A few years ago, a Navy Seal buddy of mine gave me this London Bridge Trading Company (LBT) Load Bearing Chest Rig to try out. I quickly fell in love with it and have been sporting it ever since, both in desert and jungle environments. I have deployed the rig both slick and with body armor, and it has not disappointed. Like everything in life there are both pros and cons, this chest rig is no different. Keep in mind that while the version being discussed is outdated, you can find new and improved versions on their website.
The following are some of what I have found to be the best features for me on this chest rig.
Dual AN/PRC-148 MBITR pouches (one on each side of the kit) have always given my comms a comfortable and accessible ride. Both pouches are secured with a buckle and are fairly easy to access. Additionally, unlike most MBITR pouches, these ones have an additional miscellaneous pouch sewn on the outside of them to allow for extra storage space.
Directly above the MBITR pouches are some sweet vertical Velcro flaps for securing your body whip antenna.
The rig also has a compartment, in between the mag pouches and your chest, which is sealed with Velcro. This compartment has a universal holster insert for a side arm as well as a sheath for a knife (I’ve often stored a strobe in there as well).
Another great feature is this rig’s many release points (seven) for those horrifying moments when the kit gets caught in a doorway or other unfortunate obstruction.Both upper body straps are held together (upper, center back) by very strong and reliable Velcro that will give before you do if caught on something. Also, there two buckles on each side of the rig that when released, will allow you to slip completely out of the rig.
As for the drawbacks, the rig is not a molle system. This can be a real drawback for those of us whose units keep blowout/IFAK kits in a standard location and in a standard pouch for easy buddy aid. But as I mentioned earlier, London Bridge Trading offers newer models that are molle-based on their site. While I believe LBT made this improvement to newer models, I found that the miscellaneous drop pouches on either side of the rig could have really used some securing buckles instead of only Velcro.
I did have one issue with one of the upper right chest strap’s stitching partially coming undone; however, this was after many years of use including buddy drags. If you have it reinforced with additional stitching, you should never experience what I did. I sewed it up in a pinch with dental floss and haven’t had a problem since.
Finally, if your looking for a kit that will stand by you in the good times and the bad, Give the LBT Load Bearing Chest Rig a good look (Here is the link to their product page). They have several newer models that appear to be built to the same demanding standards. LBT also has an interesting selection of tactical colors to choose from including Muilticam and Mas Grey.
– Boy Scout