ECWCS Generation 1 & 2 Differences:

Parka:
It appears that the generation 2 parka has a bigger cut, no liner and cordura on the elbows but I can't devise anything else. I thought at first that generation 1 did not have arm pit ventilation zippers but I think it does.


Trousers:
I can see cargo pockets, belt loops and cordura nylon reinforcements but that's it.

It's hard to find information on this stuff at times. I can often find plenty of information for things well outside of my budget though! Wink

Anyways, I'm trying to find a generation 2 ecwcs parka but it's hard to pick though the differences between the first generation which I hear is not worth it via this forum.

I have a pair of generation 1 pants which I hope will suffice but I would really like to go for the generation 2 parka. If this came up somewhere on the forum I apologize, I could not find it though.

Thanks guys.
Original Post
quote:
ECWCS Generation 1 & 2 Differences:

Parka:
It appears that the generation 2 parka has a bigger cut, no liner and cordura on the elbows but I can't devise anything else. I thought at first that generation 1 did not have arm pit ventilation zippers but I think it does


Gen 2 Parka also has a role up hood that the Gen 1's don't. They also have pockets on both sleeves instead of just the left.
Thanks for all the replies, I guess I was fairly close Wink

I consider pit zippers on a gore-tex parka a must. Ewww.

quote:
Originally posted by RalstonS:
They're nothing wrong with the Gen 1 per se, it's just old technology & design - going on twenty years now. It's heavy and bulky by today's standards.


Hmm, after reading a couple of GG's posts, gen 1 seemed to be not worth buying. GG spoke of gote-tex not certifying gen 1 designs etc., but I'm sure it would work to a decent level.
He would certainly know better than me.

I can vouch that they work to a decent level, though, especially if you maintain it, i.e. wash, retreat DWR, etc. It is issued gear, not Patagonia or Mountain Hardwear! That being said, I would NEVER EVER buy one at US Cav or Ranger Joes prices. By today's standards, they're not even really worth the $165 or so price at clothing sales.
Yeah, the Gen I design is based on early Gore-tex parkas from Early Winters in Seattle. From what I was told, a couple of LT's went up there from 9th ID, and had them make a couple of their jackets in Woodland. The cut, and the front pockets are the same as the ones Early Winters was making, back in the day. This was when the 9th was the High Technology Light Testbed, and they had all kinds of money for cool experimental shit like this, circa 1983.

Supposedly, the same two LT's went to Danner, down in Portland, and had them make some of their brown Gore-tex boots in black, thus creating the Danner Ft. Lewis boot.

Who these guys were, and whether this is true, or not, I don't know, but I'd love to meet them. Apparently, before they did this, the big Army wasn't even considering Gore-tex. Natick supposedly thought it was a gimmick. Or, so went the stories from folks who claimed to know...
quote:
Originally posted by RalstonS:
He would certainly know better than me.

I can vouch that they work to a decent level, though, especially if you maintain it, i.e. wash, retreat DWR, etc. It is issued gear, not Patagonia or Mountain Hardwear! That being said, I would NEVER EVER buy one at US Cav or Ranger Joes prices. By today's standards, they're not even really worth the $165 or so price at clothing sales.


Yeah, I'm sure treating the gore-tex with the DWR will help a lot if it has not been done in a while.

As for online prices, i've been finding the gen 2 parka used in good condition for $30-40 USD. But I am not too familiar on how gore-tex holds up to wear and tear. It's not the most durable material of course; I would hate to buy a used one that does not perform well due to age.

Thanks for the responses everybody!
quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
Yeah, the Gen I design is based on early Gore-tex parkas from Early Winters in Seattle. From what I was told, a couple of LT's went up there from 9th ID, and had them make a couple of their jackets in Woodland. The cut, and the front pockets are the same as the ones Early Winters was making, back in the day. This was when the 9th was the High Technology Light Testbed, and they had all kinds of money for cool experimental shit like this, circa 1983.

Supposedly, the same two LT's went to Danner, down in Portland, and had them make some of their brown Gore-tex boots in black, thus creating the Danner Ft. Lewis boot.

