8 Pieces of Military-Spec Gear for the Everyman

Underwater drills, recon pants, sofas and more

By The Editors
December 14, 2015 9:00 am

Inside of every working, laundry-doing, suit-owning man is a small boy who used to dress up like GI Joe and play imaginary war games all day long.

And while his love of all things military has probably waned with the years, his interest in its gear probably has not. Because who better to take your cues on tactical wear from than a trillion-dollar industry that’s in tactical mode at all times?

Here’s are five textiles and tools that started on the battlefield but now live in the closets, go bags and toolboxes of men just like you.


Ripstop is a weaving technique that was developed for parachutes during World War II, but has since been adapted for clothes — particularly pants that are good for running through the jungle. The Triple Aught Design Recon RS Pant, made of nylon and cotton, has nine pockets and a smart, tailored fit. 

, a moisture-wicking insulator developed for the U.S. Special Forces by Polartec, is lightweight, compact, fast-drying and keeps you toasty as a polar bear. Most outdoor companies are using it now, but Triple Aught Design keeps it simple and slick with their Equilibrium Jacket. Also of note: the Kitsbow snap shacket, a solid look for hikes in volatile climes. 

Organization and comfort is key to the things you carry. MOLLE, or Modular Lightweight Loading Equipment, consists of a base pack and smaller packs that attach to it. Mission Workshop makes theirs with heavy-duty polyfabrics that are weatherproof and stylish. GoRuck makes the dopp kits and first-aid kits you should keep inside of ‘em.

Military Canvas
Before the era of poly-fabrics, the military used a woven cotton canvas that was thicker than eight ounces per yard. They waxed it with CANVAK, an oil-based substance that waterproofed the cotton. Furniture maker Stephen Kenn upholsters their sofa cushions using reclaimed canvas from World War II tents. The result is a comfy piece of furniture ideal for any space exposed to the elements — or children.

Nemo Special OPs Drill1:16

Nemo Power Tools developed this Special-Ops drill for SEALS running operations underwater. The 18-volt, 100-watt drill is operable at up to 100 meters deep, doesn’t corrode and can run for six hours. As for your multi-tool, the U.S. Armed Forces still use the Gerber Diesel multi-plier because its heavy-duty design, pliers, wirecutter, saw, screwdriver and knife are still the best pocket tool out there.

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