We know how important it is to trust the products we recommend, so here is what we took into consideration when evaluating the hiking belts we’ve reviewed.
How we test
Our reviews are written by hikers (us) for hikers (you). It’s all too easy for reviewers to simply regurgitate manufacturer’s stats and sales spiel, but this doesn’t get us closer to understanding how a product will perform in the field. We bring our experience of the outdoors and the realities of hiking to bear on every product we evaluate: A product that works brilliantly in a warm indoors setting might be fiddly and slow to use with cold fingers in the field, for instance. Ultimately, we want our collective experience to guide you to choosing the product that’s right for your needs.
Of course, everybody’s taste is different when it comes to their outdoor gear – we each think certain things just sit and feel better than others. Ultimately, you know yourself best when it comes to what is most important to you. However, we’ve tried to simplify the decision-making process by highlighting what we think are the most important factors to consider when it comes to deciding on the best hiking belt for you. There are a few key areas we take into consideration whilst evaluating products. The key areas we look for are:
Stylish, Very Stylish, Extremely Stylish
A purist might say that hiking gear should be purely functional and that looks don’t matter at all. But the truth is that many hikers value good-looking products – and style isn’t just about decoration either, it can be a by-product of great design too, proving that form really can follow function. With this in mind, style is really important to us when it comes to comparing the different hiking belts out there. It might be something that you aren’t going to see all the time, and is providing a more utilitarian than cosmetic role, but that doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on style.
Comfortable, Very Comfortable, Extremely comfortable
Whether you’re hiking for a couple of hours at a time or going on multi day-adventures and backpacking trips, how you feel and your comfort level is incredibly important to your experience. The gear we take with us whilst hiking creates a sense of enablement – our gear helps us go further. If you’re constantly thinking about how much your belt is digging in, or even worse, isn’t holding up your trousers, you’re not going to be in the moment as much, enjoying the scenery around you. You might think a hiking belt is such a small part of your kit that comfort isn’t actually that important, but the difference between something that fits properly and something that doesn’t can be an absolute game changer – which is why comfort is so important when it comes to our recommendations!
Low, Medium, High
We always look for products that give you a good balance of price and what you get for your money and the quality of materials used. You’ll find we haven’t always recommend what would be considered the cheapest products when it comes to hiking belts – One of the reasons for that is because when it comes to durability and sustainability, we’d rather recommend you products that are built to last. Prices can fluctuate on a near daily basis, and as such we don’t provide exact prices in our reviews – so be sure to check the reseller links we provide to get the best deals.
Fabrics outlined for informed buying
All of the belts we’ve assessed use similar materials: synthetic webbing is used for the actual belt in every product we’ve looked at. This is a very tough, hard-wearing material that needs practically zero maintenance. In day-to-day use it’s essentially indestructible and is a great choice of material for this kind of product. Where these belts differ is the material and mechanism used for the buckle or closure and this is really where each product differentiates itself.
Length or lengths outlined for informed buying
Accessibility is something we take really seriously with everything we do. One thing that continues to be a problem in the outdoors industry is availability of products in ranges of sizes. This problem is seen in all areas of kit, from ill-fitting waist straps on backpacks to clothing stopping at sizes that don’t fit the reality of the body shapes and types of many people who want to enjoy the outdoors. We made sure our round-up included belts that were available in both longer and shorter lengths to provide more accessible options where possible. Sadly, these options were more limited than you might think, especially from the bigger brands and it fell to lesser-known brands to fill the gaps here. We think this is one area where the well established brands should be doing better.
Durable, very durable, extremely durable
Durability is a key factor in any equipment purchase decision, not just for the usability of the product but also for the sake of sustainability. Some of the belts we’ve assessed could well be the last belt you ever need to buy, that is, the materials they utilise and their construction are both solid enough that they could easily last a lifetime. It’s worth bearing in mind that every belt we’ve assessed appears to be well built and even the ones with the lowest durability rating should still last a very long time indeed. All of this comes with one very important caveat: any statement on long-term durability has to be based on educated guess work. The only way to actually measure it would be with a multi-year, long-term test, which simply isn’t possible, not least because you could expect many of the products to be discontinued by the time the test was complete.
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