You ever see a runner trotting along wearing a belt with water bottles hanging from it?  I see them all the time.  You ever think they look like a modern fanny pack?  Remember how fanny packs have been a big joke for a very long time?  With all that going through your mind do you ever wonder if you could pull off the water bottle belt and have it look cooler on you? Maybe on you it wouldn’t look like a fanny pack at all and people would think you must be a serious runner because of your awesome gear.  I’ve had all of that run through my head on a lot of different occasions and every time I’ve pondered the idea of a water belt I have come to the conclusion that I just cannot do it.  I think I may have found an answer. 

I have done many things over the past two years to try and stay hydrated on long runs.  I’ve mapped all my routes around parks with water fountains and that works great until one of them isn’t working or the city turns them off for the winter.  I have run with a Camelbak which is also a great option until you drink all the water and then have a light floppy pack on your back.  I’ve run loops where I leave water bottles at the start line so I can just grab a sip as I need it but then I always have to worry about someone taking my bottles.  All of these are great options even though they have some potential drawbacks.

So why look for other options if all these are viable?  Because every option I have has a spot where it is not ideal and I hate carrying water in my hand.  This brings me back to the belts.  In theory they should be the perfect option since they are light, can carry multiple bottles, and they can even carry your belongings if you get the right one.  I just cannot get past the look of it so I went for what I thought might be the next best thing and that’s the Fuel Belt Wedge.  The wedge is a 7 ounce bottle that is the same bottle used on the Fuel Belts but with a twist: you carry it without needing the belt.  I found that very appealing for a few reasons.

The wedge has a simple metal clasp that holds the bottle on the elastic waist band of your pants or shorts.  I found that to be ingenious even though it could not be any simpler.  I got very excited when I saw this product the first time and I ordered one shortly after.  I said before that I tend to keep my runs around paths that have water fountains on them but sometimes those fountains are not working.  I felt this gave the Wedge a huge point of value for me.  Being able to carry 7 ounces of fluid with me for those times where I might have had to go without until the next water fountain is great and the Wedge does not disappoint.

The Wedge feels light on your belt line and doesn’t try to pull your shorts off.  The company says to put it on the back of your shorts but I find I like it to ride on the side of my shorts a lot more.  I imagine this is different for everyone but when it’s placed in the back my shirt tends to catch it when I pull the shirt up to wipe my face.  Sitting on my side it’s also easier to get to and it slides right off without lifting my shorts up.  The only negative of the Wedge comes when you try to put it back on your shorts.  The little thing is really hard to get on because of the closeness of the clasp to the bottle.  I’ve bent the clasp some to make this easier and that worked but it also made the Wedge feel less secure so I guess you have to pick your poison.  Perhaps there is a happy place somewhere in the adjusting that can make it perfect but out of the box I found it almost impossible to get on my shorts while running.

The nozzle is very nice on the bottle as well.  I’m assuming this is the same for all Fuel Belt bottles but this being my first one I was very impressed.  It stays open when you open it and it stays closed when you close it.  It also offers a good flow when you want a drink.  In fact I choked myself a little when I took my first drink out of it because it shot the water hard into the back of my throat!  Yes that moment was bad but I like that it can do that because that allows this little bottle to offer a nice spray of cool water on my head when I don’t need the water for drinking.

At 7 ounces this is not something to sustain you over the long haul but as a supplement it is great.  I have also found that I can mix my Generation UCAN in this bottle to have an energy pick-me-up on long runs.  My only complaint in terms of its abilities is that my fluids don’t stay cold.  My body heat makes my water warm but this is something I’m used to since it happens with my Camelbak as well.  I drop an ice cube or two in there and that goes a long way towards keeping my fluids cool so that is an issue that can be avoided for a while.

So that’s the Fuel Belt Wedge.  It’s not the end all, be all in water carrying options but it does allow me to carry a smaller amount of water that isn’t in my hands or strapped around my waist on a fanny pack.  It’s a light and easy option for having something to drink with you out on a run.

Ok yes it’s the same bottle used on the belts.  Yes I imagine from a distance one might think I’m wearing a Fuel Belt because of that but up close that’s not the case.  Up close it just looks like I’ve got a water bottle stuck to my shorts in a very non fanny pack way.  I think the fact that the bottle faces the body instead of sticking out goes a long way in helping it look less awkward to me.  I will also say that even though it’s probably crazy I don’t feel uncool only carrying the bottle.  I feel resourceful and intelligent for having such a crafty way to make sure I don’t dehydrate.

To recap: the bottle works really well and doesn’t make you feel uncool.  Works for me.

 

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5 responses »

  1. My concern with this guy is that it would work it’s way off my shorts. But it looks like for you this hasn’t been a problem.

    I run with a fuel belt, which works for me. Along with my water I keep my emergency first aid supplies, and bags for my running companion’s waste (a.k.a. my dog bags). I also still use minimalist shoes when my feet get tired so I hang these off the belt with a carabiner. I feel less like I look like I am wearing a fanny pack and more like I am wearing a super hero utility tool belt. I feel like the Barefoot Hero running through the streets with the greatest of ease. Just another take on the belts for ya.

    • I’ve tried to see it as a utility belt many times and I come close at times. To avoid being completely vain about the issue I am not a fan of stuff bouncing around on me when I run and that is a bit of an issue here. The Wedge however does stay on the waist band really well which is partly why it’s so difficult to get on while on the move.

  2. Flatlander says:

    I agree the Wedge is good if you don’t need to carry much water, and it beats carry a bottle in your hand. Since I have zero concern about how I look to others while running, I have no problem with my Fuelbelt. If folks don’t like my Fuelbelt appearance, they can just kiss all my marathon medals. My Fuelbelt holds 4 bottles and I have two pockets for gels, cell phone and other things I like to carry on training runs and marathons. I need plenty of water on hot summer training runs where water stops are not always close by. I try to rely on race support only for water, so the Fuelbelt with pockets is great. When I get within a shot of BQ, I’ll use my Wedge to reduce weight. Until then, the weight of a full Fuelbelt just enhances my training. I’m good at refilling bottles on the run in races, so I use a 10oz for refills and carry an empty 7-8oz in case temps get hot and I want extra water for drinking or cooling. My Fuelbelt doesn’t bounce much and is very comfortable. The belt is also good for attaching lights for running in the dark before sunrise and after sunset. Safety, hydration, energy, fitness and performance are my concerns, not fashion opinions of strangers. BTW – If you use a Camelbak, fill it, turn it upside down, and suck out the air to eliminate water sloshing.

  3. Mary Abbott says:

    I am having issues with the plastic taste. My bottles are PBA free then why does my water taste like plastic. I’ll try the ice cube trick…

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