The CamelBak Stash Belt is halfway between a belt and a bumbag, and provides a slim, secure pocket for essential cargo. It's wide and comfy as long as you don't ram it too full, but it's a bit hot for the summer and it can be a pain having to step in and out of it.
The Stash Belt is low-profile and minimalist: so minimalist, in fact, there are no straps or buckles. Instead, the whole thing is simply a stretchy waistband you step into and out of like a skirt, tightening the fit with elastic bungees and toggles.
It gives you two pockets at the rear – one large one small – that lie on top of each other. Camelbak claims two litres of space, but it doesn't look that roomy to me, plus if you stuff them full the pack gets bulky and uncomfortable against your back.
The Stash's low profile lends itself well to the basics: a large phone, a snack, cash and a key. And that's about it. The pockets don't have any internal storage so small items roll about inside, and the small pockets at each hip aren't zippered – not great, then, for things you'd rather not lose.
The entire pack is about 12.5cm tall (five inches) and drops down slightly at the front. While that height keeps the pack stable, it also makes it rather hot and sweaty to wear close to the skin – I felt the warmth particular at the front, even though the band there is mesh. The front of the belt could usefully be lower.
I either wore the Stash belt under my jersey, against my skin on hot days or between a base layer and a jersey or coat on colder ones. It works well in both situations; the zips are easy to find and operate behind your back, and if you do struggle you can easily just slide the whole thing round and it like a kangaroo with its pouch.
The toggles work well in conjunction with the tapered overal shape for cinching the belt in securely, and the bungee excess doesn't get in the way or catch on jersies either. Anyone much slimmer than me (I'm a dress size 8-10) may run out of adjustment and find the Stash a little baggy, though.
At £37, the CamelBak Stash Belt is a little pricier than others like it. The £30 Dakine Hotlaps Stealth holds more, for instance, and includes pocket organisers and a buckle – avoiding the awkward muddy-legged dance of removing the CamelBak Stash.
Spend a bit more (£45) and you can get CamelBak's own Podium Flow belt. You do have to wear it outside your clothes but it carries more gear, holds water bottles and is cooler in use, potentially making it a wiser purchase.
If you're looking for a stealthy bag to wear under your jersey then take a look at the Stash: it carries the bare minimum and barely shows, though you're likely to feel the heat. It's pretty basic for the price, however, and arguably there are better-performing, better-value options elsewhere – even in CamelBak's own range.
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