Review and giveaway: the FlipBelt

The mail carrier delivered my FlipBelt just in time for the Austin Half Marathon this past weekend, so I decided, what better opportunity to test out new running gear?

I’m used to running with my stuff in a Spi Belt, which has a zipper that makes it easy to shove things inside the expandable pouch and grab them on the go. But it can get bouncy. The FlipBelt, on the other hand, is a snug-fitting, tubular band of fabric with periodic gaps through which I could shove long-run necessities such as gels, Chapstick, and my phone. Some people then flip the belt over (thus its name) so the gaps are against their bodies, ensuring their stuff doesn’t fall out. When I took it on my Saturday shakeout run, I didn’t do that, just so I could see how securely it held everything. And on my short run, I found that my stuff stayed put and the belt felt comfortable. It was a go for the Austin Half Marathon.

I don’t carry too much with me on race day, but I need to be able to get at my Chapstick or gels or whatever without a lot of fumbling as I’m running. If I have to slow or stop to find what I’m looking for, it’s worthless. I also carry my phone at the small of my back so that it will talk to my Bluetooth headphones, and while I don’t touch my phone much during a race, it can’t bounce around back there either. I see people whose phones and gear belts are flopping all over the place, and I don’t know how it doesn’t drive them absolutely crazy.

Also, I like to take a picture as I approach the starting line, so I need to be able to do that, and then efficiently shove my phone into the belt to start the race. My running capris have a phone-sized pocked in the back, and I’m adept at getting my phone in and out of that. But due to the humidity, I didn’t want my phone that close to my damp skin, so I thought the extra layer of fabric inside the FlipBelt would help keep it dry.

See how stuff fits through gaps in that center seam?

This day, I didn’t have a lot with me. A package of watermelon Gu Chomps, two tubes of Chapstick (fresh breath is unchapped lips are a priority of my life), my phone, and a ziplock bag for the electronics in case of rain. I pinned my race number to the bottom of the belt and shoved a washcloth/sweat towel under it for later.

How’d it work out?

flipbelt

It feels true to size, FYI.

It’s kind of awkward putting it on, since there’s no clasp or buckle– you have to step into it and slide it up your hips. I’m roughly a size 8, and the size M fit comfortably. It expanded enough to go over my hips–I was worried it would stretch out and then feel too loose, but it sprang back to fit snugly. The top part of the belt sat evenly with the drawstring of my pants and didn’t slide or move around. When I put my stuff in it, the belt remained mostly flat–no funky bulges, no flopping around.

As the race began, I took my customary photo. Sliding my phone into the belt behind my back was a little more complicated than using the zippered pocket, since I couldn’t see the little gaps, but it only took me a couple of extra seconds to find one of the holes and slide my phone through it and situate it where I wanted.

Every mile or so I fished around for Chapstick or gels. Mostly Chapstick. On the run, it’s not always easy to find one of the little slits, but since they’re placed every two or three inches, I was able to locate them by touch, feeling along the center seam until I reached an opening. At first it was awkward but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. And even though the fabric is slippery spandex and the Chapstick tubes are slick plastic, they didn’t slide around inside the belt at all. My phone stayed put at the small of my back too.

All in all, for 13.1 miles I hardly noticed the FlipBelt was there. My stuff was accessible, it fit comfortably, and it didn’t bounce around as I ran. It met all of my criteria with flying colors.

The only real drawback is its price. My Spi Belt cost about $16, for example, and the FlipBelt is almost $30. But I also found it to be significantly less bulky than most other belts out there, and since there’s more space for my stuff, it’s not all concentrated in one blob that flops around when I run. This gives it a distinct advantage over other running belts. I don’t know how well the spandex fabric will hold up over time, but out of the package it does all the things it’s supposed to do, does them well, and comes in eight spiffy colors. I chose black because it hides sweat and grunge, but I’ve seen runners wearing the brighter colors too.

