years, I know I don’t need to replace them until well after I’ve run 2,500 kilometres or so. A far cry from the recommended 600 – 800 kilometres that the big brand shoe companies recommend. Given I run on average about 75 kilometres a week, I replace my running shoes every eight months.

My two main disadvantages with only owning one pair of running shoes at a time are:

  • They get smelly quicker as I’m wearing the same pair all the time.
  • When it rains, I may have to wear them wet the next day, as they don’t always dry overnight – especially during the colder months.

So, if you don’t live out of a travel pack as I do, consider taking two pairs of shoes.

What to look for

Size – Make sure there is a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the tip of the shoe.
Width – Your foot should be able to move side-to-side in the shoe’s forefoot without crossing over the edge of the insole.
Fit – The shoe upper should feel snug and secure around your instep. Your heel should feel snug, but not too tight.
Flex – The shoe should bend and crease along the same line your foot flexes. Go for a run or walk in them to ensure they feel comfortable.

I acknowledge that running shoes are a very personal choice because everyone is different. And prior to 2019, I used to be brand-loyal to one of the big brands. However, with ethical and sustainable practices now influencing my purchasing decision, I started to research alternative brands to replace my big-brand running shoes.


The best minimalist running shoes in , for someone who travels as I do, who prefers zero-drop shoes and has a similar style, gait and trains for half marathons or longer, are the Xero Shoes HFS II – Lightweight Road Running Shoe.

So why did I select Xero Shoes HFS II over the rest? I still want road running shoes despite the fact that I run the occasional trails so several on my shortlist were out. If I had the option of having two pairs of running shoes, sure, I would consider one road shoe and one trail shoe.

Xero Shoes HFS II

The Xero Shoes HFS II is a Lightweight Road Runner designed for natural comfort and performance. An evolution of their best selling road running shoe, the HFS II offers even more performance and more stylish. While they call it a road runner, they know you’ll do much more in it and can’t wait to see the pics of where it takes you and what you do.


A pair of socks can make or break a run. So, don’t buy a great pair of shoes and then skimp on your socks.

What to look for

  • Either synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon as they’re both sweat-wicking, breathable, and more durable than cotton or go with Merino or Alpaca Wool or a combination
  • Seamless –  to reduce the chance of rubbing or chafing.
  • Thickness – Make sure you try on the socks with the shoes you plan to wear.
  • Compression – Do they provide help or restrict the blood flow?  Is there compression or support for the arch/in-step?
  • Left and right-designed socks for a better anatomical fit
  • Reinforced heel and toe area for durability and protection.


My Fox River Run Mesa Lightweight Ankle Socks are really comfortable and have a snug fit. They have just the right amount of cushioning with a contoured arch support. Made from Alpaca Wool, Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic and Spandex and featuring a reinforced heel and toe, I really appreciate that they are manufactured in the USA.

As America’s longest running performance sock brand, Fox River partners with Running Strong for American Indian Youth to support immediate needs and programs.

Fox River Run Mesa Lightweight Ankle Socks

The Fox River Run Mesa Lightweight Ankle Socks provide just the right support in your running shoes. Not too thick as to bunch up, and not to thin so as not to provide the necessary support. Being made in the USA is an added bonus.

  • Cushioned heel and toe box
  • Seemless toe box
  • Lightweight upper and sole
  • Contoured cuff

Shoe bag

As my one pair of running shoes do get smelly wearing them day after day and travelling frequently, it is important I have them in a bag that separates them from the rest of the items in my travel pack. It is important to organise and compartmentalise your shoes away from the rest of your gear.

What to look for

  • Lightweight material
  • Durable
  • Correct size (not too small that you have to squash your shoes in, not too large that the excess material gets in the way
  • Sustainable fabrics


A recent addition to my packing list is the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube which acts as my shoe bag.

Osprey Ultralight Large Packing Cube

A large lightweight packing cube that doubles as a shoe bag.

  • Lightweight
  • Easily washable
  • Dries quickly
  • Easily fits one pair of running shoes and one pair of sandals
  • Small non-brand zipper
  • The zipper is a little stiff to open the bag


How many pairs of running underwear do you travel with? I have two. Performance underwear or performance boxers are starting to become more technical and specialised. Though there seems to be a lack of retail stores in New Zealand that stock them – an opportunity, perhaps?

