The stalking belt - quickly put on - everything included - everything ready to hand
Stalking has its own equipment requirements, especially stalking at night. You have to have everything you need on the hunt with you. It must be accessible quickly and directly. I therefore wear a stalking belt that contains everything that is necessary for stalking. What is a prank belt? What solutions are on the market? What do I have with me in my stalking belt?
First the question: why don't I wear a backpack when hunting? I have a few backpacks, one or the other of which would also be suitable as a light hunting backpack. A backpack designed for transporting gear from A to B. If you carry the backpack, you cannot access the contents of the backpack. When I'm stalking in my local area, I don't have to transport anything, I have to have my seven stalking gear with me quickly.
As already written in the article about camouflage clothing, (little) movement is an important part of your own camouflage. Taking off a rucksack involves a lot of movement, especially when your hands are actually carrying a stalking stick, thermal imaging camera and, if necessary, a rifle.
For this reason I wear a stalking belt. Everything I need for pure stalking is housed in the stalking belt.
Which stalking belt solutions have I had at the start over the years?
I have tried three stalking belt solutions over the past few years. Two ready-made ones from Decathlon and Swedteam and one DIY stalking belt I put together myself.
Solognac/Geologic hunting belt
As you can see: a belt, three spacious pockets - that was enough for the start
Actually ingeniously simple and cheap. Three large pockets, quick release. The pockets sit directly on the thighs, so that the contents of the pockets can rattle when walking. Plus: You have to reach deep into the pocket and the opening is slightly too narrow for me. This belt is intended more for shotgun hunting. Ammunition in the front, other odds and ends in the back. A belt with a handgun holster can easily be strapped over the hanging pockets.
Swedteam belt bag
The Swedteam bag belt looks great - but didn't convince me
I bought these because of the Swedteam camouflage pattern. It's lightweight, has lots of pockets and a quick release buckle. The pockets are too big, too small, can't be adjusted to my layout, the zippers are awkward. There is no space here for the handgun holster at hip height. The bottom line for me is that the look is way ahead of the functionality and workmanship. For stalking, I find the pocket belt only partially suitable for me. The Swedteam bag belt is certainly very practical for the hide.
The belt bag is made very simply. The bags are not padded, there is no continuous belt (belt), only sewn belt pieces for the quick release. It doesn't make a stable impression. Overall, it doesn't feel particularly valuable - for €60, the Swedteam belt bag isn't a value-for-money champion.
DIY stalking belt à la Jagawams
The hunter is himself: a modular shooting belt was the solution - however, my DIY stalking belt also has a different price tag - but as with the gallows: it lasts more than a whole hunter's life.
So I put together my own solution. The basis for the stalking belt is a wide shooting belt with Molle loops and a quick-release fastener. The wide belt optimally transfers any weight to the hips and holds it securely there. The Molle loops allow me to attach different bags and the handgun holster so that I can divide up my stalking gear sensibly. In terms of price, the whole thing is quickly in the custom premium range - depending on what you want to spend on the individual components.
What do I carry in my stalking belt?
Left to right.
The first pocket, starting from the left, contains everything I need for position marking and stalking signs. Tracking tapes in different colors and LED flashing lights with clips for universal attachment to branches, corn, prey, etc. etc.. A microfibre cloth for optics is attached to the zip puller.
A useful knife is inserted horizontally under the pocket.
The next bag contains light and energy: a strong, compact LED flashlight, the LED headlamp, spare batteries and batteries, a small power bank and charging cable for the thermal imaging technology.
These two bags are the “work bags” that I most likely have to use.
This is followed by a magazine pouch for a handgun magazine.
Then, in the middle of the back, there is a large back pocket that holds the attachment and otherwise remains empty. After that comes an elongated “bottle pocket” for all sorts of odds and ends, like. scarf, hat, etc.
The handgun holster is from Safariland with a long bridge for a deep carry. Carrying it low is very ergonomic and great for stalking. In the car and on the high seat, the long bridge reaches its limit - it's too long to sit down.
With the final monocular bag we have arrived at the front right. The large Velcro fastener of the Vortex monocular bag had to be defused and magnetized with a custom-made silencer from NoBäg in order to be suitable for stalking.
Belt, stick, rifle - let's go outside
What is the benefit of a stalking belt?
With the exception of the handgun and ammunition, the stalking belt hangs fully equipped in the closet. I put it on and I'm done - no matter what clothes I'm wearing. I don't have to first collect equipment and distribute it to different trouser and jacket pockets. If I just want to stop by the infirmary for a moment, I put on my belt, take out my rifle and, if necessary, a handgun, take my aiming stick and go straight to the infirmary.
Outside you then have your hands and back free for the rifle. Since everything has its place and the pockets are not too big, everything I need at the moment is easy, quick and easy to reach. My bags have quiet zippers, are padded and have a "quiet" surface. This means that they can also be operated easily and quietly with one hand.