Want to win a FlipBelt? Comment on this post before the end of the day Saturday, March 1st and tell me about:

  • your favorite piece of running gear,
  • your bucket list race,
  • the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you (or someone else) during a race, or
  • your favorite distance and why.

I will randomly select my favorite response to win! And if you can’t wait for the giveaway, go to flipbelt.com and use promo code ITTSR for 10% off your order!

About these ads
Leave a comment

13 Comments

  1. Cynthia Ko

     /  February 28, 2014

    Favorite piece of running gear: My Nike FreeRun shoes. They’re so unbelievably comfortable and light! I’ve had other sneakers before but so far these were the best for me.
    Bucketlist Race: New York Triathlon. The Race consists of a 1500M Swim,40K Bike, and a 10K Run. I don’t know how to bike and swim so this is definitely something I want to accomplish in the future. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work but I will accomplish it! :)
    Funniest thing that’s ever happened to you (or someone else) during a race, or
    your favorite distance and why: I was running the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo Ridge during the Summer of 2013 and I slipped and fell on mud. My friend and I were laughing because of all the challenges there running properly was apparently my biggest one.

    Reply
  2. Of course after reading this the other day I went on a lovely run. The plan was to meet the family at the rec center after a 10k run, the long way to the rec. I had my card in my trusty amphipod belt. Along with a gu and my phone. I got lost, needed to get my phone out multiple times to figure out where the heck I was. Somewhere in my travels, I lost my card.

    So now maybe I need a flip belt?

    So my favorite piece of running gear?
    My target jackets. Such a great bargain, and so useful. I’ve worn one from 50 degrees down to 20. With differing layers under.
    Once I get to run outdoors on a regular basis I plan to become one with my Garmin.

    Bucket list race?
    2 come to mind.
    Army 10 miler
    3M half.
    I’m hoping they are both before 40, instead of just before I die. Then I’ll have plenty of time to do them more than once before I die.

    Funniest thing that had ever happened during a race?
    I’m a comedy of errors. As is my Bff.
    So there’s a few. How about not wiping my eyes after a potty stop and use of hand sanitizer?
    The dancing I did around mile 7 during my first half?
    The brand new phone that no music down loaded to before the race?

    Favorite distance?
    Currently 6 miles because I’m enjoying it right now. Finally breaking the double digit barrier last spring was huge though.

    Reply
  3. My favorite gear would have to be my Garmin, I’m still learning it but it’s great!
    Bucket list race? 1/2 marathon or full in Kauai.
    As for funniest, maybe following the guys in diapers at my last race?
    Favorite race distance, I am torn between a 10k and a half, haven’t run many in between distances.

    The flipbelt looks awesome, I have checking out the website for a while now just not following through.

    Reply
  4. My favourite gear is my Green Garmin (just love it) but I sure wish it would work on the treadmill ;)
    Bucket List Race – Run a race, any distance in every Province in Canada.
    Funniest Thing During a Race – well, when I was a pregnant runner, after I would finish a run, my baby would kick like crazy! Guess she enjoyed the run too!
    Favourite distance is 10k – humm….lately I’ve been digging my 5k runs…maybe because I am improving on my time.
    Love some of the above responses!

    Reply
  5. Ooh! My friend just bought one of these and I would LOVE to win one. I have the spibelt and I agree..if it’s not sitting just right on the hips, forget it, bounces all over. Blah, annoying.
    So to answer your question-my favorite piece of running gear has to be my running buddies! I know, not technically gear, but I find I go farther and faster when I’m with a friend (and all my friends that run are faster than me!!).
    Now, if it would only stop snowing so I could get back out there!

    Reply
  6. Very cool! I could’ve used one on my run the other week when I fell and jacked up my knee. If I had a phone in a belt I could’ve called someone to come pick me up instead of limping home!

    Fave running gear – Besides my Brooks, I like my GPS watch because after the run it uploads the results online so I can brag to friends via social media, er uh, I mean so I can track my progress.

