I bought a belt on Amazon. I liked it so much I bought another three years later. Unfortunately the quality of the product dropped for the second belt. Here’s my long-term review on the Thomas Bates Titan tactical belt after prolonged use of both the original model and its newer cousin.
Hi This is Chris with Laughter On Water. Today I’m talking about product manufacturers and how they sometimes cut corners to make a short term profit at the cost of long-term quality. If you’re new to this channel, I discuss technology, software and internet. If you’re into that kind of thing why not subscribe, hit the bell icon and tell others about this channel? Let’s go.
I bought this Thomas Bates Titan belt in 2014. It’s green on the outside and black on the interior. The buckle is designed so that the belt is not reversible. Because it’s nylon with a plastic buckle, the whole belt is easily washed and quickly dried. It’s seen a lot of heavy work with animals of all stripes. It was my work belt for almost three years. Because it was so durable and was still holding up, I decided I wanted another one three years later in another color. So I ordered what I thought was the same design from the same manufacturer. Let’s look at the specifications and see how they measure up.
I call this a “Tactical” belt because it fits within the modern parlance of para-military personal accessories. It’s the type of belt that would work well if you need a buckle that’s light and won’t trip airport metal detectors, yet is still a durable buckle. Just about every modern leather belt is constructed so that if it gets wet from sweat or rain, the dyes and curing chemicals of the leather-making process are going to stain your pants and shirt wherever the belt contacts them. This belt won’t do that.
Both belts are just 122.5 cm long, (about 4 feet) and 3.5cm wide (about 1 3/8 inches). The older belt is 102 grams total weight. The newer belt is 86 grams total weight. The older belt buckle is 40 grams, and the newer belt buckle is about the same.
The older belt has a decidedly denser weave. The newer belt is considerably lighter as the comparative weights bare out. The older belt buckle likewise feels denser and has a textured, yet smooth finish. The newer belt buckle feels lighter and is also molded with a coarser finish.
The older belt has begun to fray a bit on the edges, but when I bought the second belt two years ago, there were no frays. The belt still looked almost new after three years.
Because the newer belt has a coarser, less dense weave, it has unfortunately led to clear deformation along the belt’s warp and noticeable crumpling along the belt’s weft. Also, the section where I secure the buckle has a worn sheen from where the buckle clasps onto the belt. These wear traits are likely because the less dense weave does not stand up to physical stress the way the old belt does.
Some might say that since the new belt has the lighter weave, it might suit someone who is interested in biking, backpacking or other pursuits where the need for the lightest gear is helpful. I disagree. That extra half ounce or 16 grams lends the older belt a lasting structural integrity and durability that the newer belt simply lacks. The newer belt is wearing out faster than the old belt. It’s not difficult to understand after noticing that almost half of the mass of the new belt is in the buckle. The nylon fabric is flimsy.
This is an unfortunate and disappointing trend in product manufactcuring. When I look closer at the existing Titan belts now available, the belt I bought has been supplanted by one that is made of the same materials as my second belt. Clearly I won’t be buying the olive belt again because it’s not the same belt. I’d consider buying the forest green because the photo still shows the denser weave of the original Titan belt, but if it came to me as the newer less-dense weave, I’d probably return it.
There comes a time when manufacturers should stand up to marketing bean counters and stop trying to cut corners. This second belt has clearly suffered from marketing strategists trying to cut costs to keep prices the same. I would like to invite manufacturers to stop cutting corners. Give your customers the full measure of your cloth and you’ll have more repeat business. I promise.
And you, fellow consumers, whether you’re searching for products at a sticks and bricks store or shopping on line, don’t settle for something crummy. Whether we like it or not, the clothing we wear sets the tone for how others determine that we respect ourselves. If it isn’t a quality product, return it and find something better. Your dollar is your message.
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This is Chris with Laughter On Water. Thanks for watching and I hope you’ll see me in the next video.