Okay, so my full intention is to do a detailed review of the Velocity Systems Jungle Rig. However i felt it prudent to touch on the “why” behind such a rig and why its a viable option. Lets dive in.
Several years ago when Velsyst released the jungle rig I instantly fell in love. It seemed like the perfect solution to modern ALICE gear. However at the time they were only doing small contract runs and mostly focused on .mil. Makes sense since their company is mostly focused on MIL/LE. So my love fell to the wayside. Couple that with the main focus of GWOT at the time (plate carriers, chest rigs, and gun belts) and it fell completely off the radar.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago as i began to take preparedness as a civilian to a higher level, I began to dive deeper in to “what really works for me.” After much soul (and internet) searching I kept coming back to the idea of belt kit. It seemed like the logical option for reasons i will list in a bit. I began to play with different bits of kit and pouches I had laying around and sure enough. This really seemed like the ticket.
Now why would you, as a prepared citizen or aspiring partisan, need something like belt kit as opposed to the oh so popular and cool Plate Carrier or Chest rig?
Well lets talk about the biggest factor first. Load carriage. With belt kit you can (if you need to) carry everything but the kitchen sink. If its designed correctly and laid out smartly you can carry all of your true needs on your first line and all your fighting/sustainment needs on your fighting line. As opposed to having to separate between your fighting line and your ruck. So why does this matter to YOU?
Well lets look at what situation most of us are actually preparing for. A world where we have decreased or absent logistics. Where most of us will be isolated from any sort of formal supply chain. Most travel will be on foot or animal (as opposed to vehicles that require continued maintenance and fuel that cant be sourced organically). Fighting, while sporadic (hopefully) will be done with what you have on you or cached along the way. No helicopters hovering over and dropping a speedball of ammo to continue the fight with. Being able to carry everything with you that you truly need or could need is the biggest selling factor to belt kit in my opinion. Especially since you can house what most people do in a carrier, belt, and assault pack; all in one set of gear.
Before moving on to the smaller but equally important pros, I want to squash one of the two largest fallacies when dealing with belt kit as it tends to evolve around the above pro. Weight. “All that weight is gonna kill your shoulders and back!” Or “have fun running and moving with all of that weight around your waist!” The human body, anatomically, has one main load bearing shelf built in to it. The hips. If belt kit is set up, sized, and placed correctly it will ride directly on top of this shelf. Transferring an estimated 90% to the hips and maybe 10% to the shoulders. My belt kit comes in on average at 25lb. I feel almost none of it when its on. The hips take the weight extremely well and distribute it around my waist, and my shoulders are really just there to support the kit and keep it stable.
Doing this also creates the balance point at the center of my body. Thus making movement more effective and increasing my over all agility. Regardless of the weight.
Belt kit also works extremely well with rucks. The ruck rests directly on top of the belt, thus transferring the weight of the ruck through the belt kit into the hips. Making heavy 75lb rucks feel more like 20-30lb. Rucking with a chest rig is doable but with a PC its miserable. The main quirk to make it work in terms of belt kit is having a ruck or pack thats ”short backed”. Meaning the ruck frame or pack is not over 18-19” in height. It CAN be done with taller rucks (have done it with the FILBE) but its not as ideal. Why does this matter? In a future world where you may have to hump a ruck of game meat 5 miles to your neighbors house is not the time to figure out that you ruck and PC sucks to play together.
In the above image you can see how the ruck (Crossfire DG16 my all time favorite) sits on the belt kit. Thus negating the need for the waist strap of the pack.
Belt kit plays exceptionally well in terms of weather shifts. If your in an area like I am (the Ozarks), you can have huge weather shifts in the span of days. With belt kit it all rides on the outside of the clothing regardless of clothing length. So i just adjust the belt accordingly and im good to go. No fighting past layers to get to pouches.
Now, there is no free lunch in life. Belt kit does not play well with CQB or commercial vehicles. It just wasnt designed to. However in terms of close confined movement there are work around. Going shoulder first through doorways when possible makes moving the bulk around your hips through the doorway easier. Setting up a trimmed down kit for urban/CQB would be the better option. The BEST option is to move away from urban areas as it is. Seriously. COOHMP. I know not all can, but at least make a plan to get away from the metropolis hell. Look at the current Ukraine conflict and see how hanging out in the cities is going for them.
As to vehicles, if you have picked up on the going vibe, i dont see them being that big of a role in the future. Its just not a sustainable means of transport in a ”grid down” situation. That being said belt kit doesnt play well in small sedans or SUVs. Fullsize pickups and SUVs its doable. Bed of a truck or technical? Heck yeah bro, get your transport on. Bucket seats and belt kits just dont play extensively well. It IS doable if you have to though for short periods.
Hopefully this helps as you go down the rabbit hole that is belt kit. It really is great and IMO the future as far as kit goes. If you have any questions feel free to put then in the comments and ill do what i can.