After owning a slew of running backpacks, vests, and fanny packs, I’ve finally found my go-to for medium and long trail runs in the mountains. What sets the Ultimate Direction Utility Belt ($40) apart? Because it’s so lightweight—a mere 2.3 ounces—it sits comfortably over my hips with little to no bouncing as I run, and the four easy-to-reach pockets are easy to access without breaking stride. One small pocket is secured with overlapping fabric and is great for stashing valuables likes keys and wallet. The two large unsecured pockets are ideal for larger items, like a jacket or a soft water bottle. And one large, semi-secured (there’s narrow opening at the top) pocket sits in the front; I prefer to use this one for my cell phone or snacks. The belt also has two elastic straps in the rear to store trekking poles when terrain mellows—also very stable.
On a scramble up 12,979-foot Mt. Toll in Colorado’s Indian Peaks I ran over 10 miles and climbed the North Arete while wearing the Utility Belt. I comfortably packed two bars, a 500-milliliter soft bottle (not included), an iPhone, a lightweight jacket, spikes for my shoes, and sunscreen. Everything stayed in place as I moved, and I discovered that the Utility Belt becomes even more secure (less bounce) when it’s fully packed, because it fills out extra room in the belt.
Like most Ultimate Direction products, the Utility Belt is made to last, thanks to durable mesh and burly stitching. I’ve worn mine for well over 200 miles and it’s held up great.
Fit note: The Utility Belt comes in five sizes, but make sure you get the right one, because there’s no adjustment. Buy Now