Reenactors, participants in living history events, as well as movies, television productions, and others have generated a sizeable market for reproduction military uniforms and equipment. As the years go by and the supply of original items slowly ebbs away, quality reproductions are more and more the ideal alternative.
Good quality reproductions of military clothing and gear add authenticity to reenactments of historical military events. This photo is the real thing: 2nd Battalion, 86th Mountain Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, U.S. Fifth Army on a road into the Po Valley, Badia area, Italy, 19 April 1945.
The great interest in military clothing and gear, especially for American items from the World War II era, has created an industry specializing in reproductions. In some cases these are just cheap copies made as low-cost alternatives to genuine surplus or original items of militaria. It is usually easy to distinguish these undesirable copies from original gear since they use light weight materials (not heavy, military grade), are made in colors that do not match original specs, and do not have markings similar to the originals.
But, there are also a growing number of companies who are making a business out of well-made exact reproductions. They have studied the materials, dye colors, markings/labels, and manufacturing techniques of the originals and their reproductions are superb. Re-enactment Living History groups who take great pride in the degree to which they can precisely represent the original events in look and feel are very impressed with these top quality reproductions and are willing to pay the higher prices for the original-matching quality.
Here are links to a sample of some of the names in original militaria or reproduction clothing and gear. For hundreds of others, use your search engine, visit Olive-Drab.com's advertisers and the extensive list of surplus dealers in the Olive-Drab.com Supplier database.
There are many fine websites that have additional information on this
topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go.
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