Made In The USA: GRIP6 Belts

I’ve been wearing the GRIP6 belts for a few days now, and I have yet to decide if they are completely brilliant or utterly ridiculous. I’ll explain how they work, and you will perhaps then be able to decide for yourself.

GRIP6 is a reinvention of the belt, which for most people did not need reinvention. I own several dozen belts, largely because it’s a good idea to match one’s belt with one’s shoes — assuming, that is, one is wearing traditional grownup shoes. Ninety percent of the time, however, I wear one of my shell cordovan belts in Horween Color #8 or the Rattlerstrap Titan. At the skatepark, I always wear the Titan, but lately I’ve gotten tired of the thing’s sheer bulk. The Rattlerstrap is so thick that it can be painful to wear when driving for long distances.

The GRIP6 is the absolute opposite of the Rattlerstrap. It pairs a three-millimeter-thick buckle with a extremely minimal fabric belt. Adjustment is an acquired skill, but once said skill is acquired it is possible to pull this belt very tight, which is useful when I’m trying to ride a BMX bike around a skatepark while wearing some of those mega-heavy Japanese-denim Gustin pants. The belt is available in several different colors, but the buckle variety verges on the insane. Three different variants of carbon fiber? American flags? Mountain ranges? Buffalo cutouts? Walnut? The sky is the limit.

The GRIP6 can in no way be considered a “dress belt”, and the fabric straps apparently show cosmetic wear in short order, but if you can live with the adjustment procedure then these are very intelligent and simple devices. It’s periodically possible to find them on Massdrop — this referral code will get you, and me, ten bucks’ worth of discount — but I bought mine directly from the manufacturer. I bought the “Premium Pack” which has three plain metal buckles, a carbon-fiber buckle, a walnut buckle, and a “honeycomb” pattern which, I’m told, helps the environment somehow.

This is not the belt to own if you can own just one — that would be the sublimely satisfying Horween one-piece cordovan belt — but it’s a nice change of pace. Last but not least, they take up about ZERO space in your luggage. If any Riverside Green readers buy a GRIP6 belt, please come back and detail your experience.

26 Replies to “Made In The USA: GRIP6 Belts”

  1. AvatarRick

    Just for yucks I clicked on the Horween belt link. $425 for a belt?!!? Fortunately they were sold out, (as if). I understand the upsides of purchasing quality goods, but that price just seems over the top. To each his own (obviously).

    Reply
    • AvatarNoID

      Yeah, I’m thinking the law of diminishing marginal utility starts impacting the belt market around $200. Which is still far more than I’d pay.

      We all have our vices. I dropped the first $1200 I ever made working a “real” job (fast food) on a top-of-the-line paintball marker, knowing full well that I could get 80% of the capability from something that cost half as much, and knowing fuller weller that my own skill was not worthy of the equipment I was buying. I just wanted one.

      I just wanted paintball stuff, Jack just wants fancy clothes, and girls just want to have fun. That’s just how we all roll.

      Reply
      • AvatarEconomist

        I am cheap as hell, but the allure of an Ego was irresistible once I started playing paintball. Using a well-made tool for the job intended brings a certain satisfaction that is worth something.

        Reply
      • AvatarRyan

        Please tell me you dropped big dollars on a Belsales Autococker or something..

        I picked up a 99 STO in dust olive (first one I’ve ever seen in that color). Currently in the process of piecing together the missing bits to return it to stock. The body is in great shape, but I’m having Caustic Customs re-anodize some parts.

        I’ve probably spent more money anodizing old/vintage markers than I have on anything new. When I am playing airball, the Mini GS is enough to keep up with most of the regulars.

        Reply
      • AvatarNoID

        I think that certainly helps. How much does it cost to refinish such a belt?

        I am definitely frugal, but I’m learning to live by an adage that my friend passed along to me a few years ago when I was finally buying decent boots after living for a decade in a place where winter is a real season.

        Cry when you buy it, not every time you use it.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          You can do it yourself with a $15 jar of cordovan cream, which would last you 20 years or longer

          Reply
  2. Avatarrambo furum

    I’m surprised that the paracord novelty belt saw so much use.

    The GRIP6 site seems really coy about showing that free end, which is presumably the area that will wear first and worst, leading to an aglet issue where it no longer fits through the slot with ease. It seems that the raw end is merely heat-fused? I’ve had luck in “whipping” web ends by infusing with krazy glue, then belt sanding the edge to a bevel.

    Their talk of durability is a bit goofy, as a leather garrison belt of the same cost will last decades, and $5 web belts last for years too. This being a web belt, the real beauty is that when the buckle area wears to hell, one can chop it down to be good as new for another, thinner, person.

    Reply
  3. Avatardejal

    Thanks. Looks like an interesting mix and match.
    Is the belt stretchy?

    If anyone is looking for a cloth reaaaaaaalllyy thin wallet
    http://www.slimfoldwallet.com “Original Soft Shell”.

    I love the damn thing.

    Was goofing around looking at Tyvek wallets and came across this company.

    Reply
  4. AvatarNeil

    Thanks Jack for a timely post. Was thinking of adding a belt to my collection and this one looks to be a good choice. Of course, since I (almost) never tuck in a shirt nobody would see it!

    Reply
  5. Avatarpsmith

    I’m very partial to the belt I got from Gray Eagle Leather on Etsy–American-made (out of Hermann Oak leather, tanned in St. Louis), breaks in with a pleasing patina and a comfortable curve, and stout enough to support a few tools if you want to carry them.

