Ever since World War II, governments have been stockpiling lots of military equipment, most of which are military tents. This is why the government occasionally sells on surplus military equipment. Both used and brand new tents are put up for sale or auction. Sometimes, third party distributors will buy them in bulks and sell them as camping equipment to the average consumer. Perhaps the most commonly sought after product from these distributors are tents. After all, you can’t go camping without a tent.
These surplus tents are often better choices than any commercial camping equipment sold in the market. For one thing, they were originally designed to suit the military, so you’re sure that these tents were not made of weak material. They were designed to take on the roughest of weather conditions. And since they’re on surplus, you generally get them at a cheaper price. That’s good quality at a low price – the best deal any buyer could ever dream of.
However, not all these tents are sold at an equal state of quality. Of course, most of the stuff that you will find in third party shops is checked for compliance with government standards, but there are shops that sell older tents at a cheaper price. Some tents could be about 15 years old, but don’t be surprised if you find some that are as much as 60 years old. In case you plan to buy this kind of camping equipment, you’ll need to patch things up with a little restoration work.
You can start off by taking a good look at the ropes. The durability of the ropes is important, lest you risk your tent falling on you while you’re inside it. Check for molds, rots, or mildew. These things will only weaken the ropes and cause them to break if you use them at their current state. Ropes like these are easy to clean – simply immerse them in a solution made up of 8 parts water and 2 parts bleach. After that, have the ropes dried out in the sun.
Then examine the stakes. If they’re made of metal, check for rust. You can easily deal with rusty camping equipment by using various types of rust removing solutions or agents that are sold at your local department store. Alternatively, you can just buy a new set of stakes. That way, you get more uniformity for your tent’s base. Do the same for the tent’s pole, if the tent you got has them. Tent poles, however, might be harder to replace than stakes. Anyway, it’s easy to fashion one yourself.
Lastly, take a look at the tent’s fabric. It might have mold and mildew as well, so you need to wash it thoroughly and have it out to dry. You’ll know that it’s completely clean when the fabric doesn’t smell bad anymore.
Remember that not all surplus or used camping equipment can be restored. Take a look at the product before you actually buy it. If you think the parts are beyond restoration, then you may as well pass up on that one, no matter how cheap the bargain may be.