The first custom-fitting pack. The patent-pending Auto-Cant Disk instantly adjusts the position of the Flasks while a canted, limited-stretch belt solidly holds the pack in the desired position on the body. Flasks angle depending on the body shape and the pack’s position on the body so they are always easy to remove – and never in the way of your arm swing.
- Auto-Cant Disk instantly fits the pack to your body
- Streamlined, Molded holsters for quick, one-handed Flask access
- Two 8 oz. Nutrition Flasks with Race Cap
- Race Cap with high-flow, one-way valve opens and closes automatically and offers a quick shot of gel – no need for intense squeezing or sucking
- Dimensional Power Stretch Mesh pocket expands to hold items snugly in place – no need to fumble with zippers or closures
- Canted, limited-stretch elasticized waistbelt with soft perimeter binding won’t ride up
- Velcro-fastened Titanium Belt is light and strong, with an open construction to dissipate heat and reduce chafing
- Airmesh moisture-wicking backing
- Silicone grips inside holsters prevent Flasks from popping out
- Reflective Detail
- Three sizes
- Small – 66–81.3 cm (26–32 in)
- Medium – 81.3–91.4 cm (32–36 in)
- Large – 91.4–106.7 cm (36–42 in)
- Tested size Medium
- Weight – 203 g (7.2 oz)
- Retail – $50
Nathan Sports is one of the larger brands when it comes to solutions for running hydration. They may not be a huge mainstream brand but in ultra running circles, they are ever prevalent. Strangely enough I have not had much experience with the brand. I have tried one of their bottle packs a while back with decent success and have read gobs about their hydration packs but had not taken the leap yet. More recently I decided to reach out and get in contact with them to do some reviews; they were excited and gave me a couple of products to review in which this is the first. Of course, I got these around the same time as my knee started giving me issues and limiting the distance I could run. This has also made it a bit tougher to get long runs in making the process take a bit longer than planned.
Both Melissa and I tested the Speed 2R Hydration Belt. We used the belt on runs from 5 to 15 miles depending on the weather and water stops along the way. I even used the bottles separately in some Pearl Izumi tights I am testing as they have flask holders. The weather ranged from low 40s to mid 90s. As you can imagine, Melissa and I have different builds so I felt like that was crucial for testing how it fit different shapes.
The Speed 2R Hydration Belt is a lightweight race belt made for medium-length races and training runs. At a basic level, the belt has two bottles, two pockets, and a Velcro closure system. The Speed 2R Hydration Belt is part of the Speed Series which ensures fluid is easily accessible, close at hand, and never in the way. The heart of the belt is the titanium belt which is elastic and strong to offer great support. It has also been made with an open construction to help eliminate the heat buildup. The top and bottom of the belt have been finished with elastic trim to give it a softer feel and even more support. The titanium belt uses a Velcro closure that is several inches long to adjust to fit up 6 inches in waist size depending on the size you choose. The belt comes in three sizes from small to large. On the inside of the belt where there is an external pocket or flask Nathan has uses an Airmesh material to help pull moisture away and keep the belt comfortable.
On the front of the belt is where the main pocket is located. The pocket is a Velcro pocket with a rounded shape to it. Inside there is a key clip and a small ID pocket that can be filled out in case of emergency. Furthermore, along the belt is a small Velcro pocket that can be used for salt tabs or other small items. The bottle holsters are located farther back on the belt near the back of the hips. They have a been molded and streamlined to save weigh and make so they are not only secure but able to put the bottle in and pull it out with only one hand. These holsters have silicone grips on the inside to prevent the bottles from ejecting or becoming unstable. The flasks themselves are 8 ounces each and have a unique shape to them so they sit snug and comfortably against the body. The flasks have Nathan’s race cap with high flow one-way valves for easy use and plenty of liquid. It also works for gel.
What sets the Speed 2R Hydration Belt apart is the Auto-Cant device in the back. This device allows the belt to pivot on this piece and fit a variety of shapes comfortably. By being able to adjust the belt is sure to fit snug and flush with the shape of your body to greatly improve stability while running. For a little extra security, Nathan has added reflective elements to help you be seen in lower light conditions. One thing I was not able to find was any information about green or sustainable materials. The Nathan website also did not list any corporate initiatives that support this. One thing Nathan does a good job is supporting the running community and its racers. There are not many races on the calendar that they do not have a presence at. Even with this I still gave it a 1.5 rating in sustainability.