Who these guys were, and whether this is true, or not, I don't know, but I'd love to meet them. Apparently, before they did this, the big Army wasn't even considering Gore-tex. Natick supposedly thought it was a gimmick. Or, so went the stories from folks who claimed to know...


I don't quite know about all of that. That design had already been fielded to 10th SF in what I term technicolor camo, a bright green version of woodland camo. These were manufactured by Raven Industries in South Dakota. I have a set somewhere in the basement. I will have to look for them. Before this, a light green lightweight Gore design was fielded to guys in Group and NSW.
Dunno about the SF connection, but I was in the Early Winters store up in Seattle when they were getting a bunch of their stuff ready for pickup, and I asked what the deal was, and if I'd be able to get the Woodland parka, myself. I was told by the guy at the store that there were a couple of "officers from the Army" coming to get a special order. The rest I got on the grapevine when I was assigned to Ft. Lewis a year or two later...

This deal at Early Winters happened sometime in 1983, late fall. I heard later these guys were with the "Go Devils", and which unit that was, I forget. Maybe a case of parallel development, or they couldn't get Natick to make over with the goodies, so they went local purchase?

I know for a fact I saw Early Winters doing special-order Woodland for someone at Ft. Lewis in '83. I could be wrong, however.

The Gen I does bear a suspicious resemblance to the standard Early Winters jacket, however...
Here is where the theory falls apart. The woodland material was produced FOR the ECWCS program. W L Gore didn't make the material out of teh kindness of their hearts. There was a requirement on the street and profit to be made.
I'd like to see something definitive, on this. Unfortunately, nobody ever seems to think it's worth the time to document this stuff at the time, so it's up to somebody twenty years later to dig through whatever wound up being kept for documentation. Which is usually fuck-all.

Looking back on it, it does seem that some of the stuff I mentioned may have been on the level of rumint, but at the time, that's what I was hearing. Including a couple of guys that were over in 1st Group, who were pissed that the "legs" in 9th ID had better gear than they did... Of course, that only lasted a few months, I'm sure.

As for the fabric issue, GG, that's a good point. I would, however, point to those idiotic, gay-ass slash front pockets, which were a trademark of the folks up at Early Winters.

I wonder if anyone is ever going to do a book like Shelby Stanton's Uniforms of the Cold War for the eighties through the present day? Good luck finding the documentation for it, whoever tries it...
Thekirk, agreed, Early Winters was THE place to get Gore in the early 80s, and I do remember them having those style of pockets but I would submit that perhaps that was an industry standard at the time? And granted, the 9th ID HTTB did some cool shit (I wrote a little about that in Battle Rattle). I can believe what you said about 1st Group. They stood up right aroud that time and wouldn't have had a pot to piss in, whereas the other groups had been around and their CIFs were as well stocked as possible in the early 80s.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sixteen34:
ECWCS Generation 1 & 2 Differences:

Parka:
It appears that the generation 2 parka has a bigger cut, no liner and cordura on the elbows but I can't devise anything else. I thought at first that generation 1 did not have arm pit ventilation zippers but I think it does.


You forgot the 2 extra front bottom pockets and the bigger cut of the sleeve pockets.

 

 

Starting a new thread might be a little silly so I will ask it here even though It is not totally on topic. :

I wear a medium/regular BDU top and bottom. With a medium/regular bdu the fit is perfect over a base layer; but when ordering the parka should I order a large/regular so that I can use a base layer, possibly a bdu and a loft layer underneath the gore-tex parka?

I've heard the Generation 2 cut is slighly bigger (and better) but I have no idea weather a medium/regular will fit loose enough OVER a medium or heavy weight soft shell loft style parka.

IE: I would/should assume a medium BDU would be larger than medium ECWCS underwear and the ECWCS medium parka would be larger than a medium BDU top and medium cut soft shell right?
I wear M/R BDU, medium poly-pro, and M/R gore-tex. I have no problem wearing all three of those at the same time. This usually only happens in a garrison environment, though. The BDU is not part of the ECWCS.

