Before any equipment goes into production for the military it is subject to extensive trials and following feedback the items are modified before going into full scale production. These trials items are obviously far rarer than issue items as they were produced in small numbers and subject o plenty of wear and tear in the process of testing. I have very little trials webbing in my collection, but I was sorting through last week and noticed that one of my 58 pattern poncho rolls was different to the others. After enquiries it turns out that this poncho roll is part of the trials equipment:The design is very similar to the final product, having an external pocket for the pick head:However the quick release straps are secured with press studs, a feature that was to be dropped on the final design:The difference can be seen in this comparison of the trials pattern (lower) with a standard production model (upper):The poncho roll is dated 1957:This indicates it was part of the ‘Number 2 Experimental Set’ manufactured by MECo and issued in limited numbers. There were three different sets used on trials, of which the No2 set is the easiest to find today. This example however survived to see use alongside the similar 58 pattern equipment, as witnessed by the soldier’s name written in black marker on the webbing:The snap fasteners seem to have been rejected as being overly complicated, making it harder to undo the roll quickly and adding to the expense of the design. These snap fasteners were used on all the experimental webbing and are an easy way to identify the components. Sadly my poncho roll has suffered a hard life and the snap fasteners have been removed from the ends and back of the roll, but this is a scarce piece of webbing that I didn’t know I had so I shouldn’t complain too much!