One of the best things about smartphones these days is that they are bridging the gap between standalone devices like eReaders and MP3 players, allowing you to consolidate your technology into one convenient device. I have effectively ditched my 16 GB Zune HD in favor of using my phone as a MP3 player when I go running, but the problem has always been to try to find a way to hold it. That search is now over with the SPIbelt. It stands for “Small Personal Item Belt” and is designed to hold your phone, MP3 player, credit card, keys, or other small items when you are exercising or otherwise on the go.
The idea of using an armband to hold an MP3 player or phone has been around for a while, but it seems like these days you can only ever find bands that support Apple products. Since phones and MP3 players come in all shapes and sizes, your options for a solution to carrying your device have been severely limited ‘til now. Sure, some phones can still fit into a case designed for an iPod Touch, but if you have a screen larger than 3.5 inches, you’re usually out of luck. Plus, armbands tend to bounce around a lot and that can get quite annoying after several miles.
The SPIBelt is a small pouch with a zipper, attached to an elastic band with a plastic clip that is designed to be worn around waists between 24 and 40 inches wide. A friend on my relay team told me about the SPIBelt, and I’m sure that my first thoughts echoed yours right now….”Huh…a fanny pack.” I suppose, in function, it essentially is. Thankfully, it is much sleeker and, dare I say, cooler than a fanny pack.
The pouch itself is deceptively roomy. The way that is has been sewn allows the pouch to naturally fold up so that it is only about 1 inch wide at rest, but it can stretch up to around 4 inches wide. I combined the images below and they are not to scale, but will give you an idea of what I am talking about.
The Spibelt can easily hold your phone/MP3 player, some cards or cash, and a key. There is also a version that has a separator in the middle so that you could key your keys and card from scratching your phone. The store where I purchased mine did not carry this version, but it would certainly be nice to have.
The Spibelt comes in a variety of colors and patterns, from jet black, to reflective, to polka dotted, and everything in between. Personally, I wanted mine to be as muted and unobtrusive as possible, but I guess that it really doesn’t matter since I hide it under my shirt when I run with it, anyways. For those of you that want to use this as an extension of your personality, you won’t be disappointed by the selections available.
I had no doubts that the Spibelt would be able to hold my things, but I was worried that it would bounce around a lot as I ran. The website claims that it won’t bounce, but I was still skeptical. Rest assured that the website does not make idle claims. Once you adjust the belt to your waist size you’ll hardly even notice that it is there. It works so well and is so unobtrusive that I almost always forget to take it off when I get back from a run. If for some reason it does start to bounce a little as you go, the adjustment straps are conveniently situated so that you can just pull it tighter and never have to stop.
Most versions of the Spibelt will set you back $19.95, though there are a few styles that are a few dollars more. If you need more space there is even a belt with two pouches, or one designed to hold running energy packages, as well. I use this for running, but you could use it for any kind of exercise, and I even have a friend who uses it while she travels. If you have faced the dilemma of finding a good solution for holding your phone and other items while working out, you owe it to yourself to pick up a Spibelt. They can be found at most running stores, or you can order them online at Spibelt.com or Amazon.com.