Currently we’re using either the black Cam Buckle and the tan double adjust Side Release Buckle on the main vest belts. Keep in mind that buckles are interchangeable if you don’t cut your belt down. Here’s the breakdown on each.
The Cam Buckle operates like the typical airline seat buckle with a flip lever that tightens and releases pressure on the webbing. It requires a 2″ Loop and 2″ Tri-Glide on one side to hold the buckle side in position, and clamps down on the free end strap that threads through the cam. Benefits of this style are 1 1/2 hand micro adjust for heavy loads, and allowing for layer changes without re-adjusting the buckle. Just tighten up to whatever you’re wearing. We like these in the winter when clothing changes regularly, and for heavy loads for micro adjusting to maintain hip loading. Threading the buckle makes them a bit slower to get on and off, and it’s harder to add on holsters to the belt on either side. We sometimes use our 12 ga shell holders as a replacement belt keeper for the 2″ Loop.
Side Release Buckles are great for early season hunting in good weather where clothing doesn’t change much. They are a 2 hand adjust, but once you get it right you won’t do it often. They help speed up getting in and out of the vest, but don’t micro adjust for heavy loads as easily. Since the half the buckle stays on each strap end, they effectively lock on holsters and sheaths between the buckles and the shell bags, so no danger of anything slipping off in the field. If you hunt in good weather and do shorter hunts this is your option.