58 Pattern Kidney Pouches

The 58 pattern webbing set replaced the small pack with a pair of linked rear pouches, that soon became universally known as kidney pouches:imageThe 1965 ‘Instructions for Assembly’ describes the pouches as:

Pouches Rear

This item consists of two pouches, each 8 inches wide and 8 inches deep, joined together at the back by two strapsimage and closed by hooded flaps with quick release straps. imageEach pouch has two one-inch wide straps and key-way fittings, staples and long tongues for attaching the pouch to the belt.imageAttached at right angles to each of these long tongues is a strap with a short tongue, which fits into the top pair of staples at the rear of the pouch to keep the pouch upright.

By 1990 the pouches had been renamed ‘kidney pouches’ in the official documentation and the following instructions were issued to assemble the pouches to the rest of the webset:

  • These are attached to the back of the belt in a central position by the use of the four flap over loops, with metal fasteners. The fasteners have a slot, that fits over a staple and is secured by one of the webbing pins which are already attached to the kidney pouches.
  • The other webbing pin, secures the upper two staples on each of the kidney pouches to the rear yoke straps. This pin must come over the belt before being secured.

The same documentation gave suggested packing contents for the kidney pouches:

Kidney pouches are packed as follows:

The left pouch will take:

  • The large mess tin with two meals form the 24 hour ration pack.
  • The knife, fork and spoon (KFS), wrapped in headover (if not worn)
  • The hexamine, and the hexamine cooker.
  • The contents are to be wrapped in either the camouflage net, a sandbag or a plastic bag.

The right pouch will take:

  • The small mess tin containing washing and shaving kit and foot powder.
  • Polish and boot brush and spare laces
  • Spare socks in a polythene bag.
  • Gloves (if not worn)
  • 30 metre of dark coloured communication cord.
  • The remainder of the 24 hour ration pack
  • The contents to be wrapped in a small towel

Other features to note are the small pockets on the underside of the lids to hold the supporting straps safely when not needed:imageAnd the typical white panel on the rear for the soldier to record his name and number on:imageThe pouches are stamped on the underside of the lid with the NSN number, manufacturer and year of manufacture, in this case 1981:image

Opinions on the kidney pouches varied, with some finding them uncomfortable and modifying their sets to avoid having to use them:

Most of our platoon never used the steak’n’kidney pouches. We used to sew up an array of water-bottle pouches instead. It gave a nice comfortable set that kept together. The smaller pouches were big enough to keep related things together, like first aid kit, rations, weapon cleaning kit etc. and it worked really well. I got a rollbelt and got the tailoress to sew it and the 58 pattern belt together, so I could fasten the pouches on as normal but could tighten/loosen the whole rig quickly.

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