Review: Naked Running Band || Low-profile 2-oz waist pack

The low-profile Naked Running Band accommodates a phone, wallet and keys, calories, and a small amount of water.

The low-profile Naked Running Band accommodates a phone, wallet and keys, calories, and a small amount of water.

It’s rare that I depart empty-handed from the house for a run. Often I have a cell phone, water bottle(s), calories, headlamp, toilet paper, and spare clothing like a windshirt, headband, and liner gloves.

For longer runs I like tight shorts like the UA HeatGear Sonic Compression Shorts, since they cause me less chafing than lined shorts, and in their waist band I can secure unused clothing. For more or other items, though, I need a pack.

On recent training runs I’ve increasingly reached for the Naked Running Band, which I was sent 18 months ago for review. In hindsight, I think I should have been using it more all along.

Review: Naked Running Band

The Naked Running Band (NRB) is a low-profile, ultralight, semi-stretchy, and non-adjustable waistband. Its double-layer construction is compartmentalized into four pockets with 3 liters of total capacity.

The limiting factor of the NRB is volume, and more specifically its water capacity. It is well suited for runs when I need just a half-liter of water plus some odds-and-ends. But if I need more water, multiple layers of clothing, and a workday’s worth of calories, I’ll reach for a larger and more supportive running vest.

Product specs

  • Six sizes: 25 to 36 inches, in two-inch increments
  • 2.1 oz (size IV, 31-32 inches)
  • Made entirely of four-way stretch mesh
  • 3-liter capacity
  • Four pockets: two small pockets on each hip, and two main pockets in the front and rear
  • Made in USA
  • $46 + $6 shipping
  • Buy now directly from Naked Sports Innovations
The front side, which features one wide pocket. The two side pockets wrap around the back of the pack. Notice that each pocket has a pull tab.

The front side, which features one wide pocket. The two side pockets wrap around the back of the pack. Notice that each pocket has a pull tab.

The backside, which is identical to the front, save for the logo and for the two elasticized loops that in theory offer some additional utility.

The backside, which is identical to the front, save for the logo and for the two elasticized loops that in theory offer some additional utility.

Sizing

The Naked Running Band is non-adjustable. It is available in six sizes, each optimized for a two-inch range in girth. Because it is made of four-way stretch mesh, it can accommodate slightly smaller and larger girths beyond the optimal two-inch range, but at some point it will become saggy or uncomfortably tight.

To determine your size, measure the girth of your body at your navel, where the top edge of the NRB will sit. It is best to use a tape measure, and to be wearing your typical running attire.

I appreciate the simplicity of the NRB, and believe that its non-adjustability leads to a more custom fit. However, this feature can also be a liability: ordering sight unseen is risky; and it cannot be adjusted for atypical attire or seasonal fluctuations in body weight.

Volume

The NRB is double-layered, and its bottom edges were stitched together to create a 360-degree pocket. This pocket was then divided into four smaller compartments: two small pockets at each hip, and two large pockets at the front and back.

In the NRB I have carried my wallet, 5-inch phone, gels and bars, and spare clothing. I have also carried the Ultimate Direction 17-oz Body Bottle Plus (which importantly has a valve lock-out feature) as well as the Ultimate Direction 4-oz Gel Flask. Overall, the NRB is less discriminate in its contents than conventional waist packs and running vests that have custom-sized bottles and more sub-divided capacity.

On the backside, the NRB has two external loops that supposedly can be used to carry a jacket or maybe even a large water bottle. I’m skeptical of this feature: I think a jacket is likely to fall out (unless it is rolled and packed perfectly, which I won’t take the time to do during a run) and a water bottle would bounce around to an unacceptable degree.

With a windshirt in the side pocket, and a 17-oz soft bottle in the rear. Bottles must have lock-out valves, or the lateral tension on the valve from the fabric will cause it to leak.

With a windshirt in the side pocket, and a 17-oz soft bottle in the rear. Bottles must have lock-out valves, or the lateral tension on the valve from the fabric will cause it to leak.

Access

As with all packs, ease of access improves with product familiarity. But I found that I adjusted more quickly to the NRB, because its pockets are easy to see — as opposed to, say, pockets on a shoulder strap that are barely within peripheral vision.

The NRB can be spun to more easily access the side or back pockets. This is more difficult to do with a sweaty torso, however.

Each pocket features a brightly colored pull tab, to help open it. But I prefer to simply push one hand into the pocket to retrieve or drop off an item.

Carry

The NRB fits snugly, distributes its pressure over a wide area, and keeps close to the body the items that are in it. This combination of factors leads to a very comfortable carry, with a minimum of (or no) bouncing or shuffling.

Update

Shortly after publishing this review (and sharing it with Naked) I received an update from Lindsay, one of the founders and owners:

Since you received yours we have added a cool feature in that of a dedicated race number attachment. As well, regarding your point on the rear loops, those were designed for a rain shell and trekking poles (and again, through athletes’ comments we moved those further apart). I can tell you, with the elastics having silicone backing the contents, once in the loops won’t budge. I have sent a picture illustrating this. As we move into the new year I can tell you we will now be offering an even more customizable fit with 12 sizes being available.


Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested and trustworthy information, insights, and advice. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products, and I do not publish sponsored content

This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like Amazon or REI, at no cost to the reader.

I was sent the Naked Running Band for review, but have no financial interest in its promotion or sales.

