EDIT – 11/14/15 – The best configuration is the 14 pocket bag, a belt module and a cobra tactical belt (not his) – it has large and small pocket plus a loop that works perfectly for ProPointer. I’ve been using it for almost 4 years.
For me, the main limiting factor for metal detecting is time. So if something can add 10 minutes per hunt for me, I’m all over it. I came across the Quick Belt Systems online recently and it struck me that this may be a very interesting solution as a complement to my E-trac and my wide variety of different hunts.
Modular systems are perfect for hunting variety. Winter, Summer, long hunts, short hunts, hunts near the car and hunts far from where I parked. On longer hunts, in addition to my detector and Lesche digger, I sometimes have a Lesche Ground Shark, lunch, coffee, extra gloves, first aid, camera, phone, hand warmers and other things. It adds up. On park hunts, I’ll only have the small digger, pouch and towel. And 3 times in 10 I’ll end up forgetting something somewhere! Just this last weekend I left my coffee and gloves next to a tree and had to drive back for them. This has happened at least a dozen times this year.
So I love the idea of a belt system that’s easy to configure the night before for the type of hunt you’re doing or that you can leave “assembled” between hunts – just wrap it around you, unclip what you don’t need and go. It has to be tough, secure and comfortable as well not only while walking but digging, too. I’ve spent time at Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as the major metal detecting dealers and there are solutions for bits and pieces of our needs, but not one “system.” I have $75 in unused “tool belt” setups laying in my garage because they simply did not work in practice in the field.
About Quick Tool Belt.
Quick Tool Belt is a modular system consisting of a belt, sleeves, and a collection of different pouches and tool holders which clip on. You buy the belt, the tool holders you need and the sleeves to support them. It was not designed for metal detecting, but the versatility allows you to configure it for our hobby easily.
For everything you hang from the belt, you need a sleeve which has the male clips riveted on. Sleeves come in two-clip or one-clip versions, and you can also slip your existing Lesche sheath, etc. on the belt itself.
The body-side of the belt is wide, around 3” and slightly padded. The stitching is high quality and the material is a ballistic nylon-type stuff – I think it will last. There is a tough nylon strap that surrounds the belt and gives it extra strength. The padded belt joins in the front with a 2×5” strip of heavy duty Velcro, and the large clip on the vinyl strap clips over that.
I laid out the belt on a table and slid on the sleeves – on my left hand side, I added the two-pocket pouch for finds and trash, on the back, I put the insulated drink older and on the right, I added my stock Lesche digger sheath. I also added the two-pocket single sleeve holder to hold my pinpointer and safety glasses. When I picked it up, I had forgotten to conect the belt. Didn’t matter…the stuff doesn’t slide off the ends of the belt. Nice.
Taking it Hunting
I got the belt configured the night before, and in the morning, just threw it in the car. I went on a hunt of a 9-acre property where I was going to get pretty far away from where I parked. I decided to take the 9” double-pouch for finds and trash, a 9” one pocket pouch for my extra gloves, hand warmer pouches, first aid band aids, and magnifier. I also took my coffee in the drink holder to stay warm. I thought that the system “looked” professional also – which possibly could help with legitimizing the hobby?
On and Off Quickly.
Once on-site, strapping the belt on was nice. I just pulled it tight, connected the velcro and clicked the main clip. One of the benefits of quick on-off is time savings and avoiding the awkward “what’s that guy doing with his pants?” moments standing by the car. I always hate undoing my belt to add my equipment when there are people around.
Also, I have the vague impression that this belt might actually provide a bit of lower back support. I have lower back pain and if I really cinch down this belt, it felt like it held me straight.
Then some really great features began to show themselves. First, is the infinitely adjustable location for my digger, bags, etc. No longer bound by belt loops, you can slide things back and forth to prevent them from impacting your detector during swings etc. I always start a hunt out with my digger too far forward, and sometimes have to undo my belt to reposition my sheath. No more. Now, I just slide it back a bit. And it says there.
Arriving at the first hunt, the temp was hovering around 31F so I had made some coffee and put my Contego spill-proof travel mug into the insulated holder. The Contego mugs are nice as you must push a button to sip from them – and they’re leak proof otherwise.
