I’ve said it to various people before and I’ve always held the opinion that what we’d call webbing is the ‘best’ of the load bearing options. Obviously everything has it’s ups and downs and some changes in the modern world have made other formats necessary, but looking at all militaries and individuals through all of time; storing kit on a belt is probably the most ubiquitous option humans have chosen.
Also, memes aside, if you got a chest rig or two through the last 12-24 months, and you got a sweet modern plate carrier or two in the years before that… then guess what’s left?
I think that a big part of the problem( middle east war mindset aside) as to why people haven’t seen a belt based rig as a viable option or pursued them in general is in itself something of a catch 22. There are companies here in the UK who’ve been making pre-stitched rigs ever since the 90s or even earlier, they never stopped. Those are almost perfected in terms of what the infantryman needs, but they aren’t the most modular and people now want, indeed demand, modularity. Especially on the civilian market in the US.
The lack of attention that this format has received in terms of modern updates and upgrades has probably caused less interest and adoption, which in turn means the majority of manufacturers haven’t put any resources in to making updates, so the interest isn’t there – and the cycle continues.
Personally I’ve recently completed a cycle of updates on my PCs and other rigs after not changing them for the most part in 5+ years, but the quasi-webbing set I have here that’s made up of modern PALS products in Multicam hasn’t changed in a very long time, so that’s something I might look at this year. It’s ok for my recreational purposes, but the belt itself is a hang over from the old school 3-row fully padded and chunky belts that were the norm to pair with a PC before 2 piece micro PALS belts came along. That type of setup takes all your modern PALS pouches really well of course, but it just isn’t built the same as they did it back in the day and lacks some key features that old school PLCE and ALICE had.
I’ve got a good idea for a new product in this area that I might be able to make available in some form or other. Something which will address that issue of modularity and lack of provision in the market place, but going from idea to ‘add to cart’ is the hard part of course as a normal bloke who doesn’t have anywhere to setup a laser cutter.