6 Military Items Useful Post-Military

May 25, 2020 — Jt Spratley

First published on September 3, 2018

I came across plenty tools during my military service that were essential for the military profession but still useful afterwards. Tools that don’t make my list but deserve an honorable mention (in my WatchMojo voice) – e-tool, 550 rope, wet wipes (yes, really – especially after spicy food), and anything Garmin (assuming they’re not already banned everywhere).


1. Wet Weather Bag

Sometimes documents and equipment need extra protection from the elements during transport. A thin $6 wet weather bag, along with some 500 Mph tape on the one seam that may lose its adhesive later, works well as a waterproof layer. It also has a long drawstring attached for if you’d like to push out air and seal it tight.

2. Multitool

It can’t always replace a full toolbox but a $60 Gerber or Leatherman multitool (the Wallet Ninja doesn’t apply but deserves a mention) is great to have when possible. There’s specialty multitools as well such as the EOD MUT for bomb disposal techs and Cable Dawg for IT techs which I mentioned on Syracuse University Infospace. Instead of looking through the trunk or garage for a specific tool, you can grab the multitool in your backpack and MacGyver the thing. They’re a lot cheaper from military surplus stores.

3. Rite in the Rain Notepad

Rite in the Rain is the quiet brand that makes weatherproof notepads in different sizes and styles available from the PX/BX. I tweeted (twet?) them a shout-out last year, to which they ā€œliked.ā€ I believe Veterans should thank them more often for those mission plans we were able to write and read while embracing the suck.

4. PT Cap

In the military, the physical training cap seals heat from escaping your head and protects your ears during cold missions. After the military, the skull cap or beanie is a useful $10 addition to a winter attire or bug-out bag.

5. Velcro Patches

Any hat, shirt, book-bag, etc. with Velco – erm, hook and pile tape – can be used to show support for anything within seconds. I kept my uniform patches and have created custom patches (with Mutiny Shop) – ready to show extreme pride in my brand, affiliations, and more.

The Standard Fitness Challenge velcro patch on a black baseball cap
A patch for The Standard Fitness Challenge for whom I created demonstration GIF’s.

6. Shirt Stays

Shirt Stays keep your dress shirt pulled down to prevent that sloppy waist muffin look. They’re a neccesity for anyone wearing a dress uniform more often than quarterly, especially without a jacket. It’s probably the most important item on my list of ways to make the dress uniform more confortable.

military dress uniform upgrade items - Y and stirrup style shirt stays, black socks, and an EOD challenge coin
Y and stirrup style shirt stays , socks, and a coin.

Most other things should probably be donated to a military surplus store for current service members.

Tags: military