Center buckle is now ITW cobra buckle. We have been running these on our personal packs for nearly a year now and have been unable to break them in car doors or beneath our boot heels. Prairie Belt cost had to go up $5 to account for this upgrade. All PBs come with the tan color. It is the mil-spec hardware color for ranger green and blends well with coyote and foliage.
The HPG Prairie Belt is a nod to the prairie belts of old worn by the US cavalry. First and foremost it is a very comfortable and capable backpack waist belt. However, it is also designed to be equally useful as a stand alone load bearing belt -- what is called a "battle belt" nowadays.
- available in three different sizes
- center closure is tan ITW plastic cobra buckle
- includes 2 sets of G-hook straps for attaching to optional shoulder harness, or compression buckles on various packs
- delta and lower stabilizer straps are easy to unhook so they can stay with the pack when you want to use the Prairie Belt stand alone
- lower stabilizers can either be hooked to the PALS, or if you have pouches on the PALS, they can be hooked wherever you can find purchase to the outsides of the pouches, or not used at all.
- The accessory straps that come with the Prairie Belt can be used to attach it to an HPG shoulder harness (available separately) for a full belt and suspenders setup.
- lumbar area permanently contains 1/4" closed cell foam and a thin sheet of plastic at the back for structure
- inner lumbar has domestic equivalent hypalon so it seats well in stand alone mode
- waist pad areas are accessible via velcro closure compartments so you can remove the pads or put in pads of different densities or thicknesses
- includes 1/4" closed cell inserts and 1/2" of a foam something like a closed cell version of memory foam. these pads can be used together, separately, or the belt can be used with no pads at all.
- cordage in lumbar area works for strapping a jacket under but disappears when the Prairie Belt is used with a pack.
- the little hypalon loops hanging below the PALS are for putting in a climbing rack using the cord inside of poly tubing method of climbing harnesses.
- the hypalon keepers at front and back of the belt as well as between the PALS rows are for threading in 1" tubular climbing webbing that can be used for a basic safety harness. there may be a high angle kit in the future with full sit harness, but for now anyone who wants to use the belt in this way already sees how it can be properly rigged or they don't have any business messing with it.
- the Prairie Belt can be used with other HPG products, and comes standard on the Ute. It can also be fitted to a wide variety of other makers' packs using one of the following methods:
- captured behind lumbar pad that is attached at top
- will fit any dual stay pack where the stays are no wider than 6" outside to outside
Prairie Belts are sized on the basis of your jeans waist size (which is not the same as your actual waist measurement). In each case, the size is the belt with both pads installed, mounted in a Ute backpack, with the belt cinched fully closed. So, our "33+" will snugly fit someone who wears a jeans size 33, have about an inch of play for someone who wears 34, and so on. Bear in mind that removing pads, particularly the thickest of the two included pads, will make the Prairie Belt grow in size an inch or two.
All sizes have a lot of adjustment webbing in front, so there isn't much of an upper limit to any of them, except that you want the padding to at least wrap past the front of your hip bones. You can go backwards into your minimum comfortable size by measuring the distance between the fronts of your hip bones, subtract 2 inches to get maximum comfortable expansion and subtract that number from your pants size. So, if your hip bones are 10" apart in front - call it 8" to allow for padding past them - and you wear size 38 pants, you could get away with anything over a 30+. On the other hand, more padding in front doesn't hurt and gives you more PALS real estate. Going in that direction, the smallest you would want to go would probably be a 37+.
Read the forum thread about the Prairie Belt