Inov-8 Race Elite 3.5 Waist Bag
Hopefully at some point this ridiculous winter will end and it won’t be necessary to head out onto the hills kitted up like a polar explorer. For medium to long runs in the spring, summer and autumn, when you’re not needing to carry the kitchen sink, a waist or bum bag in theory can be the ideal solution. You don’t suffer from rucksack sweaty back syndrome, access is easier on the go by just spinning the pack round, better if you’re wearing a vest and it encourages you to pack light. However my personal experiences of bumbags hasn’t been great. I’ve tended to find that they shift around when running and bounce uncomfortably. This has been even worse if I’m carrying water and, one of Inov-8’s previous sacs with the horizontal bladder, was one of the worst offenders.
I’ve stuck firmly with backpacks mainly for the more stable load but this stripped down and lightweight bumbag from Inov-8 might well convert me. The raw stats are a 179 g weight without the 500 ml bottle, 239 g with and a total capacity of 3.5 litres spread between two pockets. One waterproof with a sealed zip and the other mesh style.
It swallows a surprising amount of kit. For a recent two hour run, I crammed a Haglofs Endo jacket, spare merino beanie and fleece gloves into the waterproof pocket. In the mesh pocket went a compass, whistle, A4 map in waterproof sleeve, mobile phone, a couple of gels, a bar, some treats for the hound and some poo bags. The bottle and its holder are very well designed. The flat “hip-flask” style bottle is far more stable that a round bottle and the semi-rigid pocket makes getting it in and out very simple. The bungy cord that holds the bottle in place does a great job of preventing bottle loss on bumpy descents but I didn’t quite have the skill or flexibility to operate it in winter gloves without spinning the bag round. Not a big deal and it would be far easier in summer without big mitts. Even with this load, the bag was incredibly stable and comfortable and didn’t rub at all. The buckle is positive but isn’t too large and doesn’t dig into you. The zips on the pockets have decent sized pulls and are easy to use with gloves on.
For longer runs in the summer you might want more than 500 ml of water but, for runs and races of up to 90 minutes or for longer routes that have re-fill opportunities, it’d be ideal. I reckon I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this bumbag and that you’ll be seeing plenty at fell races this year.
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