Fuel Belt Product Review: Effectiveness at IA50 Mile
During the Ice Age 50 Mile (IA50) I utilized a variety of Fuel Belt products in order to keep hydrated. Hydration is a must in sports lasting multiple hours, and as the summer brings in warmer temperatures it becomes even more crucial. I want to let you in on what gear I use to stay hydrated, and why I use it.
At IA50 I cycled through five different Fuel Belt products, listed below. I will run through them and explain why I love each of these products.
The Slice Atlantic Breeze
The Slice Atlantic Breeze is probably my favorite product that Fuel Belt offers. It is a new member of the 2012 catalog. The features that drew me in were the bottle shape, size and flexibility, and the holder design.
The bottle shape is contoured perfectly to sit in your palm when your fingers are slightly curled (a comfortable running position). The cap is slightly tilted so the user does not have to curl their hand or arm awkwardly in order to take a drink. The size of the bottle is listed at 18 ounces, but if you really want to top it off you can get 20 ounces into it. I love this because you can carry along a healthy amount of liquid with little intrusion.
The flexibility of the Slice is awesome! It is designed perfectly to let you take a small sip or guzzle down the bottle's contents. I love this because in different parts of a race or training I like to vary the amount of liquid I take in at once. The Slice lets me down a whole bottle quickly if I need to, or sip at it slowly.
The holder design is spot on. It's made of a material that does not hang onto water, so if you sweat a lot, spill a lot, or get caught in some rain the bottle carrier will not take on extra weight. It also boasts a large side pocket. It's easily big enough to fit two gels. The holder feels extremely comfortable in your hand. I never had to grip it tightly or awkwardly. It just sits in your hand and does a great job of distributing its weight so it doesn't become a burden. If I had to pick just one product to carry while racing or training, the Slice would be it.
The Slide Atlantic Breeze
This is by far the least obtrusive waist carrier I have ever worn. I was able to wear the Slide and carry the Slice (meaning I had about 40 ounces total of water) and did not feel like I was carrying any extra weight, nor was the waistband uncomfortable at all. The Slide provides a large surface area where the bottle is holstered, which is why it doesn't sit awkwardly, jiggle around, or put unwanted pressure points on your midsection. I have worn waist carriers in the past that made me feel like I was wearing a belt buckled too tightly.
Another nice feature about the Slide is that the strap adjustment allows you to easily loosen or tighten the belt on the fly. This let me swing the bottle carrier to my front or back with ease (really nice for holstering and unholstering the bottle).
The bottle is easy to carry even without a handheld carrier for it. I did not try to jam it into a hand carrier when I was using the Slide. I just pulled it out drank from it until it was gone, then re-holstered the empty bottle.
The R20utdoor is perfect for transition. It holds two 10-ounce bottles and has three nice zip pockets between the bottles. I loved this because I could stick my Vespa, gel, water and sports drink in this belt. It's a real multitasking belt. The bottles are like mini versions of the bottle used for the Slice and Slide. The part about this belt that I liked the best was it was a quick transition belt. I could carry 20 ounces of liquid, and when it came time to replace I could just grab two new bottles that were pre-filled and sub them in for the old empty bottles. It was quick and effortless. I wore this belt for approximately 18 miles of the IA50.
The Sprint Palm Holder
The Sprint Palm Holder is basically a mini version of the Slice. It holds a 10-ounce bottle (same bottle as in the R20utdoor). Once again, this allows for interchange between the Sprint and R20outdoor bottles (great for transition). The Sprint holder also has a zip side pocket big enough to fit a gel. I loved carrying the Sprint while wearing the R20utdoor. It allowed me to carry 30 ounces of liquid unobtrusively.
The Insulated Sahara Palm
The Insulated Sahara Palm was what I turned to at the end of IA50. It was a relatively warm day, so when I grabbed my first of two Sahara Palms they had been at the bag drop for about four hours. Despite this, the liquid had stayed relatively cool.
This is a classic carrier that holds a 20-ounce rounded bottle. If you prefer a more cylindrical form in your palm, this is a good choice. It also has a side zipper and netted pocket that can fit up to two gels comfortably. I like this bottle for races when I know I am going to have to stop at an aid station and fill the bottle myself or have a volunteer fill the bottle. It has a wide mouth, so you can fill it extremely quickly without making a mess and be back in the race quickly.
If you have any questions about any of the products I have reviewed, feel free to post or shoot me a message. I would love to answer any inquiries.