While I know it’s not technically necessary to drink water on anything but my longer runs, there are times when I do like to carry water with me, even on shorter 5-6 mile runs. I’ve not tried a handheld water bottle, but I think that would really annoy me. I really don’t like carrying anything in my hands, not even a little tube of pepper spray.
I decided to give a belt style carrier a try when I came across the Ultimate Direction Blaze hydration belt on sale at Woot.com about six months ago. My runs were just starting to get into the over five mile range and there were times when I wished I had a little water. From the research I did, it looked like a simple solution for me, and I figured I would prefer it over a vest or handheld.
Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the Blaze. At this point, I wish I would have gotten more than one because I really like it, especially for the price I paid. It carries enough water for 6-13 mile runs as long as it isn’t terrible hot out. I usually carry just one bottle on the 6 mile end of things. The belt is well made, doesn’t bounce around on me at all, and doesn’t feel annoying (I kind of forget it’s there when the water is gone). The reflective bits on it are nice for night running, which I do a fair amount of.
The one thing that bugs me is the zippered pouch could stand to be a little larger. It’s not big enough for a phone or even a pouch of PowerBar gel chews (my favorite running snack). It wouldn’t have messed up anything on the purpose or design to give it another inch or so of fabric to make it a more useful size. That said, it fits a couple GU’s or a typical size key ring just fine.
I do like to carry stuff with me, so really, if I hadn’t have found such a good deal on the Blaze, I would probably go with the Ultimate Direction Blaze Plus instead. I think the only difference is the center pouch on the Plus, which I often wish I had.
In the end, I’m really happy with the belt and would totally buy another belt from Ultimate Direction.
Update – I’m planning some longer run/walks/hikes later this year and I recently picked up the Ultimate Direction Katoa Waist Pack. If you need a larger pack and a lot more water capacity, it’s a winner for sure. I hope to do a little write up on it soon…