Mil surplus clothing as an alternative?

winny94

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Oct 18, 2021
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I don't have the budget for some of the "system clothes" that many here suggest so just wondering if there is any source of mil surplus clothing that may suffice? Is there an outlet in not aware of? (Can't remember the last time I saw a brick & mortar sil surplus store)

Thanks for any advice
 

schwaf

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What's your budget and hunting situation? If camo is not necessary, I would recommend looking at the general hiking/backpacking industry for clothing. Brands like Outdoor Research (OR), Patagonia, or even Eddie Bauer are great alternatives for solid pieces and layering systems. Tons of brands and options to choose from. You'll probably be finding all those brands going on clearance around now too. Unless I was turkey/duck hunting, I'd pick mountaineering clothing over milsurp camo ANY day.
 

GunsAreFun

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What's your budget and hunting situation? If camo is not necessary, I would recommend looking at the general hiking/backpacking industry for clothing. Brands like Outdoor Research (OR), Patagonia, or even Eddie Bauer are great alternatives for solid pieces and layering systems. Tons of brands and options to choose from. You'll probably be finding all those brands going on clearance around now too. Unless I was turkey/duck hunting, I'd pick mountaineering clothing over milsurp camo ANY day.
^^^^This

There are a lot of ways to piece together 100% effective clothing on a budget that will outperform milsurp stuff in every way except for maybe durability.

Puffy from EB or LL Bean on clearance sales for less than $100. Pants from Wrangler or EB. Cabelas/BP have some shirts for like $20 with the same anti odor Polygiene treatment that Sitka uses (EB has some too but you need to catch a sale). Cabelas space rain jacket is also serviceable unless you’re going somewhere that gets tons of rain. Join EB Adventure Rewards and you get free shipping and $10 rewards cards regularly. I just bought a shirt like mentioned above for $15 shipped after clearance discount and a $10 reward card. I also really like EBs merino wool socks and will use the reward cards to get them for like $7. They are better than Smartwool. Black Ovis has some in house brand merino base layers that are on Camofire regularly.

There is one milsurp item that I absolutely love and is probably one of THE best bargains out there, and that is the M65 Insulated pants (long version). They are less than $20 on eBay, and are very warm and light
 
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TheBootBowhunting

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There is one milsurp item that I absolutely love and is probably one of THE best bargains out there, and that is the M65 Insulated pants (long version). They are less than $20 on eBay, and are very warm and light

Pretty amazing really. I came here solely to suggest the M65 jacket liner. Its the only military clothing item I ever really felt like I had to get a few more from supply before I left. I wore it until it damn near disintegrated. You can wear that jacket liner under anything and it does a FAR better job than any insulation youll find anywhere near 20 bucks. I was constantly shocked at how well that thing worked.
 

Desk Jockey

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Welcome.

mil surplus clothing is a great option And can be found cheap.

scour eBay for mil Surp and used hunting clothing. Plenty of bargains. The ECWCS stuff is bomb proof. If there is a downside, it is that it tends to be heavy and the Velcro is loud for in close.

if you can find stuff that fits you at places like the sportsman guide and others some of the European mil uniforms are awesome options. Last time I looked there were tons of old new stock military items that would be great hunting kit. Wool is quiet and durable as hell.
 

awasome

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I am new to hunting and couldn't spend a ton of money on camo.

Next to skin midweight baselayer - Coldpruf Platiunum II performance top $29 and bottoms $37 from amazon
Midlayer - CondorBase II grid fleece from amazon - $23
Pants - Wrangler Men's outdoor zip cargo pant from Walmart -$22

Camo Shirt - Catch and release 4-way stretch shirt - $25
Camo Vest - Catch and Release DWR vest $60
Late season Jacket + Pants - Catch and Release Mid/Late season DWR set - $129

Total to get me from early to late season - $326 before taxes and shipping.

Catch and Release Camo is a new (3 years) small hunting clothing company based out of Nampa, Idaho. The owner and his family are great people to deal with and they provide good quality clothing at a fraction of the cost. https://www.catchandrelease.us/all-items

I have upgraded the next to skin baselayers with SKRE merino wool. They had some of the Granite line on clearance since it has a blue hue to it. However SKRE does have some polyester baselayers on clearance for $20 tops and $20 bottoms. They do have some merino wool bottoms for $40. https://skregear.com/product-category/outlet/
 
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OP
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winny94

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What's your budget and hunting situation? If camo is not necessary, I would recommend looking at the general hiking/backpacking industry for clothing. Brands like Outdoor Research (OR), Patagonia, or even Eddie Bauer are great alternatives for solid pieces and layering systems. Tons of brands and options to choose from. You'll probably be finding all those brands going on clearance around now too. Unless I was turkey/duck hunting, I'd pick mountaineering clothing over milsurp camo ANY day.
I dont have a budget in mind, I just know $300 for a jacket is outside of that budget haha. This is primarily for midwest whitetail hunting. When I finally draw that elk tag, I may change my mind, but buying for a hypothetical several years in the future doesnt seem like a smart play when I need some midweight wear (20-40 degrees) for this upcoming season yet.
 

*zap*

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Sekri level 1 base layers which have some silver in the material for odor and they wick sweat and dry fast. I like the combat shirts for good wicking material on the torso and heavier material on the arms for protection while hiking and combat pants for the knee pad pockets and rugged material.
 

