I Was Wrong… This Belt Will Work as a Tourniquet

There’s a commonly thrown around myth that belts can make for a good, improvised tourniquet in the middle of an emergency if it’s all you have.

I understand that this seems like it would work, but close examination of how tourniquets work, human anatomy, and the construction of belts, shows that this isn’t the case.

Almost all belts make for crappy tourniquets, and if you want to know all the reasons why, check out my YouTube video talking about just that.

However, now I’m forced to eat my words after discovering a belt designed to serve this function well.

A few weeks ago, I published an article discussing the pros and cons of the TX2 Tourniquet by RevMedX. If you haven’t read it, I suggest checking that out, so you’ll better understand what I’m talking about here.

After requesting the TX2, I noticed RevMedX had an interesting piece of gear on their website. A belt that also doubles as a tourniquet.

PARABELT Desert Tan
The Parabelt by RevMedX

This is nothing new. Companies have been attempting to create such a product for quite some time. But nothing I’ve seen, so far, does as good a job as the Parabelt that RevMedX produces.

The Parabelt is designed with their innovative ratcheting system that’s used to tighten down the TQ enough to fully occlude a heavily bleeding artery. This ratcheting system is uniquely qualified to make this work, since most TQs utilize a windlass making most designs awkward to use and, wear.

The Parabelt is well constructed to solve these problems and does it better than anyone else.

The belt itself is made of nylon webbing and flexible enough to wrap around a limb. Being flexible means that it won’t make for a very good gunbelt, but that flexibility is key for getting it around a bleeding limb.

The colors are standard tactical black or desert tan, so if you are looking to be the “gray man,” and avoid looking tactical, then this probably won’t do you any favors.

Sizing was perfect after following the directions laid out on the RevMedX website, and I was sent the perfect belt for me.

One of the problems with using a belt as a TQ means that if you do use it to stop bleeding, now you won’t have anything to hold up your pants which might be carrying lots of essential gear and personal items.

PARABELT Black

Belts are an important piece of kit for keeping your equipment on you and if you need to take it off to save a life, now you’re be stuck holding your pants up with one or both hands.

This might not be a big deal, but if you’re in an emergency situation, you might need to run for it. And not having a belt makes this more of a chore.

My overall opinion of the belt is good. I’ve never used it in a real-life scenario, but everything that I see in the Parabelt makes it appear to be a solid, and well-thought-out last-ditch tourniquet.

Mountain Man medical doesn’t currently stock the Parabelt in our online store, so if this is something you’re interested in, you’ll have to go over to the RevMedX site and pick on up there. Cost of the Para Belt is $125.00.

If you would rather purchase a CAT, or SOF-T Wide tourniquet, we sell them on the Mountain Man Medical store.

4 Comments

  1. Brian Monical on November 8, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    To be blunt you’re full of shit on the issue of belt’s make bad tourniquets! I’m a retired military Hospital Corpsman with two combat tours with the Marines and a retired trauma nurse with a total combined 42 years of experience.

    It boils down too how and where it’s applied. By properly applying it it in the correct location, a belt is a very effective method.

    Additionally you can purchase a military surplus tourniquet for about 10.00 or even cheaper use that ugly real tie (not the clip on) someone gave you as a gift. Pre-tie it as if you’re going to wear it, slip over the affected limb, pull it tight, tie it off. Fast, down and dirty, done..life saved.

    • Brian McLaughlin on November 9, 2020 at 10:35 am

      While I can appreciate your bluntness, I disagree. I do not pretend to have the same level of experience that you do, but I’m guessing you’ve been out of the game for a while. As you know, the medical world is constantly changing, and with new information, experiences and data to support research, the ways we used to do things are now considered bad medicine.

      The “military surplus tourniquet for about 10.00” you mentioned are made up entirely of counterfeit Chinese knock-offs of the NAR CAT tourniquets. These are NOT suitable for saving your life or anyone else’s. If you’d like to know more, I’ve made a YouTube video explaining this in more detail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1dIGNSV9Ho&t=106s

      In regards to your comment that belts make good tourniquets, I also disagree with you. Is it possible to save someone’s life with a Belt TQ? Sure, and if I have NO OTHER OPTION, I may give it a go, because why not? My casualty is going to die anyway, I might as well try everything. However, I’d try to construct an improvised TQ first, before attempting to use a belt.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRo3sQoPThA

      But is, “a belt is a very effective method?” No, absolutely not. It may work, given a perfect situation, but a CAT TQ will work in almost all situations of extremity blood loss, and is therefore the much more effective method.