What to Consider

  • Comfort with no chance for chaffing
  • Tagless
  • Flat-lock seams
  • Cotton, nylon and spandex combinations seem to work best. Some newer brands are experimenting with a blend of polyamide and elastane (short for elastic polyurethane).

Makes and models I considered included:


I recommend the Runderwear Mens Running Briefs. They have been the most comfortable underwear to use for my runs. They may not be sexy (according to Sandra), but they are very practical, very lightweight and dry quickly. They hold all my bits in place and don’t cause any chaffing at all. Of the different brands I have worn in the past six years, these have been the most comfortable and have lasted the longest without the elastic degrading or losing its shape.

Runderwear Men's Running Briefs

The Runderwear Running Briefs are designed with a classic fit and everyday comfort in mind. The breathable fabric will keep you cool and dry - even during the toughest runs. Experience serious support and total control for your package.

  • 100% chafe-free
  • Fast drying
  • 360° seamless design (no side seams or labels)
  • Moisture-wicking (especially on long runs)
  • Wouldn't wear them on a first, second or third date - definitely not sexy


I have experimented with different shorts over the years – from skimpy 70’s shorts to separate compression tights under shorts through to what I own now: running shorts with integrated compression tights.

In 2015, I ran the Florence Marathon in a pair of shorts that I used to wear regularly with separate compression tights. Only this time, I didn’t wear tights. During the race, my inner thighs got more and more raw from chafing. It was not a pretty sight at the finish. I had broken a cardinal rule: Wear the clothes you are used to and know are comfortable; don’t experiment on race day. Needless to say, the lesson was learnt.

What to look for

  • Inner compression liner to reduce chafing
  • Mesh gusset on the inner shorts to let heat escape
  • Outer fabric that stretches with your stride
  • Convenient zippered pocket(s) big enough to hold your smartphone, card/s or cash.


After years of being loyal to one of the big brands and their very functional 2-in-1 running shorts, in 2021 I swapped over to the Ron Hill Life 7-inch Twin Short. They are so lightweight, that I always have to check that I have them on. As a sustainably conscious company, Ron Hill has created these shorts with at least 30% recycled polyester. They are a Fair Wear Leader, adhering to specific ethical manufacturing practices. The shorts are very comfortable, with reflective stripes, a zipped back pocket and a long thigh-compression material that is both warm and smooth to the touch. The only negative is that the zipped pocket is not big enough for my smartphone, but I always use my Original SPIbelt anyway so it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me. Like most clothing items around the world, they are made in China.

Ronhill Men's Life 7

The Ronhill Men's Life 7" Twin Short have a relaxed fitting outer and a supportive inner short built-in. The long length 7-inch inseam is great for unpredictable weather, as well as running off-road, providing protection against the sun.

  • Lightweight
  • The inner compression section feels great
  • Side split
  • Reflective strips
  • Label-less
  • The thick waistband doesn't dry quickly
  • The rear pocket is quite small


I have a confession to make. In the late 70s and 80s, when the sports industry hadn’t caught up with the needs of the runners, I wore women’s pantyhose and more specifically my mother’s old pairs when the weather was so cold, but I still needed to go out training. Luckily for me and my mother, running tights, even for rugby players, are accepted nowadays. My standard rule is that if it is less than five degrees Celsius / 41 degrees Fahrenheit, I wear my tights.

What to look for

  • Provide warmth in winter
  • Muscle compression qualities
  • Reflective stripes (assuming you are running in winter and possibly in the dark)
  • Fabric that stretches with your stride
  • Convenient zippered pocket(s) big enough to hold your smartphone, card/s, or cash.


I recommend the Patagonia Men’s Peak Mission Tights.

Patagonia Men's Peak Mission Tights

Don’t let colder weather prevent you from getting after it. These cool-to-cold-weather running tights will keep you warm while also wicking away moisture when you start to heat up.

Short sleeve shirt

I only own one running technical t-shirt at a time, and given that I am exercising 6 – 7 days a week in it, it can get a little smelly. If I know that I’ll be in hot and humid conditions for several months, I will swap my short sleeve t-shirt for a vest or singlet.

