Posts Tagged ‘ECWCS’

Wild Things “Name That Jacket” Contest

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Wild Things

Last week we met with Wild Things owner Marie Meunier-Bouchard. Marie is a lifelong climber having begun mountaineering in her native French Alps at age 14. She combined her love of climbing with a desire to build better products and founded Wild Things, named after the book, “Where the Wild Things Are” with her ex-Husband, John Bouchard. Vermont-based Wild Things is a longtime supporter of the military. Their designs have been used for years in the SOF community. But recently they have gained prominence in the Soldier Systems industry by designing and manufacturing the Gen III ECWCS Level VII Loft layer for the US Army. A slightly modified variant of the Level VII garment has been dubbed the “Happy Suit” by the Marines and included in a developmental Cold Weather Clothing System. Both of these garments are also available from ADS.

Wild Things Jackets

Some of the most exciting things that Marie showed us were two recently released new jackets designed for the Soldier Systems market. Essentially they are different versions of the same jacket with the exception of materials. One is FR and the other is not. The price on the Basic jacket is phenomenal, just under $100 direct. The FR version is 100% FR, shell, lining, insulation, and zipper so naturally the price is going to be a bit higher but wasn’t available yet at press time. Intended to replace levels 3 and 4 in Gen III ECWCS, these jackets are simple yet elegant. A lot of thought was put into the design by a house that always been at the forefront of new, promising fabrics. There aren’t extraneous bells and whistles on either of these jackets and the casual observer wouldn’t appreciate the design features incorporated into these garments until he wore it. Every design element makes sense from a functional point of view. These jackets a practical application of the Ultra-LightWeight movement in combat clothing. They combine the practicality of more than one other garment and each feature is there solely for function.


Manufactured with a face fabric of Polyester microfiber, the Basic jacket features a quilted Primaloft insulation, the same material found in both PCU and Gen III ECWCS. The rear hem is elastic in order to keep it taught and prevent cold air or snow from entering the jacket. There are two slash handwarmer pockets on the front of the jacket and a single interior pocket on the left chest. The hand warmer pockets are lined with a comfortable knit material. The jacket also comes standard with pile tape for Name, Service, and Rank insignia.

Insignia Pile

Both jackets are currently available in Black, Coyote, Foliage, and UCP. Plans are underway to also offer the basic jacket in Multicam.

Wild Things

Marie is looking for your help in naming both of these jackets. The winning entry will receive a jacket as prize.

Contest Rules:

– One entry per contestant

– Name BOTH jackets

– Marie decides the winner

– Winner will be announced here

– In the event more than one contestant submits the same winning entry date of email will decide the winner

– Winner receives a jacket as prize

– Only one winner for the contest

– Contest ends 31 July, 2008 at 11:59 PM

– Send all entries to: Marie Meunier-Bouchard.

For more information on their entire line go to Wild Things.

Field Jacket – a Eulogy

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Don’t expect to see a tear filled goodbye to the Field Jacket from me. Instead I am jumping for joy. Starting in FY09 the Army will cease fielding the M-65 Field jacket. Instead, each Soldier will be issued a Gen II ECWCS (Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System) parka in UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) and it will be transferred as an OCIE item with the Soldier from assignment to assignment much like the laundry bag.

It amazes me to see so many still wearing the venerable M-65. The basic design for the M-65 hails from WW II and remained relatively unchanged over the years. Soldiers wore the M-43 Field Coat during their march to Berlin. Over the years there were small changes like a redesigned collar or the introduction of Quarpel (Quartermaster Water Repellent), the precursor to today’s DWR treatments. In the 80s the Field Jacket was transformed from OD Green to Woodland Camo but the basic design didn’t change. Later a 3-Color Desert variant was issued as Organizational Clothing for operations in the CENTCOM AOR. Finally, when the ACU was fielded the Field Jacket saw its latest change. The pattern was changed to UCP and velcro was added to the sleeves for shoulder sleeve insignia and to the zipper flap for rank.

Its replacement, the Army version of the Gen II ECWCS parka is also in UCP and began its life as a Marine Corps garment. The Marine Corps wanted a replacement for the first generation of ECWCS which featured out dated design features. The Marine Corps has moved on to an even more improved version of the garment called APECS (All Purpose Environmental Clothing System). The USAF has also adopted APECS in conjunction with their switch to the ABU.
ACU Field JacketUCP Gen II ECWCS