Belts have been in use since the Bronze Age according to historians, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that belts became a common item used mainly to hold one’s trousers up. Belts, before pants had belt loops were mainly decorative in the civilian world and utilitarian in the military.
Soldiers had gear to carry and so a wide heavy belt was usually buckled around the waist so things could be attached to it such as sabers, daggers, money, water, and tobacco pouches along with rations in small leather sacks. In some militaries, a belt cinched tight around the waist gave a soldier a trimmer looking physique. A tightly cinched belt produced a puffed out chest and a trimmer looking waist, the perfect looking soldier.
Belts today still function as a fashion accessory and a belt can be used as a survival tool. Holsters for handguns, knives, axes, canteens full of water and magazine pouches can all be attached to a belt, but there are other uses as well.
A belt wrapped around your closed fist can help protect your hands and fingers from cuts and to create greater impact against an assailant’s body. A heavy belt can also reduce bruising and broken hands/fingers caused by striking the head and/or face of an aggressor.
A belt swung with the belt buckle end toward someone can be used to strike at the face or body or used to distract an aggressor so you can escape. A sturdy belt can also be used to deflect baton blows by grasping each end of the belt and holding up so a club/baton hits the belt to help reduce or stop the impact.
A belt can be used as a tourniquet, though, not ideal in some cases. Some belts can be drawn tight enough to stop or restrict the flow of blood, while others cannot, so consider this when choosing one to wear. A belt can be used as a sling, or to secure splints to immobilize broken limbs.
Carry Items on Your Waist
Knife sheaths, holsters, flashlights, magazine pouches, and other gear and tools used for survival normally are designed so they can be carried on a belt. If not, it is a simple matter to rig up a system to carry most any tool on your belt.
Bundle items to carry such as wood and clothing by securing the belt around whatever it is you need to carry.
A belt can be used to help pull someone from the water if he or she can grab the end or a belt can be used help pull someone up a steep incline.
Use as a Strop for Your Blades
This one is self-explanatory, but it does require a quality leather belt for stropping knife blades.
Types of Belts
Leather is the most common type, especially for dress wear, but leather has its limitations. It weakens over time and can break at a crucial moment. If you work in an office or have some type of job that requires you to wear so-called dress clothes, then a tactical belt may not be the best option unless you have an understanding boss. This is not to say that leather is a bad option, but just make sure it is high quality and in good repair at all times.
Paracord belts are a good choice, but once you have to use the Paracord for shelter building, for example, then you have eliminated its use as a belt, and if you had relied on a belt to carry knives, firearms and so forth you may have a problem. Again, Paracord is very useful so you do have to weigh the pros and cons of wearing one.
A sturdy canvas belt made out of webbing material can last for many years and take all kinds of abuse, and for the most part is impervious to water if dried out well before storing away.