I can also wear my poly-pro, fleece, and gore-tex at the same time, although it's getting a little michelin man-esque. I haven't ever tried with a loft layer (I'm assuming you mean something like a down or jacket). Personally, one of my favorite combinations is poly-pro, field jacket liner, and then gore-tex.
quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
I'd like to see something definitive, on this.


Not to put to fine a point on it, but I consider what GG writes to be definitive. He is THE source of info on tactical clothing and equipment.

Eric, when are we going to get together to start on our new book?

Stephen
Med/Reg can cover alot of ground. Having said that, I was 5'10" and 170ish when I wore a M/R utility top with polypro under my Gen 2 and needed a L/R to have some extra room. A M/R Gen 2 would fit but was a bit snug.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - You couldn't get a clue during clue mating season in a field of clues if you smeared your body in clue musk and did the clue mating dance

quote:
Originally posted by stephen:
quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
I'd like to see something definitive, on this.


Not to put to fine a point on it, but I consider what GG writes to be definitive. He is THE source of info on tactical clothing and equipment.

Eric, when are we going to get together to start on our new book?

Stephen

Stephen,
Just give me a call.
Eric

Not to necro-post, but the Gen 1 ECWCS shells (Coat and Pants) had serious problems what with the sew-through of the Gore-Tex shell not being sealed with the required, and usual sealing tape.

Now, this is user remediated, if desired, at little cost.  Simply launder the garments with Woolite, rinsing 2-3X rinse cycles.  Obtain some "Seam-Sealer" from usual vendors--Nikwax/Gear-Aid, and so forth.

Apply the seam-sealing compound, with a foam brush (you will need a few) to the [b]sewn-through[/b] seams on the Gen 1 ECWCS coat and pants.  You will need to do this for [I]every[/I] single linear inch of the sew-throughs, both INSIDE the garment and OUTSIDE the garment.  Allow the sealing compound to dry, and then apply the DWR to the outside of the garment.

I have done exactly this procedure, and the Gen 1 ECWCS is an excellent item, now. 

AFAIK, the Gen 2 ECWCS is "dumbed-down", and the Gen 3 ECWCS is an altogether different item.

Submitted for your consideration.

Having just received my Gen 3 ECWCS pants, and awaiting the coat, I can say that they are thoroughly taped inside the garment.  However, there are [I]still some sew-throughs, mostly covered by the coat, that can use some user-applied seam-sealer.  Most users will find this procedure unnecessary, at least on the pants.  We'll see how things work out with the coat. 

As suspected, the Gen 3 ECWCS is a [I]very[/I] dumbed-down garment, compared with the Gen 1 ECWCS; a simple rain/wind shell.  It is a LOT lighter than the Gen 1 garment; but I reckon the Gen 1 garment is a lot more durable.

In either case, GI-type suspenders are [b]HIGHLY[/b] recommended for all these type garments.  The reason for this is that the pants can be worn with a fairly loose waistband when using appropriate suspenders, and so the moisture/heat can vent from the pants into the jacket, which has better provision for venting than do the pants.  

RIBob posted:

Having just received my Gen 3 ECWCS pants, and awaiting the coat, I can say that they are thoroughly taped inside the garment.  However, there are [I]still some sew-throughs, mostly covered by the coat, that can use some user-applied seam-sealer.  Most users will find this procedure unnecessary, at least on the pants.  We'll see how things work out with the coat. 

As suspected, the Gen 3 ECWCS is a [I]very[/I] dumbed-down garment, compared with the Gen 1 ECWCS; a simple rain/wind shell.  It is a LOT lighter than the Gen 1 garment; but I reckon the Gen 1 garment is a lot more durable.

In either case, GI-type suspenders are [b]HIGHLY[/b] recommended for all these type garments.  The reason for this is that the pants can be worn with a fairly loose waistband when using appropriate suspenders, and so the moisture/heat can vent from the pants into the jacket, which has better provision for venting than do the pants.  

