Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit

Drew Thayer

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit (new for 2020) was designed with input from elite trail runners, with the goal of creating an integrated system of clothing, plus a running pack, for long-distance and high-mountain running. I’ve been testing several elements of the kit this spring on runs up to 12 miles in the Colorado Front Range, and have come to appreciate the minimalist, functional design.

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit Review

Patagonia Endless Run shorts $79

These are a different take on the standard running short, designed around large pockets and a wicking, odor-resistant fabric. They accomplish their mission: while typical running shorts can at most hold keys, a gu packet, and maybe a small windbreaker, these shorts perform a meaningful job of carrying your ‘cargo’ while out on a run. The deep side pockets can comfortably hold a cell phone, food packets, gloves, hat, etc – and theses pockets are tight enough to the hips that weight doesn’t bounce. 

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit

The Endless Run shorts are a comfortable, thigh-hugging running short that can hold a phone, buff, gloves, etc in their large side pockets.

The look is definitely different – running shorts are typically loose fabric with a tighter ‘cradle’ underneath, and these are more like spandex bike shorts, although not quite as tight). I was skeptical at first (why re-invent something that works), but I’ve gotta say the tighter design is really comfortable – there’s zero chafing, and they even block a bit of wind. Patagonia’s odor-control treatment (called HeiQ) seems to do a good job of avoiding the funk. I usually hang these inside-out after a run and can use them several days in a row.

The biggest reason to run in these shorts is making use of their pockets. Running shorts that effectively hold a phone (any modern phone, even with a big case), plus gloves, hat, buff etc that you might shed during a run, are truly rare. This has allowed me to tackle some mid-distance runs in cold weather without a running pack or fanny pack, which is great. As part of the integrated trail running kit, these allow a runner to distribute weight and accessories in between the running vest and the shorts, to adjust the load during a run.

Sizing note: this runs pretty true to the waist measurement in their sizing chart. My waist is slightly more than 29” and size small fits me perfectly.

Patagonia Storm Racer waterproof running jacket $249

This is a minimalist, specialist piece designed really well for a specific function: distance running in foul weather. At 7 oz (198 g), this is among the lightest waterproof shell jackets on the market, and it’s fully waterproof – I ran through spring storms dropping snow, sleet, and rain and stayed dry. 

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit

The Storm Racer waterproof running jacket was the perfect layer for running the Red Rocks trails during an April storm that dropped 8 inches of soggy wet snow.

This jacket is designed with mountain running in mind. I never thought I’d be able to run in a rain jacket – how could it possibly breathe enough? I used to just wear a windbreaker and deal with it getting soaked, but as I’m setting my sights on more high-altitude mountain runs this summer, where thunderstorms are a real threat, venturing far from the trail without a waterproof layer is a liability. I’ve been really pleased to find that I can actually run for 2 hours in this jacket without getting too swampy on the inside. Patagonia’s H2No membrane in a 3-layer fabric seems to do the trick.

In the design of this jacket, form follows function, and the function is to provide a minimalist covering over a running vest. There are no pockets (except a small flap in which the jacket can be stowed), and two unconventional zippers run down either side of the torso – one to the lower chest and one all the way to the hem. This allows the runner to open the jacket like a flap, exposing the main pockets on a running vest with water bottles, food, etc. The long zipper fully separates, so you can take it on and off more or less like a normal coat. The hood on the jacket provides good coverage over a bare head or a thin hat, and protects the side of your face from wind-driven rain.

As a specific mountain running asset, this jacket is pretty genius – when the rain starts, just pull it out and wear it over you vest. I was able to ‘deploy’ this layer mid-stride, which is pretty slick, and I can still access anything I’d usually be able to reach on my running vest. The exceptional breathability allows me to run in temps from the 20s to low 40s, which is about as much range as I need for staying waterproof. I’d say this piece is a true specialist – considering the off-angle zippers and lack of pockets, it probably wouldn’t satisfy as a general-purpose raincoat. For a dedicated mountain runner, it’s a well-designed tool with all the functionality you need in the mountains.

Sizing note: like many Patagonia garments, this runs a little large. I’m 6’, skinny, and wear a small.

Strider Pro pants $129

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit

Wearing the Strider Pro pants on an early morning run in Dominguez Canyon in Colorado’s western sandstone desert. The pants are light enough that it’s a no-brainer to bring wear them for half an hour until the day heats up.

These are the only ultralight wind-pants you’ll need for 3-season trail running. They weigh only 4.4 oz and take up about as much room as small avocado when stuffed, so I always throw them into my running vest on windy days below 50 degrees. These pants are beautiful in their simplicity: they’re just two tubes for your legs, a draw-string waistband, and 4 snaps on either ankle to let you slip them on and off mid-run. No pockets, no-frills, just wind protection for you legs.

There is a subtle complexity hiding beneath the simplicity, however: certain sections of the fabric are woven with different amounts of stretch. It’s all super-light ripstop nylon, but the addition of 11% spandex in the rear leg and 35% spandex in the lower leg allows these pants to move along with your stride – no bunching or restriction. The fabric has minimal “swish” to it, which can be annoying in some joggers, and it also dries super fast – I’ve learned I can run straight through puddles and these pants will dry in no time.

Sizing note: since the waist is really adjustable, selecting these by the inseam length is the way to go. I’m 6’ with long-ish legs and size medium (32”) fit great.


Drew Thayer

Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit -  Elite Level Outfit 1

Drew’s love of gear is born from his life-long obsession with human-powered adventure in the mountains. On foot, on ski, on bike, and on the steep rocks, he loves exploring Colorado’s mountains through each season.
Drew brings a technical eye to gear — he’s a data scientist with a Masters’ degree in Geophysics and loves to understand the design and engineering make great gear what it is. He’s also worked in the field for many years — as a wilderness therapy field guide and a Geophysicist — and knows a thing or two about function and durability of technical equipment.
Drew tests gear in real mountain conditions, on overnight ventures whenever possible. His specialties are rock/alpine climbing and light-and-fast human-powered pursuits on ski or mountain bike. He’s ventured on exploratory climbing expeditions in Argentina, Peru, and Alaska, and completed remote technical river descents in Alaska and Colombia.
When not building statistical models and writing code, he can be found tending his garden or trying to keep up with his awesome wife.
Patagonia High Endurance Running Kit -  Elite Level Outfit 2

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