Military Surplus Hat and Boots

Taking the Mystery Out of Military Surplus Sizing

The Sportsman’s Guide is the largest buyer of military surplus clothing in the U.S. Where’s it come from? All over the world.

Take a look through our website and you’ll see surplus from around here, of course, but also many other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Russia, and more.


One of our surplus technicians at work


Every one of these countries manufactures clothing, especially military clothing, to a completely different set of sizing specifications. On the tags of many articles of clothing you’ll find numbers and letters in a variety of exotic combinations.

Measuring military surplus

How do I know what size I need?

The Sportsman’s Guide uses the standard consumer sizing system you’d expect from most other retailers in the U.S.

And to make our system consistent across our website, we’ve already inspected incoming surplus clothing and re-sorted it to match the sizing we use for all the rest of our clothing.

If you know your size, that’s usually what you should use when ordering military surplus clothing at the Guide.

Restrictive military sizing requirements

But clothing fit doesn’t just stop at the raw measurements. While you might get the right shoulder width and sleeve length, military clothing is often designed with fundamentally different mission requirements than civilian clothing. In short, it’s intended to fit tight.

Throughout history, designers of military clothing have favored a tight, slim, figure. Troops throughout the world share one common attribute: they are mostly young and in extremely good physical condition. Almost all military clothing is designed to show off these athletic physiques.

In addition, many cultures, particularly those around the Mediterranean(we’re looking at you, Italy), prefer a “fitted” look to their military uniforms. They also commonly wear fewer layers because of the heat, and clothing is sized to match.

If you are expecting a more civilian-style loose fit, particularly with Shirts and Pants (Jackets and other over-layers are typically designed to fit looser by nature) make sure to order 1 size larger than you’d normally order.

Getting it Right

And lastly, if you don’t like your fit, you can always send it back. We want you to be happy with your clothing order, and want to encourage more orders in the future.



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One Response to “Taking the Mystery Out of Military Surplus Sizing”

  1. Mike

    Thanks for your Help