Here’s the thing about shopping for a sometimes-overlooked staple like tactical belts: When you find the right tactical belt, you know it decisively. It’s kind of like finding the best combat boots or the best tactical gloves. When you make the proper purchase after careful shopping and research, it’s easy to know you’ve made the right call. And if ever you’ve taken a misstep and not invested the proper time and care into shopping for tactically minded gear, let’s just say it’s all too easy to spot a piece of gear that’s not up to snuff.
These days, a belt is so much more than just a way to hold up your pants. Tactical belts pack in way more functionality than your average everyday leather belt or dress belt, although it’s ideal to have one of those (at least) in your rotation, too. Tactical belts, though, bring a bit of badass edge, some serious utility and innovative design to your waist, acting like an extension of your tactical pants, for instance.
If you’ve been relying on something that wasn’t specifically designed for the field, it’s time to cast that belt aside and pick up one of the best and most durable belts for men.
The coolest tactical belts are both subtle and simple in design, yet highly effective at holding your everyday carry essentials and other tactical gear. Make no mistake: A tactical belt can’t quite function as a dress belt, nor can a dress belt serve the same purpose as a tactical belt, and allow us to be the first to tell you that you shouldn’t even try. Just as you’ve got different shoes for different occasions, you should treat your collection of belts the same way.
If you’ve been relying on something that wasn’t specifically designed for the field, it’s time to cast that belt aside and pick up one of the best and most durable belts for men. Functionality and toughness are the name of the game as far as shopping for tactical belts, so keep those keys top of mind at all times. Stay alert in the field, gear up properly for that outdoor excursion, and know that it all starts with a durable tactical belt (to go along with the right footwear, backpack and jacket, perhaps).
Heavy duty belts are made to stand the test of time, and they’re designed to work with more rugged staples in your rotation, be it canvas pants, surprisingly tough indigo jeans or especially tactical shorts or pants. Put it this way: Any sort of gear that’s designed for the field or the trail is only going to be enhanced by a tactical belt.
Tactical belts are different from dress belts in a few key ways, namely in the buckle construction. Tactical belts can feature either a slide buckle, where the belt itself (usually made from canvas or cotton-polyester) can be threaded through the buckle, while dress belts and everyday leather belts feature a buckle and clasp.
Everyday belts also often leave a bit of leftover material once buckled, the better to be tucked through your belt loops, but tactical belts can be worn with a snug fit and no excess material left hanging. Although that might seem like a small design touch that’s not all that important, having the most streamlined fit and streamlined gear possible can actually prove downright useful in the field.
Ever gotten your belt snagged on a tree branch or a rock on a summit climb, or on some brush in the field? That problem is solved with our picks for tactical belts. A durable, tactical belt is also designed specifically for situations that an average belt can’t quite handle, like hiking or traversing treacherous terrain. You need a belt that moves with you, not one that slows you down: A tactical belt is the way to go, in that regard.
Now, you know that you need a tactical belt. But what to look for in your next belt purchase? Here’s a helpful guide to keep in mind.
What to Look For in a Tactical Belt
- Utility: This is, of course, always critical when shopping for everything from a quilted jacket to a durable field coat or chukka boots, but your tactical belt has to be downright useful. That could means it’s got an easy-on, easy-off, quick release buckle, it could mean it’s got extra loops for storing small tools, or it could even indicate that it’s got a built-in apparatus for carrying a firearm (hey, they’re called tactical belts for a reason). Narrow down what you need your belt for — perhaps you want one that’s a bit more streamlined to wear while hiking or perhaps you want one with as many bells and whistles as possible.
- Appearance: Maybe this one reads like a no-brainer, but the key here is that your tactical belt should preferably sleek and sharp in terms of color. For instance, your tactical belt could be a dark black in color, the better to blend in with black tactical pants, or it could be done up in camo to blend in as you trek across an open field. Either way, the best tactical belts don’t overdo it as far as appearance is concerned. It’s all business, all the time.
- Durability: Again, this one also might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s critical as far as finding the best tactical belt is concerned. What we mean to say is, it’s better to invest in the best and spend a bit more cash to get a belt that’s built to last, rather than skimping and ending up with a less-than-stellar final product. Brands you can trust, like Filson, are coming through with durable accessories, especially as far as outdoor-minded belts are concerned. You know where to start your search.
Those are but three essential tips to memorize and learn by heart when belt shopping. As to the belts themselves? Here are our favorites below.
The Best Tactical Belts to Buy Right Now
Filson Togiak Belt
Filson is never a brand to let you down when it comes to the most rugged, dependable gear for the field. The Togiak Belt is but the latest and greatest innovation from a brand that knows how to deliver tough pieces fit for exploration on and off-trail. Although a belt probably isn’t the first item you think of when putting together an #OOTD, it’s something that can make or break how easy it is to get around quickly (ever tried to hike with hiking pants that won’t stay put, for starters?). The Togiak Belt is made with the same exacting standards you’ve come to expect from Filson, featuring nylon webbing, an aluminum hook buckle and reinforced stitching for added toughness. It’s your new go-to field belt.
Groove Life Groove Belt
Searching for a tactical belt that’s remarkably sleek and versatile, the kind that defies even the highest expectations of the most experienced field operative or hunter? The ridiculously easy-to-use Groove Belt is the belt you need now, with an exceptionally sleek design and a black-on-black color scheme for good measure. As Groove Life says, wearing this belt is as straightforward as “just adjust to fit once and forget” — talk about an everyday essential that won’t slow you down. The specs on the Groove Belt are even remarkable as far as belts are concerned, seeing as this thing is tough as nails and built with “proprietary webbing, rare-earth neodymium magnets and an A380 aluminum alloy buckle.” That sounds to us like it’s got everything you could ask for in a new tactical belt.
GRIP6 Honeycomb Web Belt
It’s no secret that when you buy USA-made gear, you’re getting a little something extra (or a heck of a lot of extra bells and whistles) compared to a product made with less quality and attention to detail. Like we said earlier, if ever you’ve had a belt or a backpack strap, or a watch strap, or heck, anything at all give way, you know it’s not a great feeling. That’s an understatement, but GRIP6’s Honeycomb Web Belt aims to prevent you from ever needing another tactical belt. As you might have guessed, it’s USA-made and tough as can be, exactly what you need in your tactical belt. From the interchangeable parts and straps to the fact that it’s made with a midweight, hard-wearing webbing, it checks all the right boxes in your search for a damn fine belt.
Slide Belts Black Canvas Belt
Sleek, durable and made from an innovative blend of canvas, this belt is just what the doctor ordered if it’s a dependable, no-fuss, no-frills belt you seek for everyday wear. The Slide Belts Black Canvas Belt will come in particularly handy in the field or on the trail, especially with a matte black design and hard-wearing construction. It’s not all rough-and-tumble, though – the aptly named Canvas Belt features a vegan leather backing for some added comfort on your waist, while the cotton-poly fabric should stand up to most kinds of foul weather out there. And if you’ve got, say, olive nylon-blend pants and a black canvas strap watch as part of your field-ready ensemble, this belt is going to fit right in without missing a beat. Throw in the price (just a shade over $40), and it’s clear this is one of the best tactical belts around.