View Full Version : Gen II ECWCS parka

05-13-2006, 01:55 PM
I am looking for a new gore-tex shell and I was wondering how this gear compares to commercial offerings from Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, etc. I know that it will be a little heavier but will also probably be more abrasion resistant and durable. Anyone have one of these ECWCS parkas or experience with one versus another? They are also fairly pricey but I dont mind paying for top quality gear. Thanks for the help.

05-13-2006, 02:33 PM
Well, since this is the military forum, I'm willing to bet that just about everyone here has used them since they're issue gear.

It's a good piece of gear but I guess I'm not really sure exactly what you're asking.

05-13-2006, 02:48 PM
I have a Gen I parka and pants in woodland camo I'm thinking of selling since I also have an EMS Goretex parka with a liner I wear all during the colder weather. The EMS is lighter but probably less durable. Hard for me to tell since I am easy on clothing so things last me a long time. Since I retired I no longer need the ECWCS as a uniform and the EMS is more practical for me since the zip-out lining is also a fleece jacket. As I recall, the EMS listed at $450 though I didn't pay that, picking it up on sale as "last years model" about three years ago.

The major difference that I can see between the Gen I ECWCS and the Gen II is mine has no snaps around the hood and seems to be a slightly heavier fabric. Other than that, same pocket arrangement, same (excellent) hood and other details.

PM me if you are interested in buying it. The parka is medium-short, pants small-short. The cut is military generous and sized for lots of layered clothing. I'm 5'10" and lean, so it's quite roomy on me.

05-13-2006, 03:21 PM
Gen I ECWCS has a two-layer older gore-tex membrane with a floating nylon liner (to protect the inner side of the gore-tex membrane.

Gen II ECWCS has a three-layer newer gore-tex material that is tougher on the inside and doesn't require the extra hanging nylon liner.

05-13-2006, 04:58 PM
Gen I's hood doesn't roll up into a pocket either. That was the main difference I noticed with mine. But, it's got the snow collar which I don't remember from the Gen II.

05-13-2006, 05:16 PM
The differences between the Gen I and Gen II are the liner, hood and pockets.

05-13-2006, 05:27 PM
The Gen I actually had the 3layer gore fabric as well. The hung taffeta liner was just a waste and eliminated in Gen II.

05-13-2006, 06:11 PM
I thought the Gen I had standard gore-tex PTFE, and the Gen II had XCR. XCR was later re-sold to the military as "Best Defense" type PTFE.

The differences in gore-tex go from original PTFE, XCR, Pac-Lite...

Or have I misunderstood the whole Gore-tex thing and am just talking out my ass?

05-13-2006, 06:14 PM
PTFE- polytetrafluoroethylene

Gore-Tex™: The Gore-Tex® membrane was revolutionary because it was the first working synthetic-based apparel system really designed to form an effective barrier against wind and water while maintaining breathability. In the construction, the patented membrane is typically laminated to a nylon or polyester face fabric as a 2-ply laminate. An inner garment lining, either a mesh or taffeta, is required in a 2L construction. Otherwise, the exposed Gore-Tex membrane would be easily contaminated from the inside of the garment. 2 layer construction is chosen for alpine skiers because it is a quieter fabric, drapes better and is softer. The disadvantage is that 2 layer construction is usually heavier because of the required lining and slower to dry when wet. There is also a "3-ply laminate" that uses laminated hydrophilic lining layer to wick water into the fabric where it evaporates as body heat rises. That, combined with the fact that water molecules can never penetrate the outer layer, are what made this construction accepted worldwide as the leader in action sports apparel technology. Gore-Tex® 2 Layer Fabric is the brand name of the original product - now more than 20 years old - while Gore-Tex® 3 Layer Fabric is a more durable, higher abrasion resistant, slightly less breathable version intended for winter conditions, extended use, and alpine mountaineering.

