I have a utility belt just like a super hero! All I need is a cape!

Because of some recent good luck in the 5K department, I had a couple gift cards to my favorite local running store to cash in. For a long time I’ve been wanting to get myself a Nathan hydration belt. For my fuel and phone, I usually use my SPI Belt (and sometimes that ridiculously small zipper pocket on the back of my pants). It’s like the clown car of belts. Unfortunately the amount of stuff that I’m going to need to have with me on Sunday just won’t fit into it in any kind of way that isn’t totally awkward. I needed something bigger and the option of having water whenever I want it, especially since it’s likely to get a little warm out there, is an attractive one.

I have one of those handheld Nathan water bottles that I had been using for my long runs and it’s about as comfortable as having something strapped to your hand for 20 miles can be, but the idea of running with it for an additional 6.2 miles leads me to believe that I would probably be chucking it into the woods at some point.

So here’s my new BRIGHT, COLORFUL, IN-YOUR-FACE Nathan Belt.

trailmix

This one is called the Trail Mix and isn’t it positively….ENORMOUS!? When I tried it on in the store there wasn’t a mirror anywhere near me so I didn’t realize how massive it was until I got it home. Don’t let this deceive you. It doesn’t feel all crazy big and awkward when I have it on or else I wouldn’t have bothered buying it.

This morning I had 4 miles on the menu and took the opportunity to take it out for a little test drive with water in the bottles so I could decide whether or not this would be part of my – still undecided – race outfit for Sunday. I filled them about 3/4 of the way apiece and obviously this added a significant amount of weight, but once I put the belt on it didn’t feel too bad.

My first impression as I started out running though?

28682-Hell-no-gif-CD0Y

The extra weight of the bottles caused the belt to slide all around and I was adjusting it constantly for the first mile. I can’t blame Nathan though; this was probably more like a combo of user error and the fact that I was just not used to having something of that magnitude strapped to my waist while I’m running. By mile 2 things had calmed down a little bit and by the end of my run I could tell I was wearing the belt, but it wasn’t in the way of anything and it didn’t slow me down at all. And I definitely liked it better than carrying something in my hand.

PROS

  • BRIGHT, FUN, IN-YOUR-FACE COLORS! Especially fun when paired with bright, in-your-face running clothes. I was in a hurry to get out of the house this morning and grabbed the first things I could get my hands on while getting dressed. The end result was me looking not entirely unlike a mental patient:

    mental

    No wonder the dog walker I waved to looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe also because I don’ t have a head. (Really I had post-run-garbage-face and no one wants to see that mess.)

  • Easy to adjust. The straps roll up and Velcro securely so you don’t have to worry about them flying all around in the breeze as you run.
  • For what it is, it’s lightweight. I could probably get away with adding less water or only carrying one bottle to lighten it up a little more.
  • Big, easy to access pockets. My phone fit with no problem and there is lots of extra room for my gels and Luna protein bars.
  • It was really nice to have some water to drink right away at the end of my run!

CONS

  • Really only one. As lightweight as it is, it is still quite big. Especially if you are like me and are sorely lacking in the hips department.

OVERALL IMPRESSION?

I like it, I’m glad I bought it, but I wish I had gotten it earlier in my training.

It will definitely come in handy for future long runs – I started looking at my Dopey training plan yesterday! – but because I’m so unaccustomed to running with it I’ll probably skip it for Sunday. Instead I am considering buying a second, larger SPI Belt and potentially doubling up on those if everything I need doesn’t fit in it. Or something else if you guys have any better ideas.

Do you have a particular hydration belt that you like? Any suggestions on how might carry everything on Sunday? (I don’t necessarily NEED to carry water because there will be plenty of water stations. It was just a nice thought.)

Happy Wednesday, one and all! 4 MORE DAYS!!

xo,

Salt

I was not compensated in any way for this post. I bought the belt myself and the opinions are my own. I know a few people have had their eye on these and I hope my review can be of some help to them!
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59 thoughts on “I have a utility belt just like a super hero! All I need is a cape!

