Belts, unlike hiking boots, pants, or waterproof jackets, are not really given all too many updates. This is because the task of keeping your pants around your waist is a relatively simple one. Either a belt does its job, or it doesn’t. There aren’t really too many ways about it. Or at least that is the way most belt makers see it.
The brands who produce performance hiking belts, however, have a different take. They’re interested not just in whether they’re defying gravity, but how it is they are doing it. Where you and I see a simple buckle and strap, they see an opportunity to do things better. And to these outdoor brands, better means dynamic support that doesn’t hinder mobility, style, or comfort. If performance hiking belts sounds like a niche, it is because it is. You aren’t going to find a whole lot out there, but you’ll find the best on the market here in our guide to the best hiking belts out there.
Mountain Khakis Webbing Belt
This nylon belt from Mountain Khakis is a best seller for a reason. It features a super tough buckle featuring strong gripping teeth for a solid, non slip hold throughout the day. But more than being tough, the belt is handsome looking and comes in up to seven different colors. And because no hike is complete without a bottle of suds, the brand made sure to design the buckle to easily crack open your favorite beers.
Arcade Midnight Belt
Instead of going for the nylon belt and snake-through buckle that so many other belts in this category utilize, Arcade opted instead for a full stretch belt fabric and a unique side-release buckle design. The lack of metal means that the belt doesn’t have to be taken off when going through TSA metal detectors, and a DWR treatment ensures it won’t get soaked while trudging through the rain, sleet, or snow. A solid pick to be sure.
Norrona 29 Web Belt
The way this belt works is pretty straightforward. The lightweight aluminum buckle cinches the end of the strap once it is woven through and holds it tightly in place for the entire day. That mean whether you are going on a long day hike or just striking out to pick up coffee from the grocery store, this belt will hold your pants or shorts in place. And to top off the serious functionality of the belt, it only weighs 79 grams. You can pick this up in four different colors.
The folks at ABL wanted to make a belt that was tough, lightweight, and didn’t have any moving parts. The result? This awesome American made belt featuring a carbon fiber reinforced polyamide buckle and a custom woven performance fabric. Cinching your pants to your waist is made easy thanks to the straightforward loop attachment on the buckle, while adjustments are super intuitive. And while the custom made strap is indeed stretchy, it won’t give so much as to loose a solid grip around your waist.
Norrona Viking Web Clip Belt
This flip closure buckle belt from Norrona offers a great combination of toughness and security. Measuring in at 47-inches long and 2-inches in width, the polypropylene belt provides a comfortable, solid hold that can be easily adjusted thanks to the intuitive flip closure buckle. And that stainless steel brushed buckle, rather than just keeping your pants up, will also crack open beers like nobody’s business. Need more assurance this thing will be the last belt you buy for a while? It features 5-year manufacturer warranty.
Mission Belt Storm 40
While most belts out there fall either in the ‘only wear while hiking’ or ‘only wear during the week’ side of the fence, Mission Belt Co.’s Storm 40 manages to find a kind of balance. Featuring solid buckle with a micro-adjustment function, the belt is ideal for wearing and adjusting on the fly during long, multi-day hikes. The belt is available with either swat black, steel matte green, matte blue, matte black, gunmetal and gold.
Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt
If you could rely on any brand to produce a tough, durable, and comfortable performance hiking belt it’d have to be Arc’teryx. The brand took a straightforward approach to this piece of gear. In an attempt to avoid using too many moving pieces, they opted for a webbing buckle and a thick synthetic fiber strap. The metal hardware on the belt buckle features Arc’teryx’s logo, and the end of the belt – which comes in three sizes – has a tough plastic end to prevent from fraying. Right now it is available in six different colors.
Defy The Dude Cobra Quick Release Belt
A large part of the appeal of this belt from the Chicago-based brand Defy Bags is its unique hardware. The Austri Alpin Cobra Quick Release buckle is made from solid steel, can hold up to 2,000 pounds, and – this is our vanity speaking here – looks cool as hell. The American-made belt comes in five different sizes, and features a strap made from mil-spec webbing and velcro for on the go tightening and adjustments. A great pick from a top tier brand.
RattlerStrap Paracord Wilderness Belt
Why bother wearing a paracord strap around your wrist when you can get over 80-feet worth with this wilderness belt? The US-made woven nylon 550 p-cord that makes up this belt from RattlerStrap is designed to both hold your pants up while out on hikes, mountain biking, or ripping around on an ATV, and provide emergency support when you need it most. On top of all its toughness and versatility, the width of the belt is easy thanks to the titanium buckle’s easy to thread pin.
Slidebelts Belt 2.0
There is a line between a belt and a tool. This thing crosses it. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not mad about it, but holding your pants up is just one of a bevy of things that this belt is designed to do. For instance, the belt buckle is made from a glass-filled nylon unibody for unreal strength, features a fire starter, bottle opener, a titanium-coated AUS-8 stainless steel knife, and an LED flashlight. The strap? It’s made from a tough heat resistant, waterproof, frost flex, UV protected, and abrasion resistant material that has a tensile strength of up to 1500 PSI. Whether you’re strapping it around your waist or using it to hold on for dear life a-la Cliffhanger, this is the belt to do it with.
10 Best Tactical Belts
Looking for something a little more aggresive than our list? Check out a rundown we did a while back that ran the gamut of the best tactical belts on the market.