Your local surplus store is loaded with bargains on great hunting, fishing and camping gear.
Sometimes I like a no-frills approach to my outdoor shopping. I love military surplus stores for this very reason. I can walk into my local one intending to replace some old base layers and leave with only a new set of long underwear, or I can get half my Christmas shopping done there.
Surplus stores are a wonderland of camping and hunting gear, as well as generally hard-wearing items that do their job for many years. And if it’s good enough for the troops, it’s definitely good enough for deer camp. These are some of my favorite things to grab when I head to my local Army/Navy outfitters.
This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. Sleeping bags, utensils, tents, even freeze dried foods – anything you’d need to take camping, it’s there. They also have basic emergency and survival kit supplies, like mylar blankets or waterproof matches.
A good pair of socks will absolutely make or break your hunt. Comfort (and staying blister-free) is crucial to staying alert and on top of your game. Surplus stores are probably my favorite place to buy hiking and hunting socks and sock liners. Every brand from Gold Toe to Wigwam is there, and probably at a very good price.
A surplus store isn’t a surplus store until it has at least one display case of knives.
Base Layers/Long Underwear
You never want to be caught without it, and it comes very reasonably priced at surplus stores. Fair warning to women reading this: most of the base layers are unisex and I’ve found the smaller sizes get snapped up faster.
You probably won’t find camouflage boots at the surplus, but you will find dependable work boots in just about any size and width imaginable. I’ve seen some desert combat boots at these places before, but the selection will definitely vary from store to store.
Outerwear and Rain Gear
This category depends entirely on your individual store, but my local one (shout out to Andy and Bax in Portland!) has plenty of waterproof coats and rain gear that performs for years after you buy it.
From book bags to full-on tactical packs, you’ll find satchels and sacks that are good for anything from carrying books across campus to carrying gear up a mountain. Many are made with waxed canvas or waterproof fabrics that will keep everything nice and dry.
Fishing and Boating Equipment
This is another variable from store to store, but my local surplus stores have always carried rafting equipment, if not fishing poles and boat accessories. My first lifejacket was from G.I. Joes (Coast Guard approved!), and the selection has grown over the last several years.
So head on down to your local surplus store and get shopping!