Although webbing sets are designed to be as comfortable as possible, frequently users complain that they cut into their flesh, rub against bones and are generally unpleasant to wear after a day or two of continual use. This becomes especially the case for soldiers of unusual builds, with the very skinny and the more rotund suffering more than the man with an average shaped body. To help alleviate this a little, the army issued a protective hip pad with its PLCE set that offered extra cushioning around the belt where the webbing was most likely to rub. This pad is made of DPM camouflaged fabric and has both a straight and a contoured side to fit the wearer’s body:In this case the fabric is quite badly faded, but it would originally have been the same vibrant greens and browns as the other pieces of PLCE we have covered on the blog over the years. The pad attached to the belt through a series of nylon tapes, secured with plastic Fastex clips:The side of the pad that rests against the body is padded and has a perforated fabric to help keep the wearer cool:Sadly the stores label in this example has been cut out but it is clear where it once sat. The stores catalogue itself indicates the NSN number for this piece and its unit price:Hip pads were very popular with soldiers, one notes:
Pretty much every infanteer I know uses one. I remember one CSM of my acquaintance that thought they were effectively an admission of homosexual communism, then we did a few days in the field with him actually doing stuff (!) and lo, a CSM who has suddenly changed his mind…!!
They were not always easily available through the stores system and many men resorted to commercial versions. Another soldier who did manage to get one of these issue examples commented:
The issue one is actually quite good, the only gripe I have is the padding under the ammo pouches could be wider and a bit longer
To use the pads soldiers were recommended to fit the pad to the belt first, then add their pouches form the centre working outwards and finally to attach the yoke to the set.