Blue Force Gear BELTminus, MICRO Rackminus, Rackminus, & Plateminus Carrier

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Home Forums The Armory – Gear and Equipment Gear and Book Reviews Blue Force Gear BELTminus, MICRO Rackminus, Rackminus, & Plateminus Carrier

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    • #90223
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
      Moderator

        As mentioned in the Thread Hot Weather Minimalist Load Bearing Gear Options.

        I felt the BELTminus at only $67.50 was worth taking a look at, with the clearance price reduced down to $45.00 made it even more so.

        Before I get into my first impressions let’s look at the BFG has to say about the BELTminus.

        Blue Force Gear BELTminus

        Closeout on all the BELTminus.

        BELTminus is an extremely lightweight MOLLE belt kit. It is a thoroughly modernized version of the classic M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment. The pouch belt kit concept moves your gear onto your waist for improved cooling and more efficient weight bearing. BELTminus™’ MOLLEminus™ technology is fully MOLLE compatible and removes unnecessary weight and complexity while improving durability.

        The concept behind BELTminus, the third product released in the MOLLEminus line, can be traced back to the venerable M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment. BELTminus is a lightweight and simple load carrying solution that is designed to carry essential 2nd line gear around the waist. A side arm should still be worn on the pants belt. Carrying gear in this position allows the wearer to more effectively shed excess body heat in hot and humid climates and transfers the weight of the gear from the back and shoulders to the hips where it can be carried more efficiently.

        BELTminus is available with 2 different MOLLE compatible shoulder strap options. The Enhanced Padded version is mesh lined and padded to handle heavier loads and all day comfort. The Low Profile version can be worn under other gear or outer garments.

        MOLLEminus Technology starts with Blue Force Gear’s proprietary ULTRAcomp™ laminate material which is half the thickness of a dime and 4 times as abrasion resistant as 1000d CORDURA® fabric. The ULTRAcomp laminate is laser cut to create a fully MOLLE compatible matrix of slots and voids that greatly reduces weight, complexity, and potential failure points compared to traditionally constructed MOLLE platforms.

        Sizing:

        BELTminus comes in several sizes for the most exact fit as possible allowing for the best gear loadout and the maximum weight savings. For best sizing, choose the closest size below to your actual waist size. Note: this may be different than your pants size.

        XS: 31” – 41” waist
        S: 34” – 44” waist
        M: 37” – 47” waist
        L: 40” – 50” waist
        XL: 43” – 53” waist

        Weighs 9.9 ounces

        Price: $45.00

        The primary material used in it’s construction is ULTRAcomp.

        ULTRAcomp is a trademark of Blue Force Gear, Inc.

        From the ULTRAcomp website:
        High-Performance Laminate
        Developed for Warriors

        ULTRAcomp® is a High-Performance laminate that far exceeds the military standard air textured nylon in tear and abrasion resistance. Its hydrophobic features allows products to stay dry and light, whereas air textured nylon retains water and gets even heavier when wet.

        ULTRAcomp® combines the durability of a polymer based laminate with the benefits of a Cordura® face fabric. This is a case where the sum is greater than the parts in creating a unique material resistant to tear, abrasion and water all while reducing IR signature in a number of colors and camouflage patterns. The combined strengths of the two materials becoming one pushes the limits on design while exceeding established standards of strength and durability.

        Testing Data

        ULTRAcomp® is a high-performance laminate engineered specifically for the most extreme military applications requiring strength and durability. ULTRAcomp® was originally developed for use in armor carriers and load carriage platforms using the MOLLEminus technology – gear designed and used by the world’s most elite units in the most hostile environments.
        Tensile

        Superior Tensile Strength

        Testing per Fed Std 191A, Method 5100 Grab Tensile. ULTRAcomp® minimum 500lbs warp and fill.

        Tear

        Exceeding Tear Values

        Testing per Fed Std 191A, Method 5134 Tongue Tear. ULTRAcomp® minimum 55lbs warp and fill.

        Abrasion

        High Abrasion Resistance

        Testing per Taber Abrasion, H-18, 500 grams, cycles to wear through.

        Dynamic Absorption

        Low Dynamic Absorption

        Testing per AATCC 70 pre-laundering percentage (%) absorption increase.

        Better Finished Products

        Manufacturing with ULTRAcomp® further increases value with better products for the end user. Products built with ULTRAcomp® are more durable, stronger, and lighter relative to products made with traditional materials and construction.

