I’ve been a big proponent of scaling back on gear I carry for awhile, and have worked hard to whittle down my “necessities” to just a three things: A car key, a few gels, and my iPhone. Yeah, yeah, an iPhone isn’t a necessity, but when balancing kids, live media, and my desire to take pics and track my progress on Strava, an iPhone is necessary for me.
Much like the Ultimate Direction Essentials belt (review here), the Quantum from Ultraspire has no capabilities to carry bottles or additional gear…it’s stripped down and just for the essentials. If you’re interested in waist packs with small bottles, check out my comparison here.
My first reaction was “cool, it’s tapered and fit to sit flat on the hips and not bounce around, rather than just being a belt with pockets attached.” The next thing I did is see if my iPhone 5S (in an OtterBox) would fit in the front pocket. Score! It fit fine, with enough room not to fry the zipper, but tight enough to not bounce. Not a lot of immediate expectation from such a light belt, but what it offered, I liked immediately
Next up, I went to unhook it and put it on.
What the hell? There’s no hook or clasp or Velcro tab on this thing? How do I get it on? Panic! Every belt I’ve ever had has been worn like a…well…belt…where you unhook something, wrap it around your waist, and hook that something back together again. I guess it’s time to step out of the box and open up my mind and try this new approach to a waist belt. Luckily I ordered the right size (medium…I have a 33″ waist.)
I pulled it up over my shorts and voila, the thing fit fine and my little panic attack subsided.
The front pocket sits right on the “pooch” and has very light padding on the back and is built well and smartly designed. Two small side flaps border the pocket
and I suppose could be used for keys, but I’ve never used them. They seem like an afterthought on an otherwise well-designed pack. that are apparently used for holding race bibs. I didn’t realize their purpose, and it makes pretty good sense! The zipper to the “phone pouch” has an enlarged zipper tab that is very welcomed in the dark and cold, and the elasticized material for the pocket is durable but stretchy.
The same material is used for the two small hip pockets. The openings to the two pockets are small, but since they’re elastic, I’m able to cram a few gels in each one and I don’t fear them
bouncing out. Between the two pockets is an adjustable strap that can be used to either tighten up the fit, or, as I’ve used it, cram an extra bandana or shirt on a hot run.
Mesh webbing makes up the rest of the skeleton and doesn’t rub, chafe, or fray. I suppose the designers were trying to keep away from buckles and hooks in order to prevent rubbing. Definitely nicely built.
Since this isn’t designed to hold anything that would bounce, it’s tough to judge it. My phone is tucked nicely against my stomach and doesn’t budge and the other small items I have are secure.
Weighs just under 3oz. Really light!
Three sizes (S/M/L) and a few sassy color combos.
More info on the ultraspire site here.
I guess I understand what the designers were thinking (hooks and belts may cause rubbing and annoyance), but I’ve never had a problem with them and would just as well have a clasp on the Quantum. Oh well.
One thing I’ve found myself doing with this belt that I didn’t with othes I’ve worn (and yes, I assume is has to do with the missing clasp) is that I don’t take it off. Generally when I’m done with a run, I take off my sweaty hat, my sunglasses, and my waist belt and toss them on my desk before prying my shoes off in place of flip-flops. With this belt, I’ve found myself wearing it until I strip all my clothes off for the shower and only then notice that I’m not actually naked if I’m still wearing a running belt. All said, I simply don’t notice the belt when I’m wearing it, running or otherwise. It’s that comfortable and light.
For someone looking for a unobtrusive belt for just the bare essentials in a new approach and design, I’d highly recommend checking this it out.
Full disclosure: This belt was provided to me by Ultraspire. No expectations of a positive review were expected, no money changed hands, and all words are my own.