I’m not a fan of having equipment on my belt line. It impedes movement, gets in the way during awkward shooting positions or when getting into observation spots. As a SERE instructor for the military I have quite a bit of minimal gear that I need to carry in order to fulfill my job effectively. Over the past couple years I’ve modified the way that I carry this gear through trial and error. Most of my time in the field is spent doing either hard work (felling trees, chopping wood) or doing some type of squad level movements in simulated non-permissive environments. What I’ve found that works best for me is wearing a light well-constructed chest rig to carry most of my essential need-to-get-to equipment and the rest goes in my field ruck.
What I like most about using a chest rig is that I can easily drop my ruck at a cache point and move to an objective and be confident that I have the necessary gear on me to survive or be able to complete an objective. My chest rig loadout is centered almost entirely around a combat evasion and survival model and in a modified loadout for light recce activities.
There are many wonderful chest rigs out on the market today and I’ve tried most of them and or I’ve seen fellow instructors use them. For the past 6 months I’ve been using the mayflower gen IV chest rig. I’ve tried split front chest rigs but I’ve found that much of the valuable real estate up front is taken up and I have to shift my equipment to the side where it will interfere with my ruck straps. I’ve always been a fan of mayflower rigs but that isn’t to say that there aren’t other chest rigs out there what will suit you just fine. In general I’d advise to stay with a non-front-split chest rig, which is just my humble opinion based on my experiences.