        Lighter Weight Products
        Stays Dry and Light
        Antimicrobial to Resist Odor or Staining
        Superior Strength
        Fewer Layers of Material
        Advanced Designs and Capabilities

        Brands That Use ULTRAcomp High-Performance Laminate

        Featured ULTRAcomp Products

        Helium Whisper MOLLE Attachment System

        PLATATAC HW Drop Down GPS
        Blue Force Gear SAW Pouch
        Mayflower R & C Helium Whisper RECCE Radio/5590 Pouch
        Velocity Systems Helium Whisper Micro Diddie Pouch
        Eleven 10 Mini Blowout Kit Pouch
        PROTECH Tactical LT7 – Magazine Pouch, Dual/Double

        Outdoor Packs

        PLATATAC BULLOCK ECHO MK II NSN’D
        Velocity Systems Pusher Back Panel Kit
        Blue Force Gear Jedburgh Pack

        Tactical Vests

        The Safariland Group V1 Overt Carrier
        The Mayflower Pusher Chest Rig

        Well now that all the technical details are covered, let’s get into my opinions. ;-)

        When I picked up the package it was really lightweight.

        Packaged was the BELTminus ordered plus a couple of BFG stickers, BFG pen, a tube of BFG SPF 15 lip balm, and a basic BFG Neoprene Collapsible Can Koozie. The bonus items were a nice touch even if nothing fancy.

        I think the bonus items weighed as much as the BELTminus.

        Ordered was one BELTminus in OD size Small with low profile shoulder straps.

        I debated with myself regarding the size choice.

        The Small is for a 34” – 44” waist, the Medium is for a 37” – 47” waist.

        My concern was the Medium would not adjust down small enough particularly when dressed for hot weather. Additionally it would seem likely that I may loose weight “Post-Event.”

        I am currently fit, but no washboard abs at the present time. ;-)

        The Small fits close to perfect with the MOLLE extending just forward past my hipbone.

        Those living in areas prone to more extreme cold may want to consider making an extender or sizing appropriately.

        The stitching is done well, hardware seems to be quality, and material strong despite it’s thin construction.

        The ULTRAcomp is very thin, the description of half the thickness of a Dime is accurate.

        The inside has a slight “rubber feel” being somewhat tacky to the touch, but certainly not sticky. This seems to prevent shifting without being particularly tight in adjustment. The outside is a smooth Cordura feel.

        So overall my initial impression is good, we’ll see how my evaluation goes and will update shortly.

        One thing I want to make clear about my interest in the BELTminus is that this in no way means I am disregarding Max’s advice on MVT gear philosophy.

        I believe the Micro RACKminus, light weight rifle plates & Crye Precision AirLite Plate Carrier EK03, and a Lite Battle Belt will work well for me in a variety of situations.

        Even as much as I discuss how swamps fit into my plans, obviously Florida is more than swampland. ;-)

        Now when I do operate in the many swamps in my AO a more minimalist version of the of the old H-harness maybe appropriate.

        Understand I am not talking about “the full Battle Belt concept (i.e. a full belt with large admin pouches all the way round and yoke/suspenders),” but only slightly heavier than a Lite Battle Belt with say 4 vice 2 rifle magazines, machete, and maybe a canteen.

      • #90224
        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
        Moderator

          So why would I consider this over a Lite Battle Belt?

          Especially if I don’t intend to equip it heavy enough for the suspenders to be necessary for load bearing?

          In Florida the weather is hot and humid much of the year. I spend a significant amount of time soaking wet from sweating.

          This leads to increased chaffing from wet material rubbing skin. Having suspenders allows the belt to be looser without having belt move or fall down. At times I can also even disconnect buckle or really loosen belt for increased ventilation.

          The BELTminus with low profile shoulder straps have much greater ventilation than traditional shoulder straps.

          So I believe this will work well for the conditions unique to my AO. Time will tell and this is the perfect time of year to test this theory out.

        • #90225
          Max
          Keymaster

            I’m just amused at the value you give to price as a factor. After all, if it is the right good gear, that is my only factor. In fact I expect to pay more for quality.

          • #90226
            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
            Moderator

              In fact I expect to pay more for quality.

              Agreed, but when I can get both it’s a really good day.

