Back in the 90’s I remember when bumbags came into fashion. They never really seemed to hang around possibly due to the lack of fashion in wearing one despite being a good way of carrying a minimal amount of gear! I normally would prefer to wear a pack, solely from a personal comfort point of view, but since I won this belt, I decided to give it a go. I found it relatively comfortable easy to clip in place and run with, as for racing, I’m not entirely sold, the water bottles bounced around a bit and I had to keep tightening the waist band to get it to sit comfortably. I tried carrying a jacket in the bungy stash area and it bounced right out almost straight away! The best thing about this belt was probably the padded zip pocket just big enough to fit a cellphone in it.
Brand: Ultimate Direction
Where to get in NZ: mostly online, Wiggle.co.nz, Fuelme, Gearshop
Typical Retail price: $60
My guess given the small load capacity this is designed for taking a light load over a short distance, perfect for that 2-3hour run. The belt features two drink bottles, a bungy stash pocket, a small mesh pocket and a padded secondary pocket.
The two drink bottles look to have been improved on the latest model of this belt. I can see why too, the nozzles on these bottles are a random small size that is non-standard. The plastic material is quite soft also and already I can see a few teeth marks. The nozzle was also quite stiff to pull on and I found the bottle difficult to drink from. To get any descent flow out of it required squeezing the bottle, which is nicely shaped to fit the belt, but actually quite difficult to hold in your hand. Also because there is two bottles, you probably need to drink from both at regular intervals rather than drinking from one first and then working your way onto the other. The weight in the bottles can make a bit of a difference on how the belt sits around your waist.
The bungy stash pocket was not very good for holding a jacket. I tried folding my OR Helium into it when I didnt need it, but this lasted all of about 10 strides before it bounced so much that I gave up and pulled it out. Im not sure what else clothing-wise you could stash in there that wouldn’t effect your running?
The mesh pocket situated in behind the stash bungy panel was big enough to fit a couple of Gels in and worked relatively well. The only thing to watch out for here is the sharp corners on some brands of gels poking through the mesh and causing all sorts of trouble on the wearer.
Probably the most useful part of this belt is the padded pocket. Its just big enough to fit a cellphone in and it carries well when worn on the belt. The padding protects the wearer and provides some resistance from sweat getting near the cellphone and destroying it!
The belt was mostly pretty comfortable to run with. I few issues with it I found was that it rode up a bit from your hips to your waist and as a result the waist band needed tightening every now and then. As I mentioned eairlier the mesh pocket is backed with more mesh, a tighter weave, but if you do have sharp edged gels they can poke into you body if you are not careful. The shaped bottles work really well for comfort while running, you can hardly feel that they are there at all. The padded pocket also works really well comfort-wise and the burden of carrying a heavy cellphone around your waist is hardly noticeable at all.
The belt consisted of a lot of lightweight mesh, but also very strong mesh. This belt has not got much a thrashing, but never the less it is still almost as good as new after a good few runs. Due to the lightweight nature of the construction wear and tear is not as bigger issue as a heavier pack. The bottles do let the belt down in the durablity stakes, as mentioned above after only a couple of uses the bottle nozzle is already showing up teeth marks. The plastic used on this part of the bottle is quite soft but also a bit stiff which may have contributed to the nozzle damage. The belt retaining clips look a little flimsy, and probably after a bit of use I would expect these bits to probably fail first.
I’m not sure that running belts or bumbags will ever be able to be considered looking good!?! But the use of grey white and red, probably at a level that is just enough to not draw too much attention to the belt. Having two bottles placed either side of a central pocket/stash panel give the look of the belt a good balance and it not too outrageous. I didn’t feel too out of place wearing it out in the hills so for a running belt with drink bottles it doesn’t look all that bad.
The belt comes with two drink bottles and enough room to stash a bit of food and your phone (so you can take that photo to upload to instagram) its not too bad in the scheme of things. It is a durable and functional belt with some good features and I think reasonably priced at $60. The latest version of this belt looks to have ironed out a few of the issues I have mentioned here so you might even be getting better value for money in that version!