The most advanced tech pieces in the outdoor industry tend to start as products developed for the military and then trickle down to civilians from there. While consumers can’t always buy military-grade items, many brands with military contracts also create consumer-facing products durable enough to last through raids, desert marches and the wear and tear that comes from active duty. Here are 11 top-notch items you can buy right now from brands making gear for the troops.
Outdoor Research Infiltrator Jacket
Offered in grey or khaki, the Infiltrator jacket is part of the larger Infiltrator Collection and is meant to perform in tactical situations. This piece has a durable, stretchy Gore-Tex fabric (designed specifically for military use) and is paired with fully taped waterproof seams. Despite all that technical fabric, the jacket is still lightweight and breathable. It also comes with a combat helmet compatible halo-hood.
Campbellsville Apparel Company T-Shirts
Campbellsville Apparel 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.
Arc’teryx LEAF Assault Pant LT Multicam
The Assault Pant LT is the same pant that the military wears during direct action or special reconnaissance tasks in more tropical weather. The GORE Katana no melt/no drip material and TWEAVE Durastretch fabrics keep the pants lightweight and long-lasting. Kneepad inserts, liners and reinforced knees provide durability where the pants are likely to wear out first. A drawcord around the ankles keeps the pant legs tight around boots.
Danner Rivot TFX
Think how fast you wear through your shoes, then imagine marching all over the world in that one pair. Danner’s 56-ounce non-insulated boots are built to last a lifetime. The athletic fit leaves a little breathing room for your toes. Plus, the sole offers serious traction on the pivot points, meaning you can easily change direction without slipping up. The Rivot TFX also features a Gore-Tex liner, which will keep your feet dry and comfortable through a full spectrum of weather conditions.
Arc’teryx LEAF Cold WX Parka SVX
The Cold WX Parka SVX is the ultimate down jacket. It has a removable goggle-compatible insulated hood, plus a variety of pockets inside the coat, under the arms and on the chest to hold everything you could possibly need. It was designed specifically for special reconnaissance tasks, but could easily handle frigid days in the city.
Rocky S2V Tactical Military Boot
Rocky’s S2V Tactical boots are lined with durable and abrasion-resistant Cordura nylon, coated with PTFE for flame-resistance and crafted with water-resistant leather. The Vibram sole provides much-needed comfort and traction when you’re on your feet all day, and the S2V Sieve technology allows air to make its way through your boots. The technology also allows water to drain easily out of the boot whether you’re wading through streams or dumping water on yourself to stay cool. Plus, the boots are Berry Compliant, meaning they’re made in the USA with American-made components.
Smith Dragstrip Elite
Smith’s Dragstrip sunglasses provide ample coverage paired with photochromatic Chromapop lenses, which pull out colors and highlights in a variety of lighting conditions. The Megol nose pads and temple tips secure them to your face even when you’re sweating, or when it’s way too cold for anything to stay put. Plus, they come with a lifetime warranty.
Mystery Ranch Blackjack 80
Modeled after the standard-issue Spear Patrol packs made for the United States Special Operations Command, the Blackjack 80 is Mystery Ranch’s consumer-available version. The carbon frame and abrasion-resistant Cordura fabric mean it’s both long-lasting and lightweight. The four external pockets have easy-to-access top-open zippers, and the removable lid can act as an additional waist pack. This bag is also Berry Compliant.
Valley Apparel AF APECS Parka
Not everything from Valley Apparel L.L.C is available to consumers, but this Gore-Tex lined camo jacket made for the Air Force is. A high neck hides the roll-n-stow hood, and the sealed seams provide weather protection from all elements. You’ll need to email the brand to get the correct sizing and to purchase, but when you do, you’ll have an Air Force-standard Gore-Tex jacket.
Arc’teryx LEAF Naga Pullover AR
This mid-layer is designed to be worn underneath a waterproof shell or body armor. It’s a quarter-zip pullover with thumb holes, which provide some hand protection without gloves. The easy-to-access chest pocket keeps essential items close, and it comes in two colors: jet black and a dusty olive.
Darn Tough T3005 Tactical Mid-Calf Light Cushion
Darn Tough’s hiking socks feature 1,441 stitches per square inch, and the military-grade seamless versions do as well. There’s no slipping or bunching, they’re breathable and most importantly, they’re incredibly durable. They’re made from merino wool, which means that they are naturally moisture-wicking and anti-microbial.