Date Published: 2021-09-29

Must-Have Military Supplies

Must-Have Military Supplies

By Adelia Ladson

Why Do I Need Military Supplies?

The Armed Forces, whether the United States or others, offer a great opportunity that many folks overlook – great, readily available survival supplies. If you think about it, soldiers are the experts when it comes to survival in SHTF situations. Just ask any veteran who’s lived day-by-day in combat in city, desert or jungle. When things get rough, it’s all about the supplies that you have at your disposal that will keep you alive.

Where Can I Get Military Supplies?

Military supplies are easy to find through military surplus stores both online and in “brick and mortar” locations. You can also find military supplies that are new reproductions of original. You are getting the same items but there is no wear like you find with surplus.

What Military Supplies Do I Need?

When it comes to military supplies, there are some basic items that are essential for your bug-out bag, camping gear or survival gear. Use them as the base of your survival kit and then add to them, as needed, for the specific scenario that you’re preparing for.


The first item that you need to add to your survival gear is paracord, which, also called “550 cord,” is a nylon kernmantle rope. A type of rope that has an inside core of several fibers that is wrapped in a woven outer covering, the basic idea is that the several inside fibers give the rope greater tensile strength and the outer covering maximizes the durability and flexibility. Paracord started out as the lines for parachutes during W.W.II but the military at-large uses it for a variety of purposes. Just in case you didn’t know, the reason you most often hear it as referred to as “550 cord” by soldiers is because this, most commonly used, type of paracord is rated with a breaking strength of 550 lbs. Since, its appearance, soldiers have used it for attaching gear to themselves and vehicles, for putting up camouflage and for securing tents. The fibers on the inside of the cord have been used for sewing and fishing, in a pinch. The outside covering has been used as bootlaces once the core is pulled out. With its inherent design attributes, there’s no wonder why 550 cord has been a soldier’s best friend over the years.

Backpack or Bag

If you are just starting to put together a bug-out bag or survival gear or camping equipment, if you don’t already have one, you need a sturdy backpack or bag. You can find a ton of gear bags, rucksacks and backpacks on the military surplus market. A soldier’s MO is to travel with everything on his back no matter what army he’s a member of so, you can find one from a almost any country. I found a combat pack from Great Britain that I like because it can be carried with handle or carried on your back. It’s massive, giving you plenty of space to pack everything you need. The pack has two heavy-duty nylon webbing carrying handles with padded grips and a similar handle on each end. It also has padded, adjustable shoulder straps that can be hidden out of the way under Velcro flaps and secured with straps. The bag has a tough, nylon construction and nylon webbing straps with quick-release buckles and heavy-duty zippers. It has one large, zippered compartment with a removable, plastic bottom and a smaller zippered pocket on each end. The combat pack also features an ID slot, on one end, and hard plastic, no-slip feet on the bottom. Trust me, this bag has it all and can really carry it all!

Wool Blanket

Some of the most life or health-threatening elements are the cold and wet, which can cause hypothermia, in extreme cases, or pneumonia, which is something you just can’t afford to happen in a survival situation. Another life-threatening element is shock and one of the first aid measures to take is to keep the individual warm. A wool blanket is one of the best ways to do just that and, therefore, an essential addition to your survival or camping gear. The militaries of the world have issued them to soldiers since time out of mind. Wool is also the only natural fiber that retains its insulating abilities even while wet. It can absorb almost one-third of its own weight in water, giving it an inherent wicking ability. That being said, you can definitely see the advantage of having a wool blanket when it’s cold and rainy. As far as I can see, wool is the absolute perfect material, especially, when it comes to survival.

Rain Poncho/Shelter Tarp

As I said above, the wool blanket is, to some degree, built to wick moisture away from you but you need to add a large poncho over it to keep you completely dry in a rain or snow storm. What’s even better is if you have something like the German Military Poncho that I found, which transforms into an emergency half shelter when you need it most. The heavyweight cotton canvas poncho has an olive drab, water-repellent nylon-coated interior and hand slits and a nylon drawstring. It features heavy duty buttons, button holes and grommets for making a lean-to or buttoning with another shelter half to make a tent. So, I really suggest having two of them in your bag.

Water Purification Powder

Since water is an absolute necessity to live, making sure that you have drinkable water is a priority in an SHTF situation. You have absolutely no chance of survival without a means of effectively making any water safe to drink for you and your family. One of the ways the military does that is to use chemical purification methods and water purification powder is a great way to do that. You can get a box of the packets, that won’t take up much room is your bag or backpack, and the powder usually has at least a three-year shelf-life.


They may not be filet mignon but MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) will give you all the calories that you need to keep you going. So they are another life-essential, military supply addition to your bag. The pouches typically contain a main course, side dish, dessert, basic seasonings, utensil, drink mix and flameless ration heater. In fact, there are about 24 different MRE entrees out there including chili with beans, cheese tortellini, Asian beef strips and Mediterranean chicken, just to name a few. They are compact so they are easy to carry and to store and they can also be purchased in bulk. You can find them ridiculously easily (Just click above. wink, wink) and they’re not expensive at all. They are supposed to have a shelf life of about three years, but I have seen a video where an MRE that was more than 20 years old was opened and tasted and was still good. The military has improved them over the years but let’s face it they are still food in a bag. But do you really care, if they will keep you from starving to death and give you the nutrition you need to survive?

Army Survival Manual

If you don’t have an Army Survival Manual, go right now to a store or online and get you one. This is the handiest book on literally everything about surviving in the wilderness and living off of the land in a pinch that you could possibly think of. That is why it is one of the most valuable military supply items that you can add to your survival or camping gear. When you open it and see that it was fist issued in 1957, you may raise your eyes but, folks, not a thing has changed when it comes to what you need to survive – fire, food, water and shelter. This manual addresses all of these things from instructing you on how to build a fire without matches to which plants are edible and which plants are poisonous. It also gives you instructions on cleaning and skinning game and how to effectively cook it within the environment you are in. I don't think that I've read a more user friendly (It has diagrams.) manual and by the way, if you’re still worried, the editions you can find readily available, now, have been updated since 1957.

USMC Survival Knife

Last but not least, you need a good, reliable survival knife and, for that, you can count on the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Force Recon Bowie Knife is one of my favorites because there are a lot of features packed into its design. The massive, sawback bowie knife has an 11 1/2”, anodized stainless steel blade with a corrosion-resistant coating and it also has partial serrations. The over-molded rubber handle grip gives you a comfortable, secure grip and the oversized metal guard prevents your hand from slipping to the sharp blade. It comes with a nylon belt sheath for storage and carry.

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