      Here is a video I did on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2g3mOmsgnw&t=2s

      Your comment, while I’m sure was well intentioned and not just a flexing of your vast experience, could sow the seed of doubt in someone not as experienced as you and cost them their own life, or the life of a loved one by thinking they’re adequately prepared for life threatening bleeding by simply wearing a belt.

  2. B.L. Monical on December 3, 2020 at 12:57 am

    I read your response to my feedback and watched “your ” videos. I will reply in order of your responses.
    While I have been retired from professional work for some years I still continually keep my medical training up to current medical standards by attending in person instruction, online education and other forms of continue education that are approved for CMEs just the same as active 1st responders and trauma nurses. So your assumption of me being out of the game for a while is a slight way correct but far more incorrect.

    You make another assumption when you talk about knock offs. I said a military tourniquet not a knock off. But to be fair to you I assumed people would know how to tell the difference between the real thing and a knock off. You make a valid point about knock offs. They can be dangerous but then again I have seen knock offs that performed better than the original. People have to exercise good judgement about the supplies they carry in their first aid kits. What I carry in mine is based on my skillset and experience, while yours is based on your skillset and experience.

    Now as for your comment about belt’s. Your correct that not all belts make good tourniquets but a vast majority do IF the applied correctly. This is the same for each and every piece of medical equipment and or supply item. It must be applied correctly to work correctly. I stand by this statement because I have personally had to use this method on three separate occasions and in all three massive blood loss was stopped and all 3 persons lived. Is it old school, yes it is. Do they work, yes they do from my experience.
    Whether you are apply a T, or a pressure dressing, or sealing a sucking chest wound it must be done correctly to be the most efficient and effective. That can only be accomplished through proper hands on training and continuing education.
    Your last comment was a bullshit cheap shot. Nothing I said could effect anyone’s confidence and it’s certainly not going to cost anyone’s life. I dought that anyone would even attempt a tourniquet if they had no training #1 because they wouldn’t even know how to attempt to apply one. Secondly someone who has had proper first aid training will know how to apply one correctly and it doesn’t require your fancy gadget to get the job done. If you have a person
    dying in front you, your going to use whatever you have at hand coupled with proper first aid training to save the person’s life. Chances are if you have the proper training and you have the proper supplies you will save lives. But the reality is that you just won’t be able to save everyone no matter how good your training ,supplies or how technically correctly you use them.
    You’re the one making statements that could shake someone’s confidence into none action causing a death not me. Does the gadget your selling work? Looks like it does but I have not personally used it or played with or applied it to an actual patient so I can’t say for sure one way or the other. I only said that belts can make good Ts if applied correctly and mentioned other materials that could be used if necessary not that they were the end all be all. One of the things I love most about first aid/emergency medical treatment is that there are several different ways to treat an injured person and as you pointed out new ways are being developed. The fact is the more ways you know how to properly apply in accomplishing the same task the better you can adapt to the changing situation in front of you and it increases your ability to help save that person.
    I mentioned my medical experience not to fleck my experience but to reassure you that the information I was exchanging with you was coming from experience and knowledge, not from someone who had very little training or experience.

    In conclusion it is my strongest recommendation that everyone have at least basic first aid, CPR, and autodefib training. No one should ever attempt any medical care or treatment they have not been properly trained in by a certified agency.

    I apologize if I hurt your feelings with my bluntness it was not intended.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

    • Brian McLaughlin on December 11, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      My feelings were not hurt. I come from a world were being blunt is just part of the job and not to be taken personally.

      My concern is the dissemination of information that might endanger others. The average person might think they are adequately prepared for an emergency with a counterfeit TQ, or by simply wearing a belt, and might forego getting real, life saving gear. This is dangerous in my opinion.

      I regret the stronger wording of my comment and will endeavor, in the future, to be more gentle with how I construct my arguments. However, while I do base my personal gear preferences on my experience and training, I tend to lean more on research and data to support my arguments. That research and data indicates that the gadgets I am selling (tourniquets), work MUCH better and more consistently than either a belt or a counterfeit.

      At this point I think we can agree to disagree. Is it possible to control bleeding with a belt? Yes. But possible and a good idea are 2 very different things. Real TQs are a cheap option, especially when compared to the final cost of your life, which is the point I’m trying to make.

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