  1. Pandora Viltis says:

    I really like the colors of your belt, but it does look sort of bulky.

    I wore a fuel belt my first marathon and it was too much (it had 4 bottles too and although I drank everything, it was heavy and annoying by the end). The second time I wore a SPI belt and tucked at Simple Hydratiom belt in the back. This was awesome and just enough hydration to supplement the aid stations. But I would’ve liked a larger SPI belt pocket. I’d ordered one of heirs with two pockets, but it didn’t get to me on time for the race. I also just ordered Ultimate Direction’s Jurek waist pack to try out. I’ll definitely use the Simple Hydration bottle again, though. By far my favorite way to carry water.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much for this! I had no idea that SPI had a two pocket belt! I’m going to check into a couple local stores and see what I can find. I don’t think I’m going to worry about a water bottle for this time, but I will definitely look into that as well! That’s so cool that you can just slip it into your belt!

  2. Lauren @ ihadabiglunch says:

    That definitely seems like a worthwhile investment for long runs because it can help when issues arise like thirst and hunger and all that…but man that would drive me nuts! Good thing I’m only running 4-6 miles at a time now and don’t have much need for supplies. You look like a total boss tho!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m with you. I definitely think it will be handy for training when I don’t have access to water, but I think I need to figure out something else for this race. And thanks! Hahaha I was definitely visible this morning. 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    I had to put on my sunglasses to view your picture. 🙂 That belt is hot. I like the Nathan products – I just got a handheld water bottle of theirs last week that is all sorts of blinding.

    I haven’t been logging enough miles to necessitate a fuel belt – so I cant give you any recommendations, but a second SPI belt isn’t a bad idea for your gu and other supplies if you plan on hitting the aid stations for water.

    • runsaltrun says:

      That’s what I’m thinking. I can use my smaller belt for my phone and the larger for my fuel and then drink the water they have as I go. Apparently this race is really good about water stations. 🙂

  4. txa1265 says:

    I have a nice Camelbak hydration backpack I wear for long runs in the summer, when I need more than just the 25oz bottle I otherwise carry.

    For a long trail race I will definitely wear that, but for half or full marathons I don’t wear a belt at all, or just a small one to have phone and keys. But then I generally have pockets for Gu.

    Good luck with the taper! I’m annoyed that Chrome has eaten a few comments on me this week on your posts (comes back with ‘WordPress cannot post this comment’ or something) … ugh!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I tossed around the idea of a backpack too, but I couldn’t figure out which would annoy me less…something on my back or something on my waist. It was a toss up. 🙂 I WISH MY CLOTHES HAD POCKETS! The only pocket my running clothes ever have is that worthless little one on the back that I can squeeze exactly one GU into.

      Thank you so much! WTF CHROME? I hate that. I was having issues with Blogger eating my comments the other week to the point where I’ve been copying them before I post. It got so annoying!

  5. emmelineruns says:

    I have a small Nathan belt that I bought when I trained for my first marathon but I almost never use it anymore. I use my handheld for training runs and have yet to race with my own fluids though I’d consider it. I love your crazy colored outfit 😉 my kind of speed exactly!

    • runsaltrun says:

      At least I kind of matched. Actually I think I would be hard pressed to NOT match with all those colors in that shirt.

      The handheld has been kind to me over the past couple months, but at the end of 20 miles I wanted to throw it in the street, so running with it Sunday was not an option for me. 🙂 They have water for us for a reason right? As for this thing, I’m going to make myself run with it a lot to justify the fact that I bought it with my gift cards and not a second SPI belt which is what I should have just done in the first place. 🙂

  6. Hannah @ stedgeracing says:

    I have the same Nathan hydration belt (though less flashy colors). I have worn it for several marathons, and overall love having water at the ready and not having to wait for aid stations. Also, I love being able to fill it with whatever hydration I want, AND whatever brand of gels I want (often the race doesn’t carry the brand I like). BUT, I am small like you, and the belt swivels around quite a bit, bounces a tad, and often chaffs my low back on sweaty races. Have I found anything better? No. But, I do find that filling the bottles only 3/4 full, and putting my gel packets into the little bungie cords helps keep it from bouncing as much. Oh, and wearing it backwards-so the bottles are on my back instead of on the front of my hips.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I like the idea of facing it toward my back (why did I not think of this!?) I can definitely see how that would cut down on the bouncing! I do like the bungee cords and that’s a great idea too!

