Why does the government not allow citizens to purchase some military spec equipment?

SLC Flyfishing

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I was recently in the market for a cycling hydration pack. While browsing Camelbak's website I noticed they had a military/tactical category; not my style but that's not the point.

When I clicked in there to see what type of stuff they had to offer, I noticed that they had hydration reservoirs that are designed to be impervious to chemical and biological weapons. Pretty cool technology I'd say.

Then I noticed that I couldn't even order such a reservoir if I wanted to, because the website says:

CamelBak CBR X products are designed exclusively for military and tactical users, intended for purchase only by authorized military and government agency personnel, and only through authorized government purchasing channels.
http://shop.camelbak.com/cbr-x-reservoir/d/1210_cl_3153

Does anyone ever wonder why things such as this are not available to civilians? And of course I'm not singling out Camelbak, I'm sure there are plenty of other items out there that aren't available to civilians either. Does the government have a reason for not wanting people to have this sort of technology available to it's citizens who may be interested in prepping for a disaster?

I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts.
 

Ledgem

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How do you know that your inability to purchase it is due to decree from the government, and is not simply a corporate policy from Camelbak?
 

SLC Flyfishing

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Perhaps the Government doesn't want people to open these things up and see what technologies are used in them.
It seems that would be easy to do, regardless. The risk of that is very high simply by having a private company doing the manufacturing.

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How do you know that your inability to purchase it is due to decree from the government, and is not simply a corporate policy from Camelbak?
Because it's in the website's FAQ's:

Military-Tactical
You will find most of our popular Military-Tactical packs and reservoir systems available for purchase with just $5 flat rate shipping and our Got Your Bak™ Lifetime Guarantee. But not all products and camouflage patterns are available for purchase on camelbak.com. This is primarily due to obligations we have with various military branches and government agencies.
http://www.camelbak.com/Sports-Recreation/Support/Product-Care.aspx
 

G51989

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It seems that would be easy to do, regardless. The risk of that is very high simply by having a private company doing the manufacturing.
I'll tell you why.

If people found out how much defense companies charge for basic items like this to the taxpayer, you would be shocked.

My personal fave was when I worked for NewPort News, there is a control board for the big ole servo that move a 5 inch gun barrel up and down.

I could have made the thing for 3 bucks with radio shack parts.

The Navy pays 55,000 dollars for them.

If you want military spec clothing, water bottles, or anything like that

http://www.russianarmysurplus.com/

The Russians sell stuff to pretty much anyone
 

SLC Flyfishing

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I'll tell you why.

If people found out how much defense companies charge for basic items like this to the taxpayer, you would be shocked.

My personal fave was when I worked for NewPort News, there is a control board for the big ole servo that move a 5 inch gun barrel up and down.

I could have made the thing for 3 bucks with radio shack parts.

The Navy pays 55,000 dollars for them.

If you want military spec clothing, water bottles, or anything like that

http://www.russianarmysurplus.com/

The Russians sell stuff to pretty much anyone
Nothing shocks me anymore, I'm in medicine. I see how expensive something stupid becomes just because it's been given the term "medical equipment"

But the packs themselves are not much more expensive than the civilian versions (just a whole lot uglier), and you can get a "military/tactical" reservoir that's not chem/bio weapon proof. It even costs the same as a regular blue civilian model.

But the one that could save your life in the unlikely event of a chem/bio attack, the government keeps all those under lock and key.
 

G51989

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Nothing shocks me anymore, I'm in medicine. I see how expensive something stupid becomes just because it's been given the term "medical equipment"

But the packs themselves are not much more expensive than the civilian versions (just a whole lot uglier), and you can get a "military/tactical" reservoir that's not chem/bio weapon proof. It even costs the same as a regular blue civilian model.

But the one that could save your life in the unlikely event of a chem/bio attack, the government keeps all those under lock and key.
Yeah, thats how the defense industry works, its all basically civilian electronics mostly, then you stamp " defense " on it, and it ends up costing way more than its worth.

Yeah, I don't think its a gubberment thing, its probably a corporate thing. There are plenty of military grade gasks masks and what not you can buy.

Tho if you are very concerend around that, look around on ebay for something similar from Russia, quite a bit of bio/chem proof Russian gear is floating around, and the prices aren't bad.
 

lostngone

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Good question.

They scrap perfectly good FA-14 fuselages and surplus tanks and artillery rather then sell them to the public.

Before the liberals here complain... It isn't illegal for a civilian to own a de-milled tank or plane.
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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Good question.

They scrap perfectly good FA-14 fuselages and surplus tanks and artillery rather then sell them to the public.

Before the liberals here complain... It isn't illegal for a civilian to own a de-milled tank or plane.
It worked for Arnold. That silly contest ended a while ago.
 

thekev

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??? I don't get it? Fill me in?
You mentioned it not being illegal to own a tank. It just reminded me of that link, which is extremely silly. I actually don't think "the liberals" would get outraged over others owning a tank. It's unlikely that they could purchase one capable of firing without a large amount of paperwork.
 

Hugh

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Feb 9, 2003
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I know this isn't equipment but, here in Erie at army surplus store. You can buy a complete uniform without patches, I have some pants.


Hugh
 

vrDrew

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There are several reasons.

One of which is that the vendor probably developed these special hydration packs under a Dept. of Defense RFQ that specifically prevents them from selling the end product to civilian customers or foreign governments. Simple standard DOD purchasing boilerplate.

Why does the DOD put it in there? Sometimes the purchasing agency may fund some or all of the development cost, and doesn't want other organizations getting a free ride.

