Carry Homestead Gear With a Surplus Suspender Tool-Belt

If you have too few hands to carry homestead gear, an army surplus suspender tool-belt army may solve your problem, including diagram and conversion instructions.

| September/October 1982

Got too few hands to carry homestead gear? Let the U.S. Army solve your problem by creating an army surplus suspender tool-belt. 

When my mate Gayle and I moved our family out to our Oregon homestead, we discovered that some of the fences on the property hadn't been tended for more than ten years , so the underbrush along those borders had grown completely out of control. Well, I knew that walking the fenceline to make repairs (it's a two-mile hike around the perimeter!) would be tough going, and that — since I'd be clearing brush and mending boundaries — I'd need a variety of tools to get the job done. But I didn't know how to manage this task without having to run back to the house every time I wanted a different implement.

"What I need," I decided, "is something that will let me carry everything the job requires, yet leave my hands free to actually do the work." After cogitating awhile, I realized that soldiers in the field face exactly the same problem . . . and that revelation led me to my local army surplus store where — sure enough — I discovered the perfect solution.


The apparatus I found at the shop is known among military types as "LBE" (load-bearing equipment) or "web gear" . . . and its basic components are a pistol belt, from which you can hang a variety of tools and carrying pouches, and a pair of heavy-duty suspenders to help hold the whole assortment up.

The outfit distributes the weight of the attached paraphernalia (it's supported at my waist and both shoulders) and moves easily with me . . . so wearing it for hours on end isn't uncomfortable or tiring. And because both my hands are left free, I can use them to lug any heavy major tools (such as an axe, a sledgehammer, or a chain saw) that I might need on a given day. What's more, my fence-mending belt system — including canteen, machete, and folding shovel — cost me about $35!

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