CamelBak FlashFlo LR Belt
Camels are well known for their ability to store water for long periods of time. This is the secret to how they are able to survive in the desert, an environment where water is scarce. Many people mistakenly believe that the camel stores water in the large humps on their backs. While science has disproved this myth, the image of a camel storing water in large humps endures in popular culture to this day.
It is this very image of a camel’s hump that popular athletic apparel designer CamelBak uses as the visual basis for many of their products. All of their most popular hydration accessories incorporate this image in some way, with their most well-known product being a backpack that doubles as a water reservoir with a hose for easy access. The CamelBak Flash Flo LR Belt is a product that functions similarly to the aforementioned backpack, albeit in a more portable fashion. Instead of a pack that covers a runner’s entire back, this belt merely wraps around the waist and stores its water near the lower back. The result of this design is a highly portable, durable, and convenient method of hands-free water storage perfect for trail runners and hikers.
- Excellent durability
- High stability
- Lifetime warranty
- Convenient storage
- Reflective materials
- Difficult to fill
- Annoying straps
Since the design of this belt is so closely related to the design of a traditional CamelBak backpack, there are many aspects these two products have in common. One is a high-quality and extremely portable water storage method. Since the bladder isn’t made of rigid plastic or steel material commonly used for water bottles, it can collapse and take up less space as water is consumed. The straw-like hose provides an additional degree of convenience, as runners don’t need to remove anything from the belt in order to take a drink. Where the Flash Flo LR belt differs from a traditional water backpack is in the reduced storage ability and different weight distribution, both due to the smaller size. While this does mean that this belt has less functionality than a larger backpack version, the benefits of portability and weight are enough to justify its use for a substantial portion of dedicated runners and hikers.
Because the form of water storage used for the CamelBak Flash Flo LR Belt is a collapsible bladder instead of a sturdier bottle or flask, durability was a major focus. In addition to making a belt that was durable on its own, CamelBak needed to design a product that could also provide durability to what is essentially a water balloon. Because of this, extra layers of protective material were used to manufacture the pouch of this belt. Even the straps that wrap around a runner’s waist were reinforced in order to better handle the extra weight that comes with a large volume of water. The consequence of these defensive measures is a lack of airflow when the Flash Flo LR Belt is worn, at least when comparing it to other running belts with water storage.
Aside from weight-related concerns, this water belt is reasonably comfortable. The straps used to secure this CamelBak product to the wearer’s waist are adjustable, so individuals of all waist sizes can ensure a comfortable and stable fit. The added mouthpiece prevents runners or hikers from having to uncomfortably open the rear-facing pouch and pull out their water source to drink from. While this does improve the comfort factor, some customers noted that this mouthpiece tends to dangle when it isn’t being used. Because of this, it may be a good idea for wearers to clip it to their shoulder with the aid of additional apparatus. Ultimately, the lack of serious weight and the use of a convenient delivery method helps to ensure adequate comfort while using the Flash Flo LR Belt.
The dimensions of the belt portion are roughly 6 inches wide for the straps, 12 inches for the pouch’s length, and 6 inches for the pouch’s depth. The belt can be adjusted to fit waistlines anywhere from 30 to 50 inches, making it viable for a wide range of body shapes. In addition to holding the water reservoir, the pouch portion contains a decently sized zippered pocket as well. Unlike some other running belts, this pocket is large enough to store a decent amount of essential items such as a trail map or GPS device.
Fortunately, CamelBak took great pains to address this design issue when making the actual belt portion of the Flash Flo LR Belt. In addition to extra sturdy straps that help to secure the water reservoir in place, multiple layers of strong synthetic material help to provide a resilient line of defense against road or trail hazards. This extra strong material may result in a diminished feeling of breathability while wearing this belt but it carries the benefit of offering a similarly impressive degree of protection for any valuables stored in its pockets. Furthermore, every belt comes with a CamelBak lifetime warranty which will replace damaged products at no cost to the customer.
Aside from this major inclusion to the product’s package, there are no other accessories included with the belt. What is interesting about this belt, however, is how conveniently compatible it is with other accessories. For example, the standard valuables pocket that is included with most trail belts is significantly larger on the Flash Flo LR belt. This is a consequence of the included water bladder, which requires more protective material than a standard water storage container. For this reason, runners can easily and conveniently stow important valuables during their run or hike, such as a trail map, a compass, a smartphone, a GPS device, or snacks. It doesn’t feature as much storage space as a traditional backpack but it certainly offers more room than a standard trail belt.
For those who are unafraid to rock a dadcore style, there are some different color schemes available to choose from. These color options often incorporate lots of blacks and blues, with some lighter palettes showcasing bright neon yellows and oranges. It may be difficult to incorporate some of the brighter models with other aspects of a runner’s wardrobe; for these individuals, the all-black model is most likely to be their best option. Aside from mere fashion, one element of this product’s style serves a more important function. All colors of the CamelBak Flash Flo LR Belt come with reflective lettering and accents on all sides. This is incredibly handy when running in low light environments, as it enhances a runner’s visibility in such a way that they will be safe from accidental collisions.
Despite costing a bit more than many other similar running belts, this price hike is well justified. Numerous features set this CamelBak water belt leaps and bounds ahead of competing products, even ones made by the same manufacturer! For starters, the included water reservoir stores much more liquid than the average bottle or flask and is well worth the entire cost alone. In order to accommodate this larger water storage device, more room is available to store valuables, making the utility value of this product even greater. Finally, the lifetime warranty attached to the CamelBak Flash Flo LR Belt ensures that any damage sustained to any portion of the product will be covered adequately by the manufacturer at no extra cost to the customer. As a result, this initially intimidating asking price feels less like a bill and more like an investment into something of significant quality.
- 1.5L water storage bladder
- Long mouthpiece for hands-free drinking
- Zippered pockets for valuables
- Adjustable straps
- Reflective materials for low-light visibility
- Lifetime manufacturer warranty
The individuals who are best suited for this product are the hardcore runners. These are the crazy people who attempt the incredibly physically demanding and potentially life-threatening pastime of trail running, or the fitness freaks that put themselves through tests of endurance such as a marathon or 5K. For these fine folks, this CamelBak water belt is designed to offer features they will find extremely useful, such as a significant amount of water storage, conveniently ergonomic and aerodynamic weight distribution, and an incredibly convenient method of hands-free hydration. Anyone who sees running as less of a hobby and more of a lifestyle will probably want to pick up one of these belts.