Running Belt vs Backpack: Which is the Better Choice For You?

If you are a big fan of outdoor activities such as running, biking, walking, hiking, and jogging, you are well aware of the challenge that most of us face and that is the struggle to find the best running pack.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when looking for the best running pack that can carry all of your necessities.

Most of the time, the first thing that we need to ponder is whether we want a running belt or a backpack. Both of these designs have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you need a detailed comparison of the features, pros, and cons of a running belt vs backpack, we got you covered.

Before we delve into what each one has to offer, let us first define what a running belt is and what a running backpack is.

A running belt is a small pouch that you wear around your waist.

It boasts many pockets that are designed to carry a cell phone, house and car keys, credit cards, cash, and other small items. Additionally, running belts are also made from lightweight materials and can be easily put on and taken off.

For runners who prefer to bring a lot of items during their runs, a running backpack is what you need.

On the other hand, a running backpack is a bag that you carry on your back. It looks just like traditional backpacks, but it has pockets specially designed to house running essentials like IDs, cash, keys, and change of clothes.

This design is perfect for those who are participating in a lengthy outdoor adventure and therefore require more items to be carried. With running backpacks, you can bring food, water, extra shoes and socks, rain gear, and many other items that you cannot fit into a running belt.

Running Belt vs Backpack: How to Know Which Would Suit Your Needs Better

The next step to knowing what running belts and running backpacks are is to know which one suits you best. Like what was mentioned before, you are going to face a lot of questions before coming to the final decision about which one suits your needs and goals.

What it all boils down to is that you, as the wearer, should be aware of your own preferences and requirements. If you intend to go on a long run, it is advisable to use a backpack as it provides more space to carry your essentials.

Additionally, a backpack can also provide added warmth for when you are planning on going for a run during the winter months.

If, however, you are only set out to run for a couple of hours, a running belt bag will do. This running pack is also designed to provide you with means to carry your necessities, but of course, a backpack has more space.

Another thing that differentiates the running belts and running backpacks is that you can easily access the pockets of a running belt bag compared to a backpack wherein you would have to stop running to get access.

Another way to help you decide which of these two designs suit your needs and preferences better is by educating yourself about the pros and cons of using each.

Running Belt vs Backpack: The Pros and Cons

To guide you in making a well-informed decision about which one to invest in, we came up with a compilation of the pros and cons of using a running belt and a running backpack.

1) Running Belt

A running belt is a running pack that is worn around the waist just like how you would wear a belt. It is usually designed with a number of pockets that can fit a cellphone, cash, keys, cards, IDs, and a small water bottle all at the same time. Because it is small in size, it weighs significantly less than a running backpack.

What makes a running belt a great choice of as a running pack is that the wearer can easily access its contents as compared to when wearing a backpack. There is no need to stop or even slow your pace down to get something out of your running belt because it is conveniently located at arm’s length.

However, the downside of using a running belt vs backpack is that you have less space to store your necessities. If you intend to go on a run for just a few hours, a running belt will do. Most of the running belt designs that are on the market today allow for a small bottle of water or other fluid to be carried along with keys, IDs, cards, and music player.


  • Can be easily taken off or put on
  • Weighs less than running backpacks
  • Fits necessities such as phone, keys, cards, cash, and even a small bottle of water
  • Easily accessible pockets


  • Smaller space

2) Running Backpack

With running backpacks, the wearer is provided with more space to carry a change of clothes, extra shoes, and more bottles of water. The weight is also evenly distributed between the two shoulders, so it’s not a problem to carry around for a long period of time.

Additionally, running backpacks are designed with adjustable straps and waist belts so as not to cause bouncing when running, walking, or hiking. The only problem that using a running backpack presents is that gaining access to its contents requires you to stop your running for a while.

Compared to a running belt that is conveniently located just around the waist, a running backpack cannot easily be accessed. Also, it is harder to put on and take off because it needs to be firmly fitted on the shoulders and back to minimize or even eliminate bouncing.


  • Has space for spare clothes, shoes, socks, water tumbler, and other necessities
  • Added warmth during the winter months
  • Weight is evenly distributed between the shoulders
  • Does not hinder freedom of movement


  • Cannot be accessed while running
  • Might be too hot when used during summer months

The Conclusion

When all has been said and done, the decision still rests upon you, the wearer. Your needs and preferences are what will make you choose between a running belt vs backpack as your go-to running pack. For runners who prefer to bring a lot of items during their runs, a running backpack is what you need.

However, the drawback of this design is that you cannot access its pockets while running. This is why a lot of people still prefer to use a running belt bag. Because it’s located at the waist, getting access to its pockets is not a challenge. There have also been running belt bags that were designed to carry as many as three water bottles.