Best Of 2005

BEST MILITARY SURPLUS STORE: Army Navy Surplus

Criterion No. 1 for a good Military Surplus store: It should be jam-packed with stuff. Army Navy Surplus, located on the fringe of downtown Tampa, takes this idea to the Nth degree. There is hardly an aisle you can walk down without rubbing up against merchandise, In fact, the large, dark space actually takes on a maze-like effect — certain corridors simply dead-end, forcing a customer to backtrack. Rack after rack, shelf after shelf holds untold varieties of military hats, shirts, shorts, sweaters, pants; tons of heavy-weather coats; cots, mess gear; the mother of all backpacks, called a GI A.L.I.C.E. (for $149.99). The place even has an astronaut suit for a hundred bucks (although you’d have to seriously upgrade this puppy before lift-off). The merchandise isn’t as cheap as you’d expect, but maybe you can bargain with the crusty owner. He looks like a tough negotiator, though. 1312 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-229-2712.