Waist belt or Camelpak ?

Probably been asked before or done to death but what does everyone prefer.....Waist belts or Camelpak ?

I'm training for an 18k and Marathon trail runs and looking to eventually incorporate one of these methods into my training for when the distances/time get long enough


  • Depends what the rules of your race stipulate... What level of equipment will you have to carry? If there is no need for clothing and maps and there are regular water stations you can get by with a waist belt and a bottle. But if you are expected to self navigate you will need room for maps clothi g and emergency food and water. You can get waist pals that will hold all that but I think a camelbak is a better option, more flexibility over the long term and you can use it as a rucksack whenever you like
  • Its the Coniston trail marathon, from what I know so far there are maybe only 4 food/water stations but not required to navigate. Its a well marked marshalled course so I'm guessing just sufficient food and water as the feeding stations are far apart.

  • It's personal preference. Some people prefer one, some the other. Some people like bottles, some people prefer the drinks bladder. My personal preference is backpack & bladder. Really it's "try it and see". Try some on in a shop with a treadmill if possible - put some weight in the backpack/waistpack and see if it's comfy while running.

  • Great idea about trying in a running shop on the treadmill.


  • I prefer a waist pack with bladde. No rubbing on my shoulders and no fighting with bottles.  My pack is big enough to carry 2l of water, a jacket, hat, gloves, gels, map, foil blanket...

  • I have accumulated quite a few packs over the years...

    I use an Inov-8 Race-Elite 3 which is a waist pack with a 500ml water bottle for summer runs of upto about 6 miles and winter runs of upto 12 miles. This has 2 hip pockets into which and I can fit a phone, pack of tissues, energy gels and my windproof jacket. It is the closest to running naturally.

    I have a Camelbak Octane XC which has 1.5 litre bladder and will use it for longer runs (upto 20 miles) in summer. Again has two small hip pockets and one on the cover to the bladder. Excellent build quality.

    I have an Inov-8 RacePro 12 back pack with a 1.5 litre horizontal bladder. I use this on 16 mile plus runs and when I do trail marathons or ultras. It has plenty of capacity, more than I need but it bungees down well. It is great for long training runs as I can carry a bit more food, first aid kit, a waterproof, head torch and any tops I take off en-route. 

    Finally, I have an Inov-8 RacePro 4 waist pack which holds the 1.5 litre horizontal bladder. However I don't particularly like it as it bounces a bit too much when there is fluid in the bladder and the bladder eats into storage space. 

    It really comes down to how much fluid you need to carry (I drink nearly twice as much in summer than winter), the amount of kit you need to carry and the type of race you are training for. Definately try out your race kit on a couple of long runs before the big day. It can take a while to get a pack adjusted to suit your preferences and minimise rubbing. On a 5 hour, 28 mile race my Inov-8 back pack didn't chaff me one bit.

    Running with a back pack seems to invoke a slightly different running style to running with a waistpack or nothing. 



  • Which one you want to use on the day could depend a lot on the weather. I did the Coniston marathon this year and had taken note of the advice on the website requiring each runner to carry 1.5L of fluid with them. The race was in July and the photos on their site from the year before showed blazing sun, so that sounded sensible.

    However on the day it was freezing cold and lashing down with rain so I ended up taking the bladder out my backpack (don't really like the feel of it) and using it to carry a fleece, a foil blanket and some extra nibbles all for emergencies in case I ended up stranded on a hilltop somewhere, and also wearing a waist belt with water bottles.

    If I was to do it again in good weather I think I'd probably stick with the water bottles on waist belt unless it was a really hot day. I think if I had a drink at the last water stop before the long middle loop, and also refilled my bottles there, I should be able to get to the next water stop fairly comfortably.

    And yes, it's well marked and very well marshalled, considering that a lot of it is rather remote. No navigation required, thank goodness, and no sections that caused me any head scratching as to which way to go. You'll love it!

  • Thanks for everyones advice and comments, all very helpful and some ideas to check out. Thanks for the run down on last years event run-with-dog's, I'm really looking forward to it and enjoying the training for that and Cartmel.

  • I don't like bladders, as I can't tell how much I'm drinking. Always found I either drunk too little or too much! But never just right. I used an inov8 waistpack for a bit, but wasnt mad on it as don't like the weight around my waist. I've not discovered the UltrAspire vests which are amazing. I pull out the hydration pack and use a bottle in the front bottle holder and if I need more, a bottle or two in the side pockets.

Sign In or Register to comment.