The Greatest Generation goes camping

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Hovannes
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The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by Hovannes » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:20 am

After WW2, men of the Greatest Generation mostly appreciated the benefits of the Great Outdoors(some grew to despised the bivouac but that is another discussion for another time)
People enjoyed camping and all sorts of outdoor activities with their families and friends like hiking, hunting, fishing etc...and I think there was a therapeutic benefit for many after four years of military life ,or the stress of the hometown front, as well as the previous Great Depression.
Also, post war America was fertile when it came to innovative products for the outdoorsman.
Coleman, which was a presence before the war, was even more of a force to be reckoned with afterwards with a huge offering of affordable lanterns, stoves and other paraphernalia, including nifty aluminum canoes.
Redwing introduced their iconic Red Setter hiking boots.
In shotguns, Remington developed their 870 machined with the use of computer tapes underpricing the hand machined Winchester Model 12.
The aircraft industry spun of a plethora of lightweight aluminum tube camp furniture and tent frames, more lighter, less expensive and more convenient than anything previously available.
Ruger offered an inexpensive high quality .22 pistol built with castings and machine screw equipment.


Of course there was a surplus of government equipment even less costly(and much heavier) at Army/Navy stores which popped up in nearly every town.

Parks, campgrounds, and other facilities, which had been constructed by the WPA and CCC during the Depression were taken advantage of, and could be easily accessed by modern automobiles travelling on the new Interstate highway system.

All this is now "old' technology now, but I was wondering what classic camping antiquities of the Greatest Generation have survived in your garage? Do you still use them for their original purpose?

I still have some old Army blankets and a Coleman stove, lantern and canoe plus a couple of GI mess kits, an entrenching tool and a pair of Irish Setter boots.
What have you got?
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:04 am

All of our camping stuff has been long gone for years, except for the Coleman lantern, which I've posted a pic of on here somewhere a year or 2 or 3 ago.

I can remember walking into the local GI Surplus with $18 and buying a .303 or .308 British Enfield. It's long gone also and I have no idea where it is. I remember a college friend of mine in 1971 shooting a deer with it, out in Mason County TX during Christmas break. I bagged a deer also on that trip, but with a Winchester .300 Mag that I borrowed from my brother-in-law.

Thanks for the memories, Hov.
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by JudgeRusty » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:11 am

I had garage doors installed this year and have been cleaning, organizing and such. One goal is to inventory and properly store all camping equipment soon.
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by FredS » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:43 am

There's an "Army Surplus" store in Colorado Springs I always hit up when I'm down there. They have genuine stuff from at least Vietnam and Korea, maybe even some WWII stuff hidden in there. The place has the comforting smell of old canvas. As boys, my brothers and I bought some 'de-militarized' bayonets there. There was a box of handles and a box of blades and we dug around until we found decent matches and my dad had a friend weld them together. We also bought the hard plastic sheaths that had the 2-prong clips and matching belts.

The Army Surplus store in my hometown morphed in to a head shop in the 70's, but they still had some of those green jackets and radar hats that were the fashion back then. I owned one of the OD coats.

What I still have is an old OD wool blanket with some moth holes, a few folding trenching tools with wood handles and canvas and leather covers (one in each vehicle and the camper), a plastic canteen with canvas cover, a field surgery kit, a top-load duffel bag, and a 50 cal ammo can still filled with treasures from my childhood. We also have some chow kits but they're repops not genuine surplus.
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by Hovannes » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:04 pm

IIRC there's a really good Army Surplus store in Elko, Nevada and another in Sparks, just outside of Reno. I have a Yukon Stove from the Sparks shop.
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by sweetandsour » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:22 pm

The best surplus store in Texas for 42 years was Colonel Bubbies on Galveston Island. I loved visiting there, just for the odor and ambience, bombs and torpedos laying around, parachutes hanging from the ceiling. I once asked the Colonels wife, who was manning the desk, where the restroom was and she showed me out the door. "Walk down that alley" she said while pointing, "and look for the yellow spot on the wall".

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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by JimVH » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:18 pm

sweetandsour wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:22 pm
The best surplus store in Texas for 42 years was Colonel Bubbies on Galveston Island. I loved visiting there, just for the odor and ambience, bombs and torpedos laying around, parachutes hanging from the ceiling. I once asked the Colonels wife, who was manning the desk, where the restroom was and she showed me out the door. "Walk down that alley" she said while pointing, "and look for the yellow spot on the wall".

https://www-chron-com.cdn.ampproject.or ... 979657.php
Cool stuff was packed so tight and high in that place you could hardly get down some of the aisles. It was incredible.
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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by AnungUnRama » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:40 am

sweetandsour wrote:All of our camping stuff has been long gone for years, except for the Coleman lantern, which I've posted a pic of on here somewhere a year or 2 or 3 ago.

I can remember walking into the local GI Surplus with $18 and buying a .303 or .308 British Enfield. It's long gone also and I have no idea where it is. I remember a college friend of mine in 1971 shooting a deer with it, out in Mason County TX during Christmas break. I bagged a deer also on that trip, but with a Winchester .300 Mag that I borrowed from my brother-in-law.

Thanks for the memories, Hov.
Enfield is British so that is a .303. My mom's dad gave his to my father and it is most excellent shape. We still shoot it when we can find the ammo.

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Re: The Greatest Generation goes camping

Post by sweetandsour » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:47 am

AnungUnRama wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:40 am
sweetandsour wrote:All of our camping stuff has been long gone for years, except for the Coleman lantern, which I've posted a pic of on here somewhere a year or 2 or 3 ago.

I can remember walking into the local GI Surplus with $18 and buying a .303 or .308 British Enfield. It's long gone also and I have no idea where it is. I remember a college friend of mine in 1971 shooting a deer with it, out in Mason County TX during Christmas break. I bagged a deer also on that trip, but with a Winchester .300 Mag that I borrowed from my brother-in-law.

Thanks for the memories, Hov.
Enfield is British so that is a .303. My mom's dad gave his to my father and it is most excellent shape. We still shoot it when we can find the ammo.

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Ok yep must have been .303. I remember .308s being there as well, Mausers I guess. Some were in ok shape but most were pretty beat up. A good one cost $18. I also bought a 1903-A3 Springfield 30-06 for $50, in great shape, and later sold it for $250 I think. I wish I still had it, but I sold most all of my stuff during child raising years ... the things we do for our children.
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