Ultimate Direction Blaze Plus Fuel Belt Review

A question every runner training for a longer distance race must confront the question of “how am I going to carry my fuel for long training runs?”  There are myriad products out there ranging from small 4 oz handhelds to large hydration backpacks, some of which have water bottles, some of which have bladders to fill.  Although I’ve used a Camelbak in the past, I find it to be fickle and I don’t like having to take it off to get to anything in the pockets, then put it back on, especially when it’s…clammy.  Handhelds hold no interest for me.  The sloshing, the arm fatigue, no thanks. So, that’s why, generally speaking, I’m a belt guy.

With the 50K coming up, I’ve been racking my brain in trying to decide what to carry with me.  Because the course is a 10K loop with a fully stocked aid station at the beginning/end of the loop, I know I need to carry enough to get me through 10K at a time, a decent length, especially if it’s a warmer day.  I received a recommendation from Coach Sage to check out Ultimate Direction, his sponsor, for their products as he trusts them for his ultras.  Ultimate Direction was kind enough to send me their Blaze Plus Fuel Belt to review and, in case you are busy and want to get to the punch line, I’ll definitely be strapping it on April 27 for the TARC Spring Classic 50K.

First, the specifics.  The Blaze Plus has two 10 oz flasks and uses a buckle clasp to secure it.  It has one main zip pocket in the back and a second, smaller zip pouch on the side.  Here’s a graphical depiction of the belt itself.

fuel belt

It’s a good looking belt, and, presumably, the white color means it won’t heat up as much as a black one would.  The side “wings” are a comfortable mesh that I’ve found very breathable, even over 4.5 hours on the trail.  The flask cups are loose enough to allow easy in/out of flasks themselves without allowing them to shift around.  For the times you anticipate a lot of bouncing around, and I’m talking like turbulence in an airplane passing through a thunderstorm bouncing around, there is an elastic loop you can put round the top of the flask to secure it in the cup.  I’ve found the loop largely unnecessary to this point, just adding an impediment to getting the bottle out.  Even still, it’s not hard to remove blindly, but harder to reloop on the run.  Otherwise, this belt’s pouch system is far superior to the systems used by Amphipod, where you have to unclick and click back in the bottles, and Nathan, which uses a rigid plastic holder that I find hard to work.  The bottles themselves are easy to grip and the spout closes firmly, which means no inadvertent loss of liquid.  The trade-off is that they can require a little oomph to open and close, but I think that’s

The side pouch on the belt can comfortably hold two gel packs, giving you easy access to them.  You could probably stuff 3 in, but it gets crowded and harder to take them out that way.  Not much to say about it other than it zips up nicely and securely and is in a good location to access quickly.  The back pocket is roomy enough to carry keys, ID and/or things like Gu Chomps, Sport Beans, etc.  It doesn’t fit my iPhone 5, which may be a consideration for some, but it doesn’t bother me.  The fit of the belt is easy to adjust with the straps and the belt itself stays where it should with no shifting or bouncing.  To the extent possible, the belt really just fades into the run experience and did not affect my form or prove to be a distraction.

Of course, everyone’s hydration needs are different and only you know if 20 ounces is enough to get you through your run before you can refill.  I think I’d be comfortable taking this up to 10-12 miles, given the flask capacity, but probably not more.  I have a feeling that this belt will be perfect for a 10k loop in a 50k race, giving me room for what I need to carry and nothing more.  It’s easy to replenish with no supplies, even without removing it, something which will cut down on aid station time (although it’s likely I’ll take my time going through them anyway).

I was thoroughly impressed with the Ultimate Direction Blaze Plus fuel belt and heartily recommend it to road and trail runners alike.  Now, go Run Happy and hydrated!

Disclaimer: Ultimate Direction sent me the Blaze Plus free of charge to review but the opinions expressed are my own and have not been edited or pre-approved by Ultimate Direction.


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    Ultimate Direction Blaze Plus Fuel Belt Review | Once A Runner, Always A Runner

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