I'd safely say that from a very young age, I have always been interested in all things Army. Big Guns, big tanks, fast planes etc etc etc... the one thing that I always overlooked was the actual gear.
I started working on various construction sites around age 16, bit of labouring, lifting shifting and making brews, pair of old jeans and a tatty t-shirt. You could always guarantee that at least two of the guys on site would be wearing the classic woodland dpm British army trousers, maybe a roofer would have an old assault vest crammed with various fixings and tools. There would be the odd munitions tin somewhere with a crude masking tape label saying RAWLPLUGS or 9mm Galvanised Nails.
Although these things looked tatty, covered in brick dust, specks of paint and plaster, riddled with dents and dings, casualties of being dropped from various heights or rattling around in the back of an even tattier panel van, they always worked and never seemed to get any worse. I remember saying to an old mate, " 'ere John, I rekon you need a new tool belt mate, that old vests lookin a bit ropey" -- The reply bellowed down from the ladder I was holding, most of it not repeatable in fine company, went along the lines of "Iv'e 'ad it 12 years, an' its only just startin to go" -- what he was using just happened to be the Arktis Chest rig he was issued in Northern Ireland.
What you need to remember about Military equipment is the simple fact that its designed for some serious use in mind, Hard wearing Day to Day kit.
Local carp fishermen and walking up and down the riverbanks all cammo'd up, woodland dpm kit, fly fishermen, up to the brim of their waders wearing an assault vest or chest rig full of tackle. costing a fraction of all the designer kit and twice as sturdy.
Goretex bivvy bags, can be picked up for less than £45 and they are just as good, if not better than the Civvy equivalents that can cost you over £100!!
DPM - Goretex jackets and trousers can be bought as a set for around £50, OK there not the most fashionable item on the market but for something your going to cram into a bag and only use when its raining, why bother paying £160 for a "surfdome" its just as good and its not bright red! Ok, if you dont like the idea of wandering around in camoflague then how about the Royal navy or RAF blues, OK you don't want blue? Try Austrian kit -- its a lovely olive drab.
Various services from various countries wear various colours, fact, don't write off army surplus clothing just because you don't like cammo, the truth is, its not all cammo.
Webbing pouches come in various shapes or sizes, stick a belt on when your working in the garden, and you'll be amazed how hard it is to lose your secateurs when they are strapped to your side.
Most British army stuff is made with a ripstop material, which means, if you snag your trousers on a thorn, stick, rock or any other piece of vicious natural environment, you wont suddenly find a great tear up to your knee. and for less than £15 a pair, your laughing.
replace the classic "ill just nip down to tesco/primak/asda for a cheap pair of jeans cause my old ones have given up" with "Ill stick on my pair of army trousers if im working in the garden, these things dont give up!" -- Trust me on this one, the cheap jeans thing is false economy, think about it, what does a pair of jeans from asda cost, £7? how long will they last if your using them for rugged work, 3 months? thats 4 pairs a year, your cheap jeans plan has cost you £28 a year, thats if they last that long, I once bought a pair that lasted me 2 weekends of tree work.
To put that rant into context, I've had a pair of Soldier 95 Woodland DPM trousers for the last 2 years, I wear them every sunday when I'm gardening, Ive dont DIY in them, Ive filled skips with them on, Ive even done work under my car, apart from a few stains and a some fading from wear, they are still in great condition and are showing no signs of giving up! They cost me ----- £12.50!!!
lets do the maths,
1 pair cheap jeans - £7
every 3 months for one year - £28
2 years - £56
1 pair army trousers £12.5
for 2 years (so far) ------ Has saved me -- £43.50!!
To surmise, next time you need a new tent, waterproofs, trousers, bivvy bag, shoulder bag, rucksack, etc etc etc. have a look at what your local army surplus has to offer, or, if you like my review, check out my Items for sale and buy from me
Thanks for reading.