What to look for

As well as the features discussed above:

  • Breathable
  • Size – Make sure it fits: too tight or too loose and you may get nipple chaffing on your longer runs
  • Lightweight
  • Reflective properties back and front to help your visibility at dawn or dusk


My preference is the Proviz Reflect360 Short Sleeve Shirt. It is made of 100% Interlock Polyester. Interlocked materials are generally softer and more breathable. Because of the nature of their construction, they have good built-in stretch, recovery and retain their original shape over time. It has got strategically placed reflective print placed on the front, sides, arms and back so that when I head out the door for my runs in the morning, I can be seen.

Proviz Reflect360 Men's Short Sleeve Shirt

A breathable, wicking, reflective, 100% interlocked polyester running shirt that looks smart and fits well.

Singlet / Vest

They are called vests in the United Kingdom and singlets in New Zealand and Australia. Ideal for warm to hot conditions to allow more ventilation flow onto your body, the singlet/vest is also typically used in a race situation. Like my short sleeve shirt, I only own one of these, so it needs to meet a number of requirements.

What to look out for

As well as the features discussed above:

Not too loose so that the shoulder straps fall down your arm and not too tight that there is a lack of airflow across your chest as well as under your arms.


My preference is the Proviz Classic Running Singlet. It is made of the same 100% interlocked polyester as the short sleeve shirt above and is quick to dry and stretchy. What I really like about it is that it is bright yellow, making me easier to spot as I step out at dawn for my daily run. The medium size is on the large size, but that works for me.

Proviz Classic Men's Running Singlet

Lightweight, brightly coloured, breathable 100% interlocked polyester singlet.

Long sleeve shirt

I have trained in temperatures where it is 35 degrees Celsius and in sub-zero temperatures over the past few years. After nearly 40 years of running marathons, I know when I need to put what layer of clothing on to ensure I have a pleasant run. When the temperature is below 6 degrees, it is time to reach for my long sleeve shirt.


Although I would be happy to wear the Proviz Reflect360 Long Sleeve Top, I currently own and use the Ron Hill Fluro Yellow Core Long Sleeve Tee. It’s bright so you can be seen on cold foggy mornings when you run on rural roads.

Proviz Reflect360 Men's Long Sleeve Shirt

A breathable, wicking, reflective, 100% interlocked polyester running shirt that looks smart and fits well.

$42.50 $50.00 14.00% Discount

Outer Layer

For years, I owned a Nike half-zip long-sleeve running top, but I found I got too hot in it even on really cold (under 2 degrees Celsius) days. After years of research, I stumbled on the very French idea of a Gilet – literally meaning waistcoat. Nowadays, it means a sleeveless top, normally padded.

Combine the Gilet with either a short sleeve shirt or a long sleeve shirt and you have two great layers to protect you from the wind and the cold. It’s definitely not designed to stop the rain from getting through, however.

What to look out for

  • Lightweight
  • Slightly padded
  • Bright colour – you’ll be wearing this during the colder darker months of the year. You need to be seen. Ensure it has some reflective elements.
    Wide armholes that don’t restrict your natural arm swing
  • Breathable – it has a full front zip so you can regulate the temperature by moving the zip south if you want.

Ensure you get a Gilet that is the right size. It should be baggy enough to create an air pocket between it and your shirt.


I purchased the Proviz Classic Running Gilet and I am very happy with it. The product website states that it is waterproof, but even zipped all the way up, I get a slightly wet shirt. The neck and armholes obviously let in the rainwater, but it is windproof. While designed in the United Kingdom, it is made in China from 100% polyester material.

To clean it, you can machine wash it in warm water without bleach. After all, that would take away some of the bright colourings. You can’t tumble dry it or iron it either. The material feels quite shiny and the inside joins have a tape membrane across them to protect the stretching from allowing water to seep through. There is reflective tape across the chest and back as well as around the armholes and waistband.

