Iv’e been running pretty regularly since early January and I’ve used the waist mounted bottle system from CamelBak called the Arc 4 Hydration Belt about a dozen times since then. The Arc 4 features four convenient 8 oz. snap-in bottles that are easy to remove and replace while maintaining pace. The ‘baskets’ that hold the bottles in place are very intuitive as well as secure. They are also removable, so if four bottles are too many, you can remove the unwanted ones. The back band of the belt has a small zipper pocket that will fit keys, a few gels or other small snacks.
As I was choosing the correct size belt, I initially chose the one that was within the range of my waist size as determined by the pants I wear. As I was trying them on I realized that I would prefer to wear this lower on my hips causing me to have to go up one size for the proper fit. Make sure that you measure your ‘waist’ where you are actually going to wear this since the adjustability within each size is somewhat limited. Once I started using the belt, I decided that I felt a bit awkward when using it with four bottles attached so I removed the two front baskets, leaving me with 16 oz. of fluid capacity. There is something about having the extra weight on the front of my waist that I just don’t care for, but for longer runs I am glad I have the option of adding the baskets back on.
- The waistband is comfortable and the hook and loops closure allows easy adjustment
- Limited stretch in the material means it stays in place
- Breathes well and dries relatively fast
- Bottles are easy to insert and remove from the ‘baskets’ without losing stride or having to look at them
- The waistband is sized S,M,L and there is limited adjustability
- Limited stretch in the material means smaller fit ranges
- Pocket is small and harder to access in the back of the belt, would like to see a pocket in the front or some way to secure gels up front
Overall I really like this system and would recommend it for anyone looking for a comfortable solution for hydration on the go, keeping in mind that additional storage is limited. As the weather warms and my water requirements increase I will try added the other two bottles back to the belt to see if I can get used to them.
-Steve @ ACK