Trail season has started for many, and if you're an REI member, I know you've been tempted to get some new gear for the season.
First things first, know that you don't actually need specific gear to hike or trail run. If you're just starting out and giving the outdoors a whirl, tennis shoes and a water bottle will suffice. It's when you start getting into trails that are moderate+ where it'd be smart to consider investing in gear that suits your needs. Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when hiking and trail running, so if your tennies and water bottle are becoming too minimal, it's time to invest.
Please note: none of these products are sponsored. I use and suggest all of these products by choice.
Here are a few pieces I'd recommend for the season:
Don't knock 'em 'til you try 'em. I was hesitant to get them, too. I've never been a fan of having something in between my toes, even when these types of socks were popular in elementary school. Now I only run in these socks. They're really helpful for preventing blisties and keeping dirt and sand out from in between your toes.
Collapsible Water Bottle
I've tried a few different brands of these and I prefer the Ultimate Direction version the most. The convenience of how the mouth piece seals makes it easy to open, close, and not worry about liquids spilling out. I also like how the bottle is rigid enough that it doesn't slip out of my hydration vest pocket while running. I'd generally recommend a collapsible water bottle for electrolytes or a caloric drink, while your hydration bladder holds your water.
It's small and simple, but so versatile. I always recommend bringing one with you. You can use it to protect yourself from the sun. You can dip it in the creek to help cool yourself down. You can use it to shield yourself from wind or warm your neck. Heck, you can use it as a tissue for when your nose is running. (Am I oversharing my use? Perhaps, but now you know!)
I couldn't find my exact rain jacket (I bought mine 3-4 years ago), but it is a North Face similar to this. A light rain jacket will keep you dry, stay light in your pack for when you're not using it, and help block out the wind. Just about any brand will do, as long as it has the comfort and specs you're looking for. Ultimately, I'd aim for light weight with a hood.
Whether you're a hiker or a trail runner, trekking poles can be of benefit. Material and weight of the poles may be of importance to you based on your use. This is an item you'll want to research a bit before pulling the trigger, in my opinion, due to varying needs. Be sure to follow the measurements and sizing suggested by the brand, too.