Review: Helikon-Tex Mid-Pro belt
Have you ever wished for some more space to carry gear on your person but cargo pants were inappropriate for the occasion?
If that’s the case, you might like the following article.
There are several tested and proven ways of carrying gear inconspicuously. Concepts like “Gray man” or “Concealed carry“ all cater to the need of carrying gear without other people noticing. While there are a lot of situations where you might go full-on concealed and “gray” there are others where it’s ok for your surrounding to know you have a tactical mindset but you still have to fit into the crowd around you. That’s especially true when you’re within a more or less safe environment (e.g. your workplace) – you don’t really want to hide that you like to use high quality gear and maybe even like being recognized as the “tactical gear head” but nonetheless your employer might not be ok with you running around in camo clothing, carrying dropleg panels and chest rigs when you’re an office worker.
If you can identify with the beforementioned than this series is for you.
A not so tactical tactical belt
The item I want to show you this time is the “Mid-Pro” belt by Helikon-Tex. It won’t fit your Sunday-suit but it doesn’t cry specops-operator, either. This belt is less “tacticool” than the average cobra-belt but you can clearly tell it’s built to last. The buckle is made by AustriAlpin just like the infamous Cobra which is proof that it won’t break during normal operation (no matter how many donuts you had on your last lunch break). This other buckle just wasn’t built to be part of a rescue device like Cobra-/Rigger belts. If you can live with the fact that it was never intended to connect a truck with its lorry than you get a much lighter and smaller belt which is more comfortable for daily use. It’s still much sturdier than the ones on other tactical belts (which explains the bigger price tag and the extra weight). The buckle is made of metal and just feels “strong”. Another benefit of this kind of buckle is that you don’t need to readjust it if you need a change in width. You tighten it as much as you want it every time you put it on.
The belt itself is quite stiff so you can easily use it to attach small pouches or other items without squeezing it like thinner belts.
What sets this belt apart from other tactical belts is not just the buckle, it has some features that connect it to the introduction of this post. You have a small pocket on the inside you can use for valuables like money. Just remember that due to the placement of the pocket whatever you place in there must withstand some bending and maybe even some moisture from sweat. So either skip storing memory cards in there or make sure they are packed safely within an extra shell.
The party piece of this belt are 6 loops on the back. They are made of strong and wide (about 4,5cm) elastic band. Each loop is a bit over 5cm wide. They are built in 2 long bands that form 3 loops each. One on 4’o clock, the other on 8’o clock so you can fetch the items by just reaching for your back. If you wear a shirt over your pants or an open jacket, they will go completely unnoticed but will still be easily accessible. Beneath the elastic band there’s anti-slip tape which helps a lot with keeping items in place. It’s very well hidden and to be honest, it took me some weeks and a closer look during this test to recognize it. But it’s there and it works.
You can use the loops for bigger items you would otherwise put in the cargo pockets of your pants. This works exceptionally well with things that have a pocket clip like knives, multitools and flashlights. To be fair, you wouldn’t need the loops in this case but could just put a knife between your pants and the belt secured by the pocket clip. The loops still help you with keeping these items where you want them without them sliding around. Where they come in really handy is with items which are uncomfortable to carry on the inside of a belt like flashlights. Even more with items that don’t have a clip. Since the loops are made of wide elastic straps they can safely hold even bigger items during a normal work day. I don’t know if I’d really rely on them to securely hold very valuable or important items in situations which require a lot of movement. (e.g. a smartphone while jogging – not that it would fit)
How I use it
Most of the time I wear cargo pants so if I use the loops its mostly for organizational reasons. In the rare occasions where I don’t have enough space, I use the loops to carry a single AA flashlight, a small multitool with a clip and and a medium sized pocket knife with a clip in them.
Just for testing I was able to carry a 18650 flashlight (with a clip) and a Leatherman Blast in the loops. These are big enough so they are held very securely but I wouldn’t be surprised if the elastic loops would wear out when stretched so far. It would take a while though because the elastic band is really tough and wide.
What I wished for to carry but couldn’t fit is a SOFTT-W tourniquet.
The elastic bands are sewn on very closely so no matter how small an item it will be held. Even more important if you don’t know what to look for it’s almost impossible to notice them when empty. The loops just look like a part of the belt. For that reason you can place smaller items like a Bic lighter, a Labello lip balm stick or some Paracord in a loop if that’s something you need. The strong band and the anti-slip tape will make sure they stay put.
- Weight: 150g
- Material: Nylon
Test items that fit great:
- Olight i5T (AA flashlight)
- Small Leatherman with Clip (Skeletool CX)
- Zero tolerance 350TS
- Spyderco Military
- Labello Lip-balm
- Bic Lighter
Test items that fit but might wear out the loops over time
- Fenix TK21 (18650 flashlight)
- Leatherman Blast
About the author
widhalmt is what you might call a tactical gearhead with a focus on collecting. Like your average nerd he likes to dig into topics he’s interested in and learn as much about them as possible. Then he tries to get hold of his items of interest (he’s quite picky about brand and model when he chose a certain item) and put them to the test. Be it while walking the dog in the woods or go for overnighters outdoors.
In his daytime job he works as lead support engineer for an open source IT consulting company. Since his work involves a lot of travelling and going to customers he has quite some experience in choosing items that are rugged enough for constant travelling but still work in an office environment without offending anyone by being “too tactical” (although he tends to stretch that last part a bit). It’s safe to say that he has some tactical gear on him when he walks out the door (and sometimes even when he stays at home).
In tactical gear he has very widespread interests but if he had to pick something, it’s be knives, bags/backpacks and camo patterns (especially PenCott)
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