3.13.2012

iFitness Hydration Belt vs. Camelbak

When I first started running I rarely carried any water because I was usually running on the trail at Town Lake and would just grab water from the water jugs as I ran by. When I started running farther, and not always on the trail, I found myself in the market for a hydration system.

There are usually 3 types of hydration systems: handheld, belt and backpack. 

The idea of "carrying" around water in my hand for the entire run sounded awful. I know some people don't mind them but I didn't see myself being one of those people. 

The next option was a hydration belt. When I first started running I had low back issues. I was worried that the belt would bother my back during my runs. Also, they all seemed to get bad reviews about bouncing up an down.

So, I went with the last option. A Camelbak backpack. Hi Friends!
I purchased the kids version of the Mini Mule at my local outdoors store. {I think my version is the 2009 model. This is the latest kids version on the market.} It can hold 50oz of water. I usually fill it half or 3/4 of the way up before a half marathon or long run.
Reasons why I like my Mini Mule Camelbak:

1) Smaller=lighter 
2) It has both the chest strap and belt strap, which the smallest adult version doesn't have
3) It has lots of room for my keys, phone, gels, gloves, hat, arm sleeve etc. I have issues with over dressing and it's nice to have a place to put all of my stuff. 
4) Helps me avoid water stations during races
5) It's easy to drink from mid stride with the drinking tube

What I don't like about a Camelbak:

1) It gets really hot on my back when the temperature rises, which is basically year around in Austin.
2) My back and shoulders seem sore after long runs from the pack
3) Parts of the pack would rubbed my arms raw if I wore short sleeves. This also prevented me from wearing tank tops. 
4) It's a pain to take off the pack to get my phone or gels out mid race. This isn't a problem if I have a friend that can help out but when running alone it's a pain.

After lots of back sweat {tmi??}  and having sore shoulders after the Rock n' Roll Arizona race I started to consider getting a different system. After watching my Aunt run a half marathon with an iFitness Hydration Belt and asking Danica WAY too many questions about her review of the belt I decided to order the 16oz option and give it a try.
Usually, I like to try things out a couple times before using it in a race. Not this time. I think I ran about 7 miles with the belt when I decided to use it for the Austin Half Marathon.

What I like about the iFitness Hydration belt:
1) It's easy to get to my gels with the convenient holders.
2) It's nice to have my iPhone easy to access for mid race photos.
3) There is the option to have your race number on the belt {even though I haven't used this option yet}
4) It doesn't bounce or move around, it's really shocking.
5) There are little toggles to keep the water bottles in place
6) There's a little divider/holder for my id and credit card
7) It doesn't make my back hot

Things I don't like as much:
1) Sometimes it's hard to get the water bottles out of their pouches
2) It's not as easy to drink from the bottle of water as the Camelbak tube
3) The water bottles leak a little if you don't have the lids on just right
4) I like to carry Sharkies as back up to my gel. There isn't really a good place to put them. I had to shove them into the pouch with my phone. The package is too big to fit in the other gel holster.

So, what does this all mean? Even though I've run lots of races with the Camelbak I think the iFitness Hydration Belt has won me over. The Camelbak is a great option for bike riding or running on the trail or when I anticipate shedding lots of layers but I think the iFitness Hydration Belt will be the key to my happiness in the Spring/Summer/Year-round. The iFitness Hydration Belt provides a convenient way to hydrate and refuel on the run without the shoulder pain and back sweat with the Camelbak. 

Kelly

P.S. I purchased both hydration systems with my own money but I'm not against getting free stuff. Also, the opinions in this post are my own. I wish I had been paid to write them but that's not the case.

5 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked the Ifitness and you are right, it truly is shocking that it doesn't bounce at all! :)

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  2. Haha! Your disclaimer/ps at the bottom cracks me up. I wish I enjoyed running...

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