With respect to directional trading in equity options (long positions, either by long single options, long vertical call spreads, short vertical put spreads, etc.) what do you think are the effective hedging alternatives that generally provide a reasonable protection without substantially hurting the returns? In order to effectively hedge against a decrease in equity prices I assume that the alternatives include long option positions on assets that have a distinct negative correlation to equities (and there are not so many such assets, such as TLT or VIX) and also direct bearish option positions on equities or equity indexes, but any of such alternatives hurt the returns substantially. Of course there could be more alternatives, and I just want to hear your thoughts and tips about possible alternatives and your experience in this matter. Thanks guys.