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Army or civilian?

Discussion in 'Kit Chatter' started by Squidders, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. Squidders

    Squidders Full Member

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    I have often pondered, what are peoples thoughts on the pros/cons for army surplus equipment or civilian equipment? not the cost side of things because we all know most surplus stuff is cheaper... but the quality of equipment?

    For example, I have a web-tex bergen. I don't actually know what the diferences are between that and the real thing.

    And things like waterproofs, boots, cooking equipment and the like, what's your preference?

    Joe
    _______________
    Confused as usual!
     
  2. TheViking

    TheViking Native

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    Hi...

    I have bought much of my equipment in surplus stores, but also in outdoor stores! :wink: But most of the products in our surplus stores are new and all the products in the outdoor stores are new.

    IMO:
    Surplus: military boots, cheap waterproofs, often smaller things, often swedish army mess kit. The knives are often big, Rambo ones, of no use at all.
    Outdoor stores: often Trangia, bright coloUred ( :nana: ) clothes and bags. Most of them sells a lot of different GTX products. Often smaller knives, but not a very large selection.

    (Found a surplus over here who sells original, new Leatherman Waves with beltpouch for 75,5 £!) :biggthump
     
  3. Viking

    Viking Full Member

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    If you are ex army you probably like surplus becasuse you really know how to use the equipment. Take gary for example he is still using the PLCE sidepockets as a daypack, probably becasue he knows exactly how they work and hasyears of experience in using them.
     
  4. Adi007

    Adi007 New Member

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    I have a mix and choose between civvi or military depending on what I'm doing and where I'm going. Generally I find that military stuff is cheaper, more robust, more fire retardant, has more pockets and is heavier than civvi stuff. Since it's out tax pennies that have paid for the development of it, we may as well take advantage of it.

    One thing that bothers me is this idea that anyone who wears "DPM" is somehow some sort of wannabe ... it used to be that rank and insignia was what mattered, not whatever clothing pattern that is being used. I really couldn't care if people wear sky blue pink or DPM, whatever floats their twig and each to his or her own.
     
  5. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

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    I think it's more to do with the implied association to that type, rather than an automatic membership to the club. We've all met the para-military, wannabe geek and I would think most of us want as far away as quickly as possible. I know I do. It is a shame, as it's a truly useful material (or rather, some truly useful & cheap items sometimes are only available as surplus DPM), but the implied association is enough for me to never, ever wear camo. I dont own a single item in it and very much doubt that I ever will. I do admire those that couldn't care less about the implied association and wear it anyway, I just aint one of em.

    Green is OK, khaki is OK, ...camo - no way!
     
  6. Viking

    Viking Full Member

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    DPM clothes is more like uniform, it shows what army you belong to, some people have to earn the right to use it. I have complete sets of the swedish uniorm and a lot of other equipment that are issued. But I never wear any part of my uniform as an civilian, but any of my other kit I often use. Because to me it´s not only clothes (probably the best pants there is) it´s a lot more than that.

    Then there will always be people who wants to be something their not, so they dress up like GI Joe and think they are really cool, and that is probably why many people is irritated on people using uniforms when being in the outdoors.
     
  7. mr dazzler

    mr dazzler Native

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    I love them flecktarn trousers. They wear and wear and still feel comfy when your grubby and sweaty. I got about 5 or 6 pairs and wear em all the time (I mean, every day). I know what you mean Martyn, (For example, I didn't buy a camo rucksack) ,but the flecktarns are for me just very good trousers. Got a beautiful MOAC wool climbing shirt a few weeks back (£4 SCOPE shop).
     
  8. tenbears10

    tenbears10 Native

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    There are examples of surplus kit which is not only cheap but excellent for the job. There is also a lot of stuff that soldiers throw away as soon as they are allowed and replace with decent stuff.

    Take boots, you can now get Britton assault boots brand new from silvermans for £29.99. They are the current issue british army boot and not bad especially for £30. They are no match for Lowa or Danner boots which soldiers often repalce them with but then they are £150 so you see the difference.

    The problem with some military gear is that the contract goes to the LOWEST bidder and not the one who makes the best quality.

    If you want camoflauge gear for hunting then dpm is a lot less money than Realtree and will do the same job.

    I think you need to get the best of the surplus gear and use outdoor stuff for the rest. It is not just about colour or price but they can be the main factors.

    I've had the same pair of mess tins for 10 years and they must have cost a fiver, compare that to titanium space plates and no contest.
    Bill
     
  9. RAPPLEBY2000

    RAPPLEBY2000 Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    even before i was in the army i was fairly, familiar with the durability of army gear. I WAS ALSO AWARE OF THE DOWN SIDES!

    positives:(compared with the civilian equivalent)
    it is strong, designed to be chucked about, it's a subdued colour(no colour clashes!), it's practical, functional, it is cheap, has potential to last years longer!

    disadvantages:(but not in all cases!)
    wear too much and people will stare!, some surplus is rubbish, the item may have already had it's life, it does tend to be heavier, it does tend to not be as comfy.

    IMO:
    i have used loads of surplus gear, some of which is older than me, but still going strong!
    you do have to pick carefully!
    ok so it's cheap but is it worth the social bother?

    i personally am moving away from overtly military gear, i have no problem with using it but i feel image is a concern if we are to promote bushcraft as a seperate area to survival(ism)!
     
  10. RovingArcher

    RovingArcher Need to contact Admin...

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    I use a combination of civi and military (German, U.S.A. and Swedish).
     
