11 Clever Ways to Carry Your Walking Essentials

No Pockets? No Problem!

How do you carry your mobile phone, keys, ID and other essential items when you go for a walk? In days of yore, we wore fanny packs. But the fashion gods dictated that those were terminally un-cool -- just about the time everyone started carrying a mobile phone. Too big for the wimpy key pocket in your running tights, too essential to put in a backpack where you can't access it -- how do you keep it and other items handy? Here are some clever ways to carry your stuff when pockets aren't enough and a backpack it too much or too inconvenient.

1
Running Buddy Magnetic Personal Storage Pouch

Running Buddy Magnetic Personal Storage Pouch
Running Buddy Magnetic Personal Storage Pouch. Courtesy of Amazon.com

I've been a fan of the similar RooSport Magnetic Pocket, but I may prefer the Running Buddy Pouch. It also attaches at your waistband, one side inside your pants and the rest of the pouch outside. It is made from sweat-wicking fabric that is a little stiffer than that of the RooSport. It has two pockets, one for your cell phone with a cord port, and another interior pocket good for ID and cash. The Running Buddy comes in a few different sizes, including a mini one and a 6+ one for larger phones. They even have one for a small, flat water bottle.

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2
FlipBelt Sport Belt

FlipBelt
FlipBelt. Courtesy of Amazon

Review: FlipBelt Sport Belt
I saw the FlipBelt at the Portland Marathon race expo and I couldn't buy it fast enough.It's very simple, just a stretchy continuous loop of fabric with slits strategically placed. You just tuck your essentials into the slits and they ride securely at your waist. The fabric is stretchy enough that you can even slip a water bottle into it (although that will warm up your water). I love wearing the FlipBelt for half marathons for easy access to my phone/camera, energy snacks, tissues, etc. You could also wear it as a money belt for travel. They have further improved it by adding a keyring clip, and a version that includes a zippered pocket in addition to the freeform pockets will be available.

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3
RooSport Magnetic Sport Pocket

Wearing the RooSport Inside Waistband
Wearing the RooSport Inside Waistband. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Review: RooSport Magnetic Pocket
Don't have a pocket where you need it? The RooSport is a spare pocket. The flap folds over your waistband and the magnets keep it in place. You can use the zippered pocket for items you want secured, such as your ID, passport, money and keys. It has a drop-in pocket on top for your phone, camera, or other things you want quick access to. I love the RooSport for travel as well as walking. I wore it on several walking vacations and never had to worry about pickpockets. It is comfy to wear and you forget you have it on. Its advantage over the Running Buddy Pouch is that it is a lighter weight fabric, easier to conceal under clothing and very comfortable to wear all day.

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4
hipS-sister

hipS-sister
hipS-sister. Wendy Bumgardner

Review: hipS-sister
Like FlipBelt, the hipS-sister is a continuous loop of fabric, so you slip it on without any clasp or belt to bother with. It has two zippered pockets to hold essentials securely, plus a drop-in pocket perfect for your phone, iPod, or other things you want quick access to. And that pocket expands enough that you could carry a water bottle in it if you really want to. It's designed to be worn on the hips as a fashion statement. You can get it in basic black, colorful patterns, or even bedazzled. I have one with 13.1 in rhinestones for wearing while walking half marathons.

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5
SPIbelt

SPIbelt
SPIbelt. Wendy Bumgardner © 2014

Review: SPIbelt
The SPI in the name stands for Small Personal Items. It is a minimalist fanny pack, as it is only 1.5 inches wide until you put your small personal items in it. Then it expands enough to hold your mobile phone, keys, ID, money, and a pack of energy gel. It has an expandable zippered pocket. The belt is elastic rather than webbing, so it fits snugly at your waist to prevent bounce. It has an adjustable clasp, and comes in sizes for the very small and the rather large in addition to one-size-fits-most. They also make a SPIleash for dog walking. You can buy race bib toggles to slip over the belt to hold your race bib, too.

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6
Armpocket

Armpocket
Armpocket Sport 20. Armpocket ©

Review: Armpocket
Lots of people don't like wearing something on their waist at all. Armpocket is a solution for keeping your mobile device and essentials handy without the bulk on your waist. You can operate your mobile phone through the plastic cover and put your other essentials in the two organizer pockets. This works well for many people. My arm geometry must be off, because all of these sort of carriers just slide down to my elbow where they annoy me. I'll stick with the waist solutions.

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7
SPIband

SPIband
SPIband. Wendy Bumgardner ©

You can wear the SPIband on your wrist or ankle. Tuck items into the zipper-less pocket and you have them handy but secure. It easily carries ID, money, credit cards, or keys. But my top choice is as a place to keep your Kleenex handy for drippy-nose days. It works fairly well as a sweatband, too. A mobile phone would fit, as it is stretchy enough for most models, but I think that adds too much weight to your wrist.

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8
Walkapocket

Walkapocket
Walkapocket. Walkapocket LLC

Manufacturer's Site: Walkapocket
The Walkapocket is an updated fanny pack, one that lies flat against your body. It has a zip pocket to keep items secure. The pocket goes around your waist with an integrated clasp belt. It's made out of Aerospacer, a lightweight and durable mesh fabric which is moisture-wicking and quick-drying. The pocket expands and I enjoyed using it to carry my phone and keys on walks, or adding my wallet for urban jaunts. It makes a great travel accessory, or carry your dog-walking essentials when you take your pooch for her morning stroll.

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9
PortaPocket

PortaPocket
PortaPocket. Wendy Bumgardner ©

PortaPocket is a versatile system for carrying your essentials. You can wear it as an armband with their 12-inch mini-belt, or switch to their longer 18-inch belt to wear it on your thigh or calf, or to a 36-inch long waist/larger thigh belt. You can choose from a small, medium, large or extra-large pocket to hold your ID, cash, phone, or even passport. The pockets switch from belt to belt and close with a velcro closure. They are made of comfortable neoprene. It is water-resistant. They come in black, tan, and even "bling" styles.

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10
DBELT

DBelt PRO
DBelt PRO. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Review: DBELT
This flat belt comes in two versions, the Original and the PRO. Both versions have three pockets with a larger one designed to fit mobile phones, a zippered secure ID/key pocket and a drop-in pocket great for energy gels. The DBelt has a velcro closure, making it easy to put on and take off. The PRO is made of sweat-wicking polyester/spandex in a variety of colors. Its pockets are lined with moisture-resistant material to protect your electronics. The Original is made of cotton/spandex and is available in basic black, without lined pockets.

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11
The Tube Waistband

The Tube Wearable Waistband
The Tube Wearable Waistband. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Review: The Tube Waistband
The Tube is much like the hipS-sister, a continuous tube of stretchy Lycra with three pockets. It comes in 32 color combinations and four sizes. It is almost six inches wide, which I found easy to position on my waist/hips. There is a side slash pocket to slip items into, and two 5-inch zippered pockets (one horizontal, one vertical). This gives you choices for how to carry your phone, keys and other essentials.

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Drawbacks?

Only DBelt Pro and PortaPocket are water-resistant, but none of these items are waterproof. If you are going to be getting very sweaty, or very wet from rain, you will want to put your essentials in a waterproof bag before you put them in these carriers.

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