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The 7 Layers of Army Clothing that Changed the Cold Weather Survival Game for Good

Army ECWCS GEN III System

Since time immemorial soldiers have been braving the worst climates imaginable. Over these many years, governments across the globe have had to balance the lives of these soldiers with the price of their equipment.

Thus, the greatest military the earth has ever seen crafted the ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System), and it’s third generation has been a real game changer for the boots on the ground.

The Generation III Extended Cold Weather System will keep the wind out, your skin dry, and your ass warm. This system is also referred to as the ECWCS GEN III, and its materials offer superior breathability without sacrificing insulation.

By utilizing this system, you are going to carry 33% less bulk and 25% less weight than your grandfather. Lucky us. Each piece can be used either individually, or as a part of the system.

The system can be broken into 7 layers, consisting of 12 components. These pieces work in conjunction to provide insulation, and wick moisture from the body.

The system is good within the range of -60° F to 40° F, and will keep your skin DRY.

Here’s what the ECWCS Gen III System Consists of:

Level 1 – Lightweight Undershirt and Drawers

The level 1 base layer is worn next to the skin and provides basic insulation and moisture wicking.

This layer is highly breathable and is constructed with Polartec technology. Designed to wick away moisture, this layer is also highly breathable and the pieces dry very fast.


Level 2 – Midweight Shirt and Drawers

The mid-weight shirt and drawers provide basic insulation in mild climates, and serve as one of the base layers in cold climates.

Also constructed with Polartec technology, this layer can be worn against the skin or with the Level 1 layer.


Level 3 – Fleece Cold Weather Jacket

The fleece acts as the primary insulation layer for cold climates, and the outer garment for mild climates.

The Polartec materials provide superior insulation, and trap pockets of air to retain body heat. This layer also features great breathability.


Level 4 – Wind Cold Weather Jacket

The wind jacket is designed to be a shell layer that keeps you dry, and optimizes the insulation of the first three layers.

Its strechable nylon construction keeps you dry, and prevents wind from cutting through your base layers.


Level 5 – Soft Shell Jacket and Trousers

The Soft Shell garments are designed for use in moderate to cold weather. These keep you dry, and enhance the insulation further.


Level 6 – Extreme Cold/Wet Weather Jacket and Trousers

The sixth layer is the hard-shell layer for moderate to cold wet conditions.

The double-layer GORE-TEX Jacket and Trousers are extremely light weight, waterproof, windproof and breathable. They also cut the bulk of the Gen II by 50%. This layer also incorporates IR signature reduction technology, enhancing the user’s survivability.


Level 7 – Extreme Cold Weather Parka and Trousers

The Parka and Trousers are designed for use in extreme cold, and dry conditions.

The water resistant finish and thermal insulation make for a highly durable and warm solution to the extreme cold. This layer maintains warmth even in wetter conditions.


  • Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    USGI Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    $2.99$4.99
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    USGI Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    Features:

    • Glove Liner

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 403CB Categories: ,
    $2.99$4.99
  • Military-Polartec-Black-Classic-300-Fleece-Jacket

    USGI Polartec 300 Fleece Jacket

    $19.99
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    USGI Polartec 300 Fleece Jacket

    Features:

    • Oversized Clothing
    • Zip Up Shirt
    • Zippered Pockets
    • Reinforced Elbows
    • Adjustable Sleeve Cuffs
    • Jacket Draw String
    • Lightweight Construction

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 125 Category: Tag:
    $19.99
  • Wool Trigger Finger Glove Inserts, OD Green

    Wool Trigger Finger Glove Inserts, OD Green

    $2.99$4.99
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    Wool Trigger Finger Glove Inserts, OD Green

    Features:

    • 75% Wool
    • 25% Nylon
    • Ambidextrous

    Other Great Reasons to Buy This Item:

    • Great for Cold Weather

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by::

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 10046 Categories: ,
    $2.99$4.99
  • Polartec Level 3 Polar Fleece Jacket, Military Gen III - Overall View

    Polartec Level 3 Polar Fleece Jacket, Military Gen III

    $10.99$44.99
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    Polartec Level 3 Polar Fleece Jacket, Military Gen III

    Features:

    • ECWCS Level 3
    • Zip Up Shirt
    • Includes Hook & Loop Fields
    • Part Of The ECWCS Clothing System

    Issue Type: US Army Issue

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 131 Category: Tags: ,
    $10.99$44.99
  • MASLEY Gore-Tex Cold Weather Flyers Gloves

    MASLEY Gore-Tex Cold Weather Flyers (CWF) Gloves

    $11.99$29.99
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    MASLEY Gore-Tex Cold Weather Flyers (CWF) Gloves

