I recently went to the Mountain View Surplus Store for some rain gear. The manager told me that the store had been in Mountain View since the 1950s and that the original store was one of those dome-shaped metal buildings and that when it was a hot day, the employees would have to go outside occasionally and “hose the building off to keep it cool on the inside.” Thankfully, those days are over and the rounded metal buildings are only at Moffett Field, where they belong. This particular store has always intrigued me because of the unusual selection of merchandise. You can certainly find all different kinds of camouflage clothing, even a few in pink and leopard print and Gortex, rain gear, work boots, and a wide selection of knives, but did you know that they have camping and backpacking equipment? I love camping so the first thing I spotted in the camping aisle was the marsh-mellow roasting sticks! I had never noticed that they have so many different styles of sleeping bags and tents before. They also carry dehydrated backpacking food—everything from lasagna to scrambled eggs. And I found some old-fashioned Long Johns. You know the kind that you wore when you were a kid, not the fancy synthetic ones that you normally see today—but the real ones . That’s what I like—old school camping gear.
The manager pointed out that his ski wear area was always busy at this time of year and that they have the biggest selection of hats in all of Mountain View. They offer the hats year round, instead of just during the winter. And I like that they sell rain barrels. There’s one on display on the sidewalk in the front of the store. That seems appropriate considering our weather right now.
The military items that the Mountain View Surplus Store carries are all official and used by our military. Military personnel come into the store to add to what they have already been issued. Often they get orders for deployment on short notice and they might need something faster than they could get it from Moffett Field. The original store in the 1950s sold surplus military items from WWII, but today the store carries both current and vintage items for many different military branches. They purchase their merchandise from the same manufacturers that the military buys from.
I’ll admit it… the first purchase I ever made at this store was many years ago. I bought an old green Ammo Box to use as a lunch box. I was tired of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich getting smashed in the employee refrigerator at my job and a small Ammo box was the perfect solution. I have fond memories of that old lunchbox and I’m happy that this store is still in Mountain View.