5 Pieces of Military Gear Everyone Should Own
The military spends millions of dollars perfecting the equipment it supplies to its troops. This stuff is tried and true and keeps our fighting men and women going when the going gets tough, and then some. So, why don’t we take advantage of it? These items are just a Google search away, and can also be found at your local military surplus store. With the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan coming to a close, the market is sure to be flooded with all kinds of goodies for the outdoorsman/woman. Be sure to pick these things up for the next time you feel the need to venture out into the unknown.
- 550 Cord
As always, this stuff is a survival/project/quick fix/ anything-you-need-it-for main stay. It will find uses for itself! Originally used by the military as parachute cord, it is now a staple of any field operation or deployment. With 550 pound test strength and a variety of eye-catching colors, it is good for pretty much everything. Personally, I wouldn’t even go near the woods without at least 25 feet of this stuff crammed into a pocket.
- Poncho Liner
Affectionately known as a “woobie” by most soldiers, the poncho liner is the epitome of lightweight sleeping gear. Others might call this just a blanket, but I assure you, it is much more than that. Roll it up and make a pillow. Throw it over you for quick camo. Combine it with a poncho for an improvised shelter. Add a zipper and create a warm weather sleeping bag. Add a bivy sack to make it waterproof. Add it to your hurricane/blizzard/inclement weather survival kit just to be on the safe side. Point blank, this thing is awesome, and for around $25 at any army surplus store, you should have bought one years ago.
- Gore-tex Jacket
The days of this jacket’s military service have come and gone, which is bad for the troops, but good for you. The military, in its infinite wisdom, has replaced this diamond in the rough with a more lightweight, and in my opinion, cheaper quality rain suit, which is part of the Extreme Cold Weather System (ECWS). The ECWS is another bit of gear most outdoorsmen in the northern Midwest should invest in, but I digress. This jacket is rough, tough, waterproof, and breathable. What more could you ask for?
- Ammo Cans
While we’re talking about rough, tough, and waterproof, let’s talk about ammo cans. The outdoor industry seems to be obsessed with waterproof boxes these days, with Pelican and Otterbox taking the cake for the most part. You know what else the outdoor industry is obsessed with? Taking your money. I have no doubt that Pelican and Otterbox will keep my stuff dry along while getting it safe and sound to my destination. I have a couple myself and I’m very satisfied, but I would only spend that kind of cash to protect high-dollar electronics and firearms. But what about the rest of your stuff, like ammo, food, spare parts, miscellaneous junk, or just stuff you want to keep out of reach of the kids? Ammo cans come in all shapes and sizes, and are made of highly durable metal or plastic, and you can find them in varying conditions from corroded and rusty to brand-new for as little as $5. They are stackable and even lockable, with an inexpensive kit found online. This is something your grandkids’ grandkids will be able to pass down. Yeah, they’re that good.
Otherwise known as an “Entrenching Tool,” it is still widely issued and virtually unchanged since Vietnam. Folded up, it is about the size of a large novel and weighs around 3 pounds. Unfolded, it can be used as an axe, a shovel, a pickaxe, and even a saw if precision cutting is not important. All around, it is a handy accessory for any situation, from clearing underbrush for a camp site to digging your car out of the snow.
Keep in mind that these five items are only from my perspective. There are literally thousands of items out there, just begging to satisfy your thirst. Need a truck? You can’t beat a M35A2 6×6 for under $5,000. How about a dependable rifle with inexpensive ammo and plenty of accessories? They don’t call the M16 the ‘Man’s Barbie Doll’ for nothing. My point is that this stuff will get your job done quick and easy, and leave cash in your pocket for the next adventure. What are you waiting for? Close that Cabela’s browser and start Googling!