Carrying water/food while running

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    will sawyer


    Locale: Connecticut

    I'm trying to figure out an unobtrusive way to carry a bit of nourishment while running. I'm thinking of sewing on some small pockets to my running shorts (inspired by Anton Krupicka) that could hold a gu or some other snack. I'd also like to carry a small amount of water, no need for a whole bottle, just 4-6oz. Some small/light container that I can clip to my shorts. Any Ideas?


    Eugene Smith
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nuevo Mexico


    I too am always looking for ways to minimize my "kit" for longer trail runs, especially mountain runs where its easier to give in to bringing along unnecessary items "just in case". Not sure anyone can touch Krupicka on the subject of minimalist travel in the mountains, save maybe Joe Grant. Weight adds up quick and when you're used to running with nothing but a pair of shorts, shirt, shoes and some water for miles, it all can feel heavy adding stuff (shell, gloves, headlamp, calories) when you're trying to move quickly and light unimpeded.

    As far as carrying nourishment, I manage to stuff 4 gels per handheld pocket, that's good for a 20+ mile run if I don't guzzle all my water and I conserve, if I need extra I can stuff two gels extra in my shorts pocket but that's about it otherwise they flop around or pull on my shorts. Sometimes I'll wear a small Nathan waistbelt/fanny pack on long runs that stores extra gels, calories, salt tabs, pair of gloves, its non obtrusive and minimal (2-3oz.) and most importantly doesn't bounce or rub weird, I find it a better solution than loading up my split shorts with Gu and calories which always tend to bounce and get weighed down with sweat after a while, that's distracting. The ties on shorts don't do a thing really. A gel flask is another minimal option, they fit in your palm and eliminate the need to stop or bite open wrappers.

    Those little 8oz. handhelds are good for short runs, that's about it, good enough to wet the lips. Have you considered squeezing a gel or two into one of your small handhelds and nipping on it occasionally throughout your run? This eliminates the need to store gels or spent wrappers and keeps you fueled enough for short stuff.

    As far as sewing pockets onto shorts, make sure you keep them low profile, maybe even consider a material that has four way stretch so items don't bounce around. As close to the waistband as possible as well. Raceready is a brand that makes some shorts with lots of pocket storage, they're pretty solid, but items bounce a bit IMO…. plus the shorts are pretty hideous but eh, you'll be sweaty anyways.

    For the longer stuff, a hydration vest is pretty nice, especially when you're going self supported or minimally supported ( spread out aid stations), but those vests always seem to feel cumbersome after a bit.

    Ultimate direction has a small clip bottle, as does Fuel Belt, u might consider those. If you only need 4-6oz. then just fill your mouth up and breathe through your nose, sip as needed. ;-)

    Michael Cockrell


    Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA

    Look at Hammer Nutrition, they have running shorts with gel pockets, and you can put flasks of water or Heed mix in them also.

    Tyler Fisher


    Locale: northern california

    I believe under armour or maybe mt. hardware make shorts with and elastic daisy chain to stuff gels into. I haven't tried them out but would be an easy DIY project.

    will sawyer


    Locale: Connecticut

    Thanks for the ideas, I like the daisy chain a lot. I am thinking about running two shock cords through the waistband of a pair of shorts, and leaving the cord outside for a few sections to hold things.

    In the meantime, I found some sweet 3 oz squeeze bottles at walmart (look around for travel toiletries containers), and fashioned clips out of paperclips that hold them on. Initial run around the room tests are good.


    W I S N E R !


    You can also safety-pin a few gels to your shorts band…Leave the safety-pin closed, tear the gel off of it.

    Eugene knows what's up and covered it all well.

    I'll second the suggestion on the smallest Nathan waistband/fanny pack…Amphipod also makes a good little mesh one.
    They disappear well when running, very little bounce, yet hold a bar/some gels, keys, and a small headlamp easily. Combined with 1 or 2 handheld bottles with pockets (which I prefer for anything up to ~20 miles), you've got more than enough food capacity for that distance.

    Art …
    BPL Member


    several ways to approach this.
    some like the junk on their waste … some don't.
    some prefer handheld water bottles, some prefer bladders.
    I prefer nothing at my waste, don't like the bouncing and tugging.

    A pretty standard ultra method which I use is :
    2 – 21 oz water bottles, one in each hand.
    1 bottle is pure water
    other bottle has about 600-800 calories of perpetuem & water.
    this is a fairly thick mix but less thick than gel.
    so now you have 40 oz of water and 3-4 hours of food at least.
    (electrolyte pills in zip pockets of bottle holders).

    if I need more I wear a …
    1. stripped down camel back on my shoulders (190g)
    2. golite wisp (windshirt) stuffed inside it (100g)
    3. and either a spair baggy of perpetuem or a 5 serving Hammer gel flask if I need more food (210g)
    4. optional running gloves (30g)
    maximum weight on back = 530g)

    5. my camel back can also fit one or two additional 24oz tall PET water bottles if I'm going far enough to need more than 40oz of water.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    REI sells a no-bounce double water bottle waist pack that I use for nordic skiing. It consists of two smaller bottles that are curved a bit to fit your hips. The bottles really don't bounce which is why I like them. And they kind of balance out. Then there's a little storage space for keys,ski wax, power bar etc. I think that the company that makes them is Amphipod.

    Matt Mahaney
    BPL Member


    Locale: In the District

    You might look at Race Ready.

    Art …
    BPL Member


    I just read your initial post more closely.
    Why would you only want to carry 4-6oz water ?
    that's about one mouthful. may as well carry nothing.
    you must be talking about short sub 2 hour runs.
    how about just carrying 1 – 21oz water bottle in a holder with a zip pocket.
    just fill the bottle half full (10 oz) and you can fit at least 2 gels in the zip pocket.

    if you're just talking about a short runs (sub 2 hours) we're all over thinking this.

    Patrick Matte
    BPL Member


    Brooks running shorts that I purchased at REI early this year have one little pocket per side-big enough for 1 gel pack per and 1 interior "key" pocket. That and one 10 oz. "sprint" held from Fuelbelt ( has a gel pocket as well should be more than adequate for your needs,if I read your post correctly.

    Also, in regards to the shorts, when carrying gel packs.The pockects have a small bit of velcro to keep closed and they (pockets) do not bounce or flap.I keep on forgetting that they are there!

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