The United States has over one million military personnel deployed throughout the world. That’s a lot of troops, and many of those on active duty are living in some the harshest environments of the world. Think boiling desert heat, harsh mountain peaks and oppressively humid islands. Then add packs, body armor and weapons that can weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds. It follows that a soldier’s baseline clothing kit starts to mean a lot.
But the military isn’t kitting out its soldiers in Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear. While there is some crossover between the outdoor industry and armed forces — Polartec’s Alpha insulation was originally developed for military use — the everyday basics largely come from a Kentucky company you’ve never heard of: Campbellsville Apparel. The clothing manufacturer makes only a handful of garments, but it supplies cotton briefs and undershirts to all branches of the US military as well as sweatshirts and sweatpants to the Marine Corps and Air Force. The shirts and other pieces are simple yet practical — and you don’t need to enlist in order to add them to your own daily kit. Best of all, the basic white cotton t-shirts are only $12 per 3-pack.