Arcade Atlas Belt Review
On top of being slim and TSA-friendly, we find the Arcade Atlas Belt’s tapered A2 buckle comfortable to wear and, thus, great for travel.
- A2 buckle is easy to feed through belt loops
- Metal-free so you can leave it on through airport security
- Stretchiness delivers a good balance of comfort and grip
- Buckle’s thin profile makes it tricky to lock
- The strap bows out awkwardly from the buckle’s female side
- Slowly collects dust and hair over time
2.5 oz (70.9 g)
40 in x 1.5 in (101.6 x 3.8 cm)
standard | Slim width - 1.25 in | Long length - 50 in
Recycled Polyester, Plastic
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A belt is one of the few clothing accessories that doesn’t feel optional. More than just a necktie for your hips, a belt ensures you don’t have to worry about your pants falling off as you’re shimmying down the plane’s cabin. That said, belts also tend to be fiddly, tricky to adjust, and even downright bulky for travel.
Hence why we dig Arcade’s belts so much. Many of them look like the same black strip of fabric, but trust us when we say they’re ideal candidates for hassle-free keep-my-pants-on duties. The secret lies in their simplicity and thin size—two traits that might not be immediately apparent, so let’s dive into the details!
You can break most belts down into two basic parts: the strap that goes around you and the buckle that holds it all together. The Atlas is no different, with a polyester strap and a plastic buckle. The former is REPREVE polyester, which is 85% post-consumer recycled, making it a bit kinder to the environment than its made-from-scratch counterparts. Meanwhile, the latter’s plastic construction makes the Atlas a TSA-friendly belt; in other words, you shouldn’t have to take it off when going through security (though your mileage may vary depending on your officer, and you should always remove it without arguing if asked).
However, the key characteristic of the REPREVE polyester is its stretchiness. Those coming from a leather belt (or any non-stretchy belt, really) might find this strange and counterintuitive, but it does have its merits. For one, it makes it easier to move around while still holding up your pants. Arguably more important, however, is that it’s just more forgiving once you’re sitting down and relaxing. We do a lot of sitting down because of flights and other transit methods, so that’s a huge plus for us.
When you compare the Atlas to another Arcade belt we’ve used a lot, the Ranger, you can see they’ve cleaned up the looks. The differences are mostly aesthetic, though, as the quality is more or less the same. The Atlas features a straight-line pattern with slight piping along the edges. However, certain elements, like a more subtly embossed logo and a small loop, make it more low-key than the Ranger, and we like the added versatility and overall sleeker look. The Atlas also seems to be less of a pet hair magnet, though only time will tell if that will hold true, given that we’ve had the Ranger for longer.
The star of the show, however, is the Atlas’ buckle, which features small improvements that make it a better belt than the already-good Ranger. The Atlas sports what Arcade calls an A2 buckle. The male side being the shape of an arrow, this buckle is easier to feed through belt loops and into the female side. That said, it’s still a thin buckle like the Ranger, making it difficult to lock both sides together.
We still appreciate Arcade’s efforts to make the buckle easier to use, though. Check out the loop; it’s smaller than the one on the Ranger, presumably because that makes it easier to feed the strap through. In other words, there’s a genuine attempt at making usability ever-so-slightly easier, and that’s worth commending.
Length adjustment is done simply by pulling the slack further in, which is threaded through the female side of the buckle. It is then held in place by the aforementioned loop, and the fact that it sits behind the rest of the belt makes for a clean, dangle-free look. However, we do find it strange that the entire strap protrudes, curving outward from the female-side buckle. This is more of an aesthetic issue on our end, though the strap lays flat once you have the belt on and pulled taut, which is what matters most.
- The new buckle feels more straightforward to use—we’ll test this rigorously
- It’s nice to see REPREVE being used again here from a sustainability perspective
- We’re curious if the new model is as durable as the old one
- No issues with the materials stretching out or fraying
- It collects dust and hair, but not a disturbing amount
- The new belt buckle is easier to use