Someone sent me a PM this evening regarding a list I had made of what to look for in regards to old military/camo stuff. I made the post a few months ago and thought now would be a good time to bump it for those who may have missed it due to this being the prime season for thrifts to bring out the military stuff for Halloween.If you ever come across old camo/military stuff and wonder what the hell you're looking at and if it's worth anything, click on the spoiler below.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
My knowledge is pretty limited to stuff that is either Vietnam era or US camo stuff. I still thought a visual aid might be helpful for those of you who may come across this stuff and wonder if it's worth a pick up. Here are some patterns that are very desirable.
HBT camo. Used in the Pacific Theater during WWII. The pattern is strikingly similar to the "duck hunter" pattern used since the end of WWII throughout the 80's for commercial sportswear and hunting clothing. The duck hunter pattern was also used by the ARVN and US Special Forces in Vietnam. The HBT pattern is different though. It is printed on Herringbone Twill cotton. The garments have two sides (reversible); a fall side and a spring/summer side. Very rare and sought after. This pattern was also used to make packs and bags as well.
I've only once found a HBT camo piece in my thrifting career and it was this past spring. It was a cover-all suit in near mint condition. It was also taken from my cart when I wasn't looking.
Mitchell Camo. Super easy to spot but insanely rare. I've never seen any in person before. Developed during Korea. Some leftovers were used early on in Vietnam.
Tiger stripe. This can be tricky as it is kind of popular and has been reissued. If it has a green label that looks like this, pass. Also notice how the colors are darker. This is a later issue style that was used by US Special Forces in the 80's. Not very desirable.
The good tiger stripe will look like this (brighter colors)
And most good ones will not have any markings/tags at all or will have a stamp that looks like this (however there are exceptions):
A-M stands for Asian Medium. The US ones will say US-M (for US Medium).
ERDL camo. Use started in 1968. This is easier to find than Tiger Stripe, but still is scarce these days. Most were issued standard OD-Green poplin stuff.
This is easily mistaken for the modern day Woodland, especially the brown dominant pattern. Notice in the ERDL that the printing was different. The colors are a little more blured together. The Woodland (Shown below) has crisp borders of each color. Woodland is basically worthless.
A non camo item worth looking at are Vietnam era jungle pants. They are OD green and made of rip-stop cotton poplin. If you were to get lucky and find any Vietnam era jungle fatigues, you'd likely find a jacket. The pants were usually worn into the ground and trashed so they're pretty scarce. The jackets don't have much demand since there are still a bunch out there but these pants bring in some $$.