Before we get into belts there are some things you should know about me. My wallet is at least 10 years old, a $15 Dockers black leather trifold which probably has another 10 years left in it. I only get new underwear when my wife buys some for me, the same applies to t shirts. I generally do not concern myself with where the soap and shampoo originate from in the bathroom, all I know is that when they get low magic happens and they are replaced. I’m pretty complacent about those items (and no doubt many others) but the opposite is true of shoes, work boots, watches and exterior clothing. It’s a strange dynamic really in that I will buy new running shoes every 4 to 6 months without fail but my underwear is at least 2 to 3 years old.
Much like the sampling of items mentioned above, for a long time belts were something that I paid very little attention to. I had a work belt and a casual belt both of which were years old and probably cost around $20 total. My work belt was the issued black belt that the military provided and my casual belt was a cheap leather one. They both held my pants up and were never strained as the only add on item would have been the occasional multi-tool. Things would soon change and those crap-tastic belts would eventually end up in the trash where they belonged.
The “Ah Ha” Moment
I received my CCW license about 10 years ago and immediately recognized that I would need to upgrade my belt. Once I got heavily into prepping a few years later and the concept of Everyday Carry (EDC) became a reality my choice of belt jumped from afterthought to primary concern. Think of the hilarity involved when someone totes around $1000 of gun/mag carrier/holster/flashlight/knife on a $10 wallyworld belt. No doubt the belt constantly needs to be tightened, gets compressed (squashed) in a few areas and probably allows the gun to sag.
So what type of belt should you use?
There are a few things which much be taken into consideration when choosing the proper belt.
- Will you be carrying a gun: A valid point wouldn’t you think?
- What clothes will you be wearing: You wouldn’t want to wear a 2 inch tan rigger’s belt with your suit (or would you). There are sturdy leather belts which can be often substituted for the “tactical” variety.
- Belt Width: Right now my belt I’m wearing has a 1.75 inch width, which matches the loops on my Raven Concealment holster and spare mag carrier. Additionally I needed to make sure the loops on my pants were wide enough to accommodate the belt.
- Waist Size: Should be common sense but also take into consideration extra room needed for IWB holsters, if you buy the perfect size those might not fit.
My Belt of Choice
For a few years I’ve been pleased with tan rigger’s belts which run around $25 or so. Recently I picked up a 5.11 Operator belt which is much sturdier and holds everything in place nicely. No sag and no need to cinch everything down super tight in order to avoid holster movement. I also like the fact that there is very little flex in the belt, in other words it has not compressed in the back as of this writing (gotten squashed).
The Bottom Line
Whatever belt you choose make sure it’s nice and sturdy and fits in with your desired wardrobe, especially if you are going to carry a weapon around. While underwear and wallets can be items which are often overlooked a good belt should be near the top of the priority list for every prepper.