    • RLR says:

      I wear mine on my back, too. And I wear it for every run – even short ones – because I love it! (And I’m not a big distance runner – the most I’ve done is 15k.)

  7. Eat Pray Run, DC says:

    that thing looks huge! i never really liked water belts and couldn’t ever really adjust. for marathon training last summer i invested in a camelbak and loved it. mine holds 70 oz of water (which surprisingly, i drank just about all of – i ran out of water in the 20s for both my marathons). i wouldn’t recommend you using the belt or a camelbak for your race though — you’re right you haven’t had enough time to get used to them. i’d maybe just go with your belt and your handheld (or no water, but that freaks me out!).

    • runsaltrun says:

      No water freaks me out a little bit too…maybe I could take the handheld and then if I do go insane and need to toss it I can just go back and get it later? It’s an out and back course so that might work out okay.

      I totally agree with you. I’m not practiced with this thing. Better to just leave it at home and use it later. 🙂

      • Eat Pray Run, DC says:

        do you have anyone who will be on the course supporting you? because you could hand if off to them to refill and then get it back at a pre chosen spot if you wanted it..,

      • runsaltrun says:

        It’s a possibility. I know my husband and daughter will be at the finish but I might have a couple other people coming too and since it’s an out and back and not a big race I should be able to locate them. This is a great suggestion! Thanks, lady!

  8. hellyontherun says:

    Great post! I’ve been thinking about a belt for a while so these are good things to consider. I def think it’s a good idea you hold off until you’ve transitioned into wearing it. Can’t wait for the weekend!

  9. sarahdudek80 says:

    I have become a huge fan of the Simple Hydration water bottle. I recently used it on a 20 mile run and it worked out perfectly. It is light and just slides into the back of your shorts band or spibelt. Definitely check them out. I also think they have a 50% off promotion going on right now.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh sweet thank you! I’m going to check that out. It likely won’t be in time for Sunday but at that price I can definitely justify getting one for later!

      • sarahdudek80 says:

        Yeah a little late for the race but totally worth having for future runs. It is so light I thought it fell out. It also doesn’t jostle when it is half full. Really have no complaints.

  10. themilereport says:

    Oh I love your belt (though I would love anything called Trail Mix), and it will be really nice for long runs. I think my water belt is the exact same except black and less fun-looking, and it’s handy once you get over the weird feeling of the water schlopping around. I’m carrying a spi-belt on Saturday, but the only thing I’m carrying with me is fuel (shot bloks & gu) and not water. It’s really comforting to have water with you at all times, but I’ve found that I prefer to feel lighter and take water from the aid stations.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m totally with you on that. I like the feeling of less stuff touching me so I’ll probably just drink their water. It’s probably not such a good idea to add in a whole new piece of gear now that I haven’t trained with at all. Trail Mix (haha) will definitely be awesome for training though! I never have access to water around here!

  11. Diann says:

    Looking forward to hearing how it works in your marathon. I have one from fuelbelt.com that has six smaller bottle with the idea of being evenly distributed but since they are so small, and I always liked it for long runs etc., but they can be kind of a pain to wash (can feel like a lot of stuff). But just two bottles seems possibly easier to deal with.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I do like the two bottle thing but in the future I think I need to do what Hannah suggested and wear them facing my back. I think that will make all the difference in the slight amount of annoyance they cause. How many ounces are the small bottles on your belt? That sounds so interesting!

