What's Dean Karnazes' Favorite Gear?

Some picks are unexpected—or downright geeky—but we'd run with any of them.

Feb 19, 2015
Outside Magazine
Corey Rich image photography outdoors

Karnazes is a gear geek and uses Pinterest to share his favorites with followers.    Photo: Corey Rich/Courtesy of Dean Karnazes


Ultra-endurance legend Dean Karnazes uses Pinterest for two reasons: to visually catalog his fitness inspirations and to recommend favorite gear to his followers.

“I have so much social media, sometimes I wonder what I am doing this for,” says Karnazes. “I’m excited, though, if [my boards] can benefit other athletes.” And they’re an incredible resource, packed with tips accrued by one of the sport’s best athletes over hundreds of thousands of miles on the road and trail. Here are five products from the gear board that Karnazes and I geeked out about.

ElliptiGO (From $1,800)

  Photo: Courtesy of Dean Karnazes

“I can’t decide if it’s geeky or cool,” says Karnazes. “It’s probably both.” Sure, the elliptical-inspired machine may be goofy, but it’s accomplished some impressive endurance feats under Karnazes’ feet. “I’ve done a couple of centuries and a couple of double centuries on it,” he says. Karnazes also rode an ElliptiGO from San Francisco to Los Angeles, hopped off, and then ran the L.A. Marathon. “The thing climbs like a beast,” he says.

Fitbit Surge ($250)

  Photo: Courtesy of Dean Karnazes

“It blows me away how many GPS watches I’ve used that work great but have an uncomfortable band,” says Karnazes. So he turned to Fitbit, helping the company design its new Surge, a smartwatch with built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring. His main suggestion: The rubber band should fit loosely so as not to chafe or cause sweat buildup. The result is a minimalist, relatively affordable wearable device that Karnazes wears often.

Road ID ($20)

Corey Rich outdoors image photography
  Photo: Corey Rich/Courtesy of Dean Karnazes

Karnazes recommends that all athletes invest in a Road ID, a wristband imprinted with key medical information, such as blood type, allergies, and an emergency contact, that first responders can use even if you’re unconscious. “It’s amazing how many athletes end up in hospitals without any ID,” says Karnazes. While many people run and bike with cellphones, the phones can break in a crash or fall, and a security code can prevent rescuers from accessing information. The Road ID, on the other hand, is “a very inexpensive insurance policy,” say Karnazes.

ROLL Recovery R8 ($119)

  Photo: ROLL

When Karnazes first saw this eight-wheeled self-massage tool, he was skeptical. But his doubts vanished after he tested the system. “It feels like a massive crab has your leg,” he says. “It has almost a 360-degree wraparound. You don’t have to move it around to hit a large number of muscle groups with just one swipe.” Karnazes likes the tool so much that it lives permanently under his standing desk and gets used daily.

Nathan Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch ($55)

  Photo: Nathan

When running trails at night, Karnazes uses both a headlamp and a handheld because the combination lights up the area directly in front of and surrounding him. “You don’t notice how tepid your foot strikes are when you can’t see well,” says Karnazes. He likes the Zephyr Fire 300 because its well-designed strap means the light is actually hands-free, minimizing the strain on his arm, and its efficient rechargeable battery lasts for hours without dimming.

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