    (But stiff and heavy, no doubt.).

    Reply
  6. AvatarCdotson

    I’m currently wearing my Grip6 and have worn it just about every day for a little over a year. Or maybe two. It was a gift and I was a bit surprised to have received it as I didn’t ask for a belt but I had grown weary of my previous belt that had an incredibly sturdy but painfully bulky click-latch mechanism and nylon webbing (my Google-fu tells me it was a Klik Belt).

    My physique tends to stress test belts. I have a desk job-exacerbated dadbod. A belt with about 1.5″ of web height has difficulty achieving the conical shape required when I sit. The web is visibly worn at its “set” position and does crumple a bit across the web between the buckle and my hip opposite the “tail” side.

    The cut end of the belt is perfectly intact and in fact doesn’t even appear worn. It appears to be a melted seal cut as you would find on the end of a nylon rope but sufficiently trimmed there’s no difficulty threading the belt through the slot in the buckle. It hasn’t cracked or frayed. If it did it would take a long time of being irritating to thread before you gave up on the belt as the cut tail is hidden between your body and the visible web after it’s tightened, thus the skill development required to tighten the belt. I presently have a bandaged thumb from attempting to use my knife as a screwdriver and have had difficulty tightening my belt.

    It really does stay put where you tighten it without slipping or stretching. I suppose it could slip if you wore it so loose it was merely decorative but I’ve no use for that and haven’t tried. I don’t carry bulky rigid heavy items on my belt but suspect the web lacks the requisite column stiffness to do so. My previous belt, the KlikBelt, is available with a steel-sandwich web for carrying such things if your spare tire isn’t large enough to be punctured by the release tabs.

    Reply
  7. AvatarJames

    I have several handmade leather belts I purchased a few years back from a retired local harness maker who made belts as a craft hobby. US sourced leather and hardware. Beautifully made and comfortable. I expect them to outlast me. Grand total of 150 C$ for 4 belts. He has since had to fully retire due to dementia which imo is a terrible loss. Lovely man who was drifting away the last few yrs.

    Reply
  8. AvatarNick D

    Orion belts are great as well for traditional leather. Obviously USA made with great after sale support. Everything from dress belts to work belts to gun belts for a very reasonable price – about the same as a plastic perry Ellis from a department store.

    Reply
  9. AvatarRyan

    I’ve been wearing the Grip6 almost daily for the past 6 months or so as a “general use” type of thing, for weekends or days where I decide to wear tennis shoes to work (rarely happens). More importantly it comes in carbon fiber so I don’t have to remove my belt at airport security.

    For years, I’ve worn a standard USGI issue rigger’s belt. Made in USA, 2″ wide, and about $15. For camping, working on the car, etc. I have yet to find anything that holds up better (both in durability and pants-holding ability).

    The Grip6 is nice in that it does not look as utilitarian as the rigger’s belt and thus I wear it more often than the others. I do find, however, that it does not get as tight as I would like; the 2-bar slider setup is superior in that department. The belt itself is a little soft and could use more support, but I’m also used to wearing thick leather belts (AE dress, leather gun belts, rigger’s belt, etc.).

    Considering that most eBay carbon fiber belts go for around the same price and are likely made somewhere in the Far East, I don’t have any complaints. Being able to keep it on at the airport is worth the price of entry alone. While I could likely buy something with a plastic buckle, that’s too cheap looking for me to consider that option.

    Reply
  10. AvatarLucas Zaffuto

    Something American made that I can use and is very reasonably priced. I bought one. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
  11. AvatarVic Mik

    Check this.
    Made in the USA.
    Military-style Cotton Canvas belt.
    $11.95
    Will last as long as cordovan, for which I have no shoes to match.
    Smoked horse meat is delicious!

    Reply
  12. AvatarDaniel J

    My last few belts were from wickett and Craig tannery and buffalo bifold tannery. They’ve all lasted years.

    I do need a hiking belt and this looks like it could get tight enough for me.

    Reply
  13. AvatarDirtRoads

    I have a Blackhawk CQG rigger’s belt. Works well and sturdy enough to rappel with (if I did that shit any more). I use it also as a CC gun belt; works well.
    Hard to justify in my old brain spending $100 on a plastic belt (OK nylon) but I spent $50 on the Blackhawk anyway. I tend to buy only the thicker leather belts, to keep my pants up and to carry IWB.
    The Grip6 looks good but I won’t see one in my closet any time soon, as I’m well-stocked at the moment.

    Reply
  14. AvatarRich Jacob

    Jack,

    A few months back, you mentioned a few things you hadn’t had the chance to write about prior to your shift to the new job (congratulations, by the way, and hope it works out well for you), one of which was a car polish that you liked. I cannot seem to find the article now–can you remind me of the brand or the title of the article? I’d like to try it out on my RC-F, another purchase that was (well) informed by your musings and reviews.

    Best,

    RJ

    Reply
  15. AvatarRJ

    Yes, that’s it–thanks. The RC-F is a blast, like a rocket ship with an interior that smells like an expensive purse or something. I still miss having a stick, but the paddles are pretty good. It also has a special secret menu, like In-And-Out Burger and Taco Bell that allows you to remove some or all restraint when your judgement is at it’s nadir….

    Reply

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