When you run with your phone, your iPod, your keys, your credit card or even just a couple of energy gels, it’s difficult to find a comfortable way to carry your gear. There are usually four different issues with a waist pack/belt: size, bounce, comfort and style. SPIbelt offers a simple way to pack small items on the go without the bulk of larger packs.
I recently tested the Large Pocket SPIbelt and the SPIbelt Performance Series on the trails and the road. Both products performed well, with only a few minor flaws.
Larger cell phones are becoming increasingly popular, but finding a waist belt that can hold a big device without looking like an 80s style fanny pack can be difficult. When you first see a SPIbelt, it’s hard to imagine it could fit a few packs of GU, much less a cell phone. Before you put your gear in, the pocket of the belt is 1 ¾ inches in width. The Performance Series, however, expands to 3.5 inches, enough space to fit an iPhone 6 with a case. The Large Pocket SPIbelt stretches to hold items up to 4 inches in width, enough room to accommodate an iPhone 6 Plus.
With most waist packs you have to worry about your gear bouncing around and smacking you in the stomach or back. Both the Large Pocket SPIbelt and the Performance Series have a low profile that holds your gear flat against the lower part of your waist, keeping it in place, even when you max out its gear carrying potential. The belt is made of a soft elastic that fits waists up to 52 inches.
Both SPIbelt products are surprisingly comfortable. Even on extended runs, I had no issues with chaffing or bruising, problems I’ve encountered with other small waist packs. As long as you make sure a flat surface like the back of your phone faces your body and lumpy items are kept in the front of the pack, the SPIbelt is barely noticeable.
Many waist packs are unattractive, reminiscent of a time when big hair and acid washed jeans were all the rage. In muted colors, the SPIbelt is slim enough to blend in with your clothing. Even if you choose a bright color, the SPIbelt can easily be tucked under your shirt, allowing you to go stealth.
My only issue with both the Large Pocket SPIbelt and the Performance Series is absence of an opening for a headphone cord. Many people who run with their phone like to be able to listen to music on the go. With the SPIbelt you’re forced to leave the zipper open at the end to feed the cord out of the pack. While I understand every brand of phone has a different location for the port, SPIbelt could fix this problem by having a small opening on both ends of the pocket.
Although the Performance Series isn’t quite as big as the Large Pocket SPIbelt, it has the added benefit of a weather resistant zipper and pocket. It won’t keep your phone safe from a dip in the pool, but it will protect your device from light rain and sweat. The Performance Series also provides four gel loops on the elastic band for easy access to your fuel of choice.
Overall, I highly recommend both the Large Pocket SPIbelt and the Performance Series. I prefer the later due to its weather resistant pocket and the gel loops, but it’s a tough squeeze for an iPhone 6 Plus, making the Large Pocket a better choice for bigger devices.
All SPIbelt products are available online. The Large Pocket SPIbelt retails for $22.99. The Performance Series is $25.99.