Proviz Classic Men's Running Gilet

The Proviz Classic Men’s Running Gilet is a lightweight sleeveless vest that has extremely high breathability and waterproofing rates that will help keep you warm when out on the roads. Proviz uses a large amount of reflective detailing to ensure good reflectivity at night. Manufactured using a blend of four-way stretch fabrics that combine to give you a high-spec flexible gilet that has sealed sewing lines (seam-sealed) to ensure no water gets in. Incorporating high levels of waterproofing (20k) and breathability (20k), and yet with a weight of only 200 grams, performance is at the forefront of the design.


I’m not one to cover up my head unless it is either very sunny or very cold.

What to look out for

Whatever you own/travel with needs to provide protection from harmful UV rays (in sunny weather), and thermal insulation/wind protection for your head (in cold weather). It also needs to let the moisture out.

My recommendation

Whether you are exercising or just travelling to a colder country, my go-to items are included in my Minimalist Travel Wardrobe and Carry-On Packing List For Men.

  • Buff Merino Lightweight Neckwear

    Buff Merino Lightweight Neckwear

  • Icebreaker unisex merino pocket beanie

    Icebreaker Unisex Merino Pocket Beanie



Again, these are only needed if you train in conditions where the temperature drops below 5 degrees Celsius / 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

What to look out for

  • Warm and comfortable
  • Ideally, thermal and wind-blocking properties
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Lightweight
  • Touchscreen friendly – If you’re running in unfamiliar territory, you won’t want to have to remove your gloves to check your phone’s map. Trust me.


I use the Smartwool Liner Gloves. Different parts of the glove are made up of different percentages of materials and that is what makes them a little unique. Having the Merino Wool component, allows them to both stretch into shape, keep my hands and fingers nice and warm and also wick the moisture away from the skin. They are also touchscreen friendly.

Smartwool Liner Gloves

In the stands, on a hike or behind the wheel, Smartwool liner gloves offer the benefits of both merino wool and polyester whether worn on their own or as liners—and they're touch-screen compatible.


I can hear you ask: Do I really need one? Well, let’s put it that way: If you are interested in tracking and improving your running – whatever level or distance – you will benefit from a running watch.

Couldn’t I just use my smartphone? might be your next question. In a lot of instances, yes. However, your smartphone collects limited data and then you have to work out where to store it. When she needs to, Sandra uses her Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Strava app to record her hikes and walks. Strava will record your runs, but it won’t load and refresh maps or sync data.

I’d recommend a GPS watch that keeps you informed by providing specific information about your run. Pending the make and model, and whether you export the data to Strava, it can make it easier to keep track of your progress and plan workouts and routes. Some even include free training plans. Whatever you choose, ultimately, the decision is yours.

What to look out for

  • Battery life
  • Accurate GPS and GLONASS
  • Heart rate monitor or optical heart rate sensor
  • Plastic lightweight strap
  • Visible even in strong sunlight
  • Night light
  • Data memory
  • Customisable data pages


After having experimented with various Garmin models over many years, I am now using the latest Garmin Forerunner 265. This Garmin model has a better charging dock than my previous version – the 235. Prior models sometimes didn’t charge properly because dry sweat would collect around the pins, impeding the charging process.

Garmin Forerunner 265

The Garmin Forerunner 265 (released in March 2023) is the best running smartwatch around. With a touchscreen AMOLED display (same as an Apple Watch), advanced training metrics, and phone-free music, you will have no excuses to get out there and run.


While not a mandatory item, good sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, keep flying bugs out of your eyes, and prevent squinting.

What to look out for

  • Fit – The temple arms should not be too tight (to cause you headaches) or too loose (to fall off your head when you tip it forward)
  • Adjustable nose piece – You should be able to adjust your sunglasses two-dimensionally: (1) to the width of your nose and (2) closer or further away from your face
  • Soft edges – This is especially important for the parts that actually touch your face/head, such as the temple arms and nose piece
  • Wrap around style – Sports sunglasses, by their very nature, wrap around the head more than conventional glasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays entering from the sides
  • Frame material – Needs to be flexible yet strong to handle the knocks and not break easily
  • Lightweight – Look for the lightest glasses you can find (ideally under 30 grams).
  • Safe lenses – The better sports sunglasses have thicker lenses that offer impact resistance against anything that may hit the lens (branches, stones, etc), with the best sports sunglass lenses being made of 2mm thick polycarbonate
    Lens coating – Good lenses have options such as hydrophobic coatings (which shed sweat and water) or anti-fog coatings


I use Rudy Project Rydon Sunglasses. These glasses have transition lenses with my prescription. Admittedly, they are not cheap but have had them now for two years, I can not recommend them highly enough.