From http://www.outdoorgearcare.com/glossary.htm

05-13-2006, 07:11 PM
countycomm has some good prices on Gen II parkas (woodland and black) or Gen I 3-colour desert:

05-14-2006, 01:46 AM
The Gen I was PFTE, I don't know about the Gen II being XCR. The difference is in the construction. Your post describes the difference between 2 layer and 3 layer laminates. The Gen I ECWCS was 3 layer, but added the liner like a 2 layer. BTW,most 2 layer garments seem to use a mesh liner, not taffeta.

05-14-2006, 04:00 AM
No, you're not catching me at all.

Generation I was 2-layer with a hung nylon liner (out of any material you want, mesh or nylon or taffeta).

Generation II was constructed of 3-layer with no liner... the new construction technique bonded the abrasion-resistant liner to the inside of the fabric, creating a PFTE "sandwich" with the gore-tex membrane fused between the other shell and the inner bonded nylon material of the jacket.

Gen I was NOT 3-layer gore-tex... it hadn't been invented yet when the Gen I parkas were issued.

05-14-2006, 02:41 PM
I guess that I wasn't specific enough in my question. What I am asking is how does the ECWCS gen II parka perform in comparison to say mountain hardwear's gore tex parkas in terms of water repellancy, breathability, etc. The ECWCS parkas are $300 plus new, whereas other gore tex mountaineering type parkas are available for much less. Can anyone compare the ECWCS gear to Marmot or other comparable brands? Thanks again.

05-14-2006, 02:59 PM
If you have a Gen I jacket(I'm looking at mine right now) look at the inside back where the upper and lower liners overlap. Pull them apart and you can see the fabric. What you see is the knit tricot layer("laminated hydrophilic lining layer") of the 3 layer fabric. If it was a 2 layer garment(like my old TNF Mountain Light jacket) you would see the bare Gore laminate(which is chalky white).
Your definition of the different applications states that a 2 layer garment REQUIRES a separate liner. Just because the Gen I has one, doesn't make it a 2 layer garment. I'm not trying to bust your balls, but the Gen I IS MOST CERTAINLY 3 layer.

05-14-2006, 03:34 PM
Comparing my genI parka with the EMS parka in terms of wind resistance, water repellency, and breathability, they are about the same. The ECWCS is a bit heavier fabric and has reinforcing patches on the elbows as well as larger hidden chest pockets. If you are going to put the parka to the type of abuse a soldier commonly will it's worth the money, particularly since you can find them used at substantially lower cost.

05-14-2006, 08:11 PM
By the way, I got my ECWCS for $40 on ebay and it's in better shape than the one I was issued.

05-14-2006, 11:25 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by duckhunter:
If you have a Gen I jacket(I'm looking at mine right now) look at the inside back where the upper and lower liners overlap. Pull them apart and you can see the fabric. What you see is the knit tricot layer("laminated hydrophilic lining layer") of the 3 layer fabric. If it was a 2 layer garment(like my old TNF Mountain Light jacket) you would see the bare Gore laminate(which is chalky white).
Your definition of the different applications states that a 2 layer garment REQUIRES a separate liner. Just because the Gen I has one, doesn't make it a 2 layer garment. I'm not trying to bust your balls, but the Gen I IS MOST CERTAINLY 3 layer. </div></div>I understand you're not busting my balls, but I got issued the first model of gore-tex Gen I when it was replacing the M65 field jacket. BTDT

3-layer gore-tex hadn't been invented at that time, period.

Now, the newer production models of the Gen I jacket (stuff produced within the last 10 years, maybe) will have a 3-layer laminate. Gore probably doesn't even make the 2-layer laminate anymore.

Take a look at the issue tag on your Gen I and see what the production date of that baby is.

05-15-2006, 01:43 AM
1991. Not invented yet? Riiight. 1991
BTW, why don't the Gen I trousers have the liner?

05-15-2006, 02:39 AM
Now you're busting my balls.

What is the production date of your "3-layer Gore-tex Generation I ECWCS" parka?

