Woman climbing up a mountain in her running gear.

How to Carry Your Gear While Running

Plenty of new runners wonder, “How do you carry your stuff while running?” It’s no surprise that carrying all your gear can be difficult, but thankfully, there are plenty of options for your running workouts. Let’s look at some of the best solutions for this common problem.

What accessories should I bring on a run?

Woman in a park wearing headphones looking at her phone picking music before her run.

The type of accessories you bring on a run with you will vary depending on several factors, like:

  • Mileage: A longer run, like a marathon, may require extra accessories, like snacks, whereas you can complete a shorter run without bonking.
  • Weather/location: If you’re running in a very cold or rainy area, you might need to bring an extra layer of clothing or your wallet, just in case you need to stop in a cafe to wait out the weather.
  • Terrain: Trail runs may also require additional accessories, like water, snacks, a phone, and your keys. 
  • Your comfort level: Maybe you feel comfortable heading out for a run without your phone, but some others may not. What you decide to bring along with you depends on personal preference.

Depending on the factors listed above, you may want to bring some of the more common items, such as:

  • A water bottle
  • Running snacks
  • Your phone
  • Car keys
  • Your wallet (ID and debit card)
  • An extra layer of clothes
  • Pepper spray

Just remember: the more stuff you bring on your run, the more weight you add to your workout. Try to limit your gear to basic necessities whenever possible.

How do I carry my stuff while running?

Two men stretching on a gravel running path before their run together.

Whether you prefer to pack light or bring everything but the kitchen sink, there are plenty of ways to carry all your gear and essentials while running. Here are some of our favorites:

Handheld water bottles

Even the most minimalistic runners will likely want to bring some water along. A handheld water bottle is one of the simplest ways to do it. Most of these light and compact water bottles carry anywhere from 16 to 20 ounces and securely strap to your hand, so you don’t have to grip the bottle to hold onto while you run.

Most handheld water bottles also have a zippered pocket, where you can conveniently stash your ID, cash, phone, or other essentials you want to keep safe. The only downside to running with one of these water bottles is that you might feel a little unbalanced if you only carry the extra water on one side of your body.

Hydration belts

A hydration belt is an excellent option for longer runs because it offers more storage and allows you to easily carry multiple water bottles on a belt around your waist. Like the handheld bottles, these belts usually include a 16 to 20-ounce water bottle that fits securely into the belt.

Some belts come with several small water bottles, so you can fill one with water and others with a sports drink or something else. Alternatively, you could fill them all with water, too, but you don’t have to carry all the bottles with you on every run. The most significant benefit of a hydration belt is water is always plentiful and easily accessible while you’re running.

Waist pouches/packs

One of the more popular ways to carry your stuff while running is with a pouch. A waist pouch (also called a waist pack) is one of the bulkier options for carrying your stuff while running, but they offer plenty of space for your gear and come in different styles. Whether you want one that looks more like a fanny pack or something a little sleeker, you can shop around to find something that suits your style and needs.

Waist pouches have plenty of space for water, pepper spray, snacks, ID, and debit cards, so you don’t have to worry about leaving anything at home. However, it comes at a cost. Naturally, since they’re bigger, they’re also more burdensome, which might make it more challenging to manage if you’re running long distances.

Running belts

Running belts (also called race belts) are streamlined and fit comfortably around your waist like a traditional belt. Even still, they offer enough wiggle room to stash a key fob, some energy gels, or a key, so you don’t have to leave those essentials at home.

One of the main benefits of a running belt is that they fit snugly but still have enough room to store your essential gear and won’t bounce around nearly as much as a waist pouch. Some belts even feature handy compartment dividers, reflective fabric accents for night running, and quick-release buckles for easy use.


Armbands are small zippered carriers that wrap around your arm or wrist and hold essentials like your phone, keys, cash, and maybe a card or two. You can adjust the band length to fit your arm. 

Although they don’t provide a ton of storage, it’s more than enough space to carry your stuff while running and it will also keep your phone dry from sweat. They’re also convenient if you need to quickly access your phone to adjust the music or tune into one of your favorite running podcasts. Many runners also pair armbands with a race belt or pouch for additional storage when they need it.

Running backpacks

A running backpack is a small backpack that will fit all your essentials and extra items you might want to bring along on a run. It’s ideal for trail runners who make their way through remote areas without access to water or food.

Unlike traditional backpacks, a running backpack is smaller and more compact, so it won’t bounce up and down on your back while you’re running. It also won’t get too heavy, as long as you don’t pack it full of unnecessary items.

Running vests

Running vests are similar to running backpacks in that you can use them to carry your stuff while running by hanging them over your shoulders and back. However, vests are typically more streamlined and compact and have several small pockets for gear like snacks, water, clothes, and more.

Shoe wallets

If you prefer to avoid wearing any packs, armbands, or backpacks, a shoe wallet is a very minimalistic way to carry valuables like your ID, debit card, and key. This specialized wallet attaches to the top of a running shoe on the laces, and securely stores small items with a velcro closure.


Plenty of running apparel is outfitted with pockets, which you can use to store your valuables on your person while you run. Unlike traditional pants or tops, the pockets on some running clothes have pockets that are secured with zippers, so you don’t have to worry about items falling out. 

Even better, you’re not limited to just using jacket pockets! Many running shorts, pants, and even sports bras also feature secure pockets that are designed to store things like a phone or ID cards while you run.

As you can see, there are several options for carrying your running gear. However, if you can’t find a way to comfortably carry your stuff while you run, consider taking your running routine indoors instead. Apps like Vingo offer a fun and exciting way to log your miles without lugging your essentials around. You can explore fantastic running routes in extravagant locations all around the globe, including Iceland, where ice caves, rainbow bridges, and stunning landscapes await you. And best of all, you can store all your gear, snacks, and water right next to you on a table or barstool.

Tips to keep your gear safe while you run

A woman tying her shoe before she goes on her run in a park.
  • Make sure food and water are easily accessible: You may not always want to stop running to grab a snack, energy chews, or some water, but you’re likely to need them, especially on a longer run. However you store these items, make sure they’re easy to grab mid-run. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up stopping more often than you’d like to.
  • Secure your keys: No one wants to lose their car or house keys while they’re out running! But they’re most likely to bounce around or fall out of a pocket while you’re moving. Ensure this doesn’t happen to you by securing them safely inside a bag or pouch attached to your body.
  • Protect your phone from moisture: If it is inside a pocket while running, it’s likely to get wet from your sweat. Protect it by putting it inside a plastic bag first.

Key Takeaways:

If you run outdoors often, figuring out how to carry your stuff while you run can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several ways to carry your gear. From handheld water bottles to race belts, pouches, vests, and more, you can find an effective option that gives you the most flexibility and comfort.

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