If you’ve ever wanted a Stealth Belt for sports and other activities where impact to your stoma may be a concern, the Hybrid Stealth Belt might just be what you’re looking for!
In this review, I’ll be looking at the features of the Hybrid Stealth Belt, as well as how it compares to other support bands.
I’m grateful to Stealth Belt Inc. for sending me a sample belt to use for this review.
About the Hybrid Stealth Belt
The Hybrid Stealth Belt is a unique product that’s part of the support belt lineup being made by the company Stealth Belt Inc. This belt, like other belts made by Stealth Belt Inc., is made in the USA.
As with other Stealth Belts, the Hybrid Stealth Belt is intended to support an ostomy bad that are positioned horizontally. It shares similar features to other Stealth Belt products, but there are some very distinct differences that I’ll be looking at in this review.
The belt itself is made of both an 80/20 Nylon/Lycra blend and neoprene (which is why it’s called the Hybrid Stealth Belt). The neoprene runs across the face of the belt and it offers added protection and stability for the wearer. The ends of the band have Velcro fasteners on it, along with a double-closure flap to help secure the belt in place.
The ends of the band have Velcro fasteners on it, along with a double-closure flap to help secure the belt in place. This closure system is fully adjustable and pretty much guarantees that the belt will stay on you without sliding or coming undone.
Unlike some support belts, which offer very little in the way of customization, Stealth Belt allows you to specify quite a few things when ordering this belt.
Currently, you’re able to select the following:
- Band length.
- Flange size.
- Whether you have a left or right sided stoma.
- Color options.
For those color options, you do get a choice of the following (color on the left is the band and the color on the right is the neoprene portion):
- Black-Blue (this is the one I’m using in this review)
It’s important to make sure that you measure your flange correctly or else it may not fit right when putting the belt on. Stealth Belt Inc. does have a nice guide on their site to help with those measurements.
Rather than the zipper being on the bottom of the belt, which is a very common place for it to be in similar products, the Hybrid Stealth Belt has a zipper going across the front. It’s debatable whether this is the best spot for it, but it does work fine.
Using the Hybrid Stealth Belt
I find that putting on the Hybrid Stealth Belt takes a few seconds longer than putting on the Stealth Belt Pro, but both take less than 15 seconds to put on at any given time.
The steps I use are as follows and I have a demo of how I do it in my video review:
Putting on the Hybrid Stealth Belt
- The first thing I do is get my ostomy bag sideways with my outlet pointing to my right side.
- I then place the Hybrid Stealth Belt over my waist with the pouch enclosure hole over my appliance.
- I fasten the Velcro ends but keep it loose so that I don’t have to hold the belt up.
- After that, I feed the bottom of my ostomy bag into the pouch enclosure through the hole in the back of the belt. It helps to keep the front zipper of the belt open so I can use my other hand to pull the bag through.
- If I’m wearing a Hollister appliance, then I make sure that the floating flange is on the inside of the pouch enclosure and that the fabric around the hole of the belt is underneath it.
- With the Hybrid Stealth Belt, I make sure to flatten the top half of my bag and then make sure the bottom half is smooth.
- To make sure the bag is completely flat, I gently tug the bottom of my bag’s outlet towards the side of the belt.
- After my bag is in the pouch enclosure, I zip it up.
- The last step is to adjust the tightness of the belt until it’s comfortable around my waist.
Emptying the Hybrid Stealth Belt
- Sit/Squat/Kneel over a toilet.
- Unzip the middle of the Hybrid Stealth Belt and pull the outlet of the bag out. If your appliance rotates, you can easily point the bottom of the bag down towards the toilet. HERE is a trick I use for difficult to rotate 2pc systems.
- Empty and clean the bag as you normally would.
- Return the bag to the pouch enclosure, making sure it’s flat.
- Zip the middle up.
You don’t have to take off the belt to empty it, which is nice (and common for this type of belt).
Removing the Stealth Belt Pro
- Unfasten the Velcro ends.
