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Hello World!

Welcome to Military Travel and Outdoor. This site is about military surplus items that can be used for traveling, outdoor and camping purposes. Other commercial available items that will come in handy will also find its place on this website.

This website is a continuation from Thailand Travel Base. Beside information about traveling in Thailand it became more and more a website about military travel and outdoor gear. The .EU domain was added to the website to clarify that goods purchased are send from Europe. More specific; from The Netherlands.

COLEMAN 533 Sportster stove

Single burner stoves from American manufactures Coleman have been used by armies since WW2. Not sure if the model 533 was also in military service. The single burner stoves from Coleman like the 442 Feather and the 533 Sportster are nowadays very popular in the Motorcycle camping world. The ability to work on regular automotive fuel is what makes it the stove of choice. Although regular automotive fuel will wear out the stove, resulting in poor simmering control or a blocked generator tube, it is just too tempting for most bikers. White gas such as Coleman Fuel or Aspen 4T will ensure a longer life span of the stove while burning much cleaner.

Motor cycle blogger Stuart Fillingham made a very informative YouTube movie about the Coleman 533 Sportster stove.

Other advantages of the single burner stoves made by Coleman are that they can be lighted without pre-heating. Coleman has developed a fuel adjustment system in which the volatile vapors above the liquid are burned first and so serving as a pre-heating source. The burner in mounted permanently on top of the fuel tank. So leaking of fuel as you will encounter with stoves with a tank attached by a hose will not occur. The pot holders will accommodate small cups such as canteen cups but also much larger pans.

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.
  • 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 camoflage (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 those companies is Alpha Industries. They were also one of the manufacturers of the original US army issued m65 field jackets.

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 www.fishtailparkas.com.
  • 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.
  • 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 militarymart.co.uk 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: www.instagram.com/militarymart.co.uk

  • 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 selfrelianceoutfitters.com 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 www.facebook.com/woodlandbushcraft.

US Army style duffel bag for traveling

Soldiers in the army have usually something like a kit-bag, see sack, weekend bag or duffel bag. This not to use in the combat field but to take all their clothing and gear from army base to army base or from their barracks to home during weekends. These bags are usually very simple. In case of a duffel bag it is usually a one compartment bag with rings and a clip to close it instead of zippers. Most duffel bags have just one strap to throw over your shoulders. The US army duffel bag however is one of the few designs with two straps so that it can be worn as a (improvised) backpack. To improve the possibility of carrying the duffel bag as a backpack the bag has a rectangular shape instead of a cylindrical shape. A round shape will flip sidewards all the time when you have it on your back. A flat shape will be much more stable.

US army (style) duffle bag

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Dutch Army one man tent

This tent was was introduced into the army to replace the classic pup tent in the early 90’s. Most of them are marked KL-94. Usually from the company Wittock Industry. The design of the classic pup tent was almost unchanged since WW2; two shelter halves that can be connected into a tent without ground sheet for two persons. This new design came with a bath tub rubber floor. Quite luxury for army standards.

KL Pup tent
The DPM Woodland camouflage makes the tent perfect for stealth camping.

Although advertised as a 2 man tent it is more convenient as a one man tent. Maybe when you’re in a really close relationship this will do as a 2 man tent but that will be very tight. The dimensions are approx 225 x 90 x 117 cm.

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Fuel cap rubbers on classic camping stoves

The fuel cap on man classic camping stoves (Kerosene stoves such as the Primus 210, Primus 96, Optimus 45) made in Sweden or elsewhere in Europe are basically the same. A screw cap with a outside diameter from 23 mm, inside diameter 18 mm and a pinhole screw that can be opened to release air pressure out of the tank. In order to keep the stove working it is important that the pressure is maintained inside the tank. This is ensured by adding a extra rubber ring inside the fuel cap. Over the years and decades this rubber ring will become stiff and brittle. Although mostly not visible the rubber then doesn’t seal the fuel cap air tight. The result is that once the stove is burning the flame will fade away due to leaking pressure. Then it is time to replace the seal for a fresh and flexible new one.

Material of choice
It is from uttermost importance that the seals are made from the right material with the characteristics suitable for the purpose. In the case of liquid fuel stoves the material has to be able to withstand fuel (solvents, aromatic compounds, organic solvents etc.) in the first place. Resistance to heat and flexibility is also important. Many rubber types such as NBR or EPDM are affected by fuel. The rubber can swell up or can completely disintegrate into rumble. This isn’t immediately visible but will happen over time. Usually after a few weeks or months the problems will occur. To avoid this a high performance rubber such as Viton® (a trademark from DuPont for FKM) is a good choice.

Canteen cup stove: US army cup + Dutch army cup

A canteen cup as used by the military is very useful to prepare a meal or boil water for coffee and tea.