  12. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I have never been able to wear a belt, I absolutely hate carrying anything on my waist. However, with that said, the last time I tried a belt was like 10 years ago before running gear got really better made and more ergonomic, so maybe I will have to give it a shot again. I get tired of wearing my camelback a lot.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’ve been so back and forth on a camelback. On one hand I feel like it would annoy the hell out of me, but then I couldn’t decide which would be more annoying when I was training…water in my hand, water on my waist, or water on my back. So far water in my hand is the worst.

  13. Amy says:

    I wear a camel back, and I love it. I hardly notice it’s even there. It has a pocket, but I rarely use it. I use the pockets in my shorts for gu and my phone; they are much more easily accessible. I wish more companies would make women’s running shorts with pockets. Instead, we get stuck buying fanny pack type accessories which are just NOT comfortable.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Seriously why do women’s running clothes lack pockets?! It’s such BS! Literally none of my clothes have any pockets aside from that bizarre non-pocket that holds one GU if I’m lucky at the back of my waist. I’m beginning to think I should have gotten a Camelback…

      • Amy says:

        The no pockets thing really makes me angry. I’ve found a pair of shorts that have pockets that I like and I bought 4 pairs. haha!

  14. The running schlub says:

    Great review, really hope it helps this weekend. I have a waist belt, generic brand, that I use to use on all my runs. After dehydrating myself twice, I take my camelbak on all my runs now. Very excessive but makes me feel better lol.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hey when it comes to staying hydrated you can never be too safe! If I were in your position I would be doing the exact same thing! 🙂 thank you! I probably won’t end up using it Sunday but it will be great for training runs.

  15. SuzLyfe says:

    Yeah, I would definitely hold off on it for this weekend. I had one of them, but I actually just sold it to someone in April because I had never ever used it! Also, I’m weird about things around my waist. And my doctor told me to avoid activities where balls fly at my nose ? (I just had to. I don’t know why). But the woman that I sold it to says it is awesome! I fully approve of the ridic colors, mine was sky blue 😀

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m weird about waist things too. Or really anything touching me at all when I run. This was like a lesser of all evils type purchase. 🙂 I think I’ll get some good use out of it but just not this time.

      Clueless references are always appropriate in every situation. I definitely LOL’ed. 🙂

  16. Running Bear says:

    I wore my camelbak hydration vest during my first marathon, regretted the decision big time (too heavy, mentally and physically), the race aid stations were more than adequate. One of the things I liked was the storage along the chest straps, held all my GU and Salt Stick capsules easily.

    In future races, I’ll skip on the hydration and rely on what the race provides. To store my goodies, either SPI belt, two SPI belts, or a new toy I’m trying out called RooSport which is a soft cloth pouch that goes inside the waist strap of your shorts/tights. I got it at the Pittsburgh Marathon expo and so far it has been nice on a few training runs, not yet tested during a race.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ooooo I’m intrigued by the RooSport. I might need to look into that later on! Thank you! I think this time around my best bet is doubling up on SPI belts.

  17. fitnessmeetsfrosting says:

    LOL that thing looks HUGE on you! Is anyone going to watch your race? Would they be able to hand off items to you at certain points? Might logistically be too difficult, but just a thought. AHHHHHHH SO EXCITED FOR YOU!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Haha I know right? I put it on and looked in the mirror and thought I looked like one of those people that takes your money for games at the carnival.

      I’m going to talk to my husband and friends and see about them meeting me on the course. Since it’s an out and back and it’s a small race I should be pretty easy to find! Great idea!

      (YAY thank you!! I’m so nervous!!)

