Based on the Ultimate Paracord Bracelet, a few of you have asked if I could make a belt version of it, and from that the EDC SERE Belt was born. I thought it was an interesting idea for a few reasons, first of which nobody makes a low profile EDC Tactical belt, especially not with a 1″ Cobra buckle, most of these belts are 1.5″ and most commonly 1.75″. When we are talking about a 1.75″ belt, that’s the width of the belt webbing, not the buckle itself, which will be over 2″, which explains why you can never loop the buckle through any belt loop of any pants, tactical or otherwise.
By downsizing the belt width to only 1″, the buckle is around 1.5″ which loops through almost all tactical pants, and my khakis. The idea is really to maintain the convenience of having a Cobra buckle release without having to unloop and re-loop the webbing throughout the day, as well as to maintain the 4000lb load rating of the whole belt.
Some people have had concerns on whether reducing the width of the belt means that the load rating is reduced. But it really is about finding the right material for the job. By using a dual adjust Cobra buckle and 1″ tubular nylon webbing, it is still mil-spec rated to 4000lbs, of course with single layer nylon weave it will only be 2500lbs, and polypropylene webbing is only rated for about 500lbs. The only visible drawback is if I only use single layer webbing it will never be stiff enough, as we are quite used to our stiff tactical belts, but of course the real question is what are you using this belt for? Honestly it is a bit too soft to support holsters, and most holster and magazine loops are sized 1.5″ and above.
So I would say that this is good for civilians who don’t carry, the whole idea of this belt is to be overlooked and underestimated, and still have the SERE capabilities if required. I went a step further after sorting out the webbing and buckle, to add some more functionality to the belt without affecting its comfort. A lot of SERE belts try to put too many things in there like fishing hooks and line but I think in a survival situation you wouldn’t really be fishing. If I had all the time to sit down and fish, I’d rather weave a makeshift net from the paracord inner strands and save myself some time, so for my test belt I decided to incorporate the following items: 12″ Hacksaw, about 12″ of duct tape, a Derma-safe razor, and 40 feet of Type 4 750lb paracord.
The Derma-safe razor is secured next to the buckle for comfort because it is the next flattest surface of the belt apart from the back. The razor is not inserted into the tubular nylon webbing because I figured its the first thing you’d need access to once you undo the paracord to cut the ends and to get the hacksaw out. If I had hidden everything inside the belt, you might not be able to get to the stuff inside without any tools. The hacksaw is inserted into the tubular nylon webbing to act as a belt stiffener, as most paracord belts have a shoddy appearance simply because the material is too soft. Having a stiffener greatly improves appearance, and having a hacksaw in hand may just get you out of a situation where you are illegally detained against your will such as a kidnapping for example.
As you can see I have left the other side of the buckle free for the velcro closures so that the belt is adjustable. Initially I tied black paracord over the Olive drab belt and felt that it contrasted too much. I eventually re-did the whole belt with Olive drab. I would have liked to make an all black belt, but this one is just for testing anyway, so I reckon color is not important for now.
The length from the belt buckle to the velcro for my belt is only 26″, and I managed to fit about 40′ of type 4 paracord along that width. For me, I think that’s a fantastic amount of paracord to be on hand and at the ready. Kind of puts my bracelet to shame, but of course they are all for different uses.
As these are really custom made, I don’t have a lot of Cobra buckles in hand, please send me a mail at Echo@epi.asia to reserve yours if you are interested, or if you have an idea on how you want your belt made differently. I will need your exact waist measurement with your pants on, this is not your pants size, as it normally is about 3~4″ wider, and also the distance between the buckle and the first belt loop, to make sure that the belt has enough lead on it for the velcro to secure properly.
In the pipeline, I will also be making some 1.5″ belts using the all polymer GT Cobra buckle, which is a collaboration between ITW Nexus and Austrialpin. The targeted load is only 500lbs, but with an all plastic buckle operators doing a lot of naval ops who are constantly exposed to salt water will not have to worry about equipment failure due to rust. For civilian applications, it makes sense to have an all plastic belt as it won’t set off any alarms walking through airport security. I for one never like taking my belt off when walking through the scanners, and having one less thing to worry about saves a lot of time, and keeps your eyes on your important stuff, not your belt loops. For now I always use a 5.11 belt with the plastic buckle when I travel, but getting used to the convenience of a Cobra buckle, you will appreciate the simplicity and convenience of not having to constantly readjust your belt everytime you visit the washroom.
To get an idea of how the belt looks like with various pants I took some photos of it, the one above is with a regular pair of Dockers. The entire belt weaves effortlessly through the belt loops. Imagine if it were completely in black, I think that would look quite nondescript, which is what I am aiming for.
This is on a pair of 5.11 Tactical pants, which incidentally is my work pants. By the time the paracord is weaved onto the webbing, it is about 1.5″, the same width as the Cobra buckle.
This is on a pair of Vertx Tactical pants. These are great tactical pants because the whole philosophy is the same, to be overlooked in an urban environment, the cargo pockets are all hidden and the cutting makes it look like any dress pants. I’ve worn it to many official functions and weddings, but then again I’ve never been the fashionable sort.
To give you an idea of how it would look on green pants, these are 5.11′s Covert khaki pants in OD. Notice where the Derma-safe razor is secured to the left, the flash is reflecting off the duct tape, but in reality it is quite well hidden, so to use the razor, just undo belt, undo paracord, peel razor off. Easy.
Finally a look at the hacksaw belt stiffener, it retains the shape of the belt so it looks neater, and also provides some support. The entire belt is quite comfortable due to the cushioning from the paracord, and I’ve tested it over the whole week and am quite happy with it, just don’t go walking into an airport with this belt and think that you will not get yourself into any trouble.