- Gently remove the belt while holding the ostomy bag (especially if it’s a 2-piece).
If you’re using this belt for sports or other activities where you’ll be sweating a lot, you will want to wash it often. I hand wash my belt cold water using a mild laundry detergent.
To dry it quickly, I’ll place the belt flat on a large towel and roll it, but I’ve also hung it to dry many times without trouble – it just takes a bit longer.
Being a fan of Stealth Belt products, I was excited to use the Hybrid belt.
While this belt really isn’t an “everyday wear” product, like the Stealth Belt Pro, I did wear it all day for several months to see how it fit into my daily routine.
As far as comfort is concerned, I will say that it’s a comfortable belt, but not as comfortable as belts made for all-day wear. That’s because the added neoprene does give it a bit of stiffness at the front of the belt that some may not like the feeling of 24 hours a day. This added stiffness from the neoprene also has a tendency to create “pancaking” more than other support bands do.
When wearing this belt, I find that it offers great support for my appliance, even as it fills up (which can help to prevent leaks), and it also expands to accommodate ballooning. If I do have ballooning, I can easily “burp” my two-piece Hollister New Image appliance from the back of the belt without needing to take it off! How’s that for convenience?!
Emptying my ostomy bag through the front zipper opening of the Hybrid Stealth Belt is fairly easy, but I prefer to have the zipper on the bottom. This isn’t a huge issue if you’re wearing the belt during physical activities, but some people may find it more cumbersome.
Obviously, because this specific belt is geared towards extreme activities and sports, so I also wanted to see how it performed when I was in a high-activity situation.
With activities like exercise, running, bending, etc. the Hybrid Stealth Belt performed wonderfully. I wore it during the time I spent in my backyard (two months!) tearing down an old shed and fence, hauling awkward items to the disposal bin and handling objects that would frequently put my stoma at risk of being hit. It was a huge asset to me, and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing any other support belt for these tasks.
The one thing I haven’t been able to try this belt with is water sports, and that’s because I don’t do water sports. Stealth Belt does offer another product called the Neoprene Extreme Belt, which they market more towards watch activities, but the Hybrid should also work just as well.
Perhaps the one thing that makes this belt a challenge to wear is the heat it can produce when you’re active. I noticed more sweat under this belt than any others that I’ve worn, and it’s most likely due to the fact that the neoprene layer isn’t going to offer the same breathability as the rest of the belt.
One trick I use often to help with sweat behind the belt is to sprinkle a light dusting of baby powder over my skin before securing this belt.
While I’ve used Stealth Belts with both two-piece and one-piece systems, I would highly recommend using a two-piece that has a mechanical coupling with this Hybrid Stealth Belt.
The reason for this is because the hard plastic coupling of a two-piece offers some protection to your stoma already, especially if your stoma protruded. The two-piece coupling and neoprene face of this belt work together to create a better stoma guard than the belt on its own.
At the time of this writing (Sept 2017), the Hybrid Stealth Belt sells for US$150. Stealth Belt claims that many insurance providers will be able to reimburse you for the cost of the belt, and they offer suggestions on how to go about doing it HERE. I would not rely on being reimbursed, so plan to pay out of pocket for this belt.
The most unfortunate thing about this belt would be how long it takes to get. Stealth Belt says to allows up to eight weeks for them to make the belt, and depending on where you live, you can probably add another week or two for shipping. This could be inconvenient if you need to buy a belt in short notice.
Stealth Belt often has promotions for their products, so you may want to keep an eye out for them if you aren’t in a rush to purchase a new belt.
The Hybrid Stealth Belt does a great job at offering support and a basic level of protection from impact. It’s something I wear often when I know I’ll need to move around a lot or if there’s a risk of my stoma being hit. It’s not an alternative to hard stoma guards in certain situations, but it does the job in most cases.
If you plan to wear this style of belt all day, you may want to check out the Stealth Belt Pro instead, but if you play sports then the Hybrid Stealth Belt is the one to get.