              I have heard some good reports regarding this MOLLEminus gear, but not from the few people I truly trust in their judgment.

              So despite what looks good on paper, I feel a certain degree risk is involved in me purchasing this product. I dislike risking my finite resources on something that may end up in the barter bin.

              So the clearance price helps me justify the risk involved.

              I am not the kind of guy that covets the latest and greatest trends. I prefer to stick to a proven product.

              A perfect example is Colt and AR-15’s, no other manufacture has as long a proven track record of quality. So even though I have considered briefly other AR’s, the only AR’s I have ever actually purchased are made by Colt.

            • #90227
              Corvette
              Participant

                Since I got one too, there are two of us testing it. I have mine ready for training this weekend. I’ve put on an HSGI double taco AR pouch, Dump pouch rolled up, blowout kit, pistol and holster, pistol mag pouch and TQ. It is pretty lightweight and balances well.

                The material seems to handle the weight of the mags and pistol well, with no noticeable sagging or stretching.

                I wanted to try this because it’s hot as the bowels of Hell lately here, humid enough to feel like you’re out for a swim. That and as I’m getting older, I’m keen on shedding ounces.

              • #90228
                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                Moderator

                  Since I got one too, there are two of us testing it.

                  It seems to handle any weight I would want to use, even tried a heavier than I would want to carry just to see how it would handle it.

                  That and as I’m getting older, I’m keen on shedding ounces.

                  Haven’t got to the point of actually weighing anything yet, but I figure a it will add up to a couple of pounds difference when done all things are considered.

                  Unchecked those pounds can add up!

                • #90229
                  Corvette
                  Participant

                    The harness passed the first test yesterday. We did precision shooting from barricades in the afternoon, it was hot as blue blazes, high humidity. I was sweating like a horse, no breeze to evaporate it either. It was definitely cooler (relatively speaking) than my regular BB. The pouches and holster were good and snug, and the weight was noticeably less.

                    So far, so good. I may look into getting one of the similar chest rigs.

                    My teammates were impressed with the lightness and the material.

                  • #90230
                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                    Moderator

                      I may look into getting one of the similar chest rigs.

                      I am going to order the MICRO RACKminus.

                      I like the idea of a real minimalist option with or without a PC. Though any of their BFG MOLLEminus chest rigs would probably work real well.

                      I am impressed so far with this BELTminus and really the only question is longterm durability. Giving the test results above it should be as good (if not better) as any 1000D/500D cordura gear out there.

                    • #90231
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                      Moderator

                        I am impressed so far with this BELTminus and really the only question is longterm durability.

                        This is no longer a concern I am completely convinced this is a quality piece of gear that will last as long as any piece of quality gear made.
                        ___________________________________________________
                        Just realized I never reviewed the MICRO RACKminus.

                        Mini review of MICRO RACKminus.

                        The Micro Rackminus arrived, it was exactly what I was looking for.

                        It is a ridiculously lightweight minimalist chest rig, whether looking for a way to add a some gear to increase main load or in a covert carry situation, I expect it to be a great addition.

                        I will spend some time using it then conduct a review.

                        This thing weighs less than your t-shirt, doesn’t absorb water and is as durable as the BELTminus!

                        Blue Force Gear really made an outstanding series of products, it’s a shame that with our military focus on deserts and mountains this never got the attention it deserves for jungle use!

                        Outstanding gear.

                      • #90232
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                        Moderator

                          Blue Force Gear has a Sale this weekend on their OD green gear at up to 70% off.

                          They have the RACKminus in OD for $33.00 in both Regular and Large sizes, at that price point most could justify buying a few just as back up or cache gear.

                          Regular
                          Length: 21.5″ / 527mm
                          Width: 7.5″ / 184mm
                          Thickness: 0.6mm in body, 1.25mm webbing, 13mm buckles
                          MOLLE: 12 columns x 3 rows, 1 x 4 on each shoulder strap

                          Large
                          Length: 25.25″ / 641mm
                          Width: 7.5″ / 184mm
                          Thickness: 0.6mm in body, 1.25mm webbing, 13mm buckles
                          MOLLE: 16 columns x 3 rows, 1 x 4 on each shoulder strap

                          I expect it to be as good as my other purchases and will do a review when I return.

