Letter Re: Seeking Advice on Discreet Carry Money Belts

Hi James,
When I traveled in Europe, I found the inside-the-waist, in-front-of-your-crotch travel pouches sold by REI and the like to be very useful for passport, ID, etc., although they do get a bit hot and whenever they get out of position, it’s hard to avoid the urge to mark yourself by adjusting them. Trying to do so in public can also get you some very strange looks. Because of all this I’ve refrained from wearing them when at home in the States, but I’m missing the comforting feeling of having extra cash and essential documents discreetly hidden. I’m imagining a money belt would be more comfortable.

You mentioned in an old post that you always wear a discreet money belt when you travel. Do you recommend a specific brand? Dress money belts are relatively easy to find, but casual/Western money belts I haven’t seen. I’m also having difficulty locating a money belt, either dress or casual, that is big/stiff enough to serve as a pistol belt for concealed or open carry.
Best Regards, – David in Pleasanton, California
JWR Replies: The money belt that I’ve worn off and on for the past 15+ years was made by Hamley & Company of Pendleton, Oregon. (They are old-time holster and saddle maker, established in 1883.) It is a tooled western belt that was special-ordered with the “money belt option”. The belt was fairly expensive, so I’ve deemed it to be a “weight control belt”–meaning that I don’t dare gain any weight and outgrow it!