But the full 16 oz coffee mug did pull on the belt a bit. Despite the weight, the belt stayed up and their insulated holder helped keep the coffee warm for a long time. It was luxurious to have the drink with me and saved me time. In summer I use a Camelback for water.
11/15/15: The problem with the drink holder is that the drink is too heavy and it pulls the bag down. I do not use it any more.
The pouches are well made and the velcro is strong. I mentioned how nice it is that they hinge up so easily, and their easy to unclip and dump in the trash without removing the belt.
A surprise was the way the bags were accessible just below the bottom of my vest/coat. These are slightly lower than usual (1” or so) so I didn’t have to feel for the top of the pouch or fiddle with lifting my jacket up. You can easily “hinge” the bags upward and it was all easy to use with gloves on. This made my hunt just a bit more fun.
Especially noticeable on my second hunt, at a trashy park, the trash bag has small gaps to slide pulltabs and bottle tops into without opening the trash bag. The finds bag has similar holes. I suppose this could allow finds to slip out in extreme conditions, but mostly it’s just convenient. I slipped clad in that gap all day. The downside to these gaps is that you have to be careful when emptying your trash pouch that silvers don’t go into the trash barrel! The key is to get your finds out and secured before emptying the trash (I do this anyway.) I recommend putting your coin/ring finds in a pouch-within-a-pouch anyway.
What about Weaknesses?
By far the thing that bothered me most was the stiffness of the wide belt. DO NOT buy their belt. I was used to just having my normal 1 ¾” wide Carhartt belt with stuff clipped on. This one was felt in the belly section when digging, and it is certainly related to the shape of my body. If I were to find a narrower belt with a similar velcro connection, I’d be tempted to trade out. This belt also might loosen up as it ages.
I would love it if the front fastening velcro was 2” longer for more season-to-season adjustments. I’d like the system to work with Summer shorts or layered coveralls (A 3-4” waist difference) without buying a second belt.
Because most of the unit is made so strong, I really wish the clips were heavier duty. They’re adequate but I think they will wear out long before the pouches do. They are not the super heavy duty type you get on, say, mountain bike bags or good quality backpacks. I guess time will tell on this.
(Update: The belt broke…please see my choice to replace this belt – the Cobra Tactical detecting belt)
The drink holder feels too large and swallows drinks, making getting it out with gloves tricky. I fixed this by stuffing a folded rag into the bottom which caused my drink to protrude slightly.
For some detectorists, this fancy setup will seem as overkill. They’re happy with a cotton nail apron and knife sheath – traveling light and I can respect that. I’ve not used this in hot weather.
Overall… It Works Better Than Any Belt Solution I’ve Tried
After several hours of hunting I got used to the belt’s width. As I walked past the car later I was done with my coffee so just unclipped the coffee mug module and the trash bag. I put my finds in the car, dumped my trash out and moved along. 15 seconds. Nice. Again, any time saved is golden.
When finished hunting, you don’t have to hassle with unbelting your gear. You just unclip and unvelcro the whole thing and put it in the car/truck intact. I just hung the thing in the garage as a unit and grabbed it as a whole when I left.
This is probably the best setup I’ve seen for the detectorist who are serious about the hobby and saving time during hunts, and who does many different types of hunting. It works well as a companion to the E-trac and a weekend of hunting. I’ve spoken to GJ Cicione at Quick Belt Systems and he says that if there’s sufficient interest, he might invest in some specialty modules for detecting.
My understanding with Quick Belt Systems folks was that I’d send this stuff back. Sorry GJ, .. I’m keeping this! I’ll send you my credit card number. Happy Hunting.
You can buy the Quick Belt Systems stuff directly from their website or Amazon.
postscript: After some hunting the buckle is dead and the velcro is dying. Bottom line. Buy the modules and skip the belt. I have changed the internal belt to one of these. The rest of the gear is holding up great.
Postscript 6/19: It looks like Quick Belt Systems has gone out business. I’m still using the products, but I’ll soon run out of the clips 🙁
Check out my other equipment reviews.