ECWCS Fleece jackets

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by wizard, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Anyone use the military ECWCS black fleece jacket, Gen II? Bascially it is the same as The North Face Denali jacket without the $200 pricetag.

    I am more of a wool person than a synthetic fleece user but I do like the fleece for a mid layer on really cold outings and I like fleece as an around town jacket on a cold day.

    You can still find the 300 weight Polartec fleece jackets around for about $25 in excellent condition. New ones will be about $40. The military has gone over to Gen III and a different cold weather system and the 300 Polartec fleece has been discontinued. Great buy for those that like a synthetic fleece.

    I like the inner pockets, pit zips and velcro cuffs. The jacket is in some ways more versatile than a wool sweater. Just stay away from that campfire if you're using it as an outer layer.
     
  2. tim martin

    tim martin Tracker

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  3. Galen

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    I actually have both. I've used the Denali Jacket for almost 15 years and picked up the Gen II ECWCS fleece at an Army/Navy Surplus store about a year ago for$20 . To be honest, I think the ECWCS is actually nicer. It's got a taller collar and I think the Polartec fleece is much nicer than on my Denali (although to be fair my denali is almost 15 years old and has seen a lot of use.) Plus the ECWCS was made in the USA!! All in all I think it is a much better buy IMHO.
     
  4. Pawoodsman

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    I have the ECWCS one and it's great I haven't needed to where it with the parka yet not cold enough .
     
  5. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    I have a Denali also and I like the ECWCS better too. I like the adjustable cuffs, the inside pockets and the overall cleaner look than the Denali jacket. The Denali has the 2 upper chest pockets that are nice but they detract from the clean look. I could buy 8 ECWCS Gen II jackets for the retail price of a Denali.

    You can find the Denali's on sale, sometimes under $100, which is good. I still prefer the made in the USA ECWCS GenII though.

    The Duluth fleece looks good, not sure of the thickness of the fleece compared to the Denali and ECWCS, which use Polartec 300 weight. There are no ventilating pit zips on the Duluth either and that is a very useful feature for hiking and doing strenuous activity with the jacket on. It keeps me from overheating. I like to have pit zips on both the fleece jackets and outer shell jackets, like my Marmot Pre-Cip or my ECWCS Gore-tex parka.
     
  6. BabasBear

    BabasBear Guest

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    Tim, I have the Shoremans fleece, it is one of the best I have owned. Worth the money in my opinion.
     
  7. BushMetal

    BushMetal Banned Member Banned

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    300wt black mil one here

    love it bought some for the family
     
  8. winterlover

    winterlover Supporter Supporter

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    I like the gen1 "Bear Suit" jacket myself, very bulky but WARM!
     
  9. Farmboy

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    Just got the ECWS GenII jacket a couple weeks ago, heavyweight, warm, BUT the wind blasted through it like it wasn't there. Maybe it was just mine, but it definitely needs a windbreaker over it. By the way I got mine for $20 plus $10 flat shipping. Came in like-new condition.

    -Farm.
     
  10. Yellow Lab

    Yellow Lab Guide Bushclass I

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    Great jacket. I was issued this a few years ago and really like it.
     
  11. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Got one and love it
     
  12. Leif

    Leif Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I am using one zipped into my ecwcs parka. Working like a charm, and its below 0 tonight.
     
  13. Mattexian

    Mattexian Scout

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    I've got one of the Gen1 "brown bear" liner jackets that as was mentioned earlier, ain't worth crap if the wind's blowing and you don't have the parka shell over it. Instead of the Gen2, I've got a Condor Alpha fleece jacket, that I love for the handy pockets and sleeve Velcro patches for showing off my morale patches (since I'm not in anymore).

    Matt in Tx
     
  14. Howie

    Howie Guide Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    have about 10 or so. one of my favorite clothing items for the mountains to school. durable, light, dries quick. [​IMG]
     
  15. Farmboy

    Farmboy Scout

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    So they do need a "hard shell" over them to keep the wind out, or am I just being cold-blooded?

    -Farm.
     
  16. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    I never go out to the bush without a good shell and yes, the standard Polartec fleece is not windproof. The objective is to have it breathe, which it does alright, though not as well as a wool sweater.

    The main thing for me is usefulness for the money and at around $25 it is hard to get anything that warm and well made in any material. Sure, I have better jackets and sweaters and shirts but they all cost quite a lot more. As I said in the first post, I am more of a wool person and prefer natural fabrics mostly. The fleece does have a place and it works well as a mid-layer item or as an outer jacket on many occasions. Still, the motivator for me was the price vs. some alternatives. They are starting to thin out at places like ebay, since they are no longer issued or made, there is a supply out there and it is selling out pretty quickly.

    A good time to pick one up is now, if you are interested. :1:
     
  17. ThomasA

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    If you think the ECWCS fleece is equal to a north face, more power to ya. I hate the ECWCS. It doesnt cut wind for sh*t and it's bulky and too stretchy. It doesn't pack small either. I love that it's the ONLY option I have for a jacket other than the goretex shell, which is the complete opposite. Cuts wind, but sweats you to death.
     
