The 5 Best Military Surplus Items Under $20

Picture shows an OD green military surplus German M65 gas mask with filter.

For our August catalog, Cheaper Than Dirt! are adding many new military surplus items. Personally, I am happy to see our expert team of military surplus buyers has found lots of cool inventory to purchase. I always search through surplus stuff for my camping and survival supplies before buying new. First, surplus is usually dirt-cheap and second, military surplus items are extremely durable, collectible and highly functional—besides looking cool. I went through our warehouse and picked my favorite items—all under $20—to give you a sneak peek of what’s to come in August.

British Military Issue Mosquito Cot Tent

Perfect for summer camping! No matter what the tent manufacturers tell you, I have yet to find a “four season” tent that actually makes sleeping comfortable in 100-degree weather. Designed to fit over U.S., British or other Mil-Spec cots, this British military-issue mosquito tent will also stand erect on its own with the included two collapsible fiberglass tent poles.

No need to bring a tarp or ground cover, as the tent has its own waterproof canvas floor and sidewall protecting you, your cot and sleeping bag from moisture. With the sealed seams and 44-inch long zippered entry, the mosquito cot tent ensures you stay bug-free all night.

Included with the cot tent are the two poles, four steel ground stakes and an OD green carrying bag with handles. Easy to pack in and pack out—all together it weighs only five pounds.

The tent measures 72-inches long—fitting a 6-foot tall person fully stretched—30-inches wide and 44-inches tall. On top of the tent is a small, hanging pouch for personal items such as eyeglasses or your cell phone.

For scouts, summer camp, hikers, backpackers, survivalists and preppers, campers or your kids who want to camp in the backyard, this cot tent is a seriously cool sleeping arrangement for one. For under $20, you can afford to buy one for every member of the family—especially if spending a night under the stars.

Would you like to learn more about buying and collecting military surplus? Click here!

British Desert DPM Camo Nylon Tarp

Tarps are an essential piece of camping and survival equipment with an exhaustive list of uses. This one will make a perfect makeshift rain fly for your mosquito cot tent! There are 14 grommets all the way around this British military surplus lightweight nylon tarp. All four corners have a one-inch nylon loop stitched on the underside to thread cording to tie down the tarp or to secure it using tent stakes. It is finished in desert DPM camo and measures 85 inches wide and 96 inches long. Best of all, it weighs only 2.3 pounds, so it barely adds any bulk to your pack. Tarps are truly invaluable—we like them so much we wrote entire posts about them! Read those posts here:

German M65 Gas Mask

M65 gas masks are one of the most widely used gas masks in history. Governments originally issued these 1960s German gas masks were to military and civilians. Our current inventory is brand new and unissued. The M65 has a five-point rubber, fully adjustable head harness that tightens securely around your head for a snug and airtight fit. Included is a standard 40mm NBC filter in a separate, sealed package. To read more about gas masks, click here.

Italian Sewing Kit 3-Pack

One thing you probably have never thought of throwing in your bug-out bag is a sewing kit. Seriously, have you ever considered all the uses for safety pins? In my opinion, you can never have enough. For about 10 bucks, you get three of these Italian military surplus sewing kits complete with original military clothing buttons, scissors and a pouch. Needles, thread, safety pins and small scissors offer a quick-repair or patch kit, while sewers, reenactors and current military personal can replace buttons, hem and fix split seams with OD green or white thread. The surplus sewing supplies come packed in a roll-up pouch with an internal zippered pocket to make sure you don’t lose any small pieces. Though contents will vary from kit to kit, each one is new and unissued.

Patient Personal Effects Bag

To me, these patient personal effects bags are one of the more meaningful surplus items we have had in stock in awhile. These are brand new, still-in-the-original-wrapper OD green cotton bags—field hospitals used similar bags during the Vietnam War. When admitted to a field hospital, staff placed an injured soldier’s personal belongings such as wedding rings, watches, glasses or letters in these bags. Each bag has a drawstring top and a gusseted bottom to stand upright when full. Inside the bag is a rubberized pocket to separate items. On the outside of the U.S. G.I. personal effects bags is a small square pouch where the soldier’s name would be written. Measuring 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide, these cloth bags make perfect ammo bags, utility pouches, or toiletry bags for campers, Scouts or travelers. Stamped on both sides, these are worth way more than what we are asking. These highly collectible U.S. military Vietnam Era personal effects bag are in limited supply and like all military surplus, unfortunately we cannot guarantee we will ever get them again, so don’t hesitate to throw one in your cart.

If you could only pick one out of the list, which one would you pick and why? Tell us your reasons in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. I’d take the brit mosquito tent…..Light compact cool and you can throw a trap over it for protection/cover.

  2. Man, the ‘Ol 782 gear camp out! that brings out memories of Skeeter gitten butts on the Gulf coast in th late 60’s! I was stationed in ‘Ol Miss for several years and on a yourg servicemans budget, when we went camping- it was with our combat gear, on old beat up bikes- but God what a time we had!
    In my late 60’s today- still camp out on a bike, but use a lot better gear!

  3. Drager makes good ppe, but where are the Drager air samplers that ought to go with them, I mean, you need to know when you enter or leave an IDLH ( immediately dangerous to life and health) atmosphere, you can’t wear a mask forever…… Just sayn’…….

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