Posted in , on November 29, 2016
Tags:

20 Comments

  1. Caps on November 30, 2016 at 6:35 am

    It looks great — it seems like a great christmas gift for my wife. The only qualm I have is that for 2 oz of mesh fabric the $46 pricetag is quite high. What is your perspective on durability? And does it turn into a stinky cesspool of bacteria or is it treated? Are there any similar competing products I’ve missed?

    • Andrew Skurka on November 30, 2016 at 8:18 am

      For a running pack I actually thought the price was reasonable. Consider that a 5-oz UD running vest costs $110. And I imagine that Naked’s costs are higher because of USA production, small quantities, and a relatively large number of SKU’s because of the non-adjustable sizing.

      Seems well made.

      Hand-washing is easy. Especially in the warmer months, I hand-wash my running stuff (e.g. clothing, visor, HR band, pack) everyday at the same time that I shower.

      No competing products that I know of, but I’m not as extensively familiar with the running and tri markets as I am with backpacking gear.

      • Caps on November 30, 2016 at 8:52 am

        Thanks for the response. I suppose my kneejerk reaction to price is just because I have never used running vests/packs myself, and usually when my wife needs aid I just car chase her obviating the need. I suppose when it comes down to it, I am at a place in my life where I am happy to spend a little extra to support well made USA products. Now I just have to figure out how to figure out the sizing without being creepy or suspicious… 🙂

  2. Mike on November 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

    The UD race vest 2.0 is my go to pack for long adventure runs but it’s lack of storage without removing it is a problem for me. So I’ve been running in my cycling jerseys so I have some extra storage for a shell, gloves, glasses and arm warmers if the temps change enough to want to take them fully off. I picked up the Salomon Skin 3 belt hoping it would be the perfect compliment but I’m mixed on it. This product seems to address many of my complaints, though the fitting may be a big concern. It’s rare that I don’t find myself adjusting something after half a day on the go, but for less than $50 I’d be willing to give it a shot.

    • Andrew Skurka on November 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

      I had not considered intra-day sizing. I suppose if it gets really wet or encrusted with salt, that could be an issue. It’s 90 percent poly, 10 percent spandex.

  3. Bruce Lemieux on November 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for the review – wasn’t ware of this product. I think this is a great design. I tried a ‘flipbelt’ running belt earlier this year which is similar in design, but made with polyester or something else. It worked OK the first couple miles, but then it became a heavy, nasty sweat collector. I’ll probably give this one a try.

  4. Lindsay Dakota on November 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Folks
    Andrew nailed the review so you are getting some very informed testing results. As far as stretching out when wet or after extended use….. it will not. Several people have used them exclusively at Western States 100 for example. Racing for 100 miles in 100 degree heat, constantly being drenched from the heat and wading rivers has proven to be no match. And hand washing definitely extends your smiles for miles!

  5. Scott C on May 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Any experience with the Salomon Pulse Hydration belt, Andrew? Seems similar and was interested in it for running with phone, small bit of hydration, and fuel. Thanks again!

    • Andrew Skurka on May 14, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      No experience, sorry

  6. scotty on August 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Still using this belt? I was about to buy a VaporKrar Waistpak when another review recommend this over it. Most of my runs are between 1-3 hours in the Santa Cruz Mountains. At most I would bring a 500ml water bottle and phone and now maybe a garmin in reach mini, maybe. Most of the time I run shirtless and the few times I do bring a hat and sunglasses I wish I had a place to stash them at some point. Hesitate to over complicate running as the simplicity is my favor part but I’m starting to do longer distances and a bit of water seems reasonable.

    Thanks as always

    • Andrew Skurka on August 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Yes, still using, regularly actually. Right now I wear it most on easy days, 60-90 minutes, when I need a little bit of water and a place to stash my shirt after it gets too hot. At cooler times of year, I can wear it on longer runs, because I don’t need to drink as much. I also wore it at the Boston and Houston Marathons. Overall, very useful.

  7. Jeff H on August 16, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Any experience with carrying poles and whether the loops stretch over time making the poles less secure? Jeff

  8. sean g on October 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Instructions on the site for picking your size talk about factoring in a preference for wearing around hips or belly. Where do you wear yours?

    • Andrew Skurka on October 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      I prefer mine on the hips:

      1. Objects tend to bounce less, because they’re resting on harder and more horizontal surfaces (e.g. top of butt, bone-y hips).
      2. Less pressure on my belly and GI system.
      3. I’m uncertain that you can get a belly-sized band over the hips without stretching it irrecoverably.

      • sean g on October 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        Thanks! That’s what I figured more or less. It struck me as odd to wear it around the belly but wondered if I was missing something.

  9. Mudbone on October 29, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Do you think this could be used while backpacking? Could it ride above/below a hipbelt and replace a shoulder strap water bottle holder?

    • Andrew Skurka on October 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      I think the extra bulk between the back panel and back will cause problems if worn all day. I could imagine some wicked chafing.

  10. Patrick on April 8, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Are you still using the belt with the Ultimate Direction bottles, or have you experimented with other brands? I used my 17oz UD bottle on my first run with the belt today but found getting the bottle in and out while running at marathon pace a bit tricky.

    • Andrew Skurka on April 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      Yes, wore it today actually.

      I think it’s better to use smaller hard-sided bottles, and position them vertically.

      • Melanie on June 2, 2019 at 6:15 pm

        I hadn’t heard of this product until today when I was Googling for a good pack to carry trekking poles. Going to try it!

Leave a Comment