Maximizing every piece of equipment you carry is the best way to keep the poundage down without sacrificing functionality. Additionally, when you are carrying extra gear, you want to spread the weight around and do it in a way that’s comfortable. Enter the survival belt. What might look at first like an overgrown moneybelt could be one of your most important pieces of equipment.
You have a lot of options when it comes to survival belts these days. We’ve narrowed the field down to eight particularly useful and easy-to-wear options to make life simple.
Survival Belts Comparison Table
5.11 Tactical Sierra Bravo Duty Tactical Belt
Condor Tactical Belt
Constructed of high-strength nylon, the Sierra Bravo features inner and outer belts to prevent your equipment from digging into you. The outer belt attaches using velcro and four belt keepers. MOLLE web gear attachments allow you to add a multitude of equipment to the outside of the belt, showing the signs of military influence on its design. In addition, the waterproof backing ensures you’ll be able to use this belt for a long time.
While it’s one of the more expensive choices out there, the Sierra Bravo tops our list because of its versatility, quality construction, and comfortable two-layer configuration.
The Elite Cobra Rigger’s belt takes a more simplistic approach than the Sierra Bravo, focusing on extreme strength. This is a belt that is strong enough to hold 7,000 pounds thanks to military-spec type 13 webbing. You can use it to tow a car, lash down equipment or secure a would-be assailant if you had to. The D-ring closure not only provides a secure clasp but let’s be honest, it also looks bad-ass doing it.
While the Rigger’s doesn’t come out-of-the-box with attachment points, it’s not actually as featureless as it appears. There are additional outer belts and attachments available to add to it.
Despite his questionable status in the survival community, Bear Grylls’ choice of belts to endorse is the real thing. This is a nylon belt that is a good option for outdoorsmen in a slightly less tactical situation, who can appreciate a belt that doesn’t entirely ditch aesthetic qualities. It features an integrated flathead screwdriver, fishing kit and zipper pocket for travel documents, all in a sturdy package. We suggest taking advantage of the waterproof compartment featured for the fishing line to add a few matches, which can be a lifesaver for starting fires and staying safe.
Looking for a budget option that doesn’t skimp on features? This Condor belt is designed to carry a pistol and two spare magazines. It’s adjustable, is available in two different colors and features a plastic buckle that maybe this belt’s only real weak point. If exposed to cold weather, this type of closure could get brittle. However, these plastic clip closures are still found on many packs and belts today. The average user will not wear their belt in climes that could compromise the plastic frequently enough to make this a real issue.
Another affordable-but-capable belt, this quick-release military-style pistol belt has the features you need and none that you don’t. It includes a pistol hold, mag pouches, and spots for your canteen and other equipment, like flashlights and knives. Nylon construction gives it toughness and durability, and at 2 1/4 inches wide, it’s not going to fold over or become uncomfortable when laden with extra gear. It’s a great, no-frills option to some of the more expensive belts out there.
Unless you’re trying to be edgy, the paracord survival belt is not going to make a fashion statement. However, it is an extremely strong and durable belt, and its paracord construction gives it a neat trick the competition can’t match. The paracord in this belt can be unraveled, producing 550 feet of high-strength cord.
While it’s true that many of the belts shown here are very strong and could be used to pull or lash in a pinch, none of them can instantly provide such a great length of cord in an emergency. That’s a useful feature, and if you want it, you’ll need to pick up a paracord belt like this one.
If you’re looking for a serious pistol belt with room for four extra magazines, here is your go-to. Water-resistant and made of strong nylon mesh with velcro closure, this belt is used by law enforcement officers and features an adjustable one-size design that can go up to 44-inches. It’s only available in black, and the wide size of the belt face might mean you can’t wear this easily with nontactical pants. However, if you’re looking for the right belt to use with fatigues or for heavy training days with your handgun, this is a great choice.
Last but not least, the SSD 100 contains an integrated feature not found on any of the competition mentioned here. It has a hidden steel knife you can produce quickly from the belt buckle. It’s made of hardened steel with a drop-point and completely concealed in the buckle where you can immediately reach it. This belt eliminates the need to carry a folding blade and allows you to use your storage space for other equipment. This one is great for the outdoors or self-defense situations where you need quick access to a knife.
Survival Belts of the Fittest
These are our choices for the eight best tactical belts out right now. Your needs will determine exactly which one is right for you. Some of these are more tactically inclined, while others are better for outdoor survival situations.
What do you look for in a quality survival belt? Are there features we missed out on that people should pay attention to? Let us know in the comments section.