That was years ago. I haven't messed around with belts much since then. Shorts with pockets are becoming more standard, and I just figured that I would carry handheld water bottles. But then I ran a 50k where I ran out of gels and since I was in the mix for a top slot, I did not want to take the time to go over to my drop bag to grab more. The rest of the race I relied on aid station fare, and it all worked out OK, but I thought, hmmm, if I had had a belt, maybe this wouldn't have happened.
So come time for the hallucination 100, I dug out my old Inov-8 Race Elite pack and it worked great for carrying around extra food and I never felt anxious about running out of calories. But it still bothered my stomach a little bit and I found that it probably had too much storage. It also seemed to bounce around more than I would have liked.
After a little fiddling around I think I finally got the AS2 to be tight enough around the waste. This brings up my one and only complaint, I have my belt tied down as small as the waste belt will allow, and it is just barely tight enough. What about other runners who have a skinnier waste than I do? I will never understand why some running gear (specifically waste packs) seem to have enough room in the belt to fit someone with a 45 inch waste, but skinny runners, sorry you're SOL. Ok end rant.
|As tight as it will go|
The AS2 comes with a soft flask, and I bought another one to throw in there. This allows me to carry 16 ounces of fluid, with no bounce at all. The belt has small elastic loops that fit over the top of the bottles to fully secure them. I've put 10 ounces hard flasks of other varieties in the belt, and while it will comfortably carry one, it seems to start to get bouncy again if I have two in there. The AS2 also provides plenty of room for gels and a camera or whatever other small nick-knacks you'd like to carry. My only other knock against the AS2 belt, is that there is not a great spot to secure a light shell, although if you don't mind the awkwardness, you can stuff one into a large pocket due to the stretch mesh.
|18 ounces of H20|
The buckle system on the AS2 is different than many other buckles, but it works nicely and I have never had a problem with it coming undone. What is interesting is that the AS2 essentially has 4 panels, and you can orient them however you like, depending on what you have in the pockets. It does seem to ride up more if you put the pockets that are meant to be in the back facing forwards.
Now while I really liked the AS2, sometimes it seemed like a lot of material and a lot of storage, especially if I only needed to carry 1 or 2 gels and a camera or car key. So I decided to try a more minimal belt.
I had heard great things about the Ultraspire line of products, and wanted to see what the hype was about. I noticed the Quantum was about as minimal a belt as they made and it was relatively cheap. So I ordered one. I was a little amused at first, as I hadn't noticed before I ordered it that there was no buckle. Its meant to be pulled on just like a pair of shorts. You then tighten the belt with a small cinching strap. My initial skepticism quickly faded as I noticed that this meant you could put the belt in any orientation you wanted, with pockets facing whatever direction you require with little to no problem.
|Pockets and cinching strap|
The Quantum has two small mesh pockets that I've put two gels into each, and the back pocket is primo. I fit a camera, my car key, and a clif bar into it without issue. Sometimes I'll even crumble an empty soft flask and stuff it in there, if I know there is a water source down the trail.
Now between the AS2 belt and the Quantum, I am constantly forced to choose which one to wear. I prefer the Quantum's fit and feel over the AS2, but the storage space on the AS2 is clearly superior, and it offers the nice functionality of carrying water. Both seem to have very nice features, I especially like the zipper on the Quantum, as it is by far, the easiest zipper I have ever used, even when descending technical trail.
|Nice mesh on both|
Overall, I don't think anyone would be disappointed with either, as long as the specific purpose of each belt. The AS2 belt has the downside that if you are too skinny, you might not be able to get it to fit tight enough. Both have a nice mesh material that does not bother me at all when I am shirtless, which is certainly appreciated.
|S-Lab Advanced Skin|