  18. ThomasA

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  19. captainamer

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    ECWCS fleece is not designed to stop wind or be worn as an outter layer. Nor was the brown gen 1 Buffalo. These are designed as a insulating layer is what they told me in the marines during cold weather training and have proven this to myself repeatedly whike taking the dogs outside and i through one on no matter who made it, they are not a wind stopping jacket. :thumbup:

    If you want a wind proof jacket then just get one.

    Just my 2 cents

    :beer:
     
  20. POGEYBAIT

    POGEYBAIT Scout

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    The ECWS fleece is a great jacket, but the north face jackets are finished better. I've owned several of each and wear them all the time. You can't beat the ECWS for the money.
     
  21. redneck17

    redneck17 Guide Bushclass I

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    wearing one right now. I actually like it pretty good. pair it up with the ECWS parka and you will be plenty warm and dry in some pretty cold stuff. as a stand alone, it works good in milder weather(say down to about 10 degrees for short periods). very comfortable too. construction is a little weaker than Id like, but for off duty stuff, i have the older generation fleece(the black one). that one is built heavier and thicker. good choice either way.
     
  22. cgeb

    cgeb Tracker

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    I wear the ECWS just about everyday in the winter. I buy them new and logo them for my business. I don't think there is a beter value out there in fleece. I would be lost in a fleece without pit zips. I can be in the car one minute then working in a home with no heat the next. I love the zip to regulate my heat so I don't sweat to much.
     
  23. pedro

    pedro Scout

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    I love my ECWCS fleece. Cheap, durable insulation layer. Throw a windbreaker over it and I'm good to go.
     
  24. Vipers

    Vipers Tracker

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    When first introduced they weren't even authorized for external wear in the Army... although I hadn't been issued one yet at that point. When a 4 star starts being seen regularly wearing his an outer layer things change though. ;)
     
  25. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Actually, other options in GEN III to deal with the designed characteristic of level 3 fleece to allow easy passage of wind/breathability are the Wind jacket (Level 4) and Soft Shell (Level 5) - both of which are wind-resistant and water repellent (not proof).
     
  26. injun51

    injun51 Supporter Supporter

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    Bought 5 at $9 bucks and change per jacket the last time our local surplus store had them. Excellent jacket, especially for the price.
     
  27. Nightflyer

    Nightflyer Scout

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    I have a Triple Aught Design Ranger Hoodie, that is just fantastic. Wind proof, water resistant, and really warm. I can wear a long sleeve cotton tee, and a flannel shirt under it and I am good to go down to around the 20-25 degree range. Last week when temps here were at single digits or lower, I wore it under a GenIII Level 7 Helikon-Tex jacket and never even felt like I was outdoors. I like the Ranger hoodie so much that I have two. One that is a "next to skin" fit and one I bought up a size to layer under. Just a great polar tech fleece hoodie packed with features.
     
  28. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    The ECWCS, in all three versions, includes a highly wind-resistant outer shell. In Gen I and II, it was, unfortunately GORE-TEX, which breaths very little under the best of circumstances and not at all when covered with water of when really cold.

    For over ten years, Gen III, designed by civilians who have expertise in outdoor/trekking/mountaineering gear, has confronted the reality that "waterproof-breathable" isn't and has focused on the ability to deal with perspiration quickly which sharply reducing the weight and bulk of the garments as compared to Gen I and Gen II.

    Gen III, now in it's fourth version, uses the materials advertised by the "big name" companies as on the cutting edge., including Polar fleces and Coolmax. Gen II includes the wind-resistant layers ILevels 4, 5 and 7) and one waterproof and therefore wind-resistant) layer (Level 6) of GORE-TEX. The last seems a gesture to the widely-held belief that GORE-TEX is the gold standard, and is intended for sedentary use where sweat is minimal. (Think, "ID, please."). The customers like it.

    The following are some of the companies who have made items for ECWCS: Patagonia, Wild Things, Sierra Designs, Beyond, ORC, Outdoor Research, Black Hawk, Halys, Propper, AustriAlpin, Insport, Steps, Inc.,

    No doubt there is better - at some price point and added burden in maintenance.

    http://soldiersystems.net/2012/01/26/pcu-block-2-preview/
     
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  29. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Adventures in fleecing - or attempted fleecing.

    Kel-Lac Uniforms, Inc. sells a fleece jacket as Level 3 of ECWCS Gen III. It is not even close to the features of that garment, lacking for example the nylon reinforcement for the neck, shoulders, and lower arms (AKA "elbows") The text says they are there (part of USGI description) but none of the four pictures show any of them. Maker Rothco is not a maker of Gen III garments but makes replicas (AKA "knock-offs" and "counterfeits"). Mystery fabric - does not say it is Polartech Thermal Pro, as is required for real Gen III Level 3, but calls it "POLAR FLEECE." Mystery country of origin. MANY OTHER SELLER s (e.g. Armyuniverse) RUN THIS SCAM. WATCH FOR ROTHCO LABEL.

