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Hip carry (belt clip) mods

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by Brewer, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Apologies - this is going to be Maxpedition heavy - I'm not a fanboy and their designs almost always include some really stupid/disappointing design choice IMHO - but I'm in Australia where options are a bit limited, so it is what it is.

    As you may gather from a couple of my other recent posts I'm really trying to reinvent some of my EDC solutions.

    I generally use a Maxpedition Mongo as my main EDC, and it works really well - I fit my EDC in all the peripheral pockets, and keep the main compartment empty for incidentals (documents, purchases, raincoat, beer etc). I sling it over one shoulder when necessary, but I don't do an awful lot of walking around with it in a typical day so it is usually in the truck or on the floor somewhere near wherever I am. I won't have it with me at a restaurant, in the supermarket etc.

    So I'm working on some smaller EDC solutions so that I can have things like reading glasses, sunglasses, first aid essentials, flashlight, SAK etc in those situations, without any of this:

    [​IMG]

    I also volunteer with a local rural fire brigade and another rescue agency, so I've been looking at ways to carry some additional items without overloading my pockets or carrying a bag over my clothing, and to easily transition between agencies / uniforms.

    I'm currently looking seriously at belt clips and hip carry as a possible magic bullet. The advantage I see is that I don't have to deal with any body straps, and I'm always already wearing the attachment mechanism (ie, the belt). I can have a small pouch of essentials with me with minimal inconvenience - I can carry it in one hand, have it in accessible spot in the vehicle or on the desk, and I can instantly clip it to the belt to be hands-free when necessary.

    Anyway, I thought I'd start this 'modding' thread to put all of my thoughts / experiments / progress in one place, and to hopefully get some related comments and ideas from other gear modders :D
     
    FiaOlleDog likes this.
  2. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Learnings:

    1. Belt clips are way better than belt loops for something that you want to access conveniently, and/or which might get in the way on your hip (eg, while seated).

    2. The belt clip needs to sit high on the pack. Not like this:
    [​IMG]
    It's poorly balanced and liable to rotate too easily and unclip itself.
     
  3. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    All the stuff I need fits in my pockets. I have a lot of pockets, though.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G950F met Tapatalk
     
  4. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Project 1: Maxpedition Remora

    This is intended as my emergency responder kit. The objective is to minimise the junk in the pockets of my turnout gear, and have a few extra things that may come in handy without having to return to the vehicle to get them. I found a thread on another forum where a guy modified one of these and I thought it was worth a shot.

    The size is great, and after a few complicated mod ideas (I was yet to realise that belt clips were the one true path) it finally dawned on me - I just needed to add a belt clip to the back of the existing flap at the top of the bag.

    [​IMG]

    I've mocked it up with safety pins etc and it feels good - I'm still waiting on some better clips to arrive, I have some of these:

    [​IMG]

    but the 'ripple' on the back does its job a little too well and makes the thing too hard to remove. I think in this case the size and weight of the bag, and the way it hangs nice and low, does enough to keep it on the belt. So I've ordered a couple of these:

    [​IMG]

    I'll post an update when I have something more to report :D
     
  5. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    New clips arrived today - much better! I used a soldering iron to melt a small hole through all three layers of webbing and 2 of cordura at the appropriate point. I plan to get some Chicago screws to make the job neater, but for now I'm just using an M5 phillips head bolt and nyloc nut. I have some khaki strong nylon thread on order, so I'll put a couple of stitches in it when that arrives to keep the clip nicely aligned and prevent any gaping at the load point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Really thrilled with the result. The bag sits really well on the belt, I can walk around quite comfortably even with no leg strap - it just hangs straight down regardless of what my legs are doing, and it doesn't interfere with my jacket at all which is exactly what I was hoping for:

    [​IMG]

    I can definitely see me using one as a general EDC as well as a first responder pack - it's a handy size to carry around, and the belt attach is a really quick and convenient way to go hands-free without the hassle of a fanny pack or shoulder sling. I like it.

