Check out Legger 12.5 Mentor Gloria Wong’s talk about bottles and belts and everything that goes in them from our LEGGERS 101 session.

After shoes and clothes, the next thing an endurance athlete needs to consider is “gear,” which covers everything from water bottles to phone holders. And just as with shoes and clothes you’ll want to test out your new belt or pack or whatever on a shorter excursion (say less than an hour) before you hit the road for farther distances and longer times.

If you are just starting out, just make sure you’ve got a water bottle: that is the bare minimum. Your attitude should always be: I’ve got to rely on what I myself bring. You cannot rely on the kindness of strangers or the availability of water stations and drinking fountains.

But how should you carry that water? How can you find that particular gear?

A specialty running store is a great first stop. In Santa Monica we’ve mentioned Road Runner Sports, but just a block away you will also find REI. Although REI doesn’t specialize in running per se, they do have a really great selection of options for carrying water (and your keys, phone, snacks, and so on). Try checking out both of them to see your options.

And take a look at what the others in your pace group have. Ask questions: what works for them and why? You’re going to find as many answers as there are Leggers, but they should help you zero in on a good solution (or set of solutions) for you. Here’s a general list of options you’ll see:

Water Bottles can be hand-held: these very compact units come with a grip so you can strap them to your hand, and usually a small pocket or two for keys, ID, even phone.

Many Leggers use belts, which will leave your hands free and offer more storage space for keys, ID, snacks and so on. Different belts will hold different sizes and numbers of bottles: usually either one large one or a pair of smaller ones. The bottles can be in the back or front, as can the pockets. Make sure the belt isn’t going to bounce up and down on you and cause chafing.

Water packs (Camelbak is a top brand) allow you to carry even more water using a vest. This is great if you don’t like belts, but they can be a little harder to get at and can warm up your back. Some Leggers use these on long runs because they have the greatest capacity.

Two other products deserve mention: the first is the armband phone holder. There are way too many makers to mention here: just search for your phone model and the world “armband” and you’ll see the selection. And finally if you are going on a short (SHORT) training session and you know you won’t need water but you will need your keys and ID: check out ah SPIbelt (Small Personal Item Belt) or any of its competitors. These are like miniature fanny packs just big enough for the bare essentials.

Now, what ELSE to carry…well that’s a much larger question! Start with a good water bottle and something for keys, phone and ID, and we’ll look at everything else as the season progresses.


Here are a few links to lists presented just for your research. The Leggers don’t necessarily endorse any of these selections, but each link will give you a broad idea of what’s out there and what factors you should be thinking about.

A deep dive on hydration belts with plenty of examples;

A look at several backpack/vest options:

And a selection of handheld options:

A Runner’s World Survey of Phone Armbands:

The original SPIbelt…though there are other options in this style: