TFB Visits Varusteleka Finland – Europe's Largest Army & Outdoor Shop

Eric B
by Eric B
TFB Visits Varusteleka Finland – with a bang!

TFB Visits Varusteleka Finland – Europe’s Largest Army, Surplus & Outdoor Shop (according to them). Go to Suomi (Finland) they said. It will be fun, they said. Well, there I was in the middle of the Winter. Of course, it snowed, and it was freezing cold. Luckily I got a ride from a local friend in a posh car, with four-wheel drive and heated seats.

Finland @ TFB:

The good news is that I’m going here to visit Varusteleka (pronounced along the lines of [Where’s the liquor?]), which is an internationally famous army and outdoor store. Luckily they have a new and modern walk-in store in Helsinki. I suspect that many of TFB’s readers also have at least visited their online store, and perhaps bought some fun items? They do carry the strangest surplus items from time to time.

The parking signs are different here

We are here! Let’s go inside and check the place out.

TFB was here!

Varusteleka was founded in 2003, which means that the year 2023 is their 20th anniversary! Over the years they have grown to become the leading Military & Outdoor specialist in Europe, serving consumers and professionals on a global level. They employ no less than 75 people in their headquarters and flagship store in Helsinki, Finland.

Welcome to Varusteleka!

The company is privately owned by the founder and the management team, and the estimated turnover in 2022 is over 22 million euros (about 24 million USD). In 2018 the turnover was 13 million euros, so there’s quite some growth despite (or thanks to) Covid.

At Varusteleka you’ll find thousands of interesting items, and they spend a lot of time of describing them accurately, and sometimes in a very fun and honest way.

Over the years based on their experience of what their customers wanted, they have created their own brands: Särmä, Särmä TST, Terävä and Jämä. These brands stand for almost 50% of their sales. About 40% of the sales come from supplied brands like Savotta, Salomon, Hesco, Peltor and similar. The rest of the sales come from traditional old military surplus, products that once were the foundation of the company.

Below: Varusteleka recently published the big sellers from 2022. It may give you some hints if you go shopping.

About 35% of their turnover comes from the international market, with the largest and most significant market being the United States, which stands for a 14% share of Varusteleka’s sales.

In total, they delivered to customers in 98 countries, and my guide made it very clear to me that they do not export anything to Russia.

As you probably can see, I visited the store around Christmas time (2022).

A painting on the wall makes the stairs so much more interesting. I’m pretty sure there’s a company sauna in here as well.

If you haven’t seen the movie Iron Sky perhaps you should (Hitler rides a dinosaur in it!). At least then you could recognize that Varusteleka had a part in the movie. There are a few hints in the picture below.

In the movie Iron Sky, the Nazis set up a secret base on the Dark side of the Moon in 1945, where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018. I think it’s safe to say that the movie is pure fiction.

I also got a guided tour behind the official and public store, where all the online orders are handled in a very efficient way.

I’ve used Varusteleka’s online shop for anything from small patches to larger items (some may be restricted for export, unfortunately), but I always got fast and reliable service and shipping.

They also carry their own brand of jeans, with a cool logotype.

The bathrooms are very individual, and all worth a visit even if you don’t have to go.

Varusteleka also carry Peltor and various optics.

The special edition of Mechanix The Original gloves with the Finnish M05 camo! You will only find them here!

Looking for a backpack? Varusteleka has a huge selection.

Varusteleka also carry a large range of tactical vests and plate carriers.

Looking for winter camo? Finland seems to be the right place for it!

Note the Maxim machine gun again.

A look behind the scenes, where the R&D department is designing new products.

A plate carrier with a hand warmer! Such a good idea.

The Särmä TST carriers.

Guns for product photography.

A Suomi KP/-31

Looks like it’s been deactivated, what a shame!

Most of these weapons are for photo and marketing purposes and therefore are airsoft or deactivated firearms. Varusteleka do not sell any of these firearms or dummies.

More images from the off-limits warehouse.

The Firearm Blog was here!

If you like patches they have them! “no step on snek” or “Älä Perkele Polje” in Finnish.

The United States has a Space Force, so does Finland! Soon, at least.

Until then, you can buy this patch, and become a Sisunaut.

Got helmets? Yes, they do.

To Level III or IV, that is the question. Note that there may be export restrictions on some items.

The bar isn’t large, but the inventory is more than enough for a party.

Fortunately, there is a lot to see on the walls inside the bar. This is probably the coziest bar ever, and I had to go to Finland to find it!

Do you know of a similar (public) place? If so please let us know in the comments below.

Probably the best beer in the world? No Tyrants Hazy IPA

Note the year (2022) of the photo at the bottom left. Varusteleka has an FAQ: Ukraine here.

A Thompson wall hanger. I couldn’t find the axe, so I was a bit worried.

Some body armor plates, memorabilia and a few vodkas. This is an incredible place! I’m sure they’ll appreciate it if you bring something fun to the collection.

Level IV protection like these isn’t easy to come by in times like these. Hopefully we can try these plates with a suitable carrier sometime soon.

Varusteleka endorses practical shooting during winter and snow – and in the sun of course!

Finnish Brutality is a 2-gun action match that Varusteleka has been organizing together with InRange TV since 2018. The Brutality matches test the contestants’ physical fitness and marksmanship in the form of various stages.

Check it out here:

Varusteleka Finland

As we walked around the shop, my guide showed me a hoodie, the Särmä Merino Wool Hoodie. At first, I wasn’t too keen, but once I tried it I didn’t want to take it off. Needless to say, I brought one with me, and it’s now my favorite garment and I’m rarely seen without it. Girls say I look slimmer, and it keeps me warm and cool at the same time. What’s not to like? You can find the hoodie here.

You might want to check out their Skrama (and other) knives as well. However, Varusteleka do not sell any firearms or ammunition.

If you ever want to visit the Varusteleka shop, and you should, the address is Hankasuontie 11 A, 00390 Helsinki, Finland. A few times per year they throw BBQ parties here, so I may have to go again…

Would I recommend a visit? For sure, yes. After (or during) shopping, make sure you spend some time in their wonderful bar. There are also several similar shops in the vicinity, like Varuste and 5.11 Tactical Finland. You also have a shooting range (with a sauna) called Gunpoint around the corner, but make sure you make a reservation first.

You can find their online store here:

Eric B
Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6x6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.

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