  11. MartiniDave

    MartiniDave Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I like to pick and mix my kit, like Adi, civi and surplus. On my hols I picked up a couple of stainless mugs, similar to the crusader but sized to fit the US style water bottle for £2.95 each! Bargain!

    For clothing I tend to prefer buying new rather than "pre-soiled" if you know what I mean. I have no problem with wearing cammo, but then I've been wearing the stuff for shooting for years.

    Dave
     
  12. Lurch

    Lurch New Member

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    Just like Dave I got DPM for shooting primarily, but after wearing it for shooting I got to like the practicality of the kit. Now I wear it just coz I like it. I don't worry about people looking down at me or whatever - knickers to 'em.
    That said, I wouldn't wear DPM top and strides together unless it was raining and I had my WVP smock on.
     
  13. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    Surplus is cheap, hardwearing and often tried and tested.

    Civilian stuff is often let down by being aimed at the money market or the townie.

    But

    In the army we often bought our own gear as we didnt think isssue gear was up to much - apart from when I was Guard comd I dont think I ever wore a issue smock and I have previously pointed out I used to hate jet packs!

    End of the day its courses for horses - I shy away from camo gear - and would advise travellers abroad (especially africa or south america) to do the same - but if your into nature photography or shooting camo works well for you.
     
  14. jakunen

    jakunen Native

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    Personally I'd not bothered what anyone wears. So long as they liek it and are comfortable.

    I use a lot of ex-issue kit for clothing (partly because some of my old kit still fits me), and because it is damn tough and blends in when I'm doing anything nature related. A bright orange jacket with azure sleeves don't help much when stalking animals).

    It also has a lot of pockets, normally quite large, for stowage that you can easily get into.

    A lot of stuff I had to sell when I worked for a highstreet camping shop was very expensive, brightly coloured stuff that was designed more for fashion than anything. Which really put me off a lot of it and so I went back to the good old army kit I'd used before and knew I could trust.

    But all my packs and tents are civi ones. So I just use whatever suits my purpose.
     
  15. Ed

    Ed Admin
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    A very good piece of advice gary!!! Many countries do not have army surplus shops and they will just assume that you are military personel which can land you in a right host of trouble. I've seen a chinese border closed because they though an american GI was trying to enter china as a civilian and they wouldn't let him in..... or anyone else.... Tanks blocking the road, guns being waved around... lots of agro.... we just turned round and went back home and left them too it.

    Ed
     
  16. Paganwolf

    Paganwolf New Member

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    Hi Squidders, I get bits of stuff from Army Surplus shops if your a regular (as I am) you usually end up getting discount, I would certainly shy away from DPM/camo stuff if Travelling abroad in fact i would say its a definite no no as Gary has previously mentioned, but in this country its generally ok and you can get nice cheap stuff from the AS shops, i like the jungle light weight mod DPM trousers they are very comfortable and have big bellowed map pockets on each leg and have taped buttons and dry out very quickly and are ideal for walking in, they are realy the only british army trousers I like,(oops apart from the Gore-tex stuff thats good and as cheap as chips) so each to their own, every thing else i own is Olive green (sound familiar guys? :rolmao: ). As for boots im pretty fussy about what i put on my feet, so i wear Danners or Lowa boots. You can always find a bargain in AS stores i recently bought 2 gore-tex bivvi bags 30 quid each and 2 Bashas 10 quid each for some one i know I also bought a nylon webbing gas mask bag which makes a great foraging/possibles day bag. For anyone who can get to Camden Market in london there are some great army surplus shops in the arches which sell surplus clothes from all over the world,Very good and very reasonably priced go on a weekend day all the market stalls are out ,makes a great day out too (it will take all day to look around it) :shock: :wave:
     
  17. chris

    chris Need to contact Admin...

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    Good going guys

    This is a real good spin off from a question I posed yesterday on another thread

    Being ex military myself, I would NEVER wear DPM in the civvy world, even when I'm stalking or hunting, I find more natural colours do the trick better.

    In my opinion DPM attracts attention, bad attention for the reasons drawn out above.

    Interestingly, I now remember one school here in the UK actually asking the students not to wear DPM on their courses, they pointed out exactly what Gary said about it not being accepted in many parts of the world and perhaps causing a problem for you, Africa was given as an example. Almost everyone on that course was going on an overseas trip somewhere or other in the near future and it was a point well taken. The instructor also pionted out civvy clothing that can cause problems, espiecially ones that bear countries flags upon them etc,

    Admittingly, surplus stuff is very hardwearing and cheap and as Adi says more fireproof.

    Chris :wave:
     
  18. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    One point I forgot to make is Military surplus non-dpm or camo - to my mind this is a happy medium having the price and robustness the military want but while not labelling the wearer as Rambo's best buddy.

    Green lightweights are a pretty good example of this as they are fairly non-descript and yet a good buy.
     
  19. Paganwolf

    Paganwolf New Member

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    Good point Gary, you can get some lovely Olive green cotton ex-mod shirts hard wearing and comfey and obviously the Light weight army trousers which are very fast drying, US army do a rip-stop version (BDU) hard wearing but a little thicker and take a little longer to dry but available in plain olive green .I wonder if you can bleach cotton DPM trousers and re-dye them olive? :?:
     
  20. Great Pebble

    Great Pebble Full Member

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    Mixture of both, cooking/drinking kit is mostly surplus, apart from a civvy Trangia.
    Clothing is mix and match cammo and black, my day to day clothing is the same save for the addition of the occasional Ben Sherman.
    Load carrying gear is civvy. In sensible colours.
     

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