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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 sixteen 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
Elite Survival Systems Cobra Rigger's Belt
Wazoo Cache Belt
5.11 Tactical Sierra Bravo Duty 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.
Elite Cobra Rigger’s Belt
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.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Belt
Despite his questionable status in the survival community, Bear Grylls’ choice of belts to endorse is the real thing. This Gerber survival belt 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.
Condor Tactical Belt
Looking for a budget option that doesn’t skimp on features? This Condor tactical 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.
Black Marine Corps Style Quick-Release Pistol Belt
Another affordable-but-capable belt, the black marine 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.
UTG Heavy Duty Elite Law Enforcement Belt
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, the UTG Heavy duty 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 Valois 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.
Stylrtop Tactical Waist Survival Woven Belt
The first thing to know is that the Stylrtop Tactical Survival Woven Belt is not too wide for the average buckles. With 47.24”x2.17”x0.59” measurements, this hand-woven belt fits perfectly into buckles.
However, this belt’s real strength is in the parachute cord it was woven with that has a pulling force of 550lbs. The parachute cord is strong enough to hold down a tent and tie a ridgeline with a safe working load of at least 110lbs. You can unravel the Stylrtop belt in an emergency into 91.8 feet of good rope.
Except for the initial small shrink when it first hits the water, the Stylrtop belt is not adversely affected by moisture for long periods. This is a belt that I would recommend getting used to when going hiking or boating as it is a comfortable fit, and its pulling strength could come in handy at any time.
Elite Survival Systems Sidewinder MOLLE Battle Belt
The Sidewinder MOLLE Battle Belt from the dependable Elite Survival Systems has a lot to offer without doing much. The main thing on offer from this belt is space and capacity. Thanks to its closed-cell padding, you can carry more things without losing comfort. Your inner belt can hold your pants up while the Sidewinder carries essential survival tools.
This Elite Survival Systems belt has a soft nylon mesh interior and 1,000 denier nylon exterior. I was thrilled to get two mag pouches, one pouch for a rifle mag, a holster, and a holder for shotgun shells, and find that a push dagger comfortably streamlines onto a Sidewinder. I can even see this belt being used by a residential plumber as a tool belt that could have a drill easily hooked onto it.
Its biggest strength is that it’s perfect for whatever you need it for. When an emergency comes, you’ll be prepared because you’ll have carried everything you need comfortably.
Wazoo Cache Belt
There are three versions of the Cache Belt by Wazoo, and all three could easily be a great survival belt. The heavy-duty buckle has two elastic gears with enough space to store enough utility tools to get you through a small battle in the woods, and it has the ever-essential bottle opener.
The whole length of the belt includes a hidden pocket designed to carry anything from money to a multifacet Swiss knife. There are about 4ft of storage in the Wazoo Cache Belt XL size, and none can be seen until you use the hidden gear loops to dangle things that may fall out. All those things you always forget to carry until you desperately need them can safely stay around your waist.
Wazoo made this belt fit into every occasion and situation with the comfort that you’re ready for whatever may arise. Here is a list of what the Wazoo Cache Belt handles and still has space left for other items: water container, foil, purification tablet, water pre-filter, zip ties, duct tape, trail markers, bandages, paracord gear loops, ceramic knife/striker, compass, ferrocerium rod, first aid tinder, signal mirror, bottle opener, split shot weights, fishing hooks, needle, safety pins, whistle, flashlight, bead chain, Kevlar cord, wire saw, fishing line, and brass wire. Enough said.
Bushcraft 2-in-1 Load Carrying Belt
This Bushcraft leather belt suits those who want to make a fashion statement while getting work done. It is a great belt for keeping your arms free to do other things. A 60mm girth strap transforms it from a normal belt to a load-carrying belt.
I firmly believe in always carrying the survival kit with you, so you’re ready for anything. A belt is normally an underrated part of all survival kits. With the Bushcraft leather belt, there is a heavy-duty press stud and four leather strap keepers that allow the carrying of knife danglers, ax holsters, game hangers, tinder kits, and anything else needed for that trip in the woods.
The four leather strap keepers separate the load and help keep the belt holding the pants firmly in place. You can adjust your belt between the winter and summer months. You strap it on the outside of your coat during winter, while it fits well with jeans and other pants in summer.
Blue Alpha Double Belt Rig
This is another load-carrying belt. You load your mag carriers, pouches, OWB holster, and utensils. High-quality velcro secures the 1.75-inch outer belt to the inner. The outer belt attaches to the inner loops and is easy to take off and use in an emergency.
The outer belt has double-layer nylon webbing, is adjustable, and is secured by elastic. There is single-layer nylon webbing on the 1.5” buckle-free inner belt with a velcro outer lining. The strength of this belt is in what you carry, and the fact that you can still remain with your pants firmly held up if the situation requires you to take off your belt.
KORE Tactical Gun Belt
The buckle on this belt can rest up to 100lbs with no problem at all. It has a pulling power of 500lbs when needed. Two set screws and a teeth clamp secure the buckle to the belt with a hex wrench. Clamps and screws can be useful in certain emergency situations.
The KORE gun belt uses clamp closure with no belt holes. Instead, there is a hidden track with over 40 sizing points, making it much more adjustable than traditional gun belts. The nylon webbing outer with KORE’s Reinforced Power-Core centre and super fibre inner lining allows this belt to hold heavyweight holsters, magazines, and firearms.
Things To Consider Before Buying That Belt
All the belts mentioned above will make your life easier at some point. Which one you pick depends on what you need to do with it. Look at what you need, match that to the belt, and it will fit perfectly.
A belt’s main and simplest task is holding your pants up. But, as an outdoor person, you will need your belt for much more than just keeping your pants up when the situation demands it.
- Be wary of gimmicks. A belt should just be strong enough to carry the load or pull whatever needs to be pulled. It is pointless to have a knife in the buckle if the knife is going to break the first time you use it.
- Belts are mainly made from leather, webbing, and paracord. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Leather wears out faster when exposed to water and other elements but can be used as a strop, something the other two materials cannot.
- Webbing is lightweight and comfortable but has different tensile strengths, which may see you buying a weak belt if you don’t check the specs. Paracord falls short in the important part of holding your pants up, but it can be homemade, unraveled to make rope, pull heavy loads, or tie up anything.
- Always buy within your means and needs. If there’s little or no hope of you ever going fishing, then spending an extra $3 on a belt with fishing hooks and split shot weights may not be the best option.
- If you’re going to be moving between office and outdoor activities that do not need load carrying, you could spend a little more getting a leather belt with space for pouches.
- A cheaper paracord belt does more for you as an outdoors person who does not do formal activities than webbing or leather belt.
Ultimately, it is all about what you need your belt for and whether you can afford it.
Let’s try and answer a few frequently asked questions that you may have about survival and tactical belts.
Is a survival belt the same as a tactical belt?
In a word, yes. However, tactical belts are used by specialized fields like the police, firefighters, and so forth and are normally used to hold firearms and ammunition.
How do I know which size will fit me when I order?
Add at least 3″ to waist size when ordering belts that you will use for load carrying, as you will strap them on top of an extra layer of clothing at times. Also, look to buy adjustable belts.
Which belt is best for water activities?
Paracord and webbing belts are better suited to water activities. The paracord belt will initially shrink but still work effectively. Leather belts will wear out faster when exposed to water.
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.