In a nice bit of serendipity, soon after I signed up for the Chicago Monster Half-Marathon (have you seen the finisher’s buckle? haha), FuelBelt sent me a Helium 4 hydration system and I’ve worn it on several runs, including my recent longer run at Palos.
What Fuelbelt says about the Helium system: “Helium is the most widely used hydration belt in the world. Helium is lightweight, comfortable and is standard equipment for runners of all abilities. We’ve put this belt through some of the toughest events in the world and it continues to outperform and deliver. When it comes to style and personalizing our Helium belts, athletes mix and match their belts with various bottle colors to create their own customized look and feel. Helium belts are available in a broad collection of Kona-inspired colorways.”
Vinu Malik, the founder of FuelBelt, is an active triathlete and has qualified for and competed at Ironman Kona several times. To read an insightful interview with him, pick up a copy of the August 2009 issue of Triathlete Magazine or click here.
When I run, I ususally don’t like to wear any more than is absolutely necessary. Belts, packs, keyholders, etc. just seem to get in the way and sometimes give me back pain. Occasionally though, one comes across a product that really delivers – the FuelBelt is one of them.
Running true to size, the Large (33-35″ waist) fits me spot on, though when I lose more weight, it’ll be hard to keep it in place. The bottles are unobtrusive and small enough that the sloshing from partially empty ones is not too distracting. I’ve tried both plain water and Nuun in the bottles and have not noticed any sort of plastic aftertaste, which sometimes happens with refillable bottles. The waistband is wide, padded, and affixes via a hook and loop fastener strip, not budging once it’s on. A well-thought out and designed piece of running gear.
A complaint (sort of). When I go for a longer run, I like to carry my phone and my keys (if I ‘ve driven to a trailhead). The pocket on the belt is just too small, at least for my Blackberry. To be honest, when I pulled out the belt from its shipping box, I started laughing, because the small pocket made me think of Ben Stiller in Zoolander with his teeny phone:
Apart from that, this is an amazing product. And, as it turns out, Fuelbelt makes larger pockets which can replace the smaller included pocket. This is part of Fuelbelt’scommitment to offering different options so that each person can customize their belt. Even if you’ve shied away from wearing waistbelts as a hydration system, the Helium 4 is so comfortable and utilitarian (except for the mini phone pocket), it’s definitely worth a look.
(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog – courtesy of Fuelbelt. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)
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Weight: (Goal of 165) – 192.8
BF: (Goal of 11-22) – 12.3
TBW: (Goal of 50-65) – 57.6
VF: (Goal of 1-12) – 5