An added comment from the field, and Gore concerning Gen 1 ECWCS, part 1 of 2:  

LTC Jack H. Cage, in his article “Light Infantry in Cold-Wet Conditions” (INFANTRY, November 1993, page 11-12), raises serious concerns about the performance of the extended cold weather clothing system (ECWCS) parka in wet weather. He and his soldiers went to the field believing their Gore-Tex parkas would provide protection. Instead, they encountered the unusually severe weather and the Garment failed to keep them dry.
Essentially, LTC Cage was right in trying to find out why this happened and how light infantry or dismounted infantry soldiers could be protected in cold and wet weather.
Since my company, W.L. Gore & Associates. INC., manufactured the fabric used in all the parkas worn during this exercise. I was concerned with determining what has caused this situation. After reading LTC Cage’s detailed description of what happened and the reports of the personnel form the Army’s Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center who investigated the situation, I believe the following observations are relevant:
Natick’s positions that the ECWCS is designed for use only in “cold” conditions is debatable; it certainly doesn’t reflect the original intent of the program under which the requirement documents of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps mandated that the ECWCS be functional in the temperature range of 40 to -25 degree Fahrenheit and that the shell garment (the parka and the trousers) be constructed of water resistant (Army) or waterproof (Marines) and moisture vapor permeable. The reason for this is that the primary function for the parka and trousers is to provide a windproof barrier and keep the clothing worn under them dry. As LTC Cage and his soldiers can testify, he weather can become dangerously cold at 40 degrees.
 
While I may disagree with Natick personnel concerning the intent of ECWCS design, they are accurate in saying that the current parka design will not provide waterproof protection. But this doesn’t mean waterproof garments cannot be constructed using Gore-Tex fabric. The material itself is absolutely waterproof and has been used successfully in both commercial and military wet-weather garments in some of the world’s worst climates. If this is the case, then why didn’t these garments provide the protection that soldiers expected?
First the ECWCS parka was designed more than ten years ago and used than state of the art features to make it as waterproof as possible. Unfortunately, at that time, we didn’t realize the importance of sealing all the seams in a garment. Therefore, the seams attaching the zippers in front and under the arms are not sealed and allow water to enter through the stitch holes to cause significant problems, we learned over time that they do contribute to leakage in a garment.
During the past decade, we also learned to appreciate the effects of wicking on garment designs. This term is used to describe the tendency of a material to transfer moisture from one location to another. In the case of the ECWCS parka, the lining material wick moisture from any point that gets wet to area that are well removed from that point. This means moisture on the hood lining wicks down the back of the garment, unless the hood is raised as soon as it begins to rain. Water entering the stitch hole along the zippers can migrate to areas around the chest and back; and if the soldier is not wearing waterproof trousers, the trouser material becomes saturated and where the trousers contact the lower liner of the parka, it will wick moisture up into the body of the garment. In this situation, the solider can become soaked even if the garment doesn’t “leak.”
 
The statement that “the PFTE suit’s water resistant capability might be degraded after repeated wear and laundering” should not come as a surprise. Natick personnel who investigated this situation determined that about half of the garment worn by LTC Cage’s soldiers had been manufactured in 1985 and under average wear conditions, should have reached the end of their service life in 1989. We recommend that the command have the soldiers inspect the garments periodically for excessive wear, paying particular attention to garments with a contract date more than four years old. But even if LTC Cage had done this, half of the unit would still have garments well with their service life.

Part 2:

Can soldiers do anything to improve the performance of the material in these parkas? The answer is an unqualified yes.
First, many soldiers think that the Gore-Tex fabric is fragile and don’t wash the garment until absolutely necessary. The truth is that this material is very tough, and the water repellant finish performs better when clean. The material is actually constructed of two fabrics laminated to a film. When the laminate is manufactured, a water-repellent finish is applied to the external fabric, but this finish doesn’t make the laminate waterproof. The film provides this quality while the finish causes water to bead in the surface of the exterior fabric, reducing the tendency to wick water toward unsealed areas. By getting water to run off the surface, we keep the material from feeling cold and clammy.
 
