War Belt Load-Out 101: How to Set Yours Up

One piece of gear out there is the patrol belt, also known as a war belt. These belts allow quick access to gear without taking up all the space on a vest-type system and help distribute weight a little bit. But what should be on your belt? When should you use it?

In a SHTF type world, you should be thinking of having a three tiered system, which we need to take a quick look at before we can go any further:

  1. Survival Load is just your bare bones gear to survive. Some water, a small bit of food, shelter, fire, and self-defense. It should ALL fit in your pockets and/or belt.
  2. Fighting Load is what you need to bring the fight to the enemy. This would be your weapons, field bag, fighting vest/plate carrier, etc…
  3. And last, the Sustainment Load is all the stuff to restock your vest, field bag, etc… that you leave hidden at the shelter or wherever.

Condor Battle Belt
Condor Battle Belt

Now that we have a basic understanding of the three load-outs, we can now look at where the belt fits into this plan. As a part of the fighting load, it allows you to dump your field bag and vest in a worst case scenario to move faster. Or, perhaps your bag/vest became snagged on brush and you had to cut them free to evade a dangerous situation. By having the belt, you can be at a half fighting load or a beefed up survival load… able to move faster but have more gear available to fight and survive with.

Every situation will dictate exactly how all of your gear, including your belt, will be set up. For this reason, it is recommended that you use a PALS/MOLLE type belt that can be quickly modified to be mission specific.  No matter what the mission, however, certain gear should always be on your belt:

Holster – If you plan to carry a sidearm, there should always be a holster on your belt, even if is a drop leg type. If you are wearing a vest with your belt, a drop leg will probably fit better and allow for a better draw.

Mag Pouches – If you are going out with a rifle and have the bulk of its mags on a vest, carrying one double stack mag pouch would be a good idea in case you have to ditch the vest. On top of the rifle mags, throw in enough to hold at least three pistol mags. You can never have too much ammo, so long as the amount of mag storage you have does not get in the way of other needed items. I have never heard of a soldier, marine, etc… complain that they had too many bullets. However, I have heard of many stories of them not having enough.

Medical Pouch – There should be at the very least an IFAK mounted on your belt. If there is extra room, a small little “boo-boo” kit would be nice to have for minor pains and cuts.

Water – If you have to shed your vest, or just don’t wear one, you will need water. Two 1 quart canteens or a single 2 quart canteen should be good. Make sure you have a canteen cup and water treatment pills. If you have room, a water filter of some sort is nice to have on hand as well.

Light – A small light with red and white light options that takes up very little room can go a long way.

Dump Pouch – A dump pouch or drop pouch is great for putting spent mags so they do not become lost or confused with loaded mags. It folds up when not in use to stay out of the way.

Extra bits – A small to medium sized admin pouch to hold extra stuff like batteries, fire, or compass is nice to have. This can be loaded as the mission dictates.

Each mission is different and what should be carried on the belt should reflect that. As the threat of long term evasion increases, so should the amount of gear on your belt, on your vest, and in your bag.

Extra considerations

  • If you are carrying a shotgun, a shotgun ammo pouch would be handy.
  • Your belt should fit snug to keep from sliding around, but do not wear it so snug that it slows circulation or chafes.
  • For added support, you can attach your belt to your vest. If you do, it must be able to be separated quickly and easily from the vest.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt

10 thoughts on “War Belt Load-Out 101: How to Set Yours Up

  1. I use a battle belt system it includes slots built for drop leg attachments when paired with recon armor it’s very effective for patrol, and although some may look ascanse at me I wear my recon armor while hunting too many stories about a trigger happy jackass shooting a hunter. Nice article

  2. I use a battle belt as my primary opt-out kit. It is simple and accessible, and has the bare essentials for getting me and my family to a safe place. I have from left to right: OTIS cleaning kit with bore snake for weapon maintenance, IFAK ( with boo-boo stuff), triple mag. kangaroo pouch with XD45 mags stacked over magpul pmags, then I use a glove pouch to hold batteries for my devices ( 3 volts for flashlights, AA and AAA), then my holster for the XD. When I only have time to grab one thing, this is the place i start. My BOB is in the jeep!

  3. I like all stuff Condor. First – Carry nothing that you do not practice with. For a full battle rattle vest the open top Condor AR mag carriers are a good fit and choice. A Condor double mag pouch for pistol mounted high on the weak side and a single mag pouch mounted center of mag pouches for a MUTT Multi-Tool. (Easy to get at) A cold steel SPIKE mounted slanting forward 30 degrees on the molle under the weak side arm. The Blackhawk Holster and Quick Release System mounted center chest aimed strong hand. I have a second Quick Release female connector on a Condor Battle Belt. A drop pouch on the battle belt. (Nice for foraging too) Try to think multiple uses for gear. Less is best. not enough may leave you wanting. Full ballistic panels and back and side plates.(Ceramic to save weight, metal if you can carry the extra 20 bounds. I recommend a weighted workout vest with same weight as loaded vest and battle belt combined for tactical practice . I do 12,000 steps and two of those days are with the weight vest. I am retired and have the time.

    Enjoyed the article. Go to the range with at least the loaded vest. Always Prepare and Good Skill to You!

  4. In a “shtf type world”…
    … Being grey is your best approach. How you carry, will often trump what you carry. Being covered in camo, molle, and pouches will make you stand out… Make you a target.
    Youmight want to consider walmart student packs, reuseable shopping bags, etc. adjust your load levels with those. Bags like that may make the difference between clearing checkpoints, or being accepted at relief centers… Or being culled out.

  5. I carry a condor quick release plate carrier. Load out is 4 AR mags 2 glock 19 mags, a tourniquet, kbar, few glow sticks, radio pouch,long heavy zip ties. Battle belt is a condor with two kangaroo pouches, for two more AR mags and two more pistol mags, basic med kit for boo boos, flash light, pistol hostler and a SOG multi tool. All of this in a bag with a glass 3 chemical gas mask, mechanix gloves hydration system and my AR and pistol. I pretty much always have this with me!
    Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. This is my get me home kit when shtf!

  6. Wow this is crazy. Great minds think alike. For the past year I’ve been setting up a 3 level system:

    (3 levels/Redundancy. Personal/On Self; Self-Reliant/In assault pak; extra inventory/in ruck)* add total and individual weights marked by order of heaviest to lightest and expiration dates

    Level III – Extended, Inventory,  Versatile

    Level II – Sufficient, Circumventive, Capable

    Level I – Mobile, Critical, Immediate

    A year later (today) I come across this article. I’m taking it as a confirmation that I’m doing good planning. Plus you gave great insight as to better the definitions and guidelines that I’ve put into effect. Two thumbs up.

  7. Good info. But one does not does one have to be a “operator”? When I graduated OTC we were just men who did a job. Ran into a recent discharged veteran who was a “operator” with NSW. He was an E3 in supply at a FOB where a SEAL and MARSOC was located. Guess that was his SAD cover.

  8. i have gift to my friends . he has been in army person . he like this product. he also use it. it was safe the life army person.

  9. If you join the the army . you have bought this vest. There are lot of pocket here and you get magazine .If you are going to war you have must need vest.

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