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Military Surplus: Great for Prepping?

So with all the things that are happening in the world and at home…are you prepared?  FEMA recommends you have at least three months of supplies at all times in case of emergencies. But what if you are on a budget and are looking for supplies to bug out with. Times are tough for every one right now and some may not have a lot of money to invest in high dollar equipment and supplies, so what about Military Surplus Equipment?

The US Military invests a lot time and money into equipping our men and women for combat and missions, so why not pick up some of their used equipment? Here is just a little guide for some older mil-surplus equipment to think about that can be purchased for cheap, yet is still useful today.


Clothing is very important to think about for any bug out situation and every day situations. Military uniforms are designed to be tough and rugged. Uniforms have excellent stitching to withstand the elements and to complete your task at hand. Military BDU’s come in different patterns and colors to fit your surroundings; be it digital woodland camo like for here in North Carolina, to the digital desert camo for you mid-westerns out that way. Also, military BDU’s have multiple pockets on the blouse and large cargo pockets on the pants to carry a lot of equipment. If you are wanting to “blend in” and not wear camo out in public, the US military does have Khaki, OD Green, Blue, and Black uniforms to pick from as well. This might be a better option for the urban preppers out there.

Another item of clothing to think about is a good jacket. The US Military issues the troops really great winter jackets, be it bomber jackets, parkas, wool jackets, sweaters, etc. The M65 Field Jacket is a great jacket that has been around for quite sometime. It offers an outer jacket that has a removable inner liner. The M65 is also offered in different colors and patterns.

Military Boots can be found in some military surplus stores as used and new-old-stock (un-issued). Boots are very important when it comes to bugging out or being on the move. Military boots can be used in different climates (Hot/Cold weather), so having that variety in boots makes it easier for your geographic locations.

Belts and socks are very important as well. Keeping your feet dry and clean will keep you moving. A good belt can be used for many different things. It’s not just for keeping your pants up. It can be used a tourniquet, assist in moving someone, etc. You have to be creative when you are on the move.


The Military has had a lot of gear over the past….lets say 50 years (Vietnam-present). So with that time span, what is some of the important gear that you should be looking at?

One of the first things is a good backpack/rucksack. Having a good backpack is key to long hikes, movement, etc. The Alice Pack has definitely served as an important role in our military’s history. It is large enough to carry pretty much anything and everything you can think of: extra set of clothes, toiletries, mess kit, MRE’s, etc. The Alice Pack can be worn on its on or with a frame. The Alice Pack Frame can be used for extra support and to distribute weight more evenly.

Alice Pack2Alice Pack









            Alice Pack                                                  Alice Pack Frame


Another good Military Surplus item is the pistol belt and harness. The pistol bet can hold many items to include: AR15 Pouches, Canteens, Knife, Compass pouch, First Aid Kits, Butt Pack, etc. Just be mindful if you are using this style of equipment that it takes Alice Clips to attach these said items to the belt, so keep that in mind.

Pistol Belt









Pistol Belt, Y Harness, Canteen, AR15 Pouch


So these items are more from the 1980’s-1990’s. This equipment is starting to become harder and harder to find, but it is still a little cheaper than the MOLLE equipment. But, if you are wanting some MOLLE equipment that is more “modern,” it is available online and at some local Military Surplus Shops. Some of the MOLLE Gear can be un-issued and some can be older/used. A lot of new gear that is on the market is MOLLE ready and it seems that’s the new wave of the future…well until something else comes along to replace it. But something to think about when looking at surplus gear.

Molle Rig









MOLLE Chest Rig

One thing to remember when you see “military surplus” to make sure it truly is Military Surplus and not cheap Chinese knock-offs. Unfortunately, even new products can be made in china, which isn’t a bad thing per-say, just be aware that they may not be up to US Military Standards and Quality.

Honestly, this just scrapes the surface of mil-surplus items. The sky is the limit, but getting a piece at a time will help alleviate some of the cost. With any piece of equipment, just inspect the merchandise to make sure no mold or mildew is present. With mil-surplus there is usually a grade associated with the item: Grade 1- Excellent to New Condition (un-issued), Grade 2- Used but good, Grade 3- Used but Fair Condition. Just be aware of these grades when purchasing items online.

At the end of the day, it is up to you and your needs and what you are trying to accomplish when it comes to mil-surplus. Don’t be afraid of buying used items to include firearms as well. Mil-Surplus rifles and pistols make great alternatives with someone on a budget that is wanting something reliable and that can withstand the test of time.

As always, ya’ll be good and be safe!


Categories: Prepping