Very few people would automatically think of going to an army surplus store to buy camping gear, furniture or tools but this is probably the best place to shop especially if you are working with a tight budget. Admittedly, this kind of store can be a bit difficult to find. Owners hardly set up shop in malls or other popular hang-out places. But if you know where to find government surplus stores, then you just might be in for a great shopping spree.
The question that many people would like to ask is: what exactly can you buy from a military surplus store? The answer is quite simple: almost any object or tool that the army issues to its personnel can be availed of it in the said store. This might include military-standard furniture, vehicles and even weaponry. Smaller items might include: clothes, first aid kits and MRE or meal-ready-to-eat packets.
Because these items are considered surplus, prices are usually 10%to 75% less expensive as compared to its conventional counterparts that you will find in mall stores or with online merchants. Although the choices are somewhat limited, these might still suit whatever needs you have at the moment.
The sale of some of the larger and more dangerous items like vehicles and weaponry are not usually advertised in the local papers. But if you want to buy these, it is a good idea to establish regular contacts with a couple of military bases (e.g. National Guard) in your area and other organizations (third-party licensed contractors) that specialize in selling army items that needs to be liquidated, including scrap metal and recyclables. You might also want to sign up for regular alerts from government and online merchants so that you can get to sales or auctions that are held infrequently in certain army bases or camps.
However, if you are setting your sights on smaller and innocuous items, you can check out online stores and brick-and-mortar businesses that sell military surplus items. Smaller items that you can easily buy in an army surplus store include:
1. Protective gear and military standard clothes. You can buy gas masks, jackets, shoes and even an entire army-issued uniform.
2. Hunting or camping gear. These are actually the best selling items in the aforementioned stores. You can easily buy quality but discounted camp stoves, tents, duffel bags, wool blankets, etc.
3. Furniture. Army issued cots and a few tables and chairs are often times put up for sale too. This list might also include empty ammunition cases.
4. Personal first aid kits. These include: alcohol swabs, band aids, butterfly finger dressings, mini flashlight, pressure dressings, rolled gauze bandages, scissors, space blankets, tensor bandages, and triangular bandages. There are also smaller and more compact first aid kits available.
5. Other items include: MRE packets and flags.