CamelBak Ultra Belt
In addition to being a simple and popular pastime, running is considered by many to be the most effective way to lose weight and improve overall bodily health. This is because it requires the entire body to be engaged, resulting in a high amount of stimulation to the body’s cardiovascular system. As a result, many runners will begin to sweat profusely, even after very short running sessions.
While this isn’t always a cause for concern, the truth is that the loss of water through perspiration can become a health issue over longer running sessions. For this reason, many medical professionals stress the importance of proper hydration during running or any other strenuous cardiovascular exercise. However, many runners don’t like having to hold a water bottle during their long-running sessions.
Popular hydration accessory designer CamelBak made a low-profile, easy to use the belt that meets the needs of this particular clientele. The CamelBak Ultra Belt allows for hands-free water bottle storage that can come in handy for hardcore trail runners and casual joggers alike.
- Adjustable strap
- Breathable material
- Convenient pocket placement
- Extra water flask
- Reflective material
- Low price
- Tacky style
- Lopsided weight distribution
- Questionable durability
This isn’t a literal belt, meaning that it can’t be used to hold up a pair of pants, but it is still very useful for joggers, hikers, and trail runners. The design of this product is simple and comprised of two pockets, a lightweight mesh belt, a plastic flask, and one strap securing it to the wearer’s waist.
The most common use of the Ultra Belt is for hands-free water storage. To accomplish this task CamelBak, implemented a storage pouch opened and closed with a zipper that is large enough to hold the included 17 ounces Quick Stow flask.
One extra pocket has been included that is a bit smaller than the main one but can still be used for storing small snacks or a travel-size flashlight. Thanks to the lightweight and breathable material used, the Ultra Belt is perfect for environments where hydration are most necessary, such as a steep incline trail in a hot climate.
While this isn’t the most useful belt-based running accessory on the market, enough features are present to make the CamelBak Ultra Belt a welcome addition to any serious trail runner’s arsenal.
The majority of the Ultra Belt is made of a highly perforated synthetic fabric material referred to by CamelBak as 3D Ventilated mesh. As the name implies, it is designed to provide the maximum possible level of ventilation while still being durable enough to handle a trail run or jogging session.
This particular blend of design and manufacturing boasts “multi-directional airflow,” which presumably means that the Ultra Belt can take advantage of changes in wind direction to cool the body and wick away moisture. It’s a pleasant bonus that the CamelBak Hydration Belt manages to provide these features while also weighing little and feeling very comfortable.
The use of only one strap cuts down on the amount of non-breathable material that can lead to chafing; not that skin irritation should be a major concern, considering that many runners will likely wear this belt over one or two layers of clothing.
Despite all of the comfort-related amenities present in the design of the CamelBak Ultra Belt, there are some design shortcomings that can potentially lead to discomfort. For example, the use of only one strap on the side of the belt may make it harder for runners to keep it securely fastened to their body.
This problem can be exacerbated if the pockets on the Ultra Belt have a filled flask in them, not to mention any extra accessories stored in the smaller pocket. Despite CamelBak making this belt extra wide in an attempt to distribute weight easier, slippage is still likely to occur when wearing it, which can be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst.
In fact, one customer left a review online for the CamelBak Ultra Belt saying it wasn’t viable for serious trail running specifically due to these concerns.
However, the vast majority of individuals interested in owning this running belt shouldn’t experience any issues in this area, especially since the mesh material is stretchy enough to accommodate larger waistlines. The main pocket of the Ultra Belt is large enough to fit the included flask which has a maximum capacity of 17 ounces. Additionally, the included flask is collapsible so it will take up less space the more runners drink from it.
When comparing the capacity of the CamelBak Quick Stow flask to the hydration needs of runners, it seems that it can only store enough water for around 30 minutes of exercise.
This is based off a recommendation from an online medical resource which states that individuals should drink about 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes during strenuous physical activity. This makes the Ultra Belt’s water storage capabilities most viable for runners who engage in short of mid-length running sessions.
This may also be enough hydration to accommodate shorter hikes and trail runs, but it is recommended that runners drink more water in these environments, especially on warmer days. The flask can always be replaced with a larger bottle, though runners may have some difficulty fitting something with greater volume in the larger pocket.
For example, the 3D Ventilated mesh fabric that comprises the majority of this CamelBak product’s construction is excellent at managing airflow and maintaining a cool temperature, but it also has a disappointing level of structural integrity that can lead to tearing. The included Quick Stow flask has a similar problem since the soft collapsible design makes it more susceptible to leakage from a puncture.
As a result of these two major shortcomings, the CamelBak Ultra Belt simply isn’t suitable for running activities with a high intensity such as trail running. It may still be useful for short hikes but extra caution will still need to be exercised when encountering brush in order to avoid damaging this CamelBak product.
However, this product should manage to stay together for runners who just want hands-free water storage during a tame jogging session.
An important distinction that needs to be made about the Quick Stow is that it’s a flask, not a common water bottle. This means that its design is intended for portable and low-profile storage, with its design being a reflection of that. Some runners may be disappointed by how much water this flask can store since 17 ounces is only enough for about 30 minutes of serious physical exertion.
However, considering how easy it is to store and access that water, compounded by the fact that it conveniently condenses as it is emptied, it becomes clear that this accessory to the Ultra Belt is very good at providing a lightweight and stress-free hydration.
Some of the grey portions are even reflective, meaning that this belt helps runners stay safe by improving their visibility when running in the dark.
However, some aspects of the Ultra Belt’s style are less than pleasing. One disappointing aspect is the lopsided design of the belt straps that can lead to disproportionate weight distribution. In addition to this, customers have mentioned in their online reviews that they experienced difficulty keeping this belt secured during a few running sessions. One other potential shortcoming present in this CamelBak product is the small pocket sizes.
The largest pocket is designed to accommodate a space-saving water flask, necessitating a decent amount of room, but the second pocket feels like an afterthought. In particular, runners with larger smartphones may not be able to fit theirs in the Ultra Belt unless they place it in the main pocket, which essentially defeats the purpose of wearing this belt in the first place.
That isn’t to say that it couldn’t benefit from some additional features or tweaks to fix some issues. However, if these changes had the consequence of increasing the price of this CamelBak product, it would defeat the point.
The initial suggested retail price for the Ultra Belt is generously low, costing only half as much as many trail running belts. Additionally, shoppers looking to save even more money can find deeper discounts when ordering from online retailers such as Amazon.
While this is already very impressive regarding cost, the fact that this product comes with an extra flask makes it even more of a terrific deal. It’s true that 17 ounces aren’t a great deal of water, making the Quick Stow flask a bit less useful than some runners may require.
On the other hand, many retailers sell similar water containers for around the full price of the Ultra Belt, if not more. After some consideration, it’s a no-brainer that frugal runners looking for hands-free water storage should want to pick up one of these.
Unfortunately, this running accessory isn’t viable for trail running, which is one style of exercise where water becomes extremely crucial. This is due to disappointing durability and a tendency for slippage in intense environments. Furthermore, the water stored in the bonus Quick Stow flask won’t be enough to make a difference during any trail run longer than a couple of miles.
For runners who enjoy a bit of off-roading, they would be better off with a sturdy pack or a dedicated trail running belt. For everyone else, however, the CamelBak Ultra Belt is a reasonable and effective solution to a common problem among joggers in warm climates.