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In the early 2000s I needed a nylon belt to wear on the range as a firearms instructor. I didn’t want a heavy duty belt or Sam Browne belt to lug around all day, but it had to be stiff enough to hold an OWB holster and mag pouches during repeated draws and demonstrations. Several seasoned agents pointed me toward The Wilderness brand from Tactical Products LLC and the original Instructor belts. Unlike most nylon belts, they were as stiff and heavy duty as the double thick leather belts, they could be worn visible or concealed and, unlike leather, they did not discolor or get soft and flimsy with time.

Shortly afterward, 9/11 happened ,and I ended up in Afghanistan as part of a small team from the Department of Justice. I wore a tan Wilderness belt to hold my sidearm and magazines every day. It is still hanging in my closet 20 years later, and still getting use. After Afghanistan, I transferred to an international training unit and got the Wilderness Frequent Flyer belt because it was all plastic. Call me lazy, but I didn’t want to take it off when I went through the airports. Even this belt is significantly stiffer than most other brands of instructor belts today.

I recently got back in the gym and lost a little weight, so needed a smaller belt. I had forgotten about the Wilderness belts and simply went looking for one. I found that belts with Cobra buckles didn’t let me lace my holster and mag pouch easily. Other brands, almost all of which are copies of the Wilderness Belt, were too flimsy. Almost by mistake, I found Wilderness was still making the same great belts.

They have tons of options including width (1.5- or 1.75-inch), stiffness (three-stitch, five-stitch or polymer-lined), color, Velcro on the inside or outside and standard or custom lengths. My preference is the polymer-lined belt because it is even stiffer (but far thinner) than the best, heavy-duty leather belts you can buy. Don’t get the “Easy-Fit” if you will be lacing on a holster. The tongue is too long and it reaches clear back to your hip.

This company never advertises, and you never see them mentioned, but they are the absolute crème de la crème for concealed carry belts. The only time you will need to purchase another one is when your waist size changes.

As it turns out, they make a lot of other products like adjustable slings, the Ching Sling (if you don’t know it, you haven’t studied your Jeff Cooper), range bags, mag pouches and a super heavy-duty bag called Adventure Ready Kit (ARK) to store your jumper cables, tow strap, tire chains, flares and all your other emergency vehicle gear for when SHTF. Their stuff isn’t the cheapest, but if they build everything as tough as their belts you will wear out before it does.

Check them out at or call 800-775-5650.

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  1. I used to wear nothing but wen belts like this but when I discovered the Kore Essentials ratcheting belt I have never looked back Others can wear whatever works for them but the ratcheting belt has been a game-changer for EDC concealed or open weapons wearing. The ability to change tension on the fly in tiny increments at the momentary touch of a lever is nothing short of miraculous.

    • Yep! My Core belt is my daily go to belt for concealed carry and has been for years, and I carry almost 100% of the time.

      • I actually had one of the wilderness “all plastic” TSA belts and the TSA made me take it off anyways the last time I flew. They didn’t care that it was all plastic or “TSA approved” and simply ordered me to remove it because it was policy to remove all belts.

        My shorts were falling off my ass and when I had to “assume the position” in their X-ray scanner they literally fell down to my ankles because I could not hold them up with one hand..

        Needless to say I have not flown since. I’d rather drive all day or even two or three days straight than ever fly again.

        • Last year, I went through TSA Denver with a plastic belt. I had to switch planes in Munich and go through security again, one of those body scanners. When I said “it’s plastic”, they said “it’s a belt!” So it went through the bag scanner in it’s own plastic bin.

        • I used to wear one of those, too (it’s still in a drawer). TSA policies made it not worth the effort — still had to take it off, so I switched back to the original Wilderness Instructor belt with the steel buckle. If I ever need to do an emergency rope descent, I’m ready. 🙂

  2. The buckles on these have always slipped for me, even with the velcro. I think the jaws need to be more aggressive or something.

    • I also have two Wilderness Safepacker holsters, one that fits my G26 and Ruger LCR and one that fits my Ruger Blackhawk. Great holster for keeping your gun safe and unscratched in rough country.

  3. I’ve got a 20 year old Instructor belt and a 10 year old Frequent flyer. Both are still going strong. I recently had a shoemaker replace the velcro for $10 on the Instructor belt. But that’s it for maintenance.

    I recently purchased both a 1″ frequent flyer and a 1.75″ frequent flyer. The thicker one just works better with jeans. The thinner one is just a great belt.

    The originals and still the best.

  4. I’ve got one of these. It has given great service. However, I’ve switched to the Blade Tech with the ratchet buckle. I think it’s superior. I can’t attach a snap link to the buckle and do an emergency rappel, but those days are behind me anyway.

  5. The Wilderness makes really, really good stuff. I have the belt, their DB Force Option pocket holster, their ankle holster, and a few other items. They also make the shotgun shell cards for Vang Comp, which are absolutely top notch.

  6. “Their stuff isn’t the cheapest, but if they build everything as tough as their belts you will wear out before it does.”

    That’s the problem with quality….Wilderness now is surrounded by the Chicom and 5.11 Vietnamese knockoffs weekend warriors think of as ‘tacticool’.

  7. I have three of their belts, one of which I don’t think they make anymore. Two of them had to have the Velcro replaced after owning and wearing them for more years than I can actually remember.

    If you don’t want to take off your belt going through airport security, get TSA PRE. And don’t have a steel or aluminum buckle.


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