Military Life

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 or a battle 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.

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.

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What to Keep in Your Battle Belt

No matter what the mission, however, certain gear should always be on your belt.


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.


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.


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 battle belt 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 for Your Battle Belt

  • 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.


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