At ease: A kind word for military surplus tents and BDUs

January 29, 2018

If you are anything like me, you have always felt an allure to military surplus tents and clothing, especially Viet Nam era Battle Dress uniform pants or BDUs. The first pair I ever had were gotten from a neighbor for ten dollars, a hefty sum in 1984, and required a hike across several horse pastures, through some woods, and across a creek. Those camouflage trousers became my most prized possession because they were so comfortable, so rugged, and they looked so cool.

I had other camouflage clothing and tents as well... items that I had picked up at K-mart, and it was with the purchase of the military surplus that I discovered the difference between making something to sell for profit, and making something to win a war. There was no comparison between the double lined, reinforced military surplus clothing and the flimsy, barely sewn retail gear.

Besides being well made and durable, these combat tents and trousers have become iconic in the American psyche, as they have come to represent the American soldier, the single most deadly foe of all times or places. Just wearing the comfortable trousers and a BDU blouse, like a martial arts uniform, gives one a sense of power; it makes you feel as if you are a force to be reckoned with and it forms a bond between you and every American fighter that has worn it before.

These military surplus items are inexpensive, stylish and rugged; well suited for anything from hunting to baling hay and every American should have a few sets of these whether or not he or she has served our armed forces.

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