Gear first designed for heavy-duty military use has steadily made its way into a variety of fields, and into everyday clothing. High-tech fabrics and designs have paved the way for things like cargo pants, hiking boots, backpacks and mil-spec belts. These are just some of the common items worn by everyday people in everyday situations and inspired by the military. Hikers, campers, hunters and anyone in need of protective, lightweight and versatile clothing and equipment have also joined in the game. There’s a whole lot of merchandise out there that looks tough, and is tough.
Clothing is where military and tactical gear has had the most impact. Different items are designed from durable materials able to take a beating in different weather conditions and terrain while keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable. They’ll also have enough storage for anything you need to take with you, without getting in the way. Here tactical pants are a must.
Tactical pants, like cargo shorts, are becoming an everyday sight. They’re worn by the police, soldiers, construction workers and anyone hitting the bush or gym on a regular basis. They’re made of durable ripstop materials, mostly a combination of synthetic fibres, but you’ll also find traditional cotton or canvas. Synthetics are best for breathability and water resistance, so you’ll feel comfortable if you’re often around damp or wet places. Pants also need to be reinforced in the right places, areas around the knees are most common, with double stitching and strengthened stress points. Also, belt loops, zippers, buckles and snaps are made for heavy-duty use.
Storage is also important, and depending on what you’re carrying, pouches and pockets can be in open view or concealed but in the right places and easily accessible. Comfortable tactical pants have adjustable waistbands, making way for holsters or additional layers of clothing when things get cold. They’re mostly in straight-cut designs, able to fit over boots and conceal ankle weapons. Try a pair in the positions you’re most likely to use them in.
Other clothing items to consider are thermals, camo tees and shirts, jackets and hoodies in the right colours for the setting. They too need to be lightweight, comfortable and weatherproof and provide enough warmth. Jackets can include internal storage for larger items, like hydration packs, bottles or weapons.
Tactical boots are another piece of military and tactical gear seeing growing use and popularity. They’re necessary when carrying heavy loads, hiking in tough terrain and provide ample ankle support and protection in inhospitable settings, like the Aussie Outback. Durable materials, like Kevlar, reinforced heels, non-slip rubber outsoles, waterproof membranes, and leather or synthetic uppers means they are also breathable and comfortable in hotter weather. There are designs tailored for a specific use, like microbe-resistant soles in boots worn by paramedics, heat and oil resistant soles and uppers tailored for firefighters, or extra cushioning and weatherproofing found in hiking boots.
Clothing and Footwear Accessories
Combat and equipment belts are made of ripstop materials, with reinforced holes and tying points to carry extra items. Adjustable, non-slip buckles will support the weight of heavy-laden pants. Gloves are made of the same durable materials for high wear and have padding in the right areas. They are breathable, and easily put on and removed.
There’s a huge range of backpacks to choose from when setting out on your next mission. Backpacks need to be sized right, with just enough space to fit all the necessary items, like food, water, sleeping gear and equipment. In terms of storage, multiple inner and outer compartments and pockets can better organise your gear, providing for quick and easy access to what you need and when you need it. Higher spec backpacks include military-inspired MOLLE systems, with neatly arranged webbing in multiple areas. Look for backpacks with good back and hip support if you’re carrying a heavier load for longer periods. Materials should be resistant to impact, spills, scraping and higher temperatures. Prices vary among brands, the size, features and materials.
You can purchase various types of military and tactical gear tailored to meet your every need. A few versatile items to look for include tactical knives and multi-tools that can be used for cutting, clearing dense overgrowth, in rescue missions, or as a simple tool during camping. Look for good blade strength made of anti-rust steel in knives, and versatility in multi-tools with pliers, cutters, screwdrivers, and hammers. Tactical torches are good during the day and night and provide more than adequate lighting. They’re lightweight, weatherproof tools, some with serrated caps for protection or piercing into different surfaces and materials. Navigation and communication gear are also a must, especially when heading out on your own. Look to satellite phones when out of cellular range, and compasses for finding your way.
Sunglasses are indispensable in daily wear, let alone in more demanding conditions. They’re good to shield against direct and reflected sunlight, providing visibility at all times. To stay hydrated in hot weather and in physically demanding settings a hydration pack, fitted to a vest or backpack can make or break a mission. And if you’re staying the night, a sleeping bag, portable light, matches and basic first-aid kit are all necessary. All items listed above, and a whole lot more are sold at dedicated military and tactical gear outlets.