Vandy321

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For starters grab some Gen 3 ECWCS Level 2 waffle top and bottom.

Should be $25 new or check a local craiglist in a military town and get some for $3
 

Moose Drool

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Patagonia was making the clothing systems for SOF for a lot of years. Multi cam will prob be more expensive but the grey stuff can be had at a decent price.
 

*zap*

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So, for deer the acu is a great camo because they see in tones not color and acu is a very neutral tone.....the level 4 windjacket is pretty warm and very light...great wind jacket.
 

Missahba

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https://wildfowleroutfitter.com/. These guys carry value priced, waterproof, breathable quiet camo. As an option to the Cabelas Space Rain mentioned above.

To the OP question, the ECWS series II puffy layers are inexpensive, and very warm. The bottoms zip off too. I forget which synthetic fill they have but it’s good stuff. Not camo so you need a shell over it depending what you’re doing.

Many other GI items are possible. Wool visor “radar” beanie, wool socks, leather gloves with wool liners, even some of the boots are pretty good.
 

kodiakfisher

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I think the key is to identify the specific material you want Fleece, Gortex, Wool, and many many others. Most of the hunting clothes names mentioned do NOT have patents on specific material types they source their material from a supplier. A few may have a patent on a camo pattern. As most will tell you camo pattern effectiveness can be subjective but you have lots of internet influencers trying to convince you to buy this product or that and it's an absolute game changer. You primarily need a base layer to wick away moisture from exerting effort, you need an insulation layer for warmth and an outer layer to protect from wind and/or rain. Add in a warm waterproof/resistant beanie hat (I carry a bonnie and a beanie) for temperature regulation and some warm gloves. With camo you typically can have Quiet, lightweight, durable pick any two. Anyone that says they have all three I would ask how they define those terms and where they hunt. I can tell you these terms mean something different to those that grew up on Kodiak, Ak and the PNW vs. Tree stand hunters in the midwest. We are all hunters non better than any other but our hunting environments are much different.

The one area I would never skimp on is boots. I tend to ignore all "hunting boots" and lean toward quality leather mountaineering boots. These are more designed to take care of your feet with heavier loads on your back. Typically if your feet can't get you there your camo doesn't matter. Just makes for interesting trail conversation with other hunters.

One great test is to take camo in any store and hang it up and stand 50 to 100 yards away even in the store. I always had my wife hold up camo patterns and walk as far away as possible. If you can't make out the pattern in the camo from 100yds away neither can the game animal. You look like one big unnatural human shaped blob. This is where I will offer what I believe is the best tip.

Systems of all the same camo pattern are often times less than optimal. Think about trying to identify someone from 100 yards away with a light camo pattern bottom maybe say desert camo and a woodland camo pattern top. Add in a camo backpack etc and anywhere in the PNW you just about disappear our brains are scanning for shapes and movement very similar to prey animals. Now think about someone with all the same camo pattern. Yes it's always fun to hide someone in optimal conditions to compliment your camo pattern but that is not real world hunting with the exception of tree stand hunting. I think if you know your tree stand area the manufacturers that are designing camo to be most effective when animals look up are on to something. Even if a manufacturer were to give me free camo I would still insist on mismatched camo for hunting from the ground unless it absolutely clashed say winter camo in the PNW with no snow. Clearly that makes no sense.

I have mostly mil spec surplus outwear gear with your simple basic wicking camo layer. I find a good material and buy the least expensive. I do pay attention to the seam stitching pattern though with the wicking layers as the seams can be irritating under pack straps. Save some money on camo and spend extra on boots and optics is my theory.
 

JR Greenhorn

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I dont have a budget in mind, I just know $300 for a jacket is outside of that budget haha.
Don't make that mistake. My brother does the same thing: takes 12 seconds checking a website, sees a $300 coat, and puts the entire brand on his mental ignore list forever. Later, he'll go to Runnings a week before opener, and buy whatever they have on the rack for full price (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I've bought a lot from Eddie Bauer and LL Bean over the years because their tall sizes are so consistent. It's easy to get stuff from EB in particular for 40-60% off pretty regularly. With LL Bean, they do a percentage off your total order a few times a year (usually 10%, sometimes 20%) that stacks with discounts on sale items. I've gotten some good outdoor clothing and gear from both companies for well under half the "normal" price.


In any case, get on their email list and wait for the right promotion. I scored a $200+ down jacket from EB a few years ago for $70. Of course the best deals come at the end of the season.

You can do the same thing with the flashy hunting brands too, but it's pretty rare to find any of that stuff for more than 10% off.
 

zacattack

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I’ll cast another vote for Eddie Bauer. Their sales are fantastic and the stuff I’ve bought is good quality and very consistent on sizing. They also have talls.
 

mtwarden

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Ten -fifteen years ago you could pick up Patagonia and Arcteryx military clothing very reasonable, not any more. Didn't take eBay sellers to figure out what they had and how much they could get for it- too bad as they both make some great pieces for the military.

Once in a great while, they'll be a bargain price on eBay from seller who hasn't checked the prices out. I've scored a couple of pieces like that, takes a lot of patience and looking.
 
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