When I started becoming interested in Survivalisim and Prepping I began making the rounds hitting all the local Army surplus stores. Luckily for me I don’t live very far from the Ft. Campbell Army Base which is surrounded by surplus stores. For those on a budget starting out buying army surplus is a great idea on getting some tough ass gear on the cheap. Even later in your journey of prepping, surplus can still be great additions. Today I’m going to tell you why you should consider buying surplus gear where you can find it and a few tricks on getting the best prices and some of the items I got.
Buying survival gear is by no means cheap. It’s like buying camping gear, becoming a camper with all the newest lightest gear is crazy expensive. Going down the slope to being a gear snob is very easy, buying the fanciest new gear can become addictive. Spending all your savings on the lightest titanium thing-a-ma-bob then bragging about it on the survival forums is great. Except the fact that you’re now broke. I was immediately attracted to surplus gear for the great prices to be had. The prices for surplus gear compared to its civilian counterparts is ridiculously cheap. I bought my combat boots for $11, a fully packed medic kit SAM splint for $20 and to hold all my gear I picked up a large Alice pack for $34 shipped. I wont even call this cheap gear. The price might be cheap but the gear itself is far from being cheap. The value you get with going with surplus is unbeatable.
Built American Tough
Besides great prices on surplus gear the thing I like most it that everything is built tough. I don’t feel bad about abusing any of the surplus gear and do. I have beat all my surplus gear to hell and back and know it’s not even a fraction of the beating it’s built to withstand and most likely has taken. With all the beating I give my gear I’ve never had a single failure. I’ve had my Alice pack loaded to the seams stretching and hiked through thorns and running from bulls that got loose. I’ve drug it, tossed it, dropped it and stuffed it. It’s still as good as the day I got it and it was used then. The military has some pretty high standards and those are plenty good enough for me.
This is the only downside to surplus gear. This stuff weights a bunch. A whole bunch. I love my three-piece military sleep system and it kept me from freezing a few nights in my hammock when I forgot to bring my ridgerest. As much as I do love it weights a ton, it’s pushing 11+ pounds. You will know you are lugging this thing around. You can easily find smaller lighter civilian sleeping bags, but you will pay many many times more for it. That’s the price you pay for surplus gear, It is cheap, tested, tough and reliable but heavy. As long as you go into it knowing you will have to carry heavier weights for less money and more reliability you’ll be fine.
From what I’ve seen most big cities all have an Army surplus store. The chances of finding one increase with proximity to a military base. The closer you get the more there will be. For those of you in Tennessee my hands down favorite is one on Ft.Campbell Blvd run by a Korean family. They will haggle with you to get better prices, they’re prices are already the best I’ve seen anyway. Another thing to check is the thrift stores close to bases. I’ve found uniforms and boots for next to nothing in goodwill’s and thrift stores by the base. Finally if you can not find a psychical store near you there are many online surplus stores to help you. The store I bought my Alice Pack from was Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters for those of you outside the US I’ve found Army surplus UK.
I have and will continue to use surplus gear. I like getting the most bang for my buck and surplus gear is definitely that. If you have an unlimited budget and can drop many thousands on the lightest best civilian gear by all means please do. I am not as fortunate and spend my hard earned money wisely. I’ve not yet regretted a single surplus purchase, which I can not say for some of my civilian buys. If you want high value gear that’s built tough check out the surplus gear.
Do you use surplus gear? Whats you favorite piece of gear? Best deal you’ve got on gear? Let me know in the comments!
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