By 2005, the ECWCS Generation I ensemble was considered very successful, but improvements were suggested. Both the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps separately defined minor changes to the Gen I parka and trousers, plus replaced the "bear suit" with an updated Polartec layer. These changes, while relatively minor, defined the second generation of ECWCS. Shipments of Generation II items began August 2006.

Woodland camouflage parka, an element of Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS Gen II)
Woodland camouflage parka, an element of Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS Gen II).

ECWCS parkas, trousers and other elements are widely available as surplus/militaria or as commercial equivalents or substitutes. When buying, pay careful attention to the specifications to make sure what you purchase is either military issue or meets the same government specifications.

Today in WW II: 21 Jul 1944 US forces land on Guam.   

Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)

Only two layers of the five layer Generation I Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS Gen I) were modified or replaced in Generation II of ECWCS. These are:

  • Layer 2: brown Gen I "bear suit", replaced by black Polar Fleece overalls and shirt
  • Layer 4: camouflage parka and trousers, replaced by updated models

Soldier wearing ECWCS Gen II Layer 1 polypropylene undergarments plus the Layer 2 black Polar Fleece overalls
Soldier wearing ECWCS Gen II Layer 1 polypropylene undergarments plus the Layer 2 black Polar Fleece overalls.

In addition, in Gen II the base Layer 1 polypropylene undergarments have options in the form of lightweight and/or mid-weight choices.

For Layer 4 (parka and trousers) the U.S. Army issued Gen II components are printed with Universal Camouflage while the slightly different Marine Corps Gen II parka and trousers are in Woodland or MARPAT camouflage. These items are made of an improved Gore-tex material and all seams are sealed with Gore-Seam tape.

The unique Gen II ECWCS components remain similar to the Gen I equivalents. For the Gen II parka, the differences from Gen I include the use of the Universal Camouflage pattern, a modified integral hood, with drawstring neckline on its stand up cinch collar. The hood rolls up and stows in a zippered compartment in the collar. Gen II ECWCS parka provides two sleeve pockets, hand warmer and cargo pockets at the waist, and two map pockets along the front zipper. The trousers have two hand warmer pockets and two cargo pockets. The Gen II Parka and Trousers are made of an improved Gore-Tex fabric that is softer and quiter than the Gen I fabric.

Nomenclature and NSNs for Generation II ECWCS

The Layer 2 Polar Fleece (Polartec) garments are:

  • Overalls, Cold Weather, Black Fleece: MIL-O-44191, A-A-59549 NSN 8415-01-472-6867 to 8415-01-472-6918 non-consecutive 10 sizes
  • Shirt, Cold Weather, Black Fleece: MIL-S-44163, A-A-59548 NSN 8415-01-461-8336 to 8415-01-461-8356 non-consecutive 4 sizes

The Army versions of the Gen II Layer 4 Gore-tex camouflage parka and trousers are:

  • Parka, Cold Weather, Universal Camouflage MIL-DTL-32184, NSN 8415-01-526-9168 to 8415-01-526-9190, non-consecutive 17 sizes
  • Trousers, Cold Weather, Universal Camouflage MIL-DTL-32185, NSN 8415-01-526-9044 to 8415-01-526-9072, non-consecutive 17 sizes

The Marine Corps adopted a slightly modified version of Gen II ECWCS parka called Parka, Cold/Wet Weather, Camouflage or Parka, Cold Weather (and the matched trousers). These parkas and trousers in Woodland Camouflage are the following:

  • Parka, Cold Weather NSN 8415-01-421-9245 to 8415-01-421-9280, non-consecutive 17 sizes
  • Trousers, Cold Weather NSN 8415-01-451-2917 to 8415-01-451-3260, non-consecutive 10 sizes

The MARPAT pattern All Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS) was the next evolution of the design for the USMC, replacing the ECWCS model.

The Gen II parka utilizes an optional Hood, Cold Weather (MIL-DTL-32184, NSN 8415-01-526-9900 to 8415-01-526-9905, non-consecutive 5 sizes), attached by Velcro. This hood is large enough to be worn over a helmet and can optionally be fitted with the Gen I Ruff, Parka, Extended Cold Weather.

The Layer 2 Polar Fleece, worn over the base layer of polypropylene undergarments, was originally developed as part of the Special Operations Forces Personal Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) Lightweight Environmental Protection (LEP) to replace the bear suit. The black Polar Fleece shirt/jacket is very popular as an outer garment, but frowned upon by many Commanders. Special Operations Forces are permitted such wear and it is allowed by some Commanders under specific circumstances. The ECWCS Polar Fleece items are made in commercial equivalent Polartec® Classic 300 shirt and Polartec® Classic 200 overalls.

The U.S. Army requested that Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, PA procure Generation II ECWCS in the Universal Camouflage Pattern. The Generation II items were the primary ECWCS outerwear until the full implementation of the Generation III ECWCS. The Generation II parka and trousers continue to be used after introduction of Generation III, serving as an additional layer to the Generation III system.

Gen II ECWCS Handwear, Headwear, Footwear

Handwear associated with Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (Gen II ECWCS) includes:

  • Leather GORTEX gloves worn with wool inserts
  • Trigger finger mittens (canvas and deer skin palms) worn with wool trigger finger inserts
  • Arctic mittens (canvas with deer skin palm and a polyester fiber backing) with removable liner made from the same material as the poncho liner

Trigger finger mittens and arctic mittens have lanyards, to be worn over the head, so that the mittens can be removed without loss.

Headwear/Neckwear associated with Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (Gen I ECWCS) includes:

  • Neck gaiter, three configurations: as a turtle neck, pulled up over the head with face exposed, pulled up over heard, mouth and nose. Gaiter, Neck A-A-55247 Polypropylene and Lycra jersey knit fabric, NSN 8440-01-387-8509
  • Balaclava, three configurations: as a hat, down with face exposed, down with face covered. If required, add goggles to cover the eyes and surrounding skin

Footwear associated with Generation II of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (Gen I ECWCS) includes:

  • Socks, Men's, Nylon, Cushion Sole, Stretch Type, OG-106
  • Boots, Cold Weather (Type I-Black) Mickey Mouse boots
  • Boots, Extreme Cold Weather (Type ll-White) Bunny boots

Soldiers are instructed to wear the nylon dress sock or a polypro sock under the wool sock for more effective wicking.

Gen II ECWCS Accessories

The Suspenders, Trousers, M-1950 (MIL-S-10926) are also part of ECWCS, used with the Gore-tex trousers.

Find More Information on the Internet

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