Marathon shorts - gel pockets


Dilema - need to carry gels for forthcoming marathon but don't want one of those gel belt things or to have to do a DIY sewing job on my current shorts. Ideally looking for a pair of shorts that are obviously light and comfortable but with some strategically and secure pockets on the rear specifically for gels - preferably for 3 or 4 (SIS size) gels.

So far, I've only found Ronhill Trail Cargo shorts. Anyone have any experience of these (ive read the wiggle reviews)

Any recommendations based on experience gladly welcomed

Ta muchly!


  • I've always used normal Nike shorts with a small pocket at the rear and have managed to squeeze in 4 Powerbar gels which are a different shape and a bit smaller that SIS.  The pockets are pretty stretchy though.  Take some gels with you to a shop and see how many you can get in.

    Good luck with your race.

  • I have used the Ron Hill Advance Racer for previous marathons and have done the job. I don't like my shorts too long though as when weighted down with gels I have suffered awkward rubbing in the past. I can cram 3 gels into the Racer shorts and just tuck any others I need on the hip to be taken first.

    I remember when looking around that others have suggested these but I've never used them myself.

  • I have a couple of pairs of lycra Nike shorts with a pocket in the back.  You can stuff 3 SIS gels in at a push.
  • I have a pair of Decathlon lycra running shorts which have some elastic loops incorporated into the waist band that will hold up to 6 gels. that means the gels don't flap around as much as on a belt.

    it works very well - shame the shorts aren't the most comfy I have though and chafe over a marathon. I've only ever seen these shorts once at Decathlon but it could be worth a look if you have one local to you
  • My Squeeze had me sew some pockets onto his vest for putting gels in.  They were deep enough that the gel could stand upright, and stitched down in columns to keep the gels from falling over - so that they were easy to get at.

    He did look rather like a suicide bomber at the start though.

  • thanks for the tips. wasn't sure on those with the zip pockets on the back but they seem to have worked for a few of you on here so I won't ignore them when popping into the shop next time! I just didnt consider them as an option.

     Personally, have never got on with lycra shorts - best kept for those cheats that cover the marathon  distanceon 2 wheels image

  • I have the race ready ones that Coups has mentioned.

    Race Ready

    They work very well to carry gels in the five rear pockets, which are made from mesh stitched separately onto the outside.  But I thought they were very expensive when I added on P+P and customs charges.  

    I think if you are handy with a needle and thread you could easily make your own.

  • Try the Ronhill Trail Cargo Shorts - back zipped pocket, plus 4 mesh stretch pockets, and with 2 loops designed to hold gels.

    Shorts are silky smooth, fast drying and have bamboo anti-stink inners.

    I got my first pair from Wiggle for £27, but next two from Rat Race - - down to £17 using code RAT101. 

  • Sugoi 42K shorts usd to have rear pockets  if you like split side shorts...  Looks like they don't any more...

  • Johnas wrote (see)

     Personally, have never got on with lycra shorts - best kept for those cheats that cover the marathon  distanceon 2 wheels image

    Shame, but not everyone is man enough to wear lycra image

  • thanks again for recommendations. i didi look at race ready but without an UK distribution, i didnt fancy having to impport a pair.

     Eric - I had actually opted for the Ronhill Trail Cargos before I saw your post but thanks for the discount code. Managed to get a pair for £20 inc P+P but thanks again.

    M.ister W - some of us are too much man to wear them too

  • Johnas, hope you find them as good as I do.
  • I bought a pair of Sugoi 42k for the Brighton Marathon and they were great, one velcro pocket each side, clif bar shot blok fitted fine in each one, not sure how many gels they would hold though

  • DW sports mate,they have mifit running shorts,that have a large pocket at the back which holds 3 sis gels and 2 side elasticated fuel holders,i know i have a pair and they are ideal for what you want has they have done the business for me on my marathons.good look and have a good run
  • RaceReady manufacture shorts, tights & capris all with a patented set of 5 mesh pockets along the back. They are an ultra runner and marathoner favourite there and arguably the best solution on the market today for carrying a smart phone / iphone, gels and other nutrition products on long distance runs. They're now available in the UK on
  • Raidlight Trailer, on the expensive side but very good indeed and hard wearing too. Opt for a size up from your usual though unless you are a proper racing snake as they tend to be on the small size.


  • PMSL!

    £46.11 for a pair of shorts!!!!!! There's one born every day!


    Carry your gels in your hand, it's what opposable thumbs were designed for...

  • Couldn't agree more LARDARSE however from time to time said shorts arrive on ebay at a much improved price. I have been extremely pleased with mine.

  • FYI the Ron Hill Cargo Trail Shorts are now even cheaper on Rat Race at £10... but out of stock.  Drat!

  • Sorry to post on such an old thread but Rapid-lite shorts have mesh pockets on either sie for gels...for that 0.2% advantage.

  • i may have started the thread back in 2011 but the shorts (the Ron Hill Cargo Shorts) are still going strong and have done an excellent job in marathons so far! 

    Always open to new suggestions though Sean though the RH's will take some beating image

  • Ronhill now also do a racer cargo short, as well as the trail cargo short - if you like shorter style shorts

  • I've got a pair of the Ron Hills Johnas, the rapid lite are a real lightweight race short. I just feel 3 seconds a mile when I put them on!
  • Football referee shorts are worth a look if your current shorts are lacking in pocket space.

  • Just a little hoof for this thread to say those cargo shorts recommended by Jonas are the bees knees. Worn them at two marathons now and absolutely perfect. So good I intend to buy spares in case they re-design them.

  • I foresaw this issue half way through my marathon training.  I only had space for 2 gels in my one pocket (Adidas shorts).

    I got used to running with a bottle (Lucozade normally, sue me!).  I taped two gels the bottom of the bottle and ripped them off when i needed them.  Works a treat!

  • A £5 gel belt works a treat image 

  • The Ron Hill shorts are great.

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