ProView – Ultimate Direction Comfort Belt High Beam Reflective
For about eight months out of every year, I’m running almost entirely on trails in my hometown of Bend, Oregon. Because of this, I usually don’t need to worry too much about being seen by drivers or cyclists sharing the road. But things changed in the past couple of years. First, I’ve been running more consistently through the winter. And because Bend’s trails are typically under snow for some weeks or months of the winter, I’ve been running more miles around town on snow-free roads and paths. Second, working from home for the past year has had me running more from my house in town. As a result, I’ve heightened my awareness around my personal safety and visibility to others while running in town, especially during the lowlight hours of the morning and evening. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to test the Ultimate Direction Comfort Belt in High Beam Reflective.
Ultimate Direction Comfort Belt Hi Beam Reflective
Product Description: Our High Beam Reflective line is specifically designed to keep you visible and safe on every run - from dusk to dawn. Ideal for the casual run, the Comfort Belt in High Beam Reflective is super low-profile and free of hardware, but with enough carrying capacity to accommodate any size phone, plus gels, keys, and a small jacket.
Offer price: MSRP: $34.95
Lightweight, functional belt for short to medium runs.
- Hi-viz, reflective
- Highly functional
- Slides up
Even running from my house, I try to get to trails if they’re not too icy or snowy. It’s more relaxing and fun to get off the busy streets, and if I can get to off leash trails, then it’s even better for my dogs, who join me on almost every single run. Still, I’m about 1-2 miles from trails or paved paths in any direction from my front door, so unless I drive to a trailhead, I can’t avoid some amount of traffic. These miles have served as my testing grounds for the Comfort Belt: running from my house in the early morning or during the sunset hours after work, for 30-40 miles per week, usually for about 6-10 miles at a time.
Overall, I really like the Comfort Belt, and it has gained a solid place among my running gear that I frequently reach for. It’s stretchy (but not too stretchy), fits snugly (but not too snugly), and holds everything I need for a 1-2 hour run. On a run of this duration, I typically carry my phone, a car or house key, gloves (which I tend to tug off and on regularly at this time of year), dog poop pickup bags, and maybe a gel or waffle just in case I need it. The belt has stretchy mesh pockets on the inside, which are sized to accommodate a variety of items. One of my favorite discoveries about the Comfort Belt was a small internal mesh pocket with a key hook. I have a bad habit of losing keys while running and biking, so the hook is clutch for knowing my key is securely stowed.
How much can the belt hold? Well, it’s a balance. The more it’s loaded down, the bouncier it will get. For me, carrying small, lightweight essentials was just right. Once, I stuffed my lightweight windbreaker into a pocket, and it totally worked – it just felt a bit bulky. And, I will admit, there was one occasion where I bagged one of my dog’s number twos . . . and there was no trash can in sight. I put it in the inner mesh pocket of the Comfort Belt (double bagged, just in case), and while pretty gross and not at all ideal . . . it worked just fine, and I was able to forget about it until we reached a receptacle.
Sometimes, I also wore the Comfort Belt with nothing in at all, purely for its hi-viz and reflective benefits. It’s lightweight and comfortable enough that it makes sense to wear it when you don’t need to carry anything but want to be seen.
Room for Improvement
The only thing about the Comfort Belt that bums me out is that it slides up around my waist. It stayed put better on colder days when I was wearing it over more layers. But with just tights and a shirt, I was regularly tugging it down to a more comfortable position around my hips. To be transparent, I have never found a waist or hip belt that does not slide up on me, so this one was consistent with my experience with all varieties of belts. While I wish it would stay in place, I would still opt to use it to carry some small essentials hands-free or when I wanted to be extra visible on my route.
The Final Word
Overall, I would recommend the Ultimate Direction Comfort Belt in High Bean Reflective to runners who prefer to carry a few things, even on shorter runs. Just know that if belts tend to slide up on you, this one probably will, too.
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About the Gear Tester
Alli Hartz is based in Bend, Oregon, where she works as a ski guide, avalanche instructor, and freelance writer. During the summer, she runs in the mountains with her dogs Riggins and Firnspiegel, mountain bikes, and dabbles in alpine climbing. Connect with her on Strava and/or Instagram at @allimmmiles.