This is one of those articles I write because I have a special affinity for the item itself. Yes, I like writing, sometimes it is because I feel that I need to test, evaluate, report on a piece of gear. This article is not one of those…I am writing this out of pure appreciation for the piece of gear. On with it already…
It wasn’t until I started the whole conceal carry thing about seven years ago that I really paid attention to belts. Before then a belt was a belt was a belt. I wore one because I was supposed to, and it kept my pants in place to a point. But, that isn’t entirely true.
In 2001 I really started doing the wildfire part of my job in a big way. I was totally into it and loved it immensely. The protective clothing and gear we wore fore wildland firefighting was completely different than the gear we wore for structure firefighting. One aspect of wildland gear was the Nomex pants. Amazing technology that is almost the stuff of fantasy novels. Nomex cloth provides an unreal amount of protection from fire and heat. Just a thin piece of Nomex has saved my bacon a number of times. So, you really, really want to keep that clothing in place (shirt included).
I don’t have to learn everything by experience, sometimes I learn from others. Don’t get too carried away, the #1 learning tool for me is a 2×4 board about 8’ long strategically placed on my cranium…sometimes repeatedly. Not the case with the belt. In 2001 I noticed that these experienced wildland firefighters had on a completely different style of belt that I had never seen before. Actually a couple different styles. Naturally, alright, maybe not so naturally, I started asking folks about their belts. Felt a little creepy after awhile.
So of course I had to buy one to try it out. Simply put…the best belt I’ve ever owned! Period!
I purchased the 1.5” 5-Stitch model. When I got it I was immediately concerned about the metal buckle. The buckle is solid steel and weighs more than I expected. But, more on that later.
I tried the belt on and the first thing I noticed was the ability to fit it exactly to my waist size and comfortable fit. No, I won’t go into details about waist size…TMI.
There is 2-stage securing to the belt. First, the belt passes through the through the buckle and around the “floating lock bar.” Then the “end flap” of the belt is secure via Velcro to the belt itself. The lock bar buckle takes the majority of the tension to prevent the belt from coming undone. The Velcro secures the end of the belt, keeps it in-place- and adds an additional measure of security that the belt won’t fail and slip through the buckle.
The belt is primary designed for weapons carry, but, it also has the capability to aid in an evacuation. The buckle has an integrated “v-ring” that a carabineer can be attached to aiding in the evacuation process using a rope as an assist. In order for the belt to be used in this manner the buckle has to be failsafe. The lock bar and Velcro systems work together to ensure that the belt won’t slip through the buckle if it is properly secured.
But, at the time I bought the belt I was not thinking about weapons carry, I was thinking about firefighting in the middle of nowhere. And the reason that this belt was the preferred belt was the “v-ring.” In an emergency, if you had to be hauled out via a helicopter in a big hurry, you could hook a helicopter rescue line, or standard hoist line, to the belt via the “v-ring” and be hauled out.
Would it be the safest way to go? Nope. Would it be without safety concerns? Nope. Would you be without any potential of injury? Nope. But, you wouldn’t burn to death in a raging wildfire either.
Now, back to me and my primary mission…to hold my pants up…and do so securely. Yup, that was my primary mission. The belt does an amazing job in two ways; 1) it will adjust exactly to the fit you need it to, 2) it does a really good job of staying in-place and keeping your pants up. Yeah, not a very sexy or amazing recommendation for a belt, eh?
Then about seven years ago I started to conceal carry. My leather belts are good enough, but I find myself “hitching-up” my pants pretty regularly. Part of it is due to merging my waist and hips into a cylinder appearing body shape. But, some of it due to the leather belts just not being designed for weapons carrying. Especially true if I have my double-mag pouch on as well.
Enter the Wilderness Instructor Belt…and I simply love this belt!!
When I wear that belt I do not, let me repeat myself –I do not– have a problem. It adjusts to the rights size, holds my weapon securely, and doesn’t slide down my heretofore mentioned cylinder body.
When the belt really shined even more so was when I tested it with my Blackhawk drop-leg pistol platform. It is simply amazing!
Unless you are just born on the light side of a 60 IQ, you have figured out by now that I highly recommend the Wilderness Instructor Belt. It will serve you well…and keep your pants where they belong. And if you think the belt is only for men…WRONG! I bought my wife one for Christmas a couple of years ago and she loves it also.
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