U.S. Armed Forces

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rated 3 of 5 stars Not bad for what you pay for it these days, more for mountaineering than backpacking and thru-hikes. Way to bulky for day hikes. I carried max loads in the military with it and about a 40-lb load with an added 15 to 20 lbs of firewood and it carried that load well. I still prefer lighter civilian packs like Osprey, which only weighs slightly over 4 lbs and has an AG suspension harness. Full review

Modular Sleep System MSS

rated 4 of 5 stars Great first sleeping system (with two pads). Horrible for backpacking. I recommend the MSS to all my Boy Scouts. A used MSS paired with two foam pads is BY FAR the best value in sleeping gear. Here's what I give all my new Scouts (and parents): A synthetic-fill sleeping bag and two dimpled foam pads are best for most Scouts. Both are cheaper, rugged, easier to wash, and handle wet/dirty conditions better. Both can be used with better and/or cold-weather gear you can buy later. Consider first the… Full review

M65 Trouser Liner

rated 5 of 5 stars I used these in the late Cold War Army—wonderful when worn alone but sometimes not warm when buttoned in the cold-weather fatigue pants. It's the same construction as the wonderful poncho liners which thankfully the U.S. military still provides. In addition to Amazon, etc, you can get these at Army-Navy surplus stores, although Amazon etc tends to be cheaper. Just concurring with other reviewers—it's a great piece of military surplus that is cheap, warm, and dries fast, although when buttoned… Full review

Gen III, Level 2 ECWCS Top

rated 5 of 5 stars U.S. made Polartec Power Grid fleece top for $20. Compare to the $100 Patagonia R1 which is now made overseas. I find myself wearing the level 2 grid fleece top (aka waffle top) more than any other garment when playing outdoors. Here's why: Ultra breathable Great wicking properties Warm, even as an outer layer Versatile: can be used effectively as a base, mid, or outer layer Thumb holes to facilitate the donning of other layers Half zip for venting Even if I do sweat while wearing this, the impressive… Full review

M65 Trouser Liner

rated 5 of 5 stars The M65 pant liner is a sub-$10 hidden gem for cold weather camping or backpacking. The key is using them as an overpant as they're sized large enough and easily unbutton to quickly don or doff without having to remove boots or existing layers. Perfect for those static situations like sitting around at camp or belaying or glassing while hunting. Would be way too warm for active use unless well below 0° IMO while wearing a base layer and hiking pant/shell.   The m65 pant liner was designed to be… Full review

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Armed Forces equipment can often be found secondhand or at Army-Navy surplus stores.