A very efficient cooking setup is the Swedish army ”Trangia” system. This is a cooking pot nested in a special designed windscreen. Inside this windscreen is a folding pot stand. The heat source is a alcohol burner. The cooking pot has a cover lid that can also be used as a pan on its own.
The cooking pot stands inside the windscreen. By enclosing the bottom from the pot by the windscreen the heat from the flames is transferred more efficiently into the pot. Also the flames stay inside the windshield instead of going everywhere. It also makes sure that rain and wind have almost no effect on the burner. This windscreen stays around the pot when carried. It acts as a storage container. Big advantage is that the black soot that will be formed on the pot cannot easily be transferred to other equipment and your hands. Alcohol burns relatively clean compared to petrol based liquids. The smell is less and the formation of black soot is also lesser. Alcohol is widely available and you can bring it in a small bottle for a day hike or a big bottle for a multiple days. With gas burners you need to bring a whole canister. If running out of Alcohol you can also burn some wood twigs in this stove.

 

Swedish Army pan + windshield 01
The Swedish Army cook system with the pan standing inside the windscreen.

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Austrian army backpack system

During the 80’s the Austrian army had a load carrying system that consisted of a large backpack that looked like a US army Alice Pack and a smaller bag that could be carried as a front pack or as a butt pack. Alternately the small bag could also be worn as a shoulder bag or a small backpack on it’s own. The bags are made from Nylon (Polyamide) and usually carried in combination with a pistol belt.

The idea from a front pack was copied in later years by the Dutch army. They had a small duffel generally known as the Rotota bag or soldiers handbag. This was also attached to the shoulder straps of a backpack. However the Dutch used plastic fast release buckles while the Austrian pack system uses metal hooks. Another difference is that the Dutch front-pack is carried on the chest while the Austrian front-pack is carried a little lower, on your belly. Perhaps this was done so the soldier has more space to handle a rifle.

2037-austrian-military-4-pc-backpack-pic2-1200x1200
The Austrian backpack and front-pack. Source: www.swisslink.com

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(Dutch army) foldable wash bucket

When you are travelling you need to wash your clothes sooner or later. Luckily you can find many laundry services in most countries. They will wash and dry your dirty clothes for a small amount of money. But sometimes you just want to wash one or two items or you just stay one night in a place. Then it is an option to do a quick hand wash in a bucket or in the bathroom sink. For these situations it is super handy to have your own small rubber bucket with you. It is light and it doesn’t take much space in your suitcase or backpack.

The Dutch / Belgian military rubber bowl will stand right up by the pressure of the water what is inside. The bowl isn’t that big (approx 4 liter) but it is large enough for a T-shirt, a pair of socks, some underwear and a short. Just let your laundry soak in the water with soap for a few hours and then wash the soap out of the laundry under running water from the tap.

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Dutch army daypack

The Dutch army daypack aka KL daypack or KLu daypack is a small backpack but equipped with foam-padded shoulder straps like it is a full size backpack. The bag has a main compartment with an internal divider and two side pockets. The weigh is about 1,35 kg and measurements are 45 x 28 x 18cm for the main compartment and 7 x 15 x 25 cm for each of the side pockets. This gives the backpack a total volume of 28 liters. However, on online army shops and second hand trading websites the volume is very often stated as 35 liters. The outside contains two attaching belts for extra equipment like a water bottle or first aid pouch. These items can be attached with alice-clips, but also the old Dutch/British webbing system hooks.  This backpack was made during the 90’s in 3 colours; Woodland (Dutch DPM), Dessert (Dutch CDU) and olive green. The olive green one was only issued to the Dutch Airforce (KLu) and therefore harder to find nowadays. Big advantage of this last one is that the camouflage pattern will not fade out after years of usage. Also the color is more neutral and suitable for urban traveling. An even rarer version is the black one issued to members of the Dutch military police (Marechaussee). This one was however made of a much softer normal fabric.

3 x Dutch army backpack
The 3 different camouflage versions of the Dutch army daypack

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HPV Salsa regulating alcohol stove

At some point in history alcohol stoves or Spiritus stoves with a controllable flame were widely manufactured and used. These stoves are also called gravity fed alcohol stoves or valve controlled alcohol burners. The alcohol fuel isn’t under pressure as it is in petrol stoves. In the past many of them were manufactured in Germany. Today there is only one factory left that is still producing a classic proven design: Heidersdorfer Produktions- und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH

The current model HPV Salsa (Spiritusbrenner) was previously sold under the name BAT Spiritusgaskocher 55/1 and Enders Cooky 1 Spirituskocher. Besides the single burner version there has always been a double burner version. The current model is named HPV Flüssiggaskocher Mambo or Spirituskocher Mambo.

Enders Cooky Spirituskocher Vintage Spirit Alcohol Camp Stove Single Burner 01
Enders Cooky 1 with original box.

Specs of the HPV Salsa alcohol stove:

– Power: 1.0 kw
– Fuel consumption: 0,2 l
– Fuel storage tank: 0,4 l
– Dimensions: 25 x 32 x 12 cm
– Burn time: up to 120 minutes
– Weight: 1,4 Kg
– Color: blue or white powder-coated

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