    Features:

    • 51% Nomex Aramid
    • 40% Goat Skin
    • 9% Gore-Tex
    • Non-Melt, Anti-Microbial SmartSilver Fabric
    • Windproof
    • Breathable
    • Rated to 30 Degrees Fahrenheit
    • Water Resistant

    Issue Type: US Army Issue

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    $11.99$29.99
  • USAF Extreme Cold Weather Parka, N-3B

    $99.99$129.99
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    USAF Extreme Cold Weather Parka, N-3B

    Features:

    • Water Resistant
    • Windproof
    • Outer Layer Clothing

    Issue Type: USAF Issue

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    Restrictions:

    • Dry Clean Only – Clothing or gear is recommended to be dry cleaned only.
    $99.99$129.99
  • USMC Polartec 100 Fleece Pullover, Coyote Brown

    $19.99
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    USMC Polartec 100 Fleece Pullover, Coyote Brown

    Features:

    • Polartec Classic 100 Material
    • Shirt 1/2 Zip Closure
    • Lightweight Construction
    • Front Pockets
    • 100% Polyester Material

    Issue Type: USMC Issue

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 1506 Category:
    $19.99
  • Polartec Micro Fleece Cap

    $12.99
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    Polartec Micro Fleece Cap

    Features:

    • Polartec Micro Fleece
    • Quick Drying
    • Breathable

    Issue Type: USGI Contractor

    Manufactured by:

    • McGuire Gear

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 578 Categories: ,
    $12.99
  • USGI MREs, Meals Ready To Eat

    $219.99
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    USGI MREs, Meals Ready To Eat

    Features:

    • 12 Meals Per Case
    • Average 1,250 Calories Per Meal
    • Includes Snacks
    • Includes Drink Mix
    • Accessory Pack

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: MRE Categories: , Tag:
    $219.99
  • USAF Extreme Cold Weather Parka, N-3B

    $99.99$129.99
    Select options

    USAF Extreme Cold Weather Parka, N-3B

    Features:

    • Water Resistant
    • Windproof
    • Outer Layer Clothing

    Issue Type: USAF Issue

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    Restrictions:

    • Dry Clean Only – Clothing or gear is recommended to be dry cleaned only.
    $99.99$129.99
  • Revision Desert Locust Ballistic Goggles, Laser Protective Lenses

    $39.99
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    Revision Desert Locust Ballistic Goggles, Laser Protective Lenses

    Features:

    • Ballistic Lens
    • Includes Clear and Dark Lens
    • Includes Laser Safe Lens
    • Includes Carrying Case

    Issue Type: US Army Issue

    Manufactured by:

    • Revision

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    $39.99
  • USGI Level 1 Base Layer Thermal Set, Black

    $29.99
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    USGI Level 1 Base Layer Thermal Set, Black

    Features:

    • ECWCS Level 1
    • Top & Bottom Set

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Polartec

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    $29.99
  • Military IR Flag Patch, Forward

    $9.99
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    Military IR Flag Patch, Forward

    Features:

    • IR IFF Patch
    • Hook & Loop Mounted Accessory

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    Restrictions:

    • ITAR Restricted – This item is ITAR controlled and cannot be shipped or carried outside the United States. NOT FOR EXPORT.
    $9.99
  • Military IR Flag Velcro® Patch, Reverse - Overall View

    Military IR Flag Velcro® Patch, Reverse

    $9.99
    Select options

    Military IR Flag Velcro® Patch, Reverse

    Features:

    • IR IFF Patch
    • Hook & Loop Mounted Accessory

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    Restrictions:

    • ITAR Restricted – This item is ITAR controlled and cannot be shipped or carried outside the United States. NOT FOR EXPORT.
    $9.99
  • Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    USGI Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    $2.99$4.99
    Select options

    USGI Wool Cold Weather Glove Insert, Coyote Brown

    Features:

    • Glove Liner

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 403CB Categories: ,
    $2.99$4.99
  • Military-Polartec-Black-Classic-300-Fleece-Jacket

    USGI Polartec 300 Fleece Jacket

    $19.99
    Select options

    USGI Polartec 300 Fleece Jacket

    Features:

    • Oversized Clothing
    • Zip Up Shirt
    • Zippered Pockets
    • Reinforced Elbows
    • Adjustable Sleeve Cuffs
    • Jacket Draw String
    • Lightweight Construction

    Issue Type: USGI

    Manufactured by:

    • Various Government Contractors

    Country of Manufacture: USA

    SKU: 125 Category: Tag:
    $19.99
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