  18. Kristen says:

    I’m recently new at reading your blog and it sounds like this is your first marathon (hopefully I’m not mis-reading that!!!? …but as a 5 time marathon runner, I’ve found that as a small person it gets very heavy towards the end of the race…even if it feels okay now I don’t think you’re going to want all that when you’re half way through the race. I found a cool belt at Boston that I can slide my phone and some cash inside, along with all my food and it didn’t add any weight at all. They had it at the expo so I’d look there for something small you could wear. If it’s a well organized race they will have plenty of water. I wouldn’t worry about carrying your own. There are always water stations and churches or other organizations along the route that are handing out water. It’s so heavy to carry and completely unnecessary. Just a couple tips! Good luck!!!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hey Kristen! You have no idea how helpful this all is! Yes this is my first go around, so I’m still in the learning phase of all of it!

      As okay as it felt for 4 miles earlier I can definitely see how it would get heavy and obnoxious later on. I’ll probably head up there with an extra belt just in case, but the expo will be a great place to check!

      Thank you so much for your help!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I like the Flipbelt but I’ve heard they are kind of hard to get into when you need something. That’s why I’m thinking I need something with an easy access zipper so I can get to my fuel quickly.

      I’m definitely going to rely on the aid stations. The handheld is okay but it would drive me nuts if I had to carry it the whole way. (The water sloshing around in there drives me insane.)

      That’s one of my fave blogs! She rocks! (And her comparison is excellent.)

  19. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    I had something similar a few years ago but I felt like it bounced all over the place and the water bottles sometimes leaked. It seemed to do a little better wearing it one the back of my hips. I use a camelbak backpack now , which holds 50 oz of water and there’s room to hold a bunch of other stuff too. I find this to be the most comfortable way to carry water, but when I don’t need water I just use a flipbelt. You could also safety pin gels to your shorts. That would free up space in your spibelt for other things!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I love the ion idea! Thanks, lady! That would definitely free up some space! The more I’m thinking about this the more I’m thinking I should have gone camelback.

  20. littlegreenrunningshoes says:

    I HATE hydration belts and handheld water bottles. I like running naked (so to speak) but unfortunately for long distance that just isn’t the case. I borrowed several different hydration belt options from friends to try them out and found that the single water bottle in the back worked best for me. The only major con I found besides the bouncing belt on my hips was a leaky bottle. I would love for something more simple to be on the market but I may be waiting for a while. If you have friends or family that will be along the race course you can always have them hand stuff to you when you need it! It’s almost here! YAYAYAYAAYYYY!

    • runsaltrun says:

      That’s not a bad idea either. I’m not sure exactly who all will be there yet (I know Mr. Salt and Betty will be at the finish!) but I think a couple other friends/family members are trying to make it so having them along the course would be great! Thank you! (And I prefer naked running too haha.)

  21. The Running Chef says:

    Hehe! Love it! You are like an explosion of color….did you run a color run before taking this pic? 🙂 I have a similar one, but in boring colors! In the past I would have never dreamed of using one, but you are right, it does help, and you do not notice it after a while.

    My other running friends laugh at me for it, but if it helps me break that 2:40 marathon barrier…..then why not!

  22. DarlinRae says:

    Late to the party here, but I have an iFitness hydration belt. While the pocket isn’t as big as I’d like (enough for my iPhone and maybe 2 GUs), that sucker does.not.move. once I get it on. It’s got little stickies on the back so it grips your clothing, and even with 2 8 oz bottles, I hardly notice it’s there. I fill one with Nuun and one with plain water.

  23. piratebobcat says:

    I personally never carry anything with me on runs because like you said, they have drinks and stuff on the course. I do have my gu’s in pockets though. I probably wouldn’t wear something different than what you trained in – is my advice. It could cause chafing or something if you’re not used to it.
    Make sure to be getting all your carbs and fluids and electroytes in you ALL week, not the night before. Keep those levels topped off!

  24. Kathryn @ Dancing to Running says:

    I have the same belt, and while it was awkward to wear it first, I’ve gotten very used to it. I love how many gels and shot bloks I can fit into the pouch, along with a car or house key. I agree, wearing it this weekend when you’re not used to it, isn’t a good idea, but as you progress in your Dopey training I think you’ll find it less cumbersome than it is initially.

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