M51 ECW Parka and Hood mods

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by Seeker, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Have been looking for a wind shell for a few years, and am not a big fan of a synthetic outer layer for hunting due to the noise something like a US Army Goretex jacket and pants makes. Couldn't find an affordable "Night Camo" parka with the right size liner, which was my ideal thought. Found a parka for cheap (summer discount) at a local surplus dealer (who wears this in the Army in Louisiana anyway?), and won a hood in a GAW a few years back.

    For those who don't know, the hood is now fake-fur (used to be real) trimmed with a cotton/poly blend outer shell that sheds wind and snow really well (rain not so much), has a couple drawstrings to adjust it to the size of your own noggin, is wool lined, buttons to either the M51 ECW Parka or the M65 field jacket, and is designed to fit over a helmet. For those who know what a "snorkel coat" is, it creates a tunnel in front of your face that keeps the wind out, but fits like a 19th century poke bonnet. There's a flap that wraps around your neck under your chin and it velcroes off to the side.

    The hood is warm as toast, and despite the fact that I live in LA, there have been some days when I've worn every piece of clothing I could muster and still been cold while hunting. So I like the hood. But since there is no blowing snow and I don't need a helmet (unless the doctor says I have to wear it), it's too much. SO I removed the fur ruff/trim, cut another 2" or so off the edge (to include the velcro bits), and then removed another half inch of the INNER fabric, up to the seam where I wanted it. I then folded the OUTER layer over and sewed it shut, effectively creating a new hemline and making the hood much more functional for me. Sadly, there's only so much you can do, and the height of the hood, due to it's ability to contain a helmet, means it's still too big. But it's now good enough. Here's a closeup of the seam I just mentioned. You can see the outer fabric, the wool lining, and the outermost drawstring. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
    IMAG1078.jpg

    So now let's talk about the Parka. All it is is a windproof shell made of poly/cotton with some features. At the top, you can button the ECW hood to it, or not. The liner is the same material as the field jacket liner, but about 4" longer, so it covers your butt and thighs. It's amazing how much warmer you are with just that extra covering. The "Fishtail" part is what you can see below. The parka is made to either snap up, shortening that back part by about 4", or let down, adding the 4" to your leg protection. There are two drawstrings. There's a normal one at the waist, but you'll notice that lower drawstring is made in two parts... one goes in each direction half way around from back to front. That way, you can lower the fishtail and tie it (and it's mate on the front of the shell) to each leg, which prevents the wind from blowing up inside and further adding protection to the large leg muscles... Again, offers an amazing amount of warmth for what it is. IMAG1073.jpg

    I don't need all that, either here in LA or up in NY when I canoe in the Summer or Fall. But what I do need is a place to sit, and I hate having to carry a sit pad and get it out of my pack, or move it around, or whatever, especially when I'm trying to be sneaky and stealthy with some deer or squirrels. So there's my sit pad, roughly 14x10, iirc. IMAG1074.jpg

    And here are the corners marked IMAG1075.jpg

    And here are two pieces of white 3/4" elastic (Walmart didn't have black, so you work with what's available), laid out. Notice how I laid them out... the pad will sit on the bottom seams, be held in on the sides, and slip out of the top. IMAG1076.jpg

    And here it is done. IMAG1077.jpg

    The ECW parka (unlike the Night Camo Parka) has pockets. These too are blanket lined like the hood, and therefore bulky (they're made to put your hands in when you don't have gloves/mittens). Again, I don't need that here in LA or 3-season NY. So I simply cut them out but left the pocket flaps in place... I may sew them down later, closing up the holes, but for now I'll leave them alone. I don't anticipate wearing the liner all that often. Mostly I was after a wind smock. But they do allow me to access my own pockets a tad more easily.

    At some point, I may add patch pockets for an Altoid tin, but upon considering the idea, I'm going to drop it for now. I would normally be wearing a USGI wool field shirt (with two wonderful breast pockets) as part of my laying system under the parka anyway, so they'd be redundant. We'll see.

    Hope you enjoyed. Holler if you have questions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  2. bobs1415

    bobs1415 Supporter Supporter

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    That's darned clever! Good for you.
     
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  3. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nicely done!
     
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  4. Broke

    Broke Back yard bushcrafter Supporter

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    Nicely done! I would add a top strap or keeper to the sit pad though, thinking it will work it was out as you walk.
    Adam G
     
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  5. Strngwlkr

    Strngwlkr Supporter Supporter

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    Dang clever. I had toyed with the idea of using something like "Flexseal" painted on the outside to act as moisture barrier..
     
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  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'll keep you all posted.

    Another idea I had was to install 2 grommets in the pad's upper corners, tie a piece of narrow elastic to each grommet, install a male snap on the end of each elastic, and put two female snaps in the coat... that way it would just hang in place.
     
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  7. Broke

    Broke Back yard bushcrafter Supporter

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    That would work well. I am just thinking about how your shirt will come untucked, things tend to work up and out as an action of walking.
     
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  8. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm hoping the pad should settle in place of it's own weight. But if not, an extra elastic sewn top to bottom would be no issue to install.
     
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  9. Holmesmade

    Holmesmade Guide

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    A few inches of Velcro and some double stick tape should get you the security you need and minimize bulky overlap with other materials.

    Nice mods!
     
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