Online stores selling Army and Navy surplus goods such as ArmyNavySales.com claim that most goods sold come directly from the U.S. military. Customers can check if these claims are true by contacting the store by email or phone. Some military surplus items bought online, such as clothing and gear, often have a lingering odor known as the military surplus smell, which is a musty odor caused by goods remaining in storage for long periods of time.
The U.S.military has a large inventory of goods on hand that it no longer needs. One way it sheds itself of these unwanted items is to sell the items to entrepreneurial individuals who, in turn, resell the items to military surplus stores. A lot of items sold at online surplus stores are genuine, but some online retailers sell replicas of original military items, and it's difficult for customers to tell a replica from the genuine article. Customers can contact the store and ask where it buys military surplus goods, and also inquire whether or not the store has proof of authenticity.
T-shirts and hats emblazoned with the name of a military service branch are popular items sold at online military surplus stores. Authentic military gear such as tents and MRE heaters are also available for purchase.