Army surplus stores can offer the camping enthusiast a great range of clothing and equipment at a fair price.  Despite this, many people choose to go to a mainstream camping store to purchase the equipment that they need.  People either tend to go for the outdoor clothing labels that they recognise or they just do not know what army surplus is and where you can get it. 

What is army surplus?

There are several reasons that can make the military declare certain items surplus to its requirements.  One of the major reasons is the army will often look to update  their equipment when there is a change in technology or manufacturing technique which makes the equipment better. In such a case, and depending on the availability of finance, the military will look to sell off their existing equipment (whether tents, army boots, combat trousers or other clothing items) on the wholesale market.  Military surplus retailers will buy these items in bulk, sift out the best products and sell these to the public.   Now that you know what army surplus is you are probably wondering why you might consider buying it. 

Why should I buy military surplus?

There are various reasons why you should consider buying military supplies.  The first reason is that items bought by the military are selected on the basis that they are high quality and hard wearing. The army takes a lot of trouble over choosing the manufacturers of the items that they will supply their troops with as lives may depend on the quality of the clothing and equipment that they are issued with. For this reason military clothing is made of very tough material that is fabricated for use in testing conditions. A pair of combat trousers for example will often be made of tougher material and are better fabricated than a pair of branded hiking trousers that are double the price. 

Army surplus is a good way for you to obtain very high quality camping equipment at low prices. The prices at army supply store are low as compared to a conventional hiking store. Many army surplus stores sell two man tents and you might be surprised to discover that the top end military tents are made to the same high standards as the leading brands, albeit their price is much lower. 

Another reason for people buying military surplus items for camping is that the camouflage patterns you can get many items of equipment in are ideal for people who like to blend in with the environment that they are camping in –whether that is because they like to observe wildlife, go hunting or just be unobtrusive. 

Admittedly, in the past, surplus stores had a reputation of being filled with baldy worn, low quality items.  However this really has all changed these days and as the military stared selling its modern clothing and equipment wholesale the quality of items in the retail stores has continuously improved. In fact many of the surplus items available to the public are new or unissued items.  .

There are two ways through which one can obtain military supplies. The first route involves visiting a physical army surplus store. In the second method, you can use the internet to compare prices and specifications of comparable products. In either case you can judge the quality of the item you are going to purchase by looking at the grading given to the item to understand whether the item is new used, and if it is used how worn the item is.  This grading system is your way of knowing what kind of quality you are getting for your money when making your purchase. 

When buying directly from a physical army surplus store, you should visit several outlets to compare the prices and quality of the items that you are looking for. You should ensure that you take enough time to evaluate the quality of the item before making the purchase. For items like military boots, you should take time to try them out to ensure that they fit you well. If you are out hiking for many miles at a time then you will need to be sure that your boots fit really well.  Actually trying on a pair of boots in person will also give you the opportunity to compare how comfortable top line military boots are even compared to the most expensive branded hiking boots.  If you are lucky enough to try on a pair of German Para boots then you will know what I mean.  These boots are extremely comfortable to wear but are designed to protect your feet is the worst conditions on earth.  Browsing these online does not do justice to the quality of these items.  Having said that, where the fit of items is less critical, if you are buying trousers for example, making a purchase online can be a wise idea and can save you quite a bit of money. 

If you decide to make your purchases from an online store, you will be relying on the store owner to provide an accurate description of the item and its grade in order to evaluate whether to make your purchase.  You should only consider making purchases from online stores that have clear photos describing the item’s characteristics, price and grade.

If you are a person who loves bushcraft, going camping or is involved in other outdoor sports,army surplus could really serve your needs very well.  Military clothing and equipment is designed to be tough, practical but most of all it is great value – next time you need some camping equipment be sure to stop by an army surplus store. 

Richard Daniels of Army Surplus UK is a keen survivalist and spends most weekends camping and generally using his bushcraft skills to thrive outdoors.  Having spent many years only using branded hiking gear, Richard became a convert to military surplus gear after buying a military tent which surpassed his expectations in terms of robustness and value for money.  Now after many years of only camping and hiking with army surplus gear, Richard always recommends this kit to fellow outdoors enthusiasts.

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