Military surplus stores are goldmines. Over the last fifty years, they’ve been a go-to shopping destination for those in the know; everyone from punks to skaters to ravers have hit up their local surplus store to grab whatever military garment is defining their culture and aesthetic at the time. Today, little has changed and kids continue to shop the likes of bombers, cargo pants and camouflaged garb season after season.
Highsnobiety’s Managing Director Jeff Carvalho is somewhat of an army gear expert having hunted down authentic pieces by the likes of Alpha Industries since his college years. That’s why, in our latest video series, Carvalho is taking us on a journey around the United States to four of his most-cherished surplus stores.
In part one, Carvalho hit up his home away from home, Boston, and took us to Kenmore Army & Navy — one of the first stores he discovered and shopped in when he was still an undergrad. This time, Carvalho travels to Portland, Oregon, one of his favorite cities in the U.S., to visit Andy and Bax: Sporting Goods.
Andy and Bax first opened in 1945 but moved to its current location in 1969 after a fire burnt their building to the ground. While the store built its reputation transforming old rubber military rafts into whitewater rafts, it stocks everything from camping gear and parachutes to clothing and military patches.
Anyone who’s stepped inside a military surplus store knows they’re easily distinguished by their unassuming exterior, distinct musty scent and navy and green garments wall-to-wall. Not an inch of space is left without stock. But the appeal is in the affordable prices, vast quantities and the likelihood of snagging a unique gem.
Carvalho hits upon a few such pieces at Andy and Bax including a genuine issue MA-1 bomber from 1974, an Alpha Industries Fishtail Parka from the ‘70s and an Alpha Industries N-2B Parka.
“[The MA-1] is one of our staple items, that as well as the M-65 Field Jackets, the N-3B Parkas, the N-2B parkas,” explains Andy and Bax owner Ted Schopf. “But the MA-1 is probably the most sold item that we have in the store for jackets, it has been for years and years.”
Check out the full video above to see all the military relics we found and hear Carvalho and Schopf dropping knowledge on the subject of army surplus. Stay tuned for another education and more wartime rarities in part three and find out more about Alpha Industries via the link below.