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Army Navy Surplus Store
Serving San Diego

Free Parking
Serving San Diego

Free Parking

Military Surplus for the Best Family Campout Ever

Family Campout
Army surplus items have been available for purchase since the American Civil War. Low in price, well-built, and useful, surplus items are ideal for a variety of outdoor activities. When you get ready for a campout with your family, you could probably use some military surplus. Here are a few surplus items for the best family campout ever.

Parachute Cord

Known as p-cord, parachute cords attach to real, honest-to-goodness parachutes.  A silk parachute is not useful or necessary at a campout, but these nylon cords certainly are. Lightweight, strong, and available in a range of lengths, p-cords have a range of uses at a campsite:
  • Hang food from a tree safely out of reach of hungry bears and other omnivorous wildlife
  • Repair broken tent lines or add more cord to strengthen a tent in bad weather
  • Secure camping gear in your truck or trailer for transport to the campsite
The nylon structure of p-cord makes it mold and rot resistant, which is a bonus if your campout gets rained out. Finally, the wide range of bright color choices makes p-cords easily visible in dim lighting.


Even if you plan to fish for your dinner, you still need to bring food on your campout. Sometimes the fish don't want to bite, which leaves you and your family hungry unless you tote some food in with you.

Some meals you plan to eat during your campout come with certain considerations to keep your family safe. For example, milk and eggs require refrigeration and have to be kept in a cooler with ice to prevent food spoilage. And unless you're really skilled at cooking over a fire, you may have to serve burnt hot dogs and s'mores.

You can remove a lot of work and anxiety at mealtimes if you bring MREs on your campout. Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, are compact units of food that provide sufficient calories and energy with very little preparation.

MREs do not need to be refrigerated, and kids love the novelty of choosing entrees and exploring the contents of each MRE. In addition to a main meal, some other surprises contained in MREs are:
  • Crackers
  • Utensils
  • Flameless ration heater, or FRH
  • Candy or other dessert
  • Powdered drink
You can easily acquire the right number of MREs for your camping trip at a military surplus center. Simply figure how many meals you plan to serve during your campout and multiply that number by the number of family members that plan to attend. With easy meal-planning that MREs offer, you probably won't have any leftovers to bring home.

Folding Shovel

A folding shovel is one of the most versatile tools you can take along on a campout. Because it folds in half, it takes up less room when you pack for your trip. When unfolded to its full length, a folding shovel is helpful at many different tasks:
  • Clear rocks and other debris from a campsite for a flatter tent surface
  • Dig and fill a camp latrine to keep the environment cleaner
  • Put out a campfire more thoroughly with sand or dirt rather than precious water
  • Use as a weapon to protect your family from snakes
If you plan to venture very far into the backcountry, you may run into difficult terrain. If your vehicle gets stuck, a folding shovel is invaluable to help free your truck from snow or mud.

Military surplus items such as these were originally used to help troops fight, live, and survive during wartime. They are just as useful now to help your family enjoy your next campout together. To make your future campouts more fun, visit Bargain Center for additional military surplus products.