*How to find quality gear….cheap*
12 December 2003

If you are like me you are not independently wealthy nor do you have just one hobby that puts a drain on your cash flow. Age and common sense has taught me to not run out and buy every new thing that I think is cool or would be good to have. It has also shown me that when selecting survival and preparedness items, you will likely be buying something that you hope to never use. Sometime it is very hard to spend money on that fall in to this category. Some items just have to be bought good quality brings its own high price tag.

Let me tell you what I do to offset these costs. The top of the line Katadyn water filter in had my eye on was just not getting bought. Even though I knew this is a necessary item, I just could not bring myself to spend that much cash. I have a rule that if an item is for preparedness or survival it must have a second role. The filter just did not fit that rule. It took while but I did buy the filter by saving daily pocket change and forgoing the second cup of coffee at work.

I also have found a treasure of new to like new survival equipment at yard and garage sales. Local thrift shops have proven to be a gold mine as of lately.

Here is a list of a few items I picked up recently.

New Military ECWS cold weather jacket GORTEX - Sportsman’s guide price $150.00
$5.00 at thrift shop

Marine camo poncho, nylon, very good condition (Alpha tent) Normally $14.00 to $20.00
Found: $10.00 Consignment shop. (Spotted on coat rack from road)

Hallicrafters short wave with VFO Good shape $12.00

3 piece US military sleeping system, Gortex outer -20 rated. Valued at $300.00
1 brand new ALICE pack (med) no frame Value about $30.00
Both items purchased for $35.00 at a yard sale.

Brand new propane tank
$3:00 - Yard Sale

Ruger security six 357 mag. Blue steel Very good shape, 400 rounds of ammo (reloads)
150.00 Yard sale This man sold 60 guns this way. No FOID required in South Carolina.

Waders new in my size for $4:00

Adjustable rifle scope, 2 cammo camp chairs, 3 blankets, 1 deer drag,

Military Canteen, 2 quart $1.00 and .50 for a 1 quart with gas mask drink port.

Now this was not a one weekend shopping spree. But it happened over the last year. I don’t go to every sale either. I watch them in the paper. I drive past and sometimes even look on with a pair of binoculars to see if I have an interest in an item before I stop. I have found church sales with tons of gear. At the end of the sale, at about 12:00 noon they will tell you "Anything you can fit in to a plastic bag will be one dollar" My best bag consisted of a used police scanner, a computer modem, 4 small sewing kits, a wool blanket, countless trinkets for the kids and a few books. It pays to show up when they are just about to close.

Thrift stores or mission stores get all types of military clothing and accessories. A lot of it is small due to a lot of female turn in. This works great for my daughters. These places should be checked frequently as their inventory changes. Monday and Tuesday are the best days as a lot of the new items are displayed that were turned in on Saturday after yard sales were over.

I buy items for my friends for next to no money. I have outfitted several bud’s with short-wave’s. I just buy and just restore. Tools are the same way.

I own over 100 FM transceivers we bought any an auction (The entire school districts radio system. We are having reworked) for get this………. $3.00

The day I wrote this I just scored a cammo poncho liner, duffel bag, 9mm drop holster w/clip pouches, cleaning kit pouch, 20 mil map protractors, a few books 2 M16 mag holders all for $ 35.


It’s out there waiting for you. Keep your eyes and ears open. You just have to spend a little time looking and even less money.

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