Available from: https://www.facebook.com/Surplusfreak/
Although the days of running around with two pouches attached to your yoke, like the rocket man of yore, may be over, the humble side pouch continues to be a staple of the soldier’s life.
Although science has not been actually able to prove this, there is a general belief that side pouches are actually infinite in size, as you can always manage to cram another pair of socks or another 24-hour ration bag in there somehow.
The side pouches Surplus Freak has produced are, if anything, even roomier than the issue item. Stitched out of MTP-compatible EREBIS Cordura and MTP webbing, they follow the basic design of the issued pouch, but with thoughtfully added extra strapping/lashing points. There is also a Velcro-closure sleeve behind the main body which allows for the insertion of hydration bladders, main meal sachets and other similar items.
The pouches are compatible with the PLCE zipper system, which means they’ll also work on the appropriate Karrimor SF products (but not on Berghaus).
Surplus Freak produced two versions for us to review, a standard Cordura option and a mesh one which would be great for a temperate/hot environment.
I had a chance to test both of these on a course, although since it was winter in Brecon the mesh one got a few less runouts than the Cordura one, as it simply wouldn’t have been appropriate for the environment I was living in.
However, the stitching is top notch and the pouches themselves absolutely bombproof – the Cordura side pouch survived around eight weeks of arduous field conditions and getting thrown and dragged off countless TCVs and looks as good as new. It is currently with me in the Falklands as we speak and still going strong.
The Mesh one is off to Kenya with me in the New Year for a proper thrashing.
All in all, Jim has produced a very high-quality item and one that can certainly replace your issued side pouch and more, if you’re looking for a custom item.
My one suggestion, to set it still further above from the issue tissue, would be to replace the standard zippered opening with a baffle, drawstring and male/female clip. This would allow the pouch to be opened and closed more quickly and would be less likely to break and easier to field repair than a zipper. It would also allow the pouches to be cinched smaller if they weren’t completely full, preventing items from jostling around inside.
Update: Surplus Freak inform us that they have taken on these suggestions and have other modifications available to discuss when ordering.
Cost – £££: £60 per pair + £5 postage
Value for Money 1-5: 4
Ease of Use: 5 Totally compatible with issued kit
Allyness 1-5: 2, they are side pouches after all…
Construction 1-5: 5 bomb proof. Taken everything I’ve thrown at them so far!
This Kit Pest Review was written by our resident Italian Cave Troll, Tommasso Lagana. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then leave a comment!