There's a phrase soldiers use to describe equipment they've bought themselves to augment what the army gives them.
They call it Gucci gear, after the luxury fashion designer.
For Canadian troops deployed in Latvia, those private purchases have been decidedly more practical than luxurious — given the fact that they're taking part in more live fire training exercises meant to deter Russia from setting foot in the Baltic country.
They've been buying their own modern ballistic helmets equipped with built-in hearing protection that doubles as a headset. They've also personally purchased rain gear and vests and belts to carry water and ammunition. And the number of complaints about the ill-fitting body armour issued to female soldiers has been growing.
These purchases — usually made through online retailers — involve brand-name tactical gear or weapon accessories that make soldiers' existing gear more personal or more comfortable to wear.