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Old 03-29-2014, 10:27 PM
PowderHound162 PowderHound162 is offline
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I've noticed that a lot of people use military surplus or tactical items for their preparedness gear. What are people's reasons for going this route? There are lots of quality camping and emergency products available, and I'm curious to see the different perspectives on this.

Most everything I own is more general camping/backpacking/emergency gear, with the exception of a few items, but we all have our reasons for the decisions we make. I go this route because I am an avid backpacker/camper, and I am already familiar and comfortable with recreation-oriented gear (and I already have it for camping and backpacking). It wouldn't make sense to start replacing what already works for me, so I never really looked into other options.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:31 PM
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There was already a thread on this same topic somewhere, but pretty much the general consensus was that military surplus is cheap and proven in the field.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:32 PM
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Tons of threads on this topic. Generally it falls into two camps. Either because it's cheap, or because they're familiar with it from their military service. I guess there's a minority camp that knows there is good civilian gear out there, but doesn't know how to find it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:39 PM
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Durability.

that's what I go for with most of my gear.

I do research first, and don't get me wrong, I have non military gear in place of some, but when it comes to camping gear like backpacks, or tents. It's much better to have the ruggedness of a military backpack over the thin nylon of a pack your going to pay three hundred or more for.

Some NON military gear I own...
-gerber axe (with saw in the handle)
-I have one kelty backpack. It's good, but I would not trust it like I trust my ILBE.
-Eureka Apex 2xt tent. While the reviews are great, I find the material a bit thin, especially the floor.

If you already do a lot of camping and hiking, then stick with what you know best.
For a lot of us, (at least me), I grew up around army. My whole family was army, and if it was summer, we were camping. I learned off of military gear, so that's my fall back.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:00 PM
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I grew up in the 1970s when camping gear wasn't so great. If you wanted good gear you went MilSurp. Old habits die hard. TP
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:03 PM
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Also some of us prefer to have equipment in earth tone colors vs the bright primary colors found at REI and alike.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:03 PM
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For me it is the gear I spent training and deploying with for almost 20 years, it works I know it inside and out. Why change something that isn't broken?

I have survived some really bad things in really bad conditions using that gear.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:36 PM
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I grew up playing army outside with my old man's MilSurp gear plus as it was stated it is a durable yet affordable option.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:42 PM
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Been said tons and many other threads cover it.

Not everything MIL spec is perfect but it's affordable and with the cost of things now.....why not?
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:23 AM
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I'm used to it from service. Also, sometimes it's easier to grab military gear I know works than it is to research and test civilian gear with the chance it may not measure up to what I already know is good.
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:28 AM
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Mostly use Mil. gear 'cause it's durable... and cheap compared to REI and such..
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:13 AM
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Pretty much what everyone else said, it's fairly cheap, especially at a military surplus store. I wouldn't go so far to call everything that is "military" durable though. 4 years in the army and I've seen a wide assortment of our gear fail at inopportune times
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:58 AM
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Anything that will stay operational with an 18 year old grunt caring for it has to be given its props for durability. The military doesn't get things right all of the time but at least they understand the basic concept of making things as tough and idiot proof as they can. They don't succeed all the time but it is still what they try for.

For newcomers to prepping, durability is a very good start. Even later when you selectively replace that military gear for things that work better for you the milsurp remains useful. An ALICE pack that you replace with something else later for your BOB can easily take on a new role at a vehicle supply bag, portable tool kit, or many other roles, or even become the basis for a secondary BOB you place at your BOL, or as a starter for a family member.

If you are serious about regularly testing and upgrading your gear then you will eventually realize you have a lot of redundancy. Just me remaking my BOB over time has left me with enough gear to make several new packs with modest purchases to round them out. I have several BOBs now. They have been placed at family member homes. Should I not be able to make it home or my home is destroyed I have fallback equipment. They also serve to have my family use should they need to escape or make their way to me.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:30 AM
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Everyone else nailed it already.
-Inexpensive (not cheap )
-Used to it from years in service
-Often have issued gear anyway around the house
-Proven in the field
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:35 AM
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You go to what you know.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:52 AM
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You will pay three to four times more buying equipment from the local sporting goods store, than you will at the local surplus.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:25 AM
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let me make it simple : military stuff is made to endure harsh treatment ( so the military spend the money on bureaucrats and fancy toys) consumer stuff is designed to be broken. ( im not joking engeneers design stuff that it brakes in X years so that the company has a constant revenu)

simple as that : honestly if your a mecanical engeneer (i am not) your better off making your own stuff...
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:51 AM
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Military gear is a two-edged sword re: weight and durability, but the military is also changing to a lighter/faster approach that has brought some good changes in gear over the past decade. Gear has gotten better (and lighter), but also less durable in many cases, because our purchases are based on reissue after a certain period of use. We've adopted several "civilian" technologies in personal gear, like Primaloft clothing and more breathable raingear as standard issue. Multi-cams are expected to last less than 6 months before reissue, for example; they're much better than the old BDUs in a lot of ways, but probably less durable. And that's ok b/c you just get another pair from that long logistics trail we always have.

Most of these threads are based on an assumption that durability will be the only requirement after a disaster, or even the most important one. It's just that - an assumption. It'll be nice to have gear that lasts a long time, but what if my son's life depends on my ability to cover a lot of ground in a day or two for some reason? I'd take my lightweight gear for that trip so I could move faster.

It's good to have options. It's better to understand the requirements driving those options, and then base your gear choices on meeting those requirements rather than some arbitrary criteria. A capabilities-centric approach. Sometimes durability is the driving factor; sometimes it's not. Sometimes military gear will meet the need better, and sometimes civilian gear will. Options.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jeff View Post
It's good to have options. It's better to understand the requirements driving those options, and then base your gear choices on meeting those requirements rather than some arbitrary criteria. A capabilities-centric approach. Sometimes durability is the driving factor; sometimes it's not. Sometimes military gear will meet the need better, and sometimes civilian gear will. Options.
That's the very reason I chose civilian gear. I'm not going to be living out in the field with it for years under the harshest conditions. Weight was more of a concern to me. And you can get some surprisingly durable civvy gear, it's just spendy. Take a look at what outfitters and guides are using. They know their gear and buy stuff that lasts.
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:27 PM
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It's hard to find inexpensive used civilian gear - most people seem to use it until it's used up. The military seems to issue new troops new gear, or otherwise make upgrades, and that puts a lot of surplus stuff on the market.

I like the modular aspect of packs and such (ALICE or MOLLE) and the durability. Though the durability does come at a price: my ILBE is nearly twice the weight of a comparably-sized "hi-tech" civilian pack. Having said that, while the ILBE has roughly the same amount of room INSIDE it's also designed and rated to carry a lot more WEIGHT (double!) than the backpacking packs (ammo and mortar rounds are a lot heavier than clothes and tents.

On the other hand, although used it's in great shape and cost about 25% what a new pack would have cost me at the premium camping speciality store. Same with my ECWCS rain gear - far less expensive than commercial stuff but far far far better in many ways.
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