Members of the military put themselves in harms way all of the time. That is why they carry so much gear: they need to be prepared at a moments notice to fight and survive with what they are carrying on their back. When the military has a surplus of this gear or it is fazed out it becomes available to civilians for purchase as military surplus gear — perfect for anyone needing good survival gear. I like to think of this surplus gear as Military Surplus Survival Gear.
You might think that you don’t need to be prepared at the same level as our military — you could be right. Some of the gear that soldiers are equipped with is for situations that are beyond the scope of what most civilians prepare for: situations such as biological, chemical and nuclear warfare.
However, soldiers do carry gear that is well suited for use by civilians — gear that it is perfect for surviving natural disasters and other emergencies. The gear that I am talking about keeps them well-prepared for spending extended periods of time away from the comforts of civilization: which is as good a definition as any for ‘survival gear’.
Where Can You Find Military Surplus Survival Gear?
You might be surprised to learn that military surplus gear is readily available online and is even available locally. Online, you will find much of this gear for sale on websites such as Amazon.com and at auction websites like eBay. Locally you can often find military surplus gear in thrift stores, national chains like the National Army Surplus Stores, and even in garage sales..
It should be noted that many military surplus stores sell gear that isn’t really military surplus — right along side of the real military surplus gear. I believe it is best to find the gear that has been made to military specifications, not the gear that is little more than a military gear knock-off. The military standards for their gear is usually much higher than their civilian counterparts and knock-offs.
What Kind of Military Surplus Gear is suitable to use as Survival Gear?
Some of the military surplus gear that is available will be an excellent choice for your survival clothing. For example it is easy to find wet weather ponchos, poncho liners, BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniforms), and field jackets. Other categories include:
- Molle Gear (pronounced MOLLY) such as Molle Assault Packs, and Molle Tactical Assault Vests.
- Alice Packs and LBE Vests (Load-Bearing Equipment).
- First Aid Gear such as fully stocked Medic Bags.
- Shelters like the old dependable Shelter Half and the Bivy Sleeping Bag Cover.
- MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat). Amazon has MREs that are the real deal…not civilian knock-offs.
- Military surplus ammo cans are air, fire, and water proof. The .50 Cal Ammo Boxes are a great size for all kinds of preparedness projects.
- Military surplus water carriers such as the French Aluminum Canteen. These are not only of a higher quality than their American plastic counterparts…they hold more water too!
- Modular Sleep Systems, cold weather gear, etc. This list could go on and on!
If you do a little bit of digging, you will likely find military surplus gear that is perfect for surviving in any type of environment. I have seen surplus gear that is tailored for use in hot desert environments, extreme cold environments, and everything in between. It is very important that you tailor your survival gear and clothing to your local environmental extremes and always have the appropriate gear packed in your bag. Rotate your gear when the seasons change.
As you can see there are lots of different military surplus items that are great choices for use as survival gear. I suggest that you don’t get hung up on just buying the military surplus survival gear from your country. You will find other countries know how to make good quality gear too.