The Rise and Fall of the Army Surplus Store

Started by echo83, November 06, 2023, 09:31:59 PM

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The Rise and Fall of the Army Surplus Store


Above is a really interesting origin of the "Army Navy Store." Pretty fascinating stuff. 

Below is my personal experience with it. Pretty depressing stuff. 

My son, who is 8, has recently gotten into prepping. (Encouraged in no small part by me, I'll admit.) He and my daughter have "adventure packs," that we take on geocaching and bird watching trips. Each pack is a small Czech shoulder bag with a water bottle, some trail mix, a Swedish folding cup (for hot cocoa, obviously) a rain jacket, a headlamp and some band-aids. We use it all year round, and the highlight is breaking it out for backyard camping during the summer. 

This past weekend, he decided he wanted to upgrade his kit, so we headed out to the local surplus store. He had his heart set on a Yugo mess kit at first, but the only one there had a cracked lid, so he settled on a USGI kit, a P-38 can opener, and a canteen cup. 
He also picked out his first MRE. (Meatballs with marinara sauce. Yeah, he's definitely my kid. :smiley_clap:

He'll get a lesson in how heavy all of that stuff is, but that's part of the process. Better to learn earlier, I think. 

This trip, more than others, I was struck by how little actual surplus gear there is. Tons of airsoft, tons of gas station knives, tons of smartass t-shirts, tons of Propper knock offs, but very little actual surplus gear. There are only 2 branches of this store in my state (a third one closed last year.) To an 8 year old who doesn't remember the "golden days," it wasn't too bad, but to his father, it was depressing. 

Besides Varusteleka, Sportsman's Guide, Major Surplus and Midway, do you guys have any legitimate milsurp sites that you prefer? Please post them up!


I haven't personally used them, but apparently Americana Pipedream is a good site for milsurp stuff.

There's also Liberty Tree Collectors, but they're a bit pricey and mostly cater to the firearms side of milsurp stuff.


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