It would be fair to say that most of us visit the usual high street retailers such as Millets, Blacks, Regatta for our outdoor gear and clothing. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all....many of the UK’s outdoor shops are of a high standard and provide great gear. This week I purchased several camping accessories including an excellent-looking water filtration/storage apparatus. Sometimes, though, alternatives to the traditional high-street shops can be worth looking into.
Military surplus gear is provided by specialist stockists, mostly based online. Although certain elements of the market are not necessarily what walkers or hikers would be interested in; there is a strong crossover and you can get impressive deals on useful, quality items.
Firstly, as military surplus clothing was originally intended to be used in extreme weather and tough outdoors locations; the durability and quality can transfer over to hiking and walking situations. Base layers and jackets in particular should do a good job of keeping you warm and comfortable when you’re out on the peaks or trails. Military wear tends to be designed to last, as well, unlike the cheaper mass-produced outdoor clothing that some stores often stock. Military clothing outer layers are generally developed to be highly waterproof.
Something we can sometimes overlook is the protection of our hands. The clothes covering our upper and lower bodies are obviously of primary importance but keeping your extremities well-covered and protected is hugely important if you are scrambling up any scree slopes or needing to haul yourself over any obstacles. The tactical gloves from ex-army ranges tend to help with this rather well; designed to protect from impacts, sharp edges, and debris they stand up well to general outdoor conditions experienced by walkers.
The army routinely have to cover large distances by ‘yomping’ across the countryside in exercises and drills, so it is reasonable to assume that they need good quality footwear to stand up to the long distances and heavy use. Surplus gear can serve well for hikers and walkers in this regard. The boots you buy may not be particularly stylish but they’ll certainly last a fair time even if you subject them to tough conditions and terrain.
Finally, the cost aspect of surplus clothing can be attractive. It is often cheaper than its equivalent counterparts simply on account of it being lsurplus equipment. Given that high-quality outdoors clothing can be costly a lower-cost option may be preferred.
As mentioned previously, there are a number of retailers where you can get military surplus clothing. Whichever you go with, getting the right combination of specialist and outdoor gear could be a good way to get what you need.
Article credited to Michael Vosen - Blog “Where to Walk’ http://where2walk.co.uk/gear-review/giving-consideration-to-army-surplus-clothes/