Of all the best military surplus you can get, a military canteen is one of the most unique. No other fluid container is like a
military canteen — it was made specifically to suit the needs of soldier’s on the battlefield — and no other container has been field tested for you like it has.
The word “canteen” originally was used for a place to get refreshed, but it came to be used to describe a container for holding water in the 1800s. The military canteen used by soldiers in World War I had a pretty basic design. They held one quart and were made from metal — either tin-plated steel, steel alone, or aluminum. This canteen was covered with canvas for insulation and protection (sometimes small leaks would occur from denting the canteen). The canteen would somehow attach to a belt or carrying bag. This early military canteen also included a cup that fitted around the body of the container. It wasn’t that soldiers had a problem with drinking straight from the canteen, but the cup could be used to prepare coffee, soup, or some other form of sustenance.
The military canteen was later made with plastic — either polyethylene or polycarbonate — for greater durability. This newer way to produce the canteen also makes it lighter. This canteen is made to fit with the ALICE pack and MOLLE pack equipment-carrying systems, and it comes with a digital camo cover.
The military canteen has not changed much in the past century. However, its use among soldiers has decreased rapidly in the past 15 years due to the advent of the hydration pack. With this new way to carry water, soldiers can re-hydrate themselves with less hassle, and they can more easily carry a larger capacity of water. But don’t let that stop you from getting this great military surplus item. The military canteen is still great for staying hydrated during an outdoor activity or while on-the-go.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.