It is wondrous how social media can hook up like minded people. I am continuously and everyday amazed by this. We have had the pleasure of gaining new friends and acquaintances left and right these past months.
And one of the people whom I have made friends with so happens to be Adam Teeter. He is the part owner of the Oneiros Valley Innovations (or OVI for short). We have discussed a lot of other things, but ended up sharing ideas about gear too. Eventually he sold me a couple of organizer pouches and send a few of their products alongside for testing.
The organizers will be dealt with in another article, but I would like to tell you a little something about the OVI belts that I received from them.
The Company (or Companies rather)
Oneiros Valley Innovations is a US company. They have a strong thrive to design quality load-bearing equipment for the hard use of hunters and soldiers alike. All their products are without an exception made in the US too by US citizens. They also mention their customer service to be one of their main focus areas and in all this they rely on a strong ethical background in Christian faith.
A lot of their products are usable in a variety of situations, i.e. hunting, backpacking, EDC. But their main goal is to provide military personnel with better equipment. If you look at their product catalogue they have several categories there dedicated to upgrades for different US military load-carrying systems. They aim to make the equipment better and safer for the soldiers to use on the field. To me this sounds like a good business idea.
They also manufacture a lot of their own products, usually designed and manufactured in conjunction with other companies. Their E-Pocket Organizer is actually designed by the Finnish CHD-Tac Finland, that we did an interview about some time ago! And the product at hand is made with the same concept, this time together with the Hill People Gear.
Hill People Gear
Hill People Gear (or HPG in short) is also an US based company. They are widely famous for their kitbags and innovative backpacks. Their products are meticulously tested before anything hits the production lines.
All of their design work follow their simple, but effective, three guidelines. Their products are designed to bear the loads efficiently. They need to be flexible for the end user customize and use as they need. And their packs are made to last any outdoors expedition thrown at them, even the worst case scenarios.
The UP Belt
So to the specifics of the belt itself. In short: it is a simple webbing belt that has a velcro closure mechanism instead of a metal or plastic buckle. But of course there is more to the belt than that.
The construction of the main body of the belt is made of double layered 1,5” webbing. HPG says that that is their webbing of choice. The construction is sewed strongly together with three stitches, one in the middle and two near the edge of the belt.
The webbing and the velcro hooks and loops are mil-spec nylon and so they can really take a beating before giving in. All the thread used in the belts are specified to be T-70 nylon thread. It guarantees the maximum life-time and wear for the stitching.
The closing system is something unusual and unique, but at the same time very simple and easy. The front of the belt has a smaller webbing loop, bartacked and stitched securely into its place, through which the other end of the belt is inserted. Then the hook velcro on the inside part of the belt is adjusted and secured to the loop velcro on the outside part, and thus you have a belt just for your size.
The the webbing loop, or the “buckle loop” if you will, has a further, simple vertical webbing loop sewed to it to help with the adjustment. The buckle loop is meant to keep the end of the belt in place and to prevent the belt from traveling around your waist. You can see the detail of the loop above in one of the pictures.
The belt is meant, as the name suggests, to be worn under the waist belt of a ruck. It is stiff enough to keep you pants up, but also thin enough to be comfortable under the stiffer and heavier waist belt.
Even with all the heavy looking webbing the belt only weighs 86 grams, or 3.03 ounces, in size medium. The weight of the belt varies in the different sizes, of course.
You can get yours with 18 US dollars from either OVI in black or coyote brown, or from HPG in coyote (judging by the pictures, with a black buckle loop apparently).
The belt seems innovative, but at the same time is simple and straightforward, but how does it work?
Well at first I was baffled by the simplicity of it, but my confusement quickly turned into awe. Why would you need fancy or complicated systems or bulky metal buckles on a belt that is meant to disappear on your waist? So in short, I love this belt. It is simple, easy to use and as HPG website states it “behaves more like clothing than a belt”.
The construction is light enough to be comfortable, but it is heavy enough to stand upright on its own. I have actually taken the UP belt to be my sole EDC belt. The belt wears well with all of my TAD pants, the belt loops are just right sized for the UP Belt. I also wear them with my jeans in almost any situation. There is just not a pair of pants these belts would not work with. Well maybe suit pants, that I have not tried… yet.
Kidding aside, the UP belt is a very well functional EDC belt. For those of you who have IWB holsters for guns or what not, this belt should easily handle those too. And it does not draw as much attention as those cobra buckled riggers belts, or heavy duty belts you see people using.
The velcro closure and the “buckle loop” are simple, yet effective in what they are meant to do. The belt is easily fitted to your size by a matter of seconds. The tab and the velcro ensure it stays put on the size you want. Some issues that I have had with some metal buckles on such webbing belts is that the buckle tends to loosen the fit a bit over time. This will not happen with the UP Belt.
Some Minor Issues
The only real issue I have come up with them is also with the long velcro closure tab. You see, while it is brilliant in keeping the belt secured to the fit you want, it is also at the same time a bit… noisy and, at least at first, difficult to use in certain situations.
And the situations I am referring to is pissing. Imagine going into a bathroom stall in a public place and there are other people around and you rip off the closure on your belt. It must sound like you are ten and opening your velcro on your tiny sneakers. It seems un-adult like to have something on you, other than jacket sleeve fastenings or backpack accessories that have velcro on them.
Or maybe I am just too self-aware and giving people’s opinions too much of consideration. Or actually I am not, I don’t actually care about that, I still use the belt almost everyday!
Well the other thing is that when opening the belt the long closure tab is a bit in the way when you are conducting your business of dehydrating in the “Jarhead” manner. It is cumbersome to open up the whole belt and tug it back on itself. You can open the belt just enough for you to operate around toilet, but not all the way so that it is still convenient and quick to re-buckle it. It would be icky to give you pictures of this. So I just have to tell you that it is possible and that when you get your own UP Belt. Figure it out yourself then, you’re a grown man (or woman) for Christ sake.
Then of course there are the issues wear and tear. The belts I got were a bit used already. I am not complaining in anyway about that! Rather I am grateful, because the CB belt revealed nicely one issue that will turn up over time. The webbing on the belts, like on any other webbing item, will fade through time and use. The CB has lost some color and is sagging a bit on the back where a belt loop or something has pulled it down continuously. But as I said, this happens to every bit of kit eventually. It is not a big issue and the belt I have is nowhere near it’s end of usability.
Under Pack Use and Conclusions
And what comes to the intended use of the belt as a under belt for the heavier ruck waist belts. It works extremely well! I have used it under my Kifaru MMR on a week long hike and it kept my pants up as it should. And at the same time, I think it nicely protected my waist from the pressure of the waist belt. It literally disappears under there and does what it is supposed to. I have also used it under my battle belt and I can tell you that it works brilliantly for tactical operations too. I do not really need to say more, it just works really well!
Easy, simple and effective, those are the words that come to mind when thinking about the UP Belt. If you are a hiker I suggest you give the UP Belt a try. And if you work for the military/LE this is a brilliant belt for you as well.
So once more, for the parting phrase, I commend the UP Belt to all of you with the Word from the Ephesians (one of my own favorite passages), in the manner I know the OVI guys would appreciate:
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Ep.6:14
Likes and Dislikes
Easy to use
UP properties are amazing
“Bang for the buck”
Dehydrating is somewhat problematic if you are too self-aware Finn
I received this product from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
This article was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue and to read more articles like this.