Civilian reproductions of army issued gear

Some army issued products are very popular for use as camping or traveling item. Among them are mess tins, jackets, rucksacks and sleeping pads. As with all army surplus they will run out of stock or are after a while difficult to find in good shape. Then it is interesting for commercial companies to reproduce them for the civilian market.

  • Bundeswehr foldable sleeping mat. This thin sleeping pad folds together so it can fit inside a Bundeswehr daypack. This rucksack is also being copied since original ones are hard to find nowadays. The sleeping pad is too thin for most people to sleep comfortable. However the difference between nothing and this is huge. In combat situations these kind of ”yoga mats” are used as a insulating underground when guarding a defensive position. It also works great as a protective and insulating underground for a inflatable sleeping matrass.
  • Bundeswehr day pack. This bucket style backpack with two side pouches works perfect to carry some essentials like food, water, rain-poncho etc. The originals were equipped with a very smart buckle system so that the excess straps could be rolled away. The civilian copies are made with normal quick release fasteners.

Also the much older version with the leather straps and metal buckles is reproduced nowadays.

The older version of the Bundeswehr daypack with leather straps and metal buckles made by Mil-Tec.
  • Dutch / British army mess tins. Many commercial available lunch boxes are made in the same style or with the same dimensions as the Dutch army mess tins. Some are also equipped with a cover or a cutting board as a cover.
Stainless steel mess tin with wooden cutting board as a cover lid. The size is the same as the small mess tin from the Dutch army mess-tin set.
  • Czech (Czechoslovakian) army mess kit. This is just like the Dutch and British army mess tin sets a two pan set wit one slightly bigger than the other so they will nest in each other. Only this one is round instead of rectangular and comes with a lid. It also has a fouling wire handle on both pans so that you don’t have to worry about a pan gripper that can be lost or forgotten. The originals were made in aluminum. Nowadays reproductions are made in stainless steel.
  • Esbit foldable tablet stove. This type of field cooker with a foldable pot holder and solid (hexamine) fuel dates back to 1936 and is still sold in outdoor shops today. It is used as a backup stove for when the main stove fails. It is also hold as a emergency stove. Armies around the world have issued it together with food rations for usage in the field. Downside of this type of fuel is the smell from both the unfired product as the smoke that is generated while burning.

  • M65 field jacket. The m65 field jacket was issued in 1965 by the US army in olive green (OG-107) and saw usage in the colder mountainous regions of Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Later the jacket was also produced in M81 woodland camouflage and 6 colour desert camouflage (Chocolate Chip, first Gulf War), 3 colour desert camouflage and ACU camouflage. The jacket gained part of its popularity by appearance in movies such as Rambo. Nowadays the original olive green versions are hard to find. Many companies in both the outdoor world as the regular fashion word are now making copies of this jacket. Also in camouflage patterns that were never used by the US army or other countries that used the same model jacket. One of the companies that makes copies of this jacket for the civilian market is Alpha Industries. They were also one of the manufacturers of the original US army issued m65 field jackets. Very sophisticated and close to the original copies are made by

An American jacket made in the German Flecktarn camouflage pattern by Mil-Tec.

  • Fishtail parka. Fishtail parkas were first issued by the US army during the Korea war in the 50’s. The jacket was a wide fitting garment meant to be worn over all other gear to create extra warmth. The M51 model had a hood attached to the jacket while the M65 model had a detachable hood. Later they became available in huge quantities on the surplus market. Nowadays the model is widely copied but usually in a tighter fit around the body instead of extreme over sized. Companies like Mil-Tec and Brandit makes copies for the civilian outdoor market. Also original US Army contractor Alpha Industries makes a civilian version of the jacket. More sophisticated and close to the original copies are made by
  • Bomber jacket aka MA-1 bomber jacket.
  • Navy pea coat. This type of jacket worn by sailors is so often reproduced that most people don’t even realize that it was originally a military garment. The design is almost unchanged for 200 years. The original army issued ones are made of Melton wool. The wool in this type of fabric is woven tightly and treated with heat to bind the fibers together. The result is a water and wind-resistant fabric that is also very warm. Wool content in these fabric may vary between 50 and 100%. Needles to say that besides useful for for life at sea it is also very useful in daily life during the cold winter months. More info:
  • N.I Patrol pack by Kombat UK. The patrol pack from the British army was often used in Northern Ireland. Its a heavy duty backpack with rubber coating on the inside to protect against the rainy weather often found in Ireland and the UK. The model is a single main compartment with two side pouches and a pouch in the cover lid. The model is comparable with the Dutch army daypack. The backpack was issued in DPM woodland camouflage. Nowadays the company Kombat UK produces a backpack in Olive green and MultiCam camouflage. Main difference between the original and the civilian reproduction is the usage of Molle webbing in the front of the backpack and also the shoulder straps are a bit wider.
  • M65 liner by Mil-Tec. The reproduction of the M65 winter liners made by Mil-Tec comes with a few extras. Two extra pockets and the liner can be worn as a jacket on its own. Also the sleeves are equipped with cuffs at the end so that air and therefor warmth is better trapped under your jacket.


Polish army Lavvu (tipi) tent by Hobsons. UK based army surplus store sells a reproduction of the larges version of the Polish army Lavvu tent. This canvas tent made out of two ponchos gained huge popularity in the bushcraft- and wild camp scene. The prices went up and nowadays the largest version of this tent is very hard to find. So a reproduction is a welcome article on the market.  

Hobson’s 3 Hole Lavvu. Source:

  • Swedish army cook set by Pathfinder. The cooking pot for this mess tin set was already copied in Aluminum. The stainless steel version of this cooking pot is very hard to find and usually quite expensive. Dave Canterbury from has made several announcements that he is developing a reproduction of this Swedish army mess kit with both the pot and windshield in stainless steel. However commercial availability has yet to come.

Other announcements about the introduction of this new reproduction of the Swedish army M40 cookset can be found at


Published by dreweszuur


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