Buy Your Own Kit

#1
Why are so many of the posts we see on ARRSE extolling the virtues of, I'm sure, expensive replacements for issued kit?

In my day we didn't buy our own stuff (OK, ignoring the red beret and wings bought at the local surplus shop on the first day of your first leave simply to impress your mates!) we made do with what we were issued.

Yes, a lot of it was crap (not our SLRs though) but it did the job - for a while in some cases; we had jungle boots that literally fell apart after a month - and, when required, it was all replaced - for free.

I'm not saying that we didn't swap kit (a pair of jungle boots made the US of A and a few hundred rounds of 5.65 could be had for a K-ration jam roly-poly) but buying it? Never.
 
#3
I once bought Dr Scholl insoles for my boots cos the issued ones with the hard nylon around them were crap.
Oh, and one of those chip hat things in the Regtl colours but I binned it when Thunderbirds started on the telly.
 
#4
P'raps because when we had kit checks, everything had to be exactly as listed. Besides, with '58 pattern, if it wasn't issue, it wouldn't fit. Try getting a pair of PT-03s in the side pouches of a large pack.
 
#5
P'raps because when we had kit checks, everything had to be exactly as listed. Besides, with '58 pattern, if it wasn't issue, it wouldn't fit. Try getting a pair of PT-03s in the side pouches of a large pack.
We didn't have flash kit like that! Plimsolls, brown, polished black was what we had. But they don't have '58 pattern large packs...

I'm not advocating a return to the packs and ammo pouches era it's just a comment on spending good beer tokens replacing adequate kit.
 
#8
#9
Yeah cos the large pack was large and the doss bags were waterproof.
One of our Old an Bold Cpl's swore by (not at) his large pack, his reasoning was if you had a bigger space you would automatically fill it with unwanted crap.
That said I had an American Para bergan twas the Dog Plums (At the time). Pongo is spot on mind why waste beer tokens on stuff you get for free?

In a word "Fashion" it's a ******* catwalk out there.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
#10
I must admit to being a bit of a kit tart when in. Norwegian jumper, Norgie shirts (before they were issue), Danner boots, Berghaus 100L bergen, decent trainers rather than them fkin hideous green things to do Regt PT (white daps having gone astray years ago).
 
#11
AFAIK the only regiments issued with Bergans in the '60s were the Bootnecks and THEM.
 
#12
AFAIK the only regiments issued with Bergans in the '60s were the Bootnecks and THEM.
between 82 and the advent of plce combat 95 some of the worst kit was issued while alternatives were out there.
58 pattern was completely outdated 85 combats were useless cbt high shite.
that was one of he reasons behind soldier 95 and plce. the grown ups were embarrsed that in the field there was hardly any uniform
 
#13
between 82 and the advent of plce combat 95 some of the worst kit was issued while alternatives were out there.
58 pattern was completely outdated 85 combats were useless cbt high shite.
that was one of he reasons behind soldier 95 and plce. the grown ups were embarrsed that in the field there was hardly any uniform
Diversity in Uniformity, it's called, so although everyone at a distance is in DPM, closer up you find para/SAS smocks alongside bog standard combat jackets, jungle pants next to temperate, assorted black boots, before you even start noticing extra pockets, inserted zip pockets behind chest pockets, FFD pockets moved around, sewn in creases, KF/OG/jungle DPM/Norwegian shirts, an assortment of fleeces, wooly-pullies, jacket liners, waterproofs and Goretex, and don't dare look at the variations in webbing, pocket or sheath knives, machetes, berets, combat caps, bush hats, wooly hats, headovers etc etc etc.

Each minor different thing was, in the wearer's opinion at least, an improvement on "issue" kit, and eventually most of the above became "issue". Perhaps we should bin all the clothing and equipment design and trial bods and simply let the troops wear what suits them? I guarantee that if something they've bought doesn't work, it'll get binned quickly enough rather than carried about because some fatuous SOP says it should be.
 
#15
Thing is, back 'in the day' we weren't allowed to wear anything but issue kit. Sharp eyed Adjutants and RSMs saw to that. Having buckshee kit was almost as bad as being found deficient. Rules were relaxed slightly on operations - extra water bottles, ammo pouch, spare set of clothing made from parachute material, quick release 'para' belts, locally made goloks, etc.
Wasn't until the mid '70s that soldiers (at least in my Bn) started buying kit, though that was confined to waterproof bags, silva compasses, thermal underwear, and bungee cords.
Is present day British Army clothing and equipment so bad that everyone has to rush off and spend hard earned pay on 'civvy' alternatives?
 
#16
Still amazed at the craphat love affair with buying para smocks. Just take the test and get one for free!
 
#17
Exercise wear/Ops was Norwegian shirt/Helly hansen, Para smock and jungle lightweights (ok they were purloined from the man at Q&M) and a decent pair o'boots. and tailored TOS (Not that issued object not even in camp).
 
#18
When I got out of training and went to my first real posting in Germany I spent half of my first pay packet on a bergan so that I wouldnt have to use the issued 58 large pack.

The bergan was one of the best things I ever bought and lasted me 28 years until Ipassed it on to a mate. (Still in full working order.)

The other half of my first pay packet I spent on a hangover, which I also see as money well spent.
 
#19
It is not that the current issue kit is not good (although some has only recently become good). It is more that the available alternatives are , in perception at least, better. Boots are a case in point. Only very recently have the boots issued for ops become as good as those available for private purchase. Boots routinely issued for wear in barracks/ on exercise are still poor in comparison. Better may mean boots that fit better and are more comfortable for the individual rather than neccesarily being better designed or made. It may mean lighter. You have to remember that, no matter how much priority is given to equipping our soldiers, there are always short-cuts taken due to financial constraints and one size does not fit all. Soldiers spend a lot of time on exercise/ops and any fool can be uncomfortable.
 
#20
What was worse was the kit that the QM's burnt after exercise in kenya, all the jungle lightweights were dosed with petrol and incinerated, prior to that if you were diffy them you were billed. what is the point.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top