You have decided to train for a distance and you are going to be out there for a while. You are going to need some water, snacks, car keys, ID, inhaler, tissues and whatever else you might need. How are you going to carry all of it? The answer is a waist pack or a back pack. My favorite is a waist pack, although I have had trainees that have used a backpack because of their medical needs. So, which waist pack is good for you? Let’s look at these areas to help you decide.
The first area I want to cover is water. This will really determine which direction to go for your waist pack. Do you need a lot of water? Do you want full size water bottles or how about smaller ones? How much water will you be drinking? Will you want an electrolyte drink in addition to plain water? Maybe you like a variety of flavored waters. When I first started my walking career I had the full-size water bottle because I received a holder with a training program I was in. However, when I moved on in distance I found that I liked the smaller water bottles better. Why? I like being able to have a couple flavors with me and the weight is more distributed when they are smaller and around your waist. Plus, less sloshing when are part way through one small water bottle. I also like them for smaller races because I can adjust how many bottles I have.
So, you have determined the water, now what else are you going to carry? Are you going to be out long enough that you are going to need a snack such as jelly beans, Gu, or other similar small snack? How big are your car keys or actually your key fob? Do you need to carry an inhaler? How big is it? It is best to carry some form of ID somewhere on you. Are you carrying your license? Do you need tissues? Why do I ask these? This will determine the size pouch that goes with your water bottle(s). Depending on how long my race is and the amount of snacks that I need determine which pouch I use.
There is yet another option and that is how it fastens around your waist. Do you want Velcro or one that actually snaps into place?
Once you have these figured out there is still one major determining factor though, how does it feel on you? Make sure it can tighten enough to where it doesn’t bounce. I had one that no longer fit because it wouldn’t go tight enough and would bounce.
Just a cool thing about some of these waist packs, one of them came with these cool fasteners for your bib #. So, you can clip your bib # to your waist pack and you don’t have to worry about it during the race. It is super nice when you using the restroom, just take your waist pack off and it’s not attached to your shorts/pants or shirt and won’t tear. Even if yours doesn’t come with the cool fasteners you could pin your bib # to your waist pack.
I hope that these thoughts and questions will assist you in your running/walking gear purchase.