Rudy Project Rydon Sunglasses

Rudy Project Rydon sport sunglasses are perfect for running and outdoor adventurers. They offer 100% protection from UV rays and include Interchangeable lenses, endless RX prescription options, new temple end tips, and fully adjustable nose pads.

Paul wearing Rudy Project Rydon sunglasses on long run

Wearing Rudy Project Rydon sunglasses on a long run helps Paul to not squint and relax the upper body

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Want to run a marathon in Japan? The Nagano Marathon makes for a very unique race experience, and our travel guide makes it easy for you to join.

Identification band

Given that I run in different locations all the time, Sandra insisted I wear or carry some form of identification on me – for my own safety and her peace of mind.

Why not run with my ID card? you may ask. If you run as much as I do, your ID card will suffer. And the last thing I’d want to do is to have to replace my driver’s licence when I’m somewhere overseas.

What to look out for

If you trip up and get knocked unconscious or get run over by a car while out running, an ID that carries your name, your emergency contact and some other vital information (such as your blood group and allergies) not only helps emergency services but also allows them to notify your loved ones.

I recommend choosing a wristband ID instead of a shoe tag as shoes can fall off in an accident and are more likely to be removed if someone is more interested in your shoes than in rescuing you.


I have owned some form of Road iD for many years. I started with shoe tags but have since moved away from them for the above reasons.

Nowadays, I wear my Road ID tag (called Road iD Sidekick ID) on my watch. Made of a metal plate with a stretch loop at each end that secures onto my watch strap, it includes my personal details – my full name, country and year of birth, and my emergency contact details – laser engraved for quick reference.

Road iD Sidekick ID

ID tag that fits snugly on your Garmin watch

Running belt

For some of you, your shorts’ pockets might be sufficient to store items such as your phone, keys, and card/s. I run long distances, which means I need extra nutrition. It wouldn’t make for a comfortable run if I tried to squeeze a banana or energy balls into my shorts’ pockets, would it? That’s when my running belt comes in handy.

I’m actually so used to using it, I use it on all my runs these days, even if only for my smartphone on shorter runs.

What to look out for

  • Adjustable belt
  • Zip pocket (long enough to fit my smartphone in)
  • No bounce design
  • Versatile enough to hold a little or a lot


I have used two different running belts over the years. I started with an Original SPIbelt but eventually, its zipper broke and had to be replaced. At the time, the only one available where we were was a big brand Waistpack. This only lasted 11 months before the zipper also broke. I’ve reverted back to an Original SPIbelt because it works for me.

I like the fact that it was created by a runner who had a problem, solved it and created a product and a successful company because of it. Did you know that Kim Overton chose the company and brand name to stand for small personal item belt? And even as the company grows bigger, it remains in Texas, USA where the product is still handmade.

Original SPIbelt

The Original SPIbelt is big enough to hold larger smartphones; including the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max model and the Samsung Galaxy S23+, but small enough to be lightweight and without the bounce impact that other running belts have.

  • Good value for money
  • No-bounce design
  • Small and compact
  • Different colour options
  • Fits a large variety of smartphones
  • Free shipping for USA orders
  • 1 Year For Defects In Material Or Workmanship
  • 30-day returns
  • The belt section loses stretch over time
  • Contains dry natural rubber which may irritate people with a latex allergy


I run in unfamiliar places all the time and in 99 per cent of the time, I wear headphones to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

And if you are one of the 61% of runners listening to something during your run (according to a Runner’s World survey) you will also need to include headphones or earbuds in your packing list.

What to look out for

  • Ability to hear noise around me such as traffic
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Sound quality
  • Easy to control the sound or tracks


Music and listening to podcasts while we explore the world are critical to me. After years of using the standard corded headphones with a 3.5mm Plug, I researched the best exercise-based, waterproof, long-life earbuds I could find. In the end, only one stood out: the Jabra Elite 8 Active.