05-15-2006, 02:56 AM

05-15-2006, 01:21 PM
i have the gen 1 parka and am extremely happy with it. i like the liner; i think it makes it more comfortable and gives it better insulation so less clothing is required. i'm not positive, but i'm pretty sure it's 3-layer, same as the pants and the bivy, which i have both of, and are equally great. it is a little heavier, but thats because it's made to take a serious beating; if i wanted ultra-light weight, which i do, of course, i'd go with arc'teryx pac-lite. bottom line: great stuff.

i had one question though: what the hell are the buttons on the hood for?

05-15-2006, 02:57 PM
In April 1991 I got assigned to B Btry(Vulcan/Stinger) http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a281/briandunham/gore001.jpg 5/5 ADA (2ID,Korea). About 6 mos later my unit was issued the entire original ECWCS(polypros,brown bear suit,Goretex parka and trousers). I still have the jacket. This pic shows (on the left) the inside of the fabric under the taffeta lining. On the right is my Marmot 'Alpinist Climbing Jacket' made in 1995. The knit fabric(the 3rd 'ply',or layer) laminated to the inside of the Goretex fabric is identical,just different color. The trousers we were issued were the same fabric,only without the hung taffeta liner.
I think the snaps around the edge of the hood are for a separate fur collar, although when we were issued the stuff,we assumed that they were for a facemask.

05-15-2006, 05:24 PM
Yes, the snaps are for a synthetic fur ruff (I used to have one but never used it). Trouble is the fur is on the outside, where it isn't very useful. Along the inside of the hood the fur captures warm air around the face and pre-warms the air before you breathe.

The best parkas lined the hood with wolverine fur, that, because of its unique shape, doesn't frost. Other furs are so-so at best.

05-16-2006, 02:26 AM
I'm pretty sure there were ECWCS parkas out well before 1991...
-bill has never been out of his mammy's basement or done anything

05-16-2006, 02:31 AM
I would not have believed that 3-layer laminates were around in the early '90s. Nice photo.

I was in the AF reserves... we probably got our stuff after even the Boy Scouts got their ECWCS from the Army Navy store...

05-16-2006, 02:57 AM
How about an Orc Improved rainsuit in lieu of Gore Tex. My Orc parka seemed to work(the few times I tried it last winter) about as well my surplus Gore parka.


05-16-2006, 05:17 AM
I won't make jokes.. I'll just go back to drooling on my new cordura...

05-16-2006, 02:25 PM
I know the ECWCS had been in limited use for probaly a year or two earlier, that's just when I got the stuff. Also, I think 2ID was probably one of the first regular units to get the stuff.

05-18-2006, 11:22 AM
fur liner... i never woulda guessed. seems like kinda over kill, but what do i know. i thought they were to attach to a helmet to keep the hood from sliding back or something. by the way, best hood ever!

05-18-2006, 06:15 PM
Ralph, you are correct about the wolf-fur trimmed hood snapping into new Gore-tex parkas. One main purpose is to cut the freezing windblast accross the face. There was also wolf fur trim on original USAF cold weather nylon parkas (model N-3 ?), as well as a removeable hood for the old Army cotton cold weather parka shell. I think it also fit the M-65 field jacket. had a wire brim stiffener.

I seem to recall an article or Supply Update or something sometime in the late 80's that all the wolf-fur items were recalled for turn-in, due to changes in US or Canadian law on harvest / possession of wolf fur! (endagered or some crap). The wolf was to be replaced with synthetic. Somewhere else I read or heard that the synthetic did not provide the soldier with sufficient performance - which was why cold weather wolf fur had been specified so many years before! You might find one of these old hoods deep in the dusty, musty shelves of a surplus store.

05-18-2006, 08:05 PM
The old button-on hood does fit the M-65 jacket as well as the M-51 parka. Incidentally, the M-51 is sized to fit over the field jacket, which is why they seem so oversized.

The full cold weather gear from the '50s through the '90s was the wool-cotton underwear, the OG wool shirt and trousers, the field jacket with liner, the parka with liner and hood, and the field pants with liner. It was pretty effective. I would usually take off the parka and just wear the field jacket in the CP tents. Even without the stoves, the body heat and wind protection of the tent made the parka too hot to wear.