Okay, I admit it, I’ve reached the point where I have to deal with the dilemma of the modern runner — namely, “where the heck do I put everything?” Depending on the length of the run, I might be carrying my phone, keys, Parkrun barcode, SRC membership card, energy gels and cash/card (always a good idea just in case something goes wrong). Up ’til now I’ve just always worn running tights with a big enough pocket for my phone and a card, but that tactic’s not going to work much longer, especially as most of my winter training is done in the Skins tights I got a great deal on last year — they have a tiny key pocket, but that’s it. On longer runs I take my Camelbak which has a couple of small pockets.
The sporting goods market is awash with bags, belts and backpacks to help you stow your running essentials, but I’m pretty picky about choosing the right solution, bearing in mind my criteria:
- Must hold everything I might want to carry on an average training run
- Must be comfortable to wear and not bounce around
- Should be “device agnostic” (ie. not designed for a specific make/model of phone)
- My phone should not be visible to others (ie. not an armband)
Browsing through the usual websites, I couldn’t find anything I really liked the look of, so I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across something rather interesting in a San Francisco sports store.
It’s called the Flip Belt and it’s a really simple, yet effective, piece of kit. This piece of simplistic genius works like this: it’s a loop of fabric, with gaps strategically placed along the seam, allowing you to slide your essential running accessories in and hold them securely. It comes in a wide range of colours and five sizes to ensure the best possible fit.
As for the practicalities, I took it out for a nine-mile run and everything stayed exactly where I put it. With nothing bouncing around or falling out, I could just focus on the run. In short, it’s perfect for my needs.
Two very minor points to consider:
- To my mind, the reflective logo is printed on the wrong side. To have it showing, the seam openings need to be facing away from your body. As I prefer to flip my belt over, I end up with the logo on the inside. Even with the openings on the outside, things are still secure, so it’s a small point, but one worth considering if you’re running in the dark.
- It’s sometimes difficult to get gels in and out of the pockets as they don’t slide in very easily and tend to get caught, but that’s more the fault of the gels than the Flip Belt and it’s better than having gels bouncing around all over the place!
At the time I bought it, the Flip Belt wasn’t available in the UK, but they’ve recently added a stockist, Sports Tech Lab over here. I hope they continue to enjoy the success they have found so far – they certainly deserve it for delivering a simple, yet effective product.