I have worn a belt daily since Boot Camp. It just became a habit. It became even more necessary when I started carrying a firearm as part of my routine. Belts usually serve the sole purpose of holding up your pants or keeping your firearm where it belongs. A good belt can do both at the same time, but that is about where it’s usefulness ends. That is why we were excited when a package from Alpenlore Adventure Belts showed up at our door. Alpenlore Adventure Belts produce a novel belt that doubles as a survival kit.
Anytime you venture into the backcountry you should be carrying some type of survival kit. You never know where an injury could turn that day-hike into an overnight or when an unexpected slide down the side of a mountain could separate you from your expensive pack and gear. All your survival goodies do you no good if they are now separated from your body. The Alpenlore EDC Adventure Belt solves the problem by keeping your survival kit attached to you in a secure, low profile manner.
The Alpenlore EDC Adventure Belt starts with a base of one inch wide “pro-webbing”. Your average belt contains approximately twelve feet. That is plenty to construct a wide array of field-expedient harnesses, shelters, or anchor yourself in the nearest tree. Wrapped around the webbing is approximately 50 feet of “pro-cord” which is Alpenlore’s version of paracord. It has been my experience that 50 feet is sufficient for a considerable amount of shelter building or quite a few snares or traps. The Pro-Cord is braided around the webbing in an attractive Cobra-braid.
Alpenlore offers two different buckle versions on the EDC Adventure Belt. The least expensive is a lightweight, polymer, side-release buckle. This should work well for most end-users, but could pose some problems for cold-weather enthusiasts. I have shattered just about every brand of polymer buckle I can think of in the cold. I expect one misstep in the tent or on a bathroom break could reward you with the “crunch” of defeat. For this reason, I feel the $15 upgrade to the AustriAlpen “Cobra” buckle is a great option. The Cobra buckle is load-rated and designed for hard use in much more demanding applications. While it does add a little more weight to the belt, it is unlikely that you will ever be able to destroy it even if used in a rescue situation.
In addition to the webbing and buckle, Alpenlore adds a triangle ring to the front of the belt. This is reminiscent of the d-ring on professional rigger’s belts. While Alpenlore’s website claims that this TriangleRing is load rated, I am very hesitant to wager my life on gear that isn’t marked with load ratings from the factory. I would not suggest attempting to rappel from the ring in other than dire circumstances.
The webbing, cordage and buckles all come together to make an attractive and useful belt. However, hidden inside is a trick that could save your life. The Alpenlore EDC Adventure Belt has a mini-survival kit wrapped in-between. The kit is slightly difficult to access with the belt assembled. Once removed, you can tear open the sealed pouch to reveal, three matches, two fish hooks, a ferro rod and a surgical blade.
The ferro rod and matches give you a redundant method to start a fire. The surgical blade could be used for a number of tasks beyond medical. Since it is still sterile until the foil packet is opened, it could be used for light medical procedures assuming you have the skill level needed. The fish hooks are of questionable utility. Food is usually not a priority in most survival situations. Rescue parties should be looking for you LONG before you would die of starvation. However if you are stationary, near a body of water, attempting to catch some fish could stave off boredom while you are awaiting rescue. Some people actually fish for fun.
At $69.99 for the polymer buckle version and $84.99 for the Cobra buckle, the Alpenlore EDC Adventure Belt is not a cheap piece of gear. After looking at the materials and the time required to construct the belt, I feel that it is appropriately priced. The belt can be ordered in a surprising array of colors on the Alpenlore website. We want to thank Alpenlore for providing a belt to us to test. It is a regular companion on my backcountry hikes.