    If I do this to another Remora I might try and slip the screw down inside the 'pocket' between the two layers of cordura, thereby leaving the rearmost layer of cordura intact and covering the screw head. The screw head doesn't exactly catch when attaching and removing the bag, but it isn't quite as smooth as it would be with a layer of cordura over it (although this may be a non-issue with the Chicago screw). It should be possible to melt the necessary holes while leaving the back layer untouched, but getting any purchase on the screw head inside that pocket will be tricky. I guess I could always spot-weld it to the clip?

    I also plan to remove the 2" SRB from the top of the flap. I can't see me ever using it and it is kinda in the way of where I want to grip the bag when attaching/detaching it. The elastic retainer makes a handy grab handle for detaching the bag, but I'm not sure how long it will last used like that. I think I'll cut the SRB and keep the 2" webbing loop intact for now, maybe I'll try and fit a carabiner or even just a loop of paracord down the track as a more robust grab handle.
     
    Last edited by Brewer, Feb 26, 2019
    #5 Brewer, Feb 26, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    assassin10000, JHGM, ran23 and 5 others like this.
  6. HeadOffice

    HeadOffice Loaded Pockets

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    I love seeing someone's ingenuity in modding something. One thing - wouldn't it be easier to have a belt loop with the same buckle as the shoulder strap and just clip it to the bag (then you'd get the benefit of fast take-off from the belt)?
     
    GoBliNuke likes this.
  7. GoBliNuke

    GoBliNuke Loaded Pockets

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    Perhaps it will make the bag ride lower than desired.
     
    HeadOffice likes this.
  8. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    This was one of my initial thoughts, but as GoBliNuke suggests it makes for a really low hang. The belt clip mod puts the centre of that SRB level with the top edge of my belt, I reckon it would add another 4 inches to have it hanging from a tab.

    Also, this mod doesn't need anything added to the belt - it just hooks onto ANY belt, really quickly, with one hand. Nor am I limited to a single location on the belt - I can easily move it from my hip to the front of my leg for example.

    I'm planning to load it up with some weight and go for a bit of a hike this evening to test it out 'in the field'.
     
    FiaOlleDog and That Movie Guy like this.
  9. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Well I still haven't had chance to take it on a hike, but I did do another little mod today - I'm not happy with the organisation for multitools and flashlights (there isn't any).

    I started off trying to work out how to modify the existing pockets and/or elastic loops. Then got to thinking about a setup that could hold the tools in the main area of the front compartment - awesome, this should fit well and leave the pockets and loops free for other items.

    But what to use? Would I need to make something, or is there something on the market that would do it? Am I looking for a 'skinth'?

    Then I remembered I had one of these velcro-backed shotgun shell panels that I'd bought years ago thinking it might be useful for something (it never was):

    [​IMG]

    The dimensions were perfect, but not the loops. I needed 4, not 6. Time to break out the sewing kit and get stitching. I left the centre and end stitches alone, replacing the two intermediary stitches on each side with one. However after I did the first side I had the idea of adding a tight loop in the centre for a fire starter, so I ended up with this:

    [​IMG]

    It's got rather more of my blood on it than I would have liked, and I plan to go over my stitching again when my stronger thread arrives, but the result works for now:

    [​IMG]

    Now to add it to the Remora. First, I wanted to reinforce the bottom of the compartment, so that any long tools wouldn't just wear a hole through it:

    [​IMG]

    I had an offcut of a velcro hook field that I'd removed from another pouch a while back, and as I was only planning to use adhesive velcro loop tape to attach the panel anyway I figured I'd just use a bit more to attach the offcut:

    [​IMG]

    Then it was just a case of applying the velcro tape to the back of the panel and sticking it to the pocket:

    [​IMG]

    I'm really happy with the result - it makes great use of that space, and everything is organised without being cramped. I can retrieve any item with one hand, whcih is obviously essential for its intended use.

