Alongside the rest of Osprey’s extensive pack and luggage range, they also offer a selection of packs designed for running and mountain biking. Ian has been taking their Duro Solo belt for a spin…..
This review is written from the perspective of a fell runner and I’ve been using the Duro Solo Belt over the past 6 weeks across a mixture of terrains in the Peak District and the West of Ireland, with runs up to a couple of hours. I’m pleased to say it’s a really nice piece of equipment, albeit quite niche. My quick and dirty summary would be “a great belt for short to medium runs on a warm day”.
Going into more detail, let’s start with first impressions, the Duro Solo Belt looks good, with good detailing and smart graphics. The materials are all high quality and peering closely at the stitching, you can see its well put together, as you would expect of anything from Osprey. The wide belt is elasticated and can be adjusted to fit a wide range of waist sizes. There is specific storage for a smartphone, the included drinks bottle, plus another storage pocket and it comes with an attached whistle. Weight is stated as 0.15 kg, with the example I reviewed coming out at 0.16 kg and 0.22kg with the (empty) bottle included.
Osprey describe the Duro Solo Belt as ‘a lumbar hydration pack with room for electronics, fuel and more. This is definitely the case, although the ‘and more’ storage is limited in capacity. I would describe it as a top quality bum bag with room for your smartphone, the included drinks bottle, your car/house key(s) and a couple of gels or energy bars. It won’t hold a waterproof jacket unless this is attached to the outside or you forego the water bottle and store the jacket in the bottle holder.
The two pockets are put together well. The Velcro closing top pocket is transparent and allows you to use your smartphone touchscreen through it, so no need to keep taking it out to send messages, and the other pocket underneath is made from a stretchy material and closed by a zip. Various materials are used on the belt depending on the element / job its doing. Of particular mention is the lower back contact area which is constructed from a very comfortable padded mesh fabric which is well ventilated and wicks moisture away really well. I never felt dripping wet on any of my runs out and couldn’t feel any seams or friction spots.
The waist belt is nice and wide (40mm to be exact) and spreads the weight well. The belt material is elasticated and so fits very comfortably spreading the weight around your waist, and is able to move with your breathing, so no tight feelings when you are working hard. It has an easy to operate buckle which grips the webbing firmly, with no slippage experienced whatsoever on any of my runs. The downside for me, as someone with a 34 inch waist, is the buckle is in a fixed position, and it sat on my hip bone and I found myself wriggling it around on longer runs. Personally I prefer a belt where you can position the ‘adjustment’ to sit more towards the front / stomach area. Also to adjust the belt whilst on the move is a two handed operation, again not ideal if you are on tricky / uneven terrain as often on an uphill I want to be able to slacken the belt and then tighten it back up on the descents.
The drinks bottle is shaped and this allows it to sit tight to your back which ensures it doesn’t roll / jump around on rough ground, a great feature as many a time I’ve been out with the proverbial bouncing bumbag. The bottle sits at a nice angle making it easy to remove as you’re running along. The bottle is secured by a piece of webbing which held it nice and tight at all times, however if you are ‘drinking on the move’ this had the tendency to drop inside the bottle pouch when the bottle was extracted so when replacing the bottle it tended to be a 2 handed affair, not ideal if you are running hard across tricky / uneven terrain. The bottle itself was a good quality item, no leaks were experienced and it was really easy and comfortable to drink from. As an added bonus, given its contoured shape, you can also stuff it easily in a cycling jersey if you need additional fluid to that in your bottle cages.
I see the sweet spot for the Duro Solo as the ideal belt for someone doing a park run / short training run rather than going out ‘racing’ where an amount of compulsory kit is required, or on days with changeable weather, where you would need wind/waterproofs. It has everything you need, space for your phone, a perfectly sized drinks bottle, and space for your car key and money for the essential refreshments afterwards.
Reviewed by Ian. Posted by Paul