Great Belt (But TERRIBLE Size Chart)
I run in an area of Houston without many public water fountains, and finally decided to get a triathlete belt for both comfort and safety's sake. The North Face Fuel Tool Belt got excellent reviews by the Runn3rs W0rld folks, and I have to (at least mostly) agree with them - it's an excellent belt so far. Fluid capacity is good, with spaces for up to 4 8oz bottles. The belt comes with two bottles in the back, with the ability to attach 2 more in the front (the additionals are sold separately). The bottles ride at just about the "right" place, on either side of your lower back. I never felt as if the bottles would slip out of place, even when empty. They fit very snugly in their holders, but aren't that troublesome to take out or put in, even while on the move. The nozzles on each bottle point outward, so you won't feel them scraping or bumping against you when running. There's a good amount of room for adjusting the fit (see size discussion below), and the velcro closure holds tight. The closure also features a very small key pocket in front. It's probably only large enough for a key and a few folded dollar bills. The back compartment is big enough for an iPhone or a granola bar. As with most running gear, the belt features reflective striping here and there. My main criticism of the Tool Belt is the comically vague North Face sizing chart. The S/M purports to fit something like up to a 34" waist. I'm a guy that normally wears a 32" or 33", but I couldn't even bring the two ends of the S/M together around me. The sizing chart should read "Extremely Small" for the S/M and "Everything Else" for the M/L. As for other criticisms, I'd like to be able to move the different features around the belt, such as moving the iPod/phone pack to the front or side. If you want that flexibility, your only option is just to physically change how you wear the belt... not too helpful. Also, I felt as if the belt rode a little "high" on my waist. I would've liked to have it sit a bit lower, on the bones of my hips, but not sure how that might work. The belt eventually slides to the thinnest part of your waist, and there's not a lot you can do about it. Another small criticism is that the bottle openings are really too small to get your garden variety ice cube through. If you want something to stay cold, you have to refrigerate it beforehand, or use crushed ice. Overall, a very solid product if you must wear a hydration belt.
I really like how well the fuel belt was constructed; quality materials and workmanship. The bottles are light and easy to use, I had no difficulty pulling them out and putting them back into the pocket while running. i really liked that I did not have to stop running to get a sip of water. the only negative is that the sizes are small. I got the small, my waist size is 24 inches an the measurement says 24 - 27 in for small; but the fit is snug even at the natural waist and I like the belt slung a bit lower so my elbow/forearm doesn't rub against it while I am running. I got the large for my husband and I have ended up using that one instead. I gave it four stars for this reason, otherwise this fuel belt is probably the best I have ever used. I don't even feel it while I am running.
Good hands-free trail running hydration source
For trail running, I wanted a hydration source that wouldn't alter my running motion and is hands-free. I found the North Face Tool Belt allows for both. My running motion did not change and the pack/bottles were light enough to where I felt it did not inhibit my speed/performance. Also, my hands were free to break my fall or allow me to push branches out of my way allowing me to focus solely on my steps. The only negative I have is being a smaller guy (31-32" waist), I felt the belt did not tighten enough around my waist. Especially when i pulled out a bottle to drink, the belt would go up with the upward movement of the bottle being lifted out. Other than that, I felt the belt was a great source for what I needed (though I may add another bottle or 2 on the belt..there is built-in room for it) and will continue to use it.