ECWCS Gen III Level 7 Parka & Trousers

Survival Gear For Americans 

By James Emry

Updated 

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A surplus military parka is an excellent item for survival in the extreme cold. 

We love how Government-issued surplus gear tends to be take a no-nonsense approach—just high quality, extremely robust, and intelligently designed solely for function, not fashion.

Current US military soldiers are fitted with a 7 Level system called “Extended Cold Weather Clothing System” or ECWCS.

Photo of soldiers wearing GEN III ECWCS Military Parka & Pants from Wikipedia

ECWCS covers a broad climate spectrum between -40°C to +15°C. As the 3rd iteration of the system it’s aptly named “GEN III ECWCS.” We’ll begin by briefly covering all 7 levels:

(No time to read? Buy ECWCS Level 7 Parka & Trousers here.)

Level 1

ECWCS Gen III Level 1 - Base Layers (Surplus)
Lightweight Undershirt and Drawers

Level 2

ECWCS Gen III Level 2 Mid-Weight Shirt and Drawers (Surplus)
Mid-Weight Shirt and Drawers

Level 3

ECWCS Gen III Level 3 High Loft Fleece Jacket (Surplus)