They are quite pricey, but included several features I was looking for:

  • From a safety point of view, I use the Hear-Though feature to allow me to hear the traffic noise around me. They provide an easy option to swap from noise cancellation to hearing traffic noise and conversations without having to take the earbuds out
  • Dust and waterproof to IP68 standard. I run in all weathers so this was critical.
  • Long-lasting battery – I get up to 8 hours on a single charge, although when I return from my runs, I always pop the earbuds straight back into the charging dock.
  • Microphone – there are microphones in each earbud, apparently designed to ensure that only my voice is heard clearly and that there is no distraction from my environment.
  • Don’t fall out of my ears while I run. This is the first pair of non-over-the-ear headphones/earbuds so have been apprehensive about them falling out while I run. Luckily they come with four different-sized covers to test out in my ears. This ensures a snug fit but also the removal of outside noise.
Jabra Elite 8 Active

Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds are dustproof, waterproof and sweatproof, with Jabra ShakeGrip™, Adaptive Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Dolby Audio* and 6-microphone windproof call technology.

  • Excellent audio quality, including automatic noise cancelling
  • Powerful audio performance with deep bass and crisp highs
  • Eight hour battery life in each earbud
  • Adjustable automatic noise cancelling settings
  • Reliable button controls
  • Excellent microphone quality for calls, even with tons of background noise
  • Colour options aren't as nice
  • More slippery when wet

Massage Ball

One of the first-world issues with running, while I travel, is that I don’t have a regular medical team who know my medical history and are able to treat any running-related injuries on a recurring basis. I do a lot of self-management. Many times you can use what you have. Body weight exercises and active stretching all help. But there are times when specific parts of your body need a massage.


One must-have item is a small massage ball. Although it is called the Gaiam Restore Ultimate Foot Massager and is marketed primarily for your feet, it can be used on different parts of the body with equal success.

Gaiam Restore Ultimate Foot Massager

The best solution for sore feet.

  • Compact size great for travel
  • Textured surface
  • Use on the hands, feet and more
  • Increases circulation
  • Rejuvenating self-massage tool
  • Contains latex.

Toe Spacers

While training for the 2022 Hawke’s Bay Marathon, I developed Morton’s Neuroma, a burning pain in the ball of my foot that felt like I had stepped on a stone. Obviously, because I wear minimalist running shoes, the issue was exacerbated. The podiatrist treated me, but it didn’t really resolve the issue. In the end, through my own investigations, I strumbled on the Correct Toes toe spacers which were a life saver. These silicone toe spacers helped to seperate my toes, improved my foot muscle stength and mobility and eventually stopped the pain. Being made of lightweight silicone, I now travel with them and used the regularly.

Correct Toes

As a natural solution to foot problems, Correct Toes® are the original toe spacers for anatomical foot alignment.

Environmental, social, and corporate governance of our recommended running brands

Unfortunately, the following companies do not have any form of publically available Environmental, social, and corporate governance policy or statement:

  • Runderwear
  • Road iD
  • Rudy Project
  • SPIbelt
  • Gaiam.

Complete all-seasons running gear packing list

This does not include my day-to-day Minimalist Travel Wardrobe and Carry-On Packing List For Men​ that I have listed elsewhere.

What running gear do you travel with or can recommend?

I wrote this minimalist traveller’s running gear guide based on my own experience. If you run on your travels and you have something to add to this list of great products to wear and use, please feel free to contact me. If you liked my gear guide, I would appreciate it if you could share it with your friends and family via the Share buttons below. Even better, link to the page from your personal blog or social media platforms.

Author: <a href="" target="_blank">Paul Ryken</a>

Author: Paul Ryken

Paul Ryken is a goal setter, goal achiever, never tell him he can't do anything kinda guy..a grandfather, a husband, practising minimalist who makes sustainable, ethical purchasing decisions. He lives a values-based, quality over quantity lifestyle. For fitness and mental health, he runs six days a week and is on a mission to complete a marathon on every continent before the age of 60. As a digital nomad with carry-on luggage only, he chooses experiences over material items. He primarily writes about sports, travel finances and technology.