Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Platatac Bongo modular battle belt

It's been a while since I've covered a belt, and I picked up this piece recently, and gave it a good workout over the weekend, so wanted to tell you about it.

I've covered a number of belts before, from the surreptitiously tricky PM Leather Hobble Belt, to the hardworking 215 Gear Ultimate Rigger Belt, and the airport friendly 5.11 TDU belts as well as the very capable Young Guns Battle Belt by Platatac, so I wanted to show you this platform as well. This is the Bongo Modular padded belt (Mk2)

With 22 rows of PALS/MOLLE looping, 18 of which are 3 row, with the two channels beside the buckle being only double channel sets. This gives both a lot of real-estate to work with, but also narrows the form around the front, giving the wearer unrestricted motion when sitting, squatting or kneeling.

Designed to be ALICE compatible the belt includes 8 loops for direct attachment to harness or other vest system, such as my MAC armour carrier or the First Spear OAGRE.

It also sports 4 D-ring lash loops along the bottom, which could well be used for leg-straps too, if that's the way your mind works. The principle buckle is a large ITW buckle, as features on many of Platatac's gear. Twin webbing sliders allows you to adjust the belt from either side.

For my skinny (size 32) waist, I needed to cinch it all the way in on both sides, even when wearing it over belted pants and tucked in shirt. The up side of this is that if you have layered clothes, you will have no problem fitting it as an outer-wear layer.

I wore this out to an event, where is was doing First-Aid type monitoring, so fitted it out with my Half Med pack, a set of twin 40mm grenade pouches (they work really well as disposable glove/ mask storage, for quick access). I also fitted one of my SR25 pouches to hold my wallet, a Blackhawk removable side-plate carrier as a mini-dump-pouch, FUP pouch holding my Fenix TK-51 light, and also the SORD 870 Back sleeve, which I'm sneak previewing here. I didn't run it with a sword in it for the event I was at, actually had it filled with big cable-ties, but that's how I would like to roll... A set of CountyComm Premium EMT safety shears rounded it off.

Thankfully none of this kit was needed at the event, but the belt served me really well. The padding is mesh lined, giving it great weight bearing, as well as moisture management capacity.

I wore this rig just on my hips, no strapping, or braces, for 6 hours or so, including some running up and down stairs, with zero dramas. I would wear almost all the pouches identically, other then perhaps moving the 870 pouch to sit higher, if it was bearing more load, just to take advantage of the PALS/MOLLE attachments, but all in all, I was really happy with the belt. The webbing used for the buckles is sewn right into the body of the belt, wrapping the whole way around, and sits under the top. This made feeding the attaching straps of the pouches, both the Platatac-type integrated straps, and the Blackhawk STRIKE Speed Clips I use, a little tricky, but once in, they were rock solid. The overlap of the belt webbing and the middle row of channels makes it LOOK like its a staggered set of loops, but it isn't. Still, this adds to the stability and security of the belt! I might consider swapping out the ITW buckle for a Austrail Cobra buckle at some stage for climb-rating security, but otherwise this is an awesome addition to my load-out options.

Here's some obligatory tacticool shots of my load-out.

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