Secondly, it makes it simpler for Camelback to split its business units into different groups serving Government; commercial; retail; and consumer. These different groups may have distinctly different margins, sales targets, and terms of sale.

Lastly, the Government/Military units may have different safety rules and standards than civilian products. The chemical weapon-proof coating, for instance, may not be certified as safe by the FDA. Or it may require special handling or care that ordinary folks can't be expected to follow.
 

SLC Flyfishing

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There are several reasons.

One of which is that the vendor probably developed these special hydration packs under a Dept. of Defense RFQ that specifically prevents them from selling the end product to civilian customers or foreign governments. Simple standard DOD purchasing boilerplate.

Why does the DOD put it in there? Sometimes the purchasing agency may fund some or all of the development cost, and doesn't want other organizations getting a free ride.

Secondly, it makes it simpler for Camelback to split its business units into different groups serving Government; commercial; retail; and consumer. These different groups may have distinctly different margins, sales targets, and terms of sale.

Lastly, the Government/Military units may have different safety rules and standards than civilian products. The chemical weapon-proof coating, for instance, may not be certified as safe by the FDA. Or it may require special handling or care that ordinary folks can't be expected to follow.
All good reasons, but then it begs the question; why even advertise it on their site?
 

hulugu

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Aug 13, 2003
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There are several reasons.

One of which is that the vendor probably developed these special hydration packs under a Dept. of Defense RFQ that specifically prevents them from selling the end product to civilian customers or foreign governments. Simple standard DOD purchasing boilerplate.

Why does the DOD put it in there? Sometimes the purchasing agency may fund some or all of the development cost, and doesn't want other organizations getting a free ride.

Secondly, it makes it simpler for Camelback to split its business units into different groups serving Government; commercial; retail; and consumer. These different groups may have distinctly different margins, sales targets, and terms of sale.

Lastly, the Government/Military units may have different safety rules and standards than civilian products. The chemical weapon-proof coating, for instance, may not be certified as safe by the FDA. Or it may require special handling or care that ordinary folks can't be expected to follow.
Exactly.
 

noisycats

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Jun 1, 2010
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All good reasons, but then it begs the question; why even advertise it on their site?
That is an excellent question and to me takes the onus off the government and back to the Camelback Corporation. Perhaps it's easier/cheaper to advertise all their products on one website versus establishing a separate mil only website?

I truly can't see Camelback being required by the government to advertise these products and then having to declare "but you can't buy them." This is, IMO, camelback' decision...for whatever "personal" reason.
 

G51989

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They scrap perfectly good FA-14 fuselages and surplus tanks and artillery rather then sell them to the public.
There is actually a very good reason for that at this point in time.

While the F14 has been retired, it has not been retired for that long.

If we discount Newer Russian and EU fighters. The materials, electronics, airframes and a couple other nifty things about these planes, are still beyond the reach of lots of wannabe powers, or 3rd world countries without US or Russian support. Even China can't build an airframe as good.

They would rather these planes be destroyed.
 

lostngone

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There is actually a very good reason for that at this point in time.

While the F14 has been retired, it has not been retired for that long.

If we discount Newer Russian and EU fighters. The materials, electronics, airframes and a couple other nifty things about these planes, are still beyond the reach of lots of wannabe powers, or 3rd world countries without US or Russian support. Even China can't build an airframe as good.

They would rather these planes be destroyed.
If countries like Iran have them I doubt it would be to hard for China to get a couple. Besides it wouldn't be to hard to cut them or make them even more non-airworthy.
 

VulchR

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@OP: If you are prepping for a disaster that include biological or chemical warfare, you'll probably find the troops are in as much trouble as you are, special gizmo's notwithstanding.

In any case, there might be proprietary technology developed with DoD money that Camelbak cannot share. Quite apart from anything I suspect that there is some concern about violent extremists impersonating law enforcement or the military. They probably advertise these products anyway because many of their customers are employed by the police or military....
 

vrDrew

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that would be my guess as well. but why not keep them entirely under-wraps then?
CamelBak got into the the military/law enforcement business as something of an afterthought. I remember quite well this NY Times article from 2003 on the increased demand for hi-tech hydration gear at the beginning of the Iraq War.

'''There was no bolt of strategic insight that said we needed to be in the military market. But we were selling to military exchange stores, and we started seeing a rise in sales. Originally we thought, well, there must be a lot of athletes in the military market.

''But we discovered that special forces were taking our basic black model and sneaking it into their equipment,'' he said. ''Once we looked closer, we realized they were using it for active missions. Only then did we begin to address the military's needs.''
Getting back to why some products aren't sold to civilians, yet remain visible on the website is an interesting question.

Part of it is that by making some products "for Military/LEO Use Only" heightens the desirability of the product. It gives it an exclusivity factor. And some military/LEO people enjoy being able to buy stuff through the PX that is "exclusive" - even though they may never take it on an actual mission.

Part of the decision is what they call the "Halo Effect" - ordinary civilians seeing all this cool hi-tech stuff they sell to the Special Forces, figure that some of that hi-tech coolness rubs off onto the gear they can buy. (Although in reality most of the technology moved in the opposite direction.)

Big Picture: I think CamelBak is part of an overall much better understanding of human physiology. Previous generations of both athletes and soldiers prided themselves on their ability to go without water. Resulting in probably tens of thousands of cases of unnecessary dehydration.

Does it both me that I can't buy a WMD-proof CamelBak hydration system? Not in the slightest.