Ask Rambling Mom – Part 2: How do I carry all of my stuff?

For such a minimalist sport you can end up with a ton of stuff! Oh and that stuff adds up and can be expensive! It’s what you make of it though; you have to do what works best for you and your budget. So the question this week is “how do I carry all of my stuff?” It’s in reference to carrying fuel with you (fueling will be a whole other blog post for another day).
I personally have multiple thing to carry my stuff in and have tried various things on the market as well. When I first started my running journey I went out with NOTHING – that’s right, no phone, no water, no fuel – NOTHING! This isn’t always a good idea. Rarely do I go run without anything anymore; if I do it’s for a quick mile. Then when I started training for my first marathon back in 2010 I used my camelbak a ton. Yet when it came race day I didn’t use anything and stuck to what was available on the course. I really liked my camelbak in those days but the more kids I had and the more my body changed the less I liked it and I’ve since sold it. Some people like camelbaks still and that’s totally cool; I personally didn’t like the way it fit me anymore, the straps would dig in funky.
My biggest piece of advice is to not purchase blindly – just like with shoes you need to try on your hydration system! You can find camelbaks really easy these days so don’t be afraid to try them on. They come in various sizes and can have lots of pockets for holding goodies. Don’t be afraid to look like a fool in the store – put the camelbak on and try taking your phone in and out of one of the pockets to see if it fits and is easily accessible for your needs. Honestly the same goes for all hydration systems.
Since giving up my camelbak I’ve mostly switched to a Nathan fuel belt. I’ve had two Nathan fuel belts; one only held a small flask of water so I upgraded to one that had 2 flasks and a larger pocket. Not gonna lie it’s basically a runners fanny pack. I really like the Nathan fuel belt that I have now and have used it for multiple marathons, an ultra, various smaller events and a ton of training. However, I will not use it in a 10K or shorter event again. That’s my personal preference but I found it getting in the way of my racing during the 10K that I PRd; actually during that race I debated tossing it to my friend as I went around for the second loop and looking back I wish did. One super cool thing about Nathan fuel belts is that they have a build your own option where you can add what you want to the belt. Basic Nathan belts (like the one I have) can be found at almost any sporting goods store (even TJ Maxx occasionally carries them). Yet if you want to build your own you’ll have to go to a speciality running store (make sure they even carry Nathan products first – most do but you never know) for that. Just like you did with the camelbak be sure to try on the Nathan belt.
Now sometimes I don’t like my bulkier belt but I still need something to hold my stuff; so in comes my newest addition to my ever growing arsenal of running gear – the HipsSister. I first fell in love with the HipsSister in Atlanta when my friend was wearing hers out and about town and then again on raceday. The super cool thing about HipsSister is that it’s not just for running! It’s for casual wear too like when you have an outfit on that doesn’t have pockets but you need said pockets bam that’s where HipsSister comes in and it looks like a layering shirt! The price tag on the HipsSister is fairly reasonable as well plus you can often find them discounted. I got mine during a special but I’ve since seen them on sale at race expos.
Ok so those are the things I have and love/have loved but believe it or not I have a wish list of stuff that I want to add to my collection and maybe one of these will be a good alternative for you if you don’t like anything I’ve mentioned. The first is the Nathan Firecatcher hydration vest – it’s similar to a camelbak but has thicker straps and a few other options for additional hydration. I’m thinking this one will be my go to for my upcoming ultra training and for my ultra. I still need to try it on though to make sure I like the fit. I would also like some sort of handheld system. I don’t have a particular brand in mind yet; there are tons out on the market. I think a handheld will be a good alternative for those shorter races where I need something at times but I also don’t like to stop at the water stations. It’ll be good for shorter distance training as well.
I hope you found this information helpful and that you find a system that works best for you and your needs.
Don’t forget you can email in questions for the Ask Rambling Mom posts to: RamblingMom3@gmail.com

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