Rebuilding Zetaman: Step Three- The Utility Belt

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Now we’re coming up to my favorite section, how to make a utility belt. This is the part where anyone can get all techy or primitive with what they carry. I like that that you can carry random stuff just in case or just stuff that is cool that you want to try.

First, I think a good utility belt comes with time and experience. When I first started, I just bought a few camera pouches with a few things in them. Over time I’ve tried fanny packs to gun belts. What I use right now is a Grab-it Pack (http://www.grabitpack.com/) with several camera pouches sewn into them. Instead of buying a whole new set, I’ve decided to stay with the one I have right now. It has served me well and there is no need to get rid of it. However, I believe some RLSH out there (like Thanatos and Ragensi) use police duty belts.

http://www.selfdefenseproducts.com/Duty-Gear-p-1-c-511.html is a good site to check out. Pretty much anyone can Google police supplies and see if they offer duty gear. Or another option to do is to Google “10-pouch cartridge belt” and sees if anything like that would suit your needs as well. The Batman Handbook states that utility belts should be crush-proof and contain a locking mechanism that activates a meltdown sequence if tampered with. The latter is unrealistic whereas the former is possible, but you have to consider weight. It might a problem if you are armored.

Let’s take a look at the receipt for Batman’s utility belt:
• Grappling Hook.
• Flexi-Cuffs
• Cellular Phone
• Digital Camera
• Gas Capsules
• Batarangs
• Gas mask
• Taser
• Stun gun
• Acetylene Torch
• Batmobile Wireless Remote Control
• Explosives
• Fingerprint kit
• First-Aid Kit
• Infrared Flashlight/Night vision Goggles
• Laser
• Skeleton Keys
• A single marble
• Bat-Freeze Pill
• Paper and ink
• Assorted contact lenses
• A Giant Batman Ballon
• Belt-Radio Geiger Counter
• A Blank Metal Disc

First off, that is a lot of gear, but Batman is the fictional world’s greatest detective. I will say that there are a lot of these that are attainable and realistic.

Utility belts, for the most part, should suit your particular skills. A utility belt will be one of the most personal things on you, I believe.

Now, let’s go though the Bat-Belt one by one.

Grappling Hooks- Property damage is not cool. You’re not going to be swinging off of rooftops. Trust me.

Flexi-Cuffs- A very inexpensive substitute for handcuffs. Consider that each steel handcuff is around twenty-five bucks. It might be wise to invest in flexi cuffs instead. Or in a pinch, zip ties.

Cellular Phones- This is going to be one of your greatest tools. Today's cellphones are extremely technologically advanced. You can get a mini computer, a phone, a digital recorder, a camera, a GPS, and many other options which depends on what camera you have. I do not recommend using a camera phone as a reliable camera for evidence gathering. I don’t think camera phones have yet the resolution needed, especially for night photography. But a great phone is a wise investment and an invaluable tool.

Digital Camera- A good digital camera is a must. You need one with a flash. The cheap no- flash models will not cut it. You need a good camera to take night pictures, to take big pictures and to have something you can put time stamps on. When you are taking pictures, the time stamp is important. This helps the police gather more evidence with time and dates. If anyone has been in an auto accident, they know that pictures are important to record damage. The same would be for accumulating evidence.

Gas Capsules- I haven’t seen a situation realistically where this would work. This would be more annoying than anything else and too unstable to contain within your belt. Plus, a RLSH will not be leaping away from a situation to run away. It doesn’t work and you’ll look like an idiot for trying.

Batarangs- The only person I know who has something like this is Death’s Head Moth. But he has shrikens that are in the shape of moths… which technically are deadly. It is my opinion that a person who is a crime stopper wouldn't want to accidently kill or maim someone. I don’t recommend throwing boomerangs… unless you have mad skills in doing that sort of thing.

Gas Mask- I don’t know how realistic this is, either. There are situations that may require you to wear some kind of air filter be it fire, riots or anything where the air is polluted with harmful material. But I don’t know what would be portable in a belt.

Taser/Stun Gun- This is only to be used in a last defense. This is not an offensive weapon. If you are considering using one for offense, then stop and review your goals.