Another benefit of the water-repellent finish that it allows passage of vapor more readily from inside the parka. Without this finished on the fabric, water can soak in and cool the surface in and cools the surface as it evaporates. Moisture generates by a soldier’s body in the form of vapor can pass easily thorough the laminate unless the vapor contacts a cool surface; then it condenses into liquid (just as warm breath condenses into a liquid when it contacts a cool piece of glass). Once this occurs, the water must be re-vaporized before it can pass through the laminate. It is readily apparent, then, that the water-repellant finish should be kept in good shape. Fortunately, this is not difficult.
 
When water no longer beads in the surface, the garment should be washed and then dried in a standard home dryer in the permanent press or sturdy cotton setting. This is important because the heat in the dryer helps prolong the life of the finish. Simply washing and drying the garment may restore its ability to make bead on the surface. If water doesn’t bead on the surface, ironing the parka, using a warm steam setting (for synthetics or nylon), may temporarily restore the fabric’s water repellency. After the garment has had extended wear, however, a soldier many have to maintain surface beading by applying a commercially available non-silicon water repellant (such as Scothguard, Ultrthon, or Prevail brands) to the outer fabric. These steps may be repeated as necessary.
 
Unfortunately, given the current situation relative to ECWCS parka design, I have to agree with LTC Cage’s position that soldiers in light infantry units and dismounted soldiers in mechanized units need the standard army wet-weather parka and trousers (WWPT) in addition to the ECWCS to protect themselves during severe wet conditions. This is certainly not an acceptable answer, however, if soldier’s load is considered, and the Army and the Marine Corps are working aggressively toward a solution. They have launched an 18 month program with Natick to redesign the ECWCS parka and trousers to eliminate the problem described. If the program is successful, soldiers should not have to carry both the WWPT and the ECWCS parka and trousers. Until that time, I think the recommendations are in order
•Take the WWPT to the field to augment the ECWCS parka and trouser if sever weather is expected.
•When using the ECWCS parka in wet weather, also wear the ECWCS trouser to prevent wicking from the BDU trousers onto parka’s lining.
•Follow the cleaning instruction described in here, and as the garment ages, restore the water-repellent finish as described.
•Inspect the garments periodically and turn in worn-out items

The above is ancient info, but valuable nonetheless.  It is superseded by my suggestions in my first post.

Having just looked-at my (modified) Gen 1 ECWCS, it has FAR more features, and is FAR more durable than the modern Gen 3 version.  Clean your Gen 1 rig up properly, and treat it as I've outlined above.  If you do it RIGHT, you won't be disappointed.

YMMV, and submitted for consideration.  

Regarding the Cold not Wet focus of the Gen 1 ECWCS -

In the spring, summer of '88, 3rd Bn/12SFG began receiving shipments of the full ECWCS ensemble (heavy wt polypro tops & bottoms, bear suit bibs & jackets, woodland pattern Goretex parkas & trousers). We were preparing for an extended trip to Brim Frost in Jan, Feb 89. Some of the polypro & bear suits were issued out; however, any Goretex that went north on that trip was either from the line companies (not from the -4 shop) or was personally owned.
Once up in AK, the temps went from the 30s to 10s to -10s, down to -50 over a few days. The briefs from both the Advon and the 6ID Arctic Lightfighter Academy were: do not wear the Goretex jackets & trousers. The rather low temps would prevent any transmission or passage of water vapor, and the Goretex would freeze on the inside. The old Korean-era stuff (wool, heavy cotton, etc. including the full parkas) was the dress of the day and, as I recall, worked exceptionally well.
This included the Canadian C130 crashed on approach. We had guys at the site, an open hanger we turned into a triage station, and moving Canadian survivors to the hospital for treatment. Who knew having a bunch of french speakers would be beneficial in AK?

I still have gen 1 and gen 2 woodland parkas, as well as a gen 1 tri color desert parka issued well after the gen 2 woodland.

As Chappy says: Cops Help Cops! 

Then, Don't Be A Blue Falcon

 

Joined: November 2002

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