I have always been curious about Fuel Belt products, but being a pear-shaped guy (read: I still have a gut) I was leery about buying the product because I wasn’t sure how they would fit me and I hated to spend 30 or 40 dollars on something I couldn’t use. But after scanning their website I noticed that some of their products are fit for us larger waisted guys. The Fuel Belt folks were kind enough to send me two products to wear-test. The first is the two-bottle Wachusett belt. This is a Velcro fastened belt with a pouch and two 10-ounce bottles.
That belt is on the bottom of the photo above. I have run in this belt several times and really like it. The bottles do not bounce and are securely fastened by the slot straps and an elastic cord that can be fitted over the nozzles. It has some elastic in the belt part so it has a little “give” when fastened snugly around the waist. The pouch is just big enough for an iPod Nano, and a gel or two. But it is not big enough for my iPhone. (I wanted to carry my iPhone on some runs so I purchased for 9.95 the medium pouch, which fits over the belt and is made of neoprene. The medium sized pouch is just big enough to hold an iPhone snugly. Since it is neoprene, it will repel water and moisture pretty well, I suspect, even though I will continue to put my phone in a plastic sandwich bag for safer keeping.) All in all, I really like the Wachusett Belt. Here is a link to the Fuel Belt webpage and more info on this belt. (Fuel Belt describes the pouch as being in the back, but I wore it with the pouch in the front, so I could get to my gel and iPod). http://www.fuelbelt.com/fuel_belts/2_bottle.html
The other belt they sent me for testing was the Crush Belt (http://www.fuelbelt.com/outdoor/bottle.html). This has a 22 ounce bottle and a small pouch. The bottle is carried at an angle in the rear. I ran with this belt twice and while I like it, I do not like it more than Wachusetts belt. I found that the bottle leaked a little, and bounced a little. But that minor problem aside, I thought the belt was effective and I was abe to get a gel and my iPod Nano in the pouch. The tighter you cinch the belt, though, the less space you have in the pouch as it is drawn tightly over the body. So don’t expect to carry a lot of items in that pouch. I am also a little curious as to why they have a velcro fastener instead of a clip. There is a reason, I am sure that probably relates to their triathlete support and heritage. Perhaps they’ll provide me an answer someday.
In all of my long runs leading up to the Disney Marathon I had used an old Camelbak backpack hydration pack. While it met my needs, it didn’t make me a fan, because I didn’t like having shoulder straps contrict my movements, nor did I like having a heavy fluid-filled pack on my back. Granted, the Camelbak was an older model and they have updated their products in the three years since I bought it, I do prefer a waist pack for hydration now. I would like to try the Camelbak Waist packs in a wear test and may see if they’ll be as generous as the Fuel Belt folks.
So, if you are a runner who is not fully “runner shaped” or were a little leary about Fuel Belt products, rest easy, because if they fit me well, they will most certainly fit you. My thanks to Fuel Belt for allowing me to try their products.