Ease of Movement (30%)
I have never been a fan of Velcro waist belts. This is not the first one that I have owned over the years but rather the third with a Velcro closure. Initially, I was not excited to test this one due to my past issues, but I relented. I ended up testing the size medium as I have a 32-inch waist and figured it would be good to have a little extra length if I am wearing more layers. I also tried on the small, and I did not have enough Velcro overlap to feel good about the size. Testing the Speed 2R I honestly must say that I am still not a fan of Velcro closures systems. For both Melissa and I there was a bit of extra length past where the Velcro ends. This little flap would stick out and catch on things. While it did not create any problems, we both found it a bit annoying. The Velcro is very secure, and neither of us had any slippage of the belt.
Even though we were not a fan of the Velcro, we both were able to use the belt without issue. Needless to say Melissa and I are not the same shape, and the belt could adjust well to both of us. One of the big reasons the belt fits well has to be the Auto-Cant Disc in the back. It allows the belt to pivot on the disc and sit flat against whoever is wearing it. The disc also makes it so you can change the location during a run if you want a different feel and the belt will adjust to the new location. Another factor that helps the belt fit so well is the belt itself. It has been made with a limited amount of stretch so it can move as you do. That gets to the next point, the belt does not impede movement as the pockets have been strategically placed and so have the bottles.
Ease of Use (20%)
Water Bottles (25%)
The Nathan Speed 2R Hydration Belt has performed well, for the most part. Like I mentioned above the Velcro does not slip, yes I find it annoying, but it works. On the right hip, there is a small pocket that is for salt tablets. The pocket closes by Velcro, which once again works but a magnet would be better, in my opinion. The main pocket is in the front of the belt. It is a stretch mesh pocket with a Velcro closure and pull tab at the top to help open and close it. It may start to sound like a broken record but the Velcro once again was not the best. It takes up so valuable space where a zipper pocket would be more secure and not take up as much space. The main pocket has an interesting shape to it as well. The bottom is rounded so while it works well for objects like bars and gels it was not great if I wanted to stuff in my iPhone. I could get it kind of in there, but it was not secure enough to run with it. As an edit it looks like the newer version of the belt has changed the pocket shape and made it a zipper.
Inside the main pocket, there is a key clip to keep it secure. Furthermore, in the pocket is a little ID keeper that you can fill out with vital information in case of a problem. The ID is tethered so you cannot lose it. It has spots for your name, address, phone, emergency contact, and medical instructions. This is a pretty cool idea. The front of the main pocket also has a large reflective logo for good visibility. The holsters for the belt is located a little back from center and have been designed to be sleek and secure. The holsters are attached to the belt by elastic, and this makes is easy to get your bottles in and out. It also works well with the bottle shape to keep it secure. Not once did I ever feel the bottom move. The top of the holster has a wider opening to help get the bottle in easily. I was able to do it on the run and not looking, well most of the time. The bottle itself has a unique shape that flares slightly at the bottom. The back of the bottle is concave so it will sit against the body better. By sitting flush it is more comfortable. The bottle holds 8 oz, but the last one takes it up to the very top. The top cap is a one-way valve that squirts water with an easy squeeze. I did have issues with my bottles leaking from time to time. The leaking was not from the valve but rather from under the cap. It seemed to be worse when I use a tab like Nuun or Gu Brew. It still leaked with regular water occasionally, and I am not sure if it was from the cap being too tight or loose. I could not figure it out.
Many of my runs were in hot weather so the breathability got a good test and did rather well. Behind the bottles are mesh and wicked moisture away as it did not breathe as well as the main belt did. Base on the material I would not expect it to either. The belt has a thin construction with air spaces to allow it to breathe better. The Speed 2R seems to be very durable. I did not have any issues over all of our use; the belt can still pass as new. The most important factor of the belt is how it carries the bottles, and the belt was very stable. The bottles are not very big or heavy, and they did not bounce. I really like how they carried.
Overall, the Speed 2R belt worked well functionally. As I tested the belt, I was not a fan pocket. It works, but it was too small for my phone and the Velcro is not the most secure. It looks like they are changing this in 2013 so it may not be an issue then.
One thing that is great is the internal ID pocket. The belt fits really well and can adjust to different people easy, as long as they are close to the same size. The Auto-Cant adjust to different shapes well. I liked the bottles and the holsters but did have some leaking on occasion. One thing that was not my favorite was the Velcro closure system, but I realize this is a preference thing. I just always find that I am right between sizes and therefore, neither a small nor a medium fits exact. That is why I like an adjustable belt. I would still recommend the belt as it really is comfortable. The Nathan Speed 2R retails for $50. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Very comfortable
- Adjusts to different people well
- ID pocket
- No bounce
- Easy to get bottle in and out
- Bottles leaked a little
- Not a fan of Velcro
- Pocket did not hold my phone well
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