    The more I play with this bag the more I think it's going to be a game-changer for me!
     
    Last edited by Brewer, Feb 28, 2019
    #9 Brewer, Feb 28, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  10. GoBliNuke

    GoBliNuke Loaded Pockets

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    Sort of offtopic, but. I've always thought that slings, especially such small ones, are over-loved in their default configuration. Now, after your topic, I see the real chance to give them a shot.
     
  11. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks Goblinuke, I totally agree - it seems to me if you are going to the trouble of carrying a shoulder bag of some sort, you may as well carry one that's large enough to hold incidentals like documents or a snack or a bottle of water or a light item of clothing - the kind of things you end up with in your hands from time to time.

    I've found the Mongo to be a great EDC bag for this reason, yet it seems to be considered the absurdly large freak of the family. It's far from perfect - it could use better organisation for things like multitools and phone chargers, and a proper grab handle, but its size at least makes sense to me.
     
    GoBliNuke likes this.
  12. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Well things are heating up! I got a chance to take it for a walk, and a couple of minor things presented themselves.

    First, the metal clip can be a bit tricky to add and remove from the belt. Right from the start I kinda wanted a clip with a spring lever but I couldn't find one and ordered the simple steel clip. Well after some concerted googling I found a couple of options, holstersmith.com has a couple, but it seems there is also a pretty robust market in replacement clips for 2-way radios. Motorola clips (which I was familiar with) attach with a special moulding, but it turns out Kenwood ones attach with 2 screws, which should make them easy to adapt to other applications. The most common appears to be the KBH-10 that looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    So I have a couple of those on the way, as well as a couple of holstersmiths (assuming my new freight forwarding service doesn't want an arm and a leg) so we'll see what we get to play with. In the meantime the plain steel clip will do the job.

    The next issue is about the weight of the bag on the belt. Don't get me wrong, with the belt adjusted well it isn't uncomfortable at all, and I could happily work an incident like that, no worries at all. But on a good hike, things change, the thing bounces with good strong strides and every time it bounces it tugs on the belt a little bit.

    The leg strap as initally designed helped a bit, but the bag still had a tendency to bounce a bit as it would 'gape' at the natural hinge where the body of the bag joins the suspension part. I've exaggerated it here for effect:

    [​IMG]

    So I made a quick change - I attached the strap to the top rings instead, like this:

    [​IMG]

    The difference was profound! It brought the weight of the bag in tighter to the body, while still letting my legs move freely. Much better. But I still wanted to redistribute some of the load and make the thing even more comfortable for an extended period, and it wasn't hard to do - I just added a LONG shoulder strap across the body and down to the same attachment points, like this:

    [​IMG]

    Honestly, it is incredible. It is really easy to control how much of the weight to transfer off the belt and onto the shoulder, with a quick adjustment of the body strap. I soon found a happy medium where the 2kg (4lb) bag just about disappeared.

    What's more, by wearing the strap UNDER my jacket I still have full flexibility in terms of opening or removing the jacket without having to adjust the bag at all. In fact, I honestly can't imagine a more comfortable way to carry this kind of weight, even outside of emergency work - I'm not a fan of small backpacks for day loads, they make my back sweat and restrict movement and they are a pain to access, but this feels awesome and everything is right there at my fingertips!

    This is DEFINITELY my new favourite thing...
     
    Last edited by Brewer, Mar 2, 2019
    #12 Brewer, Mar 2, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  13. Ytailhtr

    Ytailhtr Loaded Pockets

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    I, too, have been contemplating this exact idea. And as I am a fan of paddle style holsters for my CCW, I'm thinking of using a paddle from one of my many holsters. They're wide, disperse weight, and go on and hold securely, yet can be removed easily.
    Really glad you started this thread Brewer...and I'm pretty sure my brother has a Maxpedition Remora for me to check out..

    ...timing for me finding this thread was perfect!....THANKS