Acetylene Torch- Property damage? Reconsider.

Batmobile wireless remote control- It’s not possible to drive your car via remote, but you can get stuff to start your car automatically and/or lock and unlock your car.

Explosives- Please remember that if you are considering carrying around explosives, you are a danger to yourself and others no matter what the situation is.

Fingerprint kit- This is purely for those with actual detective training. If you had copies of fingerprints you can help deliver that evidence to the police.... but I don’t know what the proper procedure is unless you are working on your own without the police.

First-Aid Kit- Good idea. With training, this can be more effective to use.

Infrared Flashlight- A good LCD light should work well. Night Vision goggles are not portable.

Laser- Yeah right, Captain Kirk.

Skeleton Keys- Think about this... Trespassing is against the law.

A single marble- In the Batman Handbook, the writer states that Batman uses this as a diversion tactic to simulate walking down stairs. It might make a good noise distraction.

Bat-Freeze Pills- Ummm… yeah.

Paper and Ink- This is great back-up in case you’re not too fast with any digital recorders you might have. Especially good for license plate numbers and other info you need hard recording of.

Assorted contact lenses- The book states this is needed for disguises. If this was on Batman’s belt when he is dressed as Batman, who is he hiding from? However, contact lenses that changes the colors of your eyes would be great to hide your identity.

A giant Batman Balloon- Great for entertaining kids. Why not? You might see a kid or two, give them a balloon.

Belt-Radio Geiger counter- If you are in an area that you need a Geiger counter, crime might be the least of your worries.

A blank metal disc- In the handbook, it states that Batman has his identity on a disc that can be relieved with chemicals. In real life, it might be a good idea to carry identification along with any medical information. This info is needed if you are rushed to the hospital. Despite what the comic books portray, you don’t walk away from a gunshot. With injuries, you will need to seek medical help. And when you do, you need to have your ID handy.

Let’s take a look at Thanatos’ RLSH utility belt and how it varies based on his goals and skill set.

First, Thanatos used a police duty belt and pouches decorated with skull and crossbones. Pretty awesome. However most of his gear would be something you would find on a security officer or even a police officer.
• Cell phone
• Walkie-Talkie,
• Flashlight
• Multi-tool
• 16 inch extendable baton
• Marbles
• Climbers knife
• Crime Kit (to collect evidence)
• Lighter
• Handcuffs and thumb cuffs
• Caltrops.

The only real variation being the caltrops and marbles.

I have a different direction with mine. There are a few things I’ve considered when putting together my belt. Obviously, my belt is geared more towards first-aid. I’ve also have to reconsider weight because I am wearing armor now.

When I first bought a Grab-it Pack, it was made of very durable materials and sewn very well. Since then the quality has gone down a bit. After two years of hard wear on my belt it has fallen apart. So I have taken buckles and clasp off of it and gone back to my first belt. The claps were made of stronger plastic and the canvas was very durable. I’ve said goodbye to my last belt and started to work on my original belt. I  dumped all my gear in a bag before I was able to sew my utility belt with pouches and clasp. I’ve also removed storage for my baton because of the weight. Belts are subjective to gravity just like everything else.

My current items are:
• First Aid Kit with Meds (sort of a no-no really).
• Emergency arm splint
• Emergency Blanket
• Lighter and mini butane torch
• Multi tool
• Pepper Spray
• CPR Mask
• Air filter
• Light stick
• Zip Ties made into Flexi-Cuffs (It takes five zip ties to make it)
• Stun Gun
• Cutting tool
• Digital Camera
• Cell phone
• 6 lcd blub light

I’ve stored my baton somewhere on my person. Any self defense weapons I carry are for my personal protection only. I do not attack people with it and it is a fail safe for me if my martial arts training fails me. Self defense weaponry is only for self defense and not for offense.

Keep some pockets empty for car keys or wallets or even emergency money. If you do have to hand out cash, keep money separate from your wallet. Never open your wallet when you are on the streets. Hide paper money in different pockets or elsewhere.

Zetaman is a costumed activist located in Portland, Oregon.The views and comments of Zetaman do not reflect on the views of the RLSH community.

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