    Bucket list race – London Marathon. I’ve tried 6 years in a row to get in the lottery with no luck so far. Sad face.

    Funniest thing – It depends on your maturity if this is funny, but I’ve seen every manner of bodily fluid come out of all sorts of bodily holes.

    Fave distance – I ran my first 10 mile race last year, which I liked because it was still double digits distance, and it doesn’t have that pesky .1 or .2 at the end!!!

    Reply
  7. Charity

     /  February 19, 2014

    I love my flip belt too. Wore it for the first time for the Austin 1/2 & would love to have another! My favorite running accessory is a tie between my hand held water bottle/phone holder (can’t think of brand name) & my garmin. My bucket list race is a marathon. .. anywhere. funniest thing… hmm… pretending to light sabre a guy dressed like a storm trooper while i wad running the 1/2. Favorite distance is 6-10. It’s more than a 5k but not as time consuming as the 1/2. ;)

    Reply
  8. My fave piece of gear? Probably my shoes. I guess I wouldn’t get too far without them. I’m a big Brooks fan. :) My bucket list race is the Dopey Challenge and I’m counting down the days until registration in April! I can’t believe I convinced my husband it was a good idea! The funniest thing that has ever happened to me (and a bunch of other people) during a race which is definitely more funny in hindsight than at the time was during a 10K last summer there was a crazy homeless guy with a branch trying to hit us on one part of the course. No one got hurt thank goodness!

    And my current favorite distance is half marathon. My first full is in May so we’ll see if that takes over the top spot!

    Reply
  9. My favorite piece of running gear is my Garmin 910XT. LOOOOVE it! My bucket list race is the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! My favorite race distance is the marathon :) Hope I win!

    Reply
  10. Nice review of the FlipBelt! My favorite piece of running gear would have to be my Garmin GPS watch – it’s my baby! My bucket list race is definitely the Boston Marathon. My funniest race story would have to be when I got lost on a cross-country course … actually, that’s still pretty embarrassing/painful to think about! At least I can laugh about it now. My favorite distance right now would be the 10k. It doesn’t need the speed a 5k involves, and also doesn’t take as long to recover from compared to a half marathon. Overall, just a good distance.

    Reply
  11. I’m going 0to try to win this one! I have a spibelt and I completely understand the pain of things flopping around in there. My favorite piece of running equipment is definitely my Garmin. The funniest thing that ever happened to me on a run. ….hmmmmm. I used to have poop paranoia when doing long trail runs in the woods. I don’t know why. Something about being so far from the bathroom. One time it hit me so bad that I had to sprint into the shrubbery and ended up just taking my underwear off and leaving them there. I didn’t k know what else to do!

    Reply
  12. I’m so glad that you liked it! It didn’t work well for me, although, when I wore it, it was a brutal race and NOTHING went my way ;)
    I was so dehydrated and exhausted that I had a really hard time finding the openings and ended up shoving everything in my bra by the end of the race, except my Sports Beans, which I couldn’t get to without stopping completely.
    Probably the funniest thing that has ever happened to me on a race (and you probably already know this story) was when I ran a Thanksgiving prediction run that was supposed to be 7.2 miles and I got lost and ended up running over 8 miles to find the finish line.
    Sounds about right…
    Or maybe the time that I passed by some friends from the running club during a half while they were stopped at a bar having beers, bibs on and everything.
    and it wasn’t a race, but a training run, when my pants slid down in an intersection. :) No wonder people read my blog! I’m a train wreck!!
    XOXO

    Reply
  13. Hi! I would love to win one of these, I am running my first marathon this year and I need something more than my pockets for my stuff. My fav running gear is my Garmin 110. I would love to run the Athens Marathon in Greece one day. I’ve only had 1 race so far, so no funny stories yet. And I’ve only ran a half so far, so that’s my fav distance. I am going to run a full this year, so we’ll see after that which is the fav. thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 273 other followers

%d bloggers like this: