Dressing for the Cold Weather While Deer Hunting

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The United States Army ECWCS Generation 3

Deer Hunters will benefit most from the insulating layers in levels 1, 2, and 3. Deer Hunters will also like Level 6 which is a Gore-Tex jacket that uses two-layers of Gore-Tex based on the Paclite technology. This is a great outer shell that is breathable, warm, and waterproof. The ACU digital camo pattern may not be best camo pattern for deer hunting, so maybe a substitute Gore-Tex jacket from Cabela's, Bass Pro or Gander Mountain in a better camo pattern would be choice. If you are bow hunter or hunt in warmer conditions, then levels 4 and 5 may be better suited for where you are hunting.

This brochure in Adobie Reader (PDF File, 1.9 MB) is from makers of the Generation 3 system. It is 11 pages with color photos showing the different layers, what they are made of, and what purpose they serve. Brochure Click Here

US Army ECWCS Generation 3 Level 1.
Level 1 is Polartec Power Dry Silkweight material. It wicks moisture away from the body and is high breathable and stays dry in cold weather.

The Level 1 clothing can be purchased from Cabelas Click Here . Cabela's item number: 960692.

Level 2 is Polartec Power Dry Mid-Weight grid material. This level provides extra warmth in cooler conditions but still wicks moisture away and dries fast.

The Level 2 cothing can be purchased from Cabela's Click Here. Cabela's item number: 960696.
US Army ECWCS Generation 3 Level 2.
US Army ECWCS Generation 3 Level 2.
Level 3 is Polartec Thermal Pro a High-loft fleece jacket. The Level 3 Jacket creates air pockets that trap air and retain body heat providing outstanding warmth without weight. With excellent breathability, the Level III Jacket dries quickly with increased warmth while maintaining lower bulk

Cabela's item number: 922080.

Level 6 is a Gore-Tex outer shell. Constructed with two-layer GORE-TEX® and seam-sealed throughout, the jacket and trousers provide an outstanding light-weight, completely waterproof, windproof and breathable level of protection against the elements

The Level 6 cothing can be purchased from Cabela's Click Here Cabela's items number: 933034.
US Army ECWCS Generation 3 Level 6.

US Army ECWCS Generation III (TM 10-8415-236-10) in Adobie Reader (PDF File, 1.4 MB) TM Manual Click Here This manual has a lot of information in it and great drawings to assist in what items to wear for what conditions in Chapter 2.

The United States Army Generation I ECWCS
US Army ECWCS Generation 1 Level 1.Tag from pants of the Polypropylene underwear.
Level 1 is polypropylene underwear. The underwear is made of knitted, brushed, multifilament polypropylene. The underwear layer next to the skin acts as a moisture wicking layer and serves to draw moisture away from the skin, transferring it to the outer layers of the system.

Level 2 is known as the "Bear Suit", it is a fleece material made of 100% polyester and is worn over the level 1 propropylene underwear. The shirt is of heavy weight Polartec 300. The overalls are also a fleece material made of 100% polyester. The bib pants are of medium weight Polartec 200.

The Liner Cold Weather Trousers (as seen below) is also considered a Level 2 item, and was used prior to fleece overalls.

The first "Bear Suits" were a brown fleece. The brown fleece were phased out and replaced with the black Polartec around 2003 for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
US Army ECWCS Generation 1 Level 2.Tag from the Coat of the Bear Suit
US Army ECWCS Generation 1 Level 3.Tag from liner pants.
Level 3 are Trousers that were designed for Cold Weather, and a Cold Weather Coat Liner.

The Trousers Cold Weather were a heavy version of the BDU pants, and the liner for the trousers was buttoned to the inside (seen in the left photo). These Trousers were not a very common item and rarely seen.

The liner for the Coat and Trousers are both made of 100% quilted polyester batting and the outside of 100% ripstop nylon (Authors note: This was the same material the Poncho Liner was made out of and that many soldiers used for a blanket. This material does keep you warm but does not breathe very well and traps a lot of moisture.) The liner for the Coat was originally designed to be buttoned into the M-65 Jacket.

(Author note: After previous experience with both trouser and coat liners, I would recommand against using these items, because they do not breathe and will trap the moisture and refreeze.)

Level 4 is Camouflage Extended Cold Weather Parka and Trousers.

These are a Gore-Tsex jacket and pants that are windproof and waterproof. This level 4 system is usually worn over the level 2 fleece.
US Army ECWCS Generation 1 Level 4
US Army ECWCS Generation 1 Level 5.Tag from the Snow Camouflage Parka.
Level 5 is a White Snow Camouflage Parka and Trousers. It is designed for Camouflage and not for warmth. It is worn over the Level 4 Extended Cold Weather Parka and Trousers.
US Army Generation 2 ECWCS

The main difference between the Generation 1 and 2 systems is the US Army's change in Camouflage. As seen in the photo to the left, the Generation 2 Universal Camouflage or ACU pattern next to the Generation 1 Woodland Camouflage. There were changes to level 4 with a different Gore-Tex fabric to make it more quite. The level 4 parka also had an internal hood and more pockets were added.
Gen 1 Woodland Camouflage and Gen 2 Universal Camouflage
The Mickey Mouse Boot

The US Army footwear for extreme cold conditions is the "Mickey Mouse Boot". These come in white or black. The black version is the "Mickey Mouse Boot" and the white version is called the "Bunny Boot". The boot is made in layers. The inside of the boot is rubber, the middle layer is wool/felt insulation, and the outside layer is also made of rubber. This wool insulation can not be seen and sealed between the layers. This allows sweat or water that is inside the boot to be heated and the foot still be warm because the wool insulation stays dry. Only wear one pair of wool cushion sole socks. The socks are to be folded over the top of the boot to prevent the sock from slipping down and wrinkling. The boots are also equipped with a valve on the side. The valve is designed to release air preasure from the wool insulation when in an aircraft. Do not blow air into the valve and inflate the boot. It will cut off blood circulation to the foot and make your foot cold. Blowing air into the valve also blows moisture into the wool insulation which defeats the purpose of the boot.
The black "Mickey Mouse Boot" is designed for wet conditions and for temperatures to -20 F. The "Mickey Mouse Boot" has less insulation then the white "Bunny Boot". The black boot is designed for soldiers who may not have time to frequently change to dry socks, and for use in snow, mud, slush, and water. The black boots weigh about 44 oz (2.75 pounds) per boot.

The white "Bunny Boot" is designed for dry conditions and for temperatures to -60 F. It has more insulation then the black boot, and weighs about 48 oz (3 pounds) per boot.

These boots will keep your feet warm. This is the boot that is being worn in Antarctica. However, they do have their problems. They weigh a ton! It is not a boot you want if you have to walk a long distance. Socks also tend to slip and become bunched up in the toe of the boot. The top of the boot will rub the calf and cause painful chaffing.

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