                          They also have the PLATEminus Plate Carrier in OD for $100.00

                          Weighs around .75 lbs depending on size, but always way under pound! ;-)

                        • #90233
                          TC
                          Participant

                            I picked up the PlateMinus during their last sale. Great option if you’re not wearing side plates and want silent donning-doffing thanks to the polymer side buckle straps, which are easy to adjust and have an elastic section. Comfortable for a non-padded PC and is made of extremely tough material with tight stitching and stretchy Tweave for the body-facing surface. You can mount molle pouches sideways if needed. Makes a nice spare or low profile rig. It’s a steal at $100 compared to the $175 it normally goes for.

                          • #90234
                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                            Moderator

                              TC I agree with your assessment, these “minus” type gear are ridiculously light weight as in scary light so until you use it and discover just how strong and durable it really is.

                            • #90235
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                So I couldn’t resist a Plateminus for $100.00.

                                It weighs less than half what the lightest comparable plate carrier weighs. After studying the Velocity Systems SCARAB DLX “standoff” capability.

                                Stand-off allows for passive cooling and an over 50% reduction in back face deformation when tested side-by-side against a traditional plate carrier

                                I can retrofit this easily to have this option.

                                Now I have to literally “weigh” my options between the ShotStop® Level III Special Threat GT (Green Tip) Plates and ShotStop® Duritium Level IV HS Body Armor Plates.

                                It’s not just a question of weight (1.4 lbs), the lighter “GT” is multi curve vs the “IV” single curve. The standoff option maybe less effective with a multi curve or redundant. I need to test this.

                                Regardless it will be significantly lighter than most armor and breath better.

                              • #90236
                                JohnnyMac
                                Participant

                                  Regardless it will be significantly lighter than most armor and breath better.

                                  Probably brilliant in an amphibious situation; river crossings and the like.

                                • #90237
                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                  Moderator

                                    Probably brilliant in an amphibious situation; river crossings and the like.

                                    Most have no idea how true that is.

                                    Slightly off topic, but…
                                    I suspect few here have ever taken a plunge in full gear in water over their head, it’s an eye opening experience!

                                    Note: Ensure you have a safety observer or two if you get curious. ;-)

                                  • #90238
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                    Moderator

                                      Since so few know, here’s something I’ve posted before.

                                      Anytime you are dealing with combat loads and water depths over your head or fast moving currents you must not only have gear prepped, but adequate training.

                                      Historically many military personnel have drowned due to lack of training in water survival.

                                      Even with proper training it is possible to get in over your head (pun intended).

                                      Operation Urgent Fury, 4 Navy SEAL’s drowned during a water insertion under storm conditions. Say what you will about the Teams, but few are more qualified for such work and this demonstrates how important preparation along with knowing your own limitations.

                                      This will be a general overview, but will go more in-depth in response to any questions.

                                      I use dry bags to establish a neutral buoyancy for my pack, this requires experience through testing your load out. Keep in mind there is a difference between buoyancy in fresh and salt water. Your level of training and experience should dictate your buoyancy choice, less training should default to greater buoyancy.

                                      There are a variety of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) suitable for our purposes. New PFD’s are not inexpensive, used PFD’s are available, but need to be serviced and repaired if necessary. Anything short of extensive dry rot is easily repaired for the DIY individual. I would avoid auto inflation for maximum flexibility.

                                      Mustang Survival Tactical Inflatable Side Pouch PFD

                                      The low profile MD1250 provides flotation capability with minimum bulk or interference using separate, independently operated left and right side pouches. With the option to wear on a standard or padded LE belt or attach directly to Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing on Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) vests, the MD1250 is a versatile solution for users who require emergency flotation with minimal bulk or interference with gear.

                                      Mustang Survival Tactical Life Preserver

                                      The Mustang Survival MD3196 is a compact life preserver that has been designed specifically for easy integration with body armor and tactical vests that use a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing system. The low-profile design provides flotation capability for body armor users, with minimal bulk or interference.

                                      TFSS-777

                                      Our TFSS-777 bladder was designed to fit the inside pocket of Rhodesian style vests where it can be manually inflated to offer enough buoyancy compensation when it is needed the most. The system consists of a black in color, reusable welded flotation bladder made of 200-denier nylon with an oral inflation tube. These units are ideal for use by any operator in or around water, where safety is a must.

                                      These are just a few options.

                                      It’s awfully embarrassing to prepare and acquire the skills MVT offers to end up drowning. :wacko:

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