    I bought a new ECXCS Gen III Level 3 fleece from eBay seller "armyforu." Turnss out that seller is a drop seller, did not in fact have 8 in stock, and "cancelled" the order due to a "problem" with my PayPal verified, 23-year-old correct address. Can you spell "L I A R"?

    Speaking of ECWCS:
    MidwayUSA is selling what is claims is the polyester Level 1 "silk weight" shirt made os polyester and containing VisaEndurance. In fact, the shirt's label says it contains NO polyester (acrylic instead) and doe snot mention VisaEndurance. MidwayUSA was informed and has not changed its inaccurate description.
     
  30. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    ThermalPro pile is a revelation It's like the original Helly-Hansen pile but better. Better in all ways, lighter, warmer, dries faster, washes more easily and holds less water and it retails for around $35- a running yard, even at $200- a surplus jacket is a bargain
    That is exactly my problem with them, jackets and I prefer pull-overs and I've yet to see a Marines version in my size
    PM coming your way TAHAWK
     
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  31. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Might look at Gear Deals for post on clearance of SPEAR fleece jacket.

    ED: This was the Gen II fleece jacket that replaced the pile ("bear") jacket of Gen I. It's 300 wt Polarfleece. Insulation layer to be worn under wind-resistant ;layer if wind is an issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018 at 12:13 AM
  32. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Scout

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    I had a SPEAR fleece for a few years and it was OK. Worthless in a slight breeze but a decent insulator if worn under a windproof outer layer.

    Last year I bought a USMC grid fleece "waffle top" half-zip pullover. Again, it needs a windproof outer shell, but it is tremendously warm for its weight. Makes a great base or mid layer.

    More recently, I bought a Duluth Shoreman's Fleece jacket. It's hands-down the best fleece jacket I've ever had. It has a windproof membrane sandwiched between two layers of fleece so provides some wind protection. If I layer a hoody underneath I'm good down into the teens as long as it isn't very windy. It's great under a windproof smock. (FWIW, I tried on the hooded version but thought the hood was too small.)

    One thing I wish fleece jackets had nowadays is a satin lining for the upper half and sleeves, to make them easier to pull on over other layers. About 10 - 15 years ago I had a Columbia Titanium fleece jacket with that and it went on and came off much easier than any other fleece jacket I've owned. Haven't seen anything like that in years.
     
  33. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    And, as you probably know, the fleece layers have always been designed to breath, making them "useless" as an outer garment in wind. By the same token, Gore-Tex, one of the three ECWCS Gen III outer garments that resist wind, breaths poorly at best.


    The just replaced fleece layer in ECWCS Gen III, Block 1, has a nylon Suplex cover over the shoulder and lower arms, so great minds may think alike.
     
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  34. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Gen III Level 3 fleece has been superseded by Gen III Block 2 Level 3A or 3B - seem to be designed to be more useful as outer layer. So the genuine Level 3 fleeces will disappear. Good supply of the green Level 3s out there now, esp in Medium Regular length.
     
  35. Chris keating

    Chris keating Scout

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    I wear a midweight base , wool bush shirt spear gen II fleece and windshield at 0Degree f temps and I. Am hot I can probably lose 5he fleece or wool.. I need better gloves and gaiters, boots that work . Extremities are my. Issue atm...
     
  36. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Around here (NE OH) feet are almost always the issue - WET cold.
     
  37. themadindian

    themadindian Supporter Supporter

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  38. TAHAWK

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    Not a word indicatess it's the real hing or made of same quality materials. Several places selling genuine XL in the light green color.
     
  39. themadindian

    themadindian Supporter Supporter

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    in long as well? I've found quite a few that have XL but all the XL longs are sold out
     
  40. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Longs are a problem. And they will be no more made a explained above (post 34)
     
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  41. themadindian

    themadindian Supporter Supporter

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    yea I saw that, thats why when i saw this I was a little excited but with no mention of condition or authenticity I figured I'd ask here.
     
  42. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Majority for sale on line are knockoffs, including almost all sold by Amazon and all sold by Walmart.
     
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  43. cek

    cek Supporter Supporter

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    Was the older black fleece intended to somehow attach to the gen1/2 goretex jacket, like the m65 and liner did, snap,zip ? Or was it just intended to be 2 seperate pieces ? I have both and cant see how , im guessing 2 seperate not attached to each other.
     
  44. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Either Gen I or Gen II had a provision for the fleece insulation layer to zip inside the Gore-Tex outer layer. That went away 11 years ago with Gen III.
     
  45. cek

    cek Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks. I'll have to give it another look, it seemed like it should but I couldn't see it.
     
  46. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    All it takes is a matching zipper inside the outer layer.
     
  47. cek

    cek Supporter Supporter

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    I'm not at home right now but I think the zipper parts on mine were on the same sides, if that makes sense, so they wouldn't mate together.
     
  48. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    The outside zippers would be on the same sides. It's the second - inside - zipper on the outer layer that makes it work.
     
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  49. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Guide

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    Thanks for the info I well have to look into them. Prov 27 : 17
     
  50. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    video showing how zip-in liners work
     
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