View Full Version : Wilderness instructor belt

01-09-2004, 11:22 AM
Removed by author

Gabriel Suarez
01-09-2004, 11:40 AM
What's the attraction of the Wilderness instructor belt for shooting vs a double-thick leather gun belt?

Leather is just fine. Nothing wrong with it. I think the nylon belts caught on due to SWAT guys wearing them. Now a black nylon belt screams gun belt as much as anything else. Leather is fine, but for guys who will be out in the elements, nylon and kydex are far more durable and don't get that worn out look that leather does.

01-09-2004, 12:58 PM
In my case they were cheaper than a quality leather gun belt and it matched my black leather holster. My wilderness belt was my everyday belt for 3 years whether I was carrying or not.

01-09-2004, 01:00 PM
There's nothing wrong with leather. I love leather. I also wear a Wilderness Instructors Belt. The benefits I find are...

1) Variable fit. I can adjust to just the tightness I want whenever I want. I get annoyed at those times when I'm between holes on my leather belts, too loose, too tight. It changes with what I'm wearing, not to mention the holster I'm using. Oh, let's not forget those big meals. :D

2) Rigid construction. I think there are 3 levels of stiffness. One is called 3-stitch which is normal, a little stiffer than some other nylon belts. Next is 5-stitch, the preferred balance between stiffness and flexibility. Then there is Competition. I hear it's way stiff (too stiff) and used for dedicated speed holsters and the such.

3) Rated buckle. The buckle is actually rated for use as a basic or emergency tie-in device. Last year, for a while, you couldn't get a belt because they changed contractors for the buckle and had to wait for official testing results. I used to climb and rappel, so, yes, I actually see benefit here. A harness is preferred, but it'll do in a pinch. I think it's name came from it's original use as a high ropes instructor's belt to tie in as a safety. Need to check with Wilderness on that one, but they do have a background as an outdoors company.

I won't give up on my leather, but the Instructor's belt is not just another belt and I find myself wearing it most often. Curiously, I prefer leather holsters.

Check their web site for ordering info. They have a specific sizing process.

My .02

01-10-2004, 02:30 AM
I find my leather (Galco) belt to be really versatile because it's inconspicuous and looks at home in jeans or slacks, whether I'm carrying or not.

01-10-2004, 09:11 PM
If you are in less than ideal environments for a period of time, leather starts to look horrible and some lower grade products actually rot.

When I'm dressed up, I use a leather belt. Most other times I wear the CSM Wilderness Belt.

David B
01-12-2004, 11:05 AM
I was an SF soldier back in the late 70's and early 80's. We didnt have a lot of the cool high speed stuff that is out now. Most of us scrounged around and found wide nylon straps with heavy duty buckles and wore those instead of the issue web belt. The strong belt was convenient for picking up wounded buddies or for various other things. But, if you ever use it for emergency tie in for rappelling or emergency extraction.... its gonna rip belt loops off.

David B

01-13-2004, 07:17 AM
I used to wear a belt I made myself out of latigo leather. Very well put together, if I do say so myself, but it didn't do well in the weather. I work in all climes and needed something that would hold up to the elements and the constant chafing of my duty belt.

A whole lot of searching brought the WIB to my attention and all the rave reviews only helped my selection. I bought the 1.75" 5-stitch model about a year ago and feel that it is the best trouser belt that I've ever worn. While it looks a bit ninja-ish without my duty belt covering it, it supports a belt and weapon like nothing I've ever seen.

My biggest concern was the quality of the belt, whichever belt I might have bought. With the WIB, I couldn't ask for better. It keeps my pants up AND distributes the weight of the duty belt far better than a thinner belt did.

Of course, at 300#, I'm not going to be rappelling any time soon. When you weigh as much as I do, you don't so much rappel as dangle. Very embarassing.

01-13-2004, 08:29 AM
Has anyone gone from a quality leather belt, tried the Wilderness Instructor belt, and for whatever reason gone back to the leather?

If so, why did you go back to the leather?
It's good to have a plan.

Rosco Benson
01-13-2004, 08:48 AM
Both have their uses. With a business suit, one will need a good 1" to 1.25" wide leather belt--made for carry. Sparks, Alessi, and some others can provide these.

For overt carry or casual concealment in casual attire, it is tough to beat the Instructor belt. Within its range, it is infinitely adjustable (even if one's weight doesn't fluctuate, this help accomodate having varying thicknesses of shirts, sweaters, etc. tucked in one's pants, IWB or OWB holster use, and the fact that different pants have different "rises" and place the waistband higher or lower relative to one another--with slightly differing belt sizing requirements).

I prefer the 5-stitch. To me, it offers the best compromise of flexibility versus edge-to-edge stiffness. The 1.5" model is the most versatile, as regards fitting most non-dress belt loops.

One can also use a good 1.5" or 1.75" leather belt for overt and concealed carry with casual clothes. Again, Sparks, Alessi, etc.

