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Осінньо-Зимовий період (Поради)

Autumn-Winter Period (Tips)

The Modern US Army Uniform - ECWCS Gen III

In this article, we'll get acquainted with the American Extended Cold Weather Clothing System Generation III (ECWCS Gen III), or ECWCS of the third generation. Originally developed, as one might guess, to protect US Army personnel from adverse climate conditions in the most challenging corners of the globe at temperatures down to -40 degrees. This development was not just a whim but a response to the complaints of US soldiers who began operations in Afghanistan in 2001. American troops faced all kinds of weather conditions simultaneously - piercing winds with wet snow in mountainous regions, unbearable heat with sandstorms in desert areas, heavy rains, and high humidity in open terrain.

ECWCS Gen III is essentially a universal set of narrowly specialized components created from the best materials available at the time. Thus, by wearing the set in various combinations, you can withstand any weather conditions with maximum comfort. Moreover, the high compactness of each component allows you to carry the entire set with you and use only its parts when needed.

Miracle set, otherwise you can't say, ECWCS Gen III consists of 12 elements - two drawers, three shirts, three pants, and four jackets. Each element is designed for its layer, which usually consists of pants or drawers and a jacket or shirt, although not always.

By appointment, the layers are divided into: moisture-wicking - layers one (L1) and two (L2), warming - layers two (L2), three (L3), seven (L7), basic - fifth (L5), and protective layers - layers from the third to the seventh (L3-L7).

The principle of operation of this set lies in the multi-stage removal of moisture from the body while retaining the heat generated, as well as protecting the internal volume from wind and moisture. All this is provided by the vapor permeability of the layers, primarily the underwear and the base, as well as a high degree of protection of the outer layers. The ECWCS Gen III complex, due to its versatility, will be interesting not only to the military, but also to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts in any weather conditions.

Layer 1 (L1) 

Thin base layer shirt and drawers. Provide moisture removal from the body. There are thumbholes in the sleeves. They are a component of any of the sets. It is necessary for the underwear to fit snugly but not restrict movement. Recommended for constant use in any season. 


Layer 2 (L2)

Alternative / Addition to the first layer. Unlike the first layer, this is not only a moisture-wicking but also a warming set. The inner side has an embossed mesh pattern, which allows for effective moisture absorption without sticking to the body and creates an additional air layer. During frosts, it can be worn over the first layer.

Layer 3 (L3)


Voluminous combined fleece jacket. Belongs to the basic insulation layer, providing good warmth due to its volume, especially when combined with the first or second layer or worn over a uniform. For increased durability, load-bearing areas are reinforced with fabric. There are "waffle" inserts on the sides, similar to the second layer, to improve ventilation. The surface structure of the jacket is very soft and pleasant to the touch. Recommended for use at temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius.

Made of Polartec® Thermal Pro® fleece, consisting of 100% special polyester yarns in a voluminous weave, it is 30 times stronger than traditional wool fabrics. The material ensures excellent breathability and dries instantly. Unlike most fleece fabrics, Polartec® Thermal Pro® maintains its appearance and performance even after numerous washes.

Layer 4 (L4)


Lightweight, durable, thin windbreaker. Recommended for use in areas with strong cold winds. Differs from the fifth layer jacket by the absence of a hood and a few other minor details. The material is the same as the 5th layer. Typically, it comes in camouflage patterns, but there are also solid colors, such as coyote, olive, etc.


Layer 5 (L5)

It represents a wind/water-resistant base layer - SOFT SHELL. The pants and jacket form the foundation of the entire system, with lower layers worn underneath and upper layers worn over it. Made from the unique moisture-repellent material EPIC, the 5th layer jacket and pants are extremely lightweight, compact, and do not restrict movement. In combination with the base and insulation layers, they serve as an excellent outer layer for cold weather.

EPIC is a unique fabric created using encapsulation technology developed by Nextec Applications, Inc. The encapsulation technology involves surrounding natural fibers with a protective polymer layer. As a result of this treatment, the fabric's durability increases, it gains moisture-repellent properties, and moisture absorption by the fibers is prevented.

Encapsulated material cannot be washed or worn off like moisture-repellent coatings and has higher breathability properties than membrane fabrics. Encapsulation helps maintain the fabric's low weight and enhances windproof qualities. Products made from EPIC are versatile and provide optimal comfort. Additional reinforcement with GORE-TEX® membrane fabric layers is only necessary during heavy rainfall.

The fabric encapsulation technology is protected by 52 patents and is currently used exclusively by Nextec Applications, Inc.

Usually camouflaged to match Layer 4.


Layer 6 (L6)

Membrane jacket and pants with GORE-TEX® PACLITE® for cold and/or wet weather. GORE-TEX membrane technology allows moisture to escape from the lower layers but prevents it from penetrating from the outside. Unlike previous generations (GEN1 and GEN2), the fabric is thinner, more flexible, durable, and less noisy. Worn over Layer 5, 7, or other clothing to protect against moisture and penetrating wind during winter.

Layer 7 (L7)


Jacket with a hood and pants for extreme cold. Waterproof outer shell. PrimaLoft® insulation provides high-level thermal insulation, critical areas are reinforced with fabric patches, numerous external and internal pockets. The "PrimaLoft Sport" insulation is more akin to synthetic down. There are currently no equivalents. It compresses to minimal volume, instantly and independently expands after compression, retains heat excellently. When combined with layers L1, L2, L3, L5, it allows for prolonged exposure to temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, even in a sedentary state.


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