- Created: Sunday, 17 May 2009 04:55
If you ever need a good load of gear attached to your belt, I highly recommend a padded belt. Using a traditional thick webbing belt will consistently result in pain and discomfort when worn for long periods with only moderate loads. One of the more advanced padded belt design's is Blue Force Gear's SOC-C belt displayed in this entry. Those whom have used other padded belts will immediately notice the SOC-C is much easier to adjust and change belts out of. Typically a lot of routing and velcro dodging is required, however the SOC-C has a flap based design for full access.
In comparison to belts where this area would be sewn down, it may appear to be asking for a flap fest. In actual use the seal does hold since if naked there isn't an opposing force and if loaded with gear, the weight helps keep forces pushing the velcro seal together. To notice any issues, long / bulky and heavy gear would need to be attached while performing heavy movement. At that point it becomes more of a message you probably shouldn't have those kind of loads on any belt system.
Once the flaps are opened up, one will notice not only is it easier to install belts, yet that the SOC-C itself is adjustable in size rather than buying a set size and hoping for the best. Using internal webbing and metal ladders, the user can get down to my Monkey size of 29" waist or all the way up to 44"+ waists. This is great for figuring out the desired fit for the wearer allowing flex between a high or low waist ride on many body types. For a nice attention to detail, 2 little velcro tabs are supplied to clear channels for drop leg straps. Currently padding is included and accessible to replace. For those with higher threat duties, the padding can be removed and replaced with soft armor inserts.
The exterior is a PALS webbing party based on 2 rows using camo webbing when possible. I'd tell how many channels, but how many are available depends on how the belt is sized. The interior is lined with some fancy mesh to assist in cooling, I look forward to see it's durability over time. 4 D-ring mounts are supplied to offer suspender connection points where I show the optional BFG low profile suspenders. They work great with the SOC-C and can also work with many other similar products. The construction is webbing based with the cooling mesh on the under side of the shoulder straps as a nice touch. The rig is centered around a bungee circle to allow flex during movement such bending over. Connection is accomplished with simple 1" webbing and metal tri-glides / ladders. On my pics the slack is hanging about, but don't worry I was just dicking around. The ladders are easy to adjust to accommodate the slack.
As another note, the inner belt is not included. Some may desire a stiff belt, however I did fine with the smokejumper wildland rigger's belt. If you want to get tacti-cool, BFG offers camo matching duty belts as well. I still need to log more hours, but so far I'm digging the SOC-C. It doesn't have as much padding as some of the other padded belts, yet seems to have a sufficient amount and results in a lower profile. As for any changes I'd be interested in seeing more 1 PALS channel at each end of the belt; currently there is a fairly large open gap where the belt buckle goes. That said, I personally don't mount much that far up front anyway, to allow better range of motion in my waist. Be sure and check out the video for a nice breakdown.
<BlueForce VIDEO 3>