With my work BDU's, I've tried the normal issue belt (a velcro-closed 1.5" leather belt), a duty belt with velcro underbelt and keepers, and the 1.75" width Wilderness Instructor belt. I've found the Instructor belt to be superb. The other choices felt like torture devices by the end of a 12-hour shift.


01-16-2004, 05:02 AM
macop--I started with leather, then went to the wilderness belt with the polymer insert, then went back to leather. The nylon belt with the rappelling buckle looked too "tactical," and I worried about some people recognizing it as a sign of concealed carry. I think the velco will eventually wear out. Functionality-wise, it is a great gun belt. One of my original complaints with leather belts was the adjustment holes being too far apart, resulting in either too tight or too loose of a fit. This is easily solved by punching extra holes between the existing ones. The leather belt is easier to put on and take off, as it doesn't have the funky rappelling buckle and velcro system. It also doesn't scream "tactical" or concealed pistol. I bought a 1.5" leather belt at a gun show for less than $20 bucks about 6 years ago, and it is holding up just fine for concealed carry. I've heard that the Aker concealed carry belt (sold through Gall's) is an excellent gun belt, as it contains a polymer insert for rigidity. I've been meaning to get one, but my regular leather belt has held up fine.

01-16-2004, 11:05 PM
I am currently in the market for a new carry belt. I do a lot outdoors so:
a) I need a belt that can hold up under widely varied conditions and b) a belt like this wont generally look out of place on me.
How does sizing for WIB and concealed carry belts in general work? I am a size 32-34 waist, and carry a Glock 19 in an IWB - I eventually want to have a 19 IWB on both sides.

01-17-2004, 05:30 PM

If you get one, get the 5-stitch, most like it best. I got a 1.5" as a more flexible size with more pants and it's great. The 1.75 is the original, but it's a bit wide for me. Besides, I have a nice leather Bianchi belt in that size. ;)

Personally, I've never had a problem with people thinking it's a gunbelt, I don't think anyone notices one way or the other. Unless of course, they're gun people.

01-17-2004, 07:22 PM
A parolee/gangbanger might recognize it as someone who is packing heat or an off-duty cop, simply because it's nylon and looks somewhat "tactical."

01-18-2004, 10:44 PM
The Wilderness Belt functions better than any other belt I have had. Period. It screams gun belt to us and people like us. It does not however, scream gun to anyone else. Most people wouldn't notice if you had a hot dog hanging from your trousers much less a Wilderness Belt.

I never tuck my shirt in so my belt is a non-issue. I prefer the
1 3/4" belt. The wider wilderness belt holds up a full size gun like a 1911 much better than the 1 1/2".


01-19-2004, 12:12 PM
One other thing to think about when buy this belt, as its made to wear forever and stiff, I have found that it helps as an under belt for patrol work, and has helped relieve some presure on my lower back, the duty belt doesn't sag or set right down on top of the hips.

I have talked several guys into trying this after coming back from back surgury

01-19-2004, 04:53 PM
The only problem I ever had with my first Wilderness belt was the buckle started rusting from wearing it to work everyday for over a year and my sweat rusted it. I've owned others since then and never had the same problem.

bill clancy
01-25-2004, 10:01 PM
I've worked Search & Rescue, and in a sometimes aquatic environment the nylon webbing is much more durable, and that buckle isn't a great thing to attach to, but it beats nothing.

Doug Little
01-30-2004, 08:28 AM
It is a great belt. I have two of them, a 1.5 inch for jeans and daily wear and a 1.75 inch for range work. With either the 3 or 5 stitch versions, the platform for a holster is very stable and solid. I have worn the 1.5 inch version several times a week for a couple of years and it still looks and functions like new.

I kind of like the fact that it has infinite adjustments too...a real plus for getting the right tension on an inside the waistband carry holdster. Also, a leather belt has holes that don't all for 'in between' adjustments. Overall for casual / jeans wear, you can't beat it. For dress up, leather is the choice.

02-23-2004, 09:29 PM
For years I wore a belt made by Bruce Nelson. The advantage of the Wilderness Belt is that it maintains its rigidity in weather better than leather. It doesn't look as nice, but it has its place and is very comfortable with the gun and support gear.

02-24-2004, 10:14 PM
unless style dictates i wear my WIB exclusively, doesnt look good w/a suit though, lol


02-26-2004, 05:23 PM
I have Milt Sparks and Galco Belts and wore them religiously. Until I got a Wilderness with the nylon incert. I wear it almost all the time with or without my firearm. It adjust easily to different thicknesses of dress, supports a firearms, magazines, flashlight and other stuff if needed. Yes some say it screams firearm. Here in the part of Georgia I live I beg to differ. Same as the Royal Robyns Tactical Vest, most of the time people ask me if I am going fishing. I just reply yes or maybe naaaaaa it's for all the pockets. The velcro on my belt is now 2 years old and has not worn out yet. Plus the cost difference in the nylon and the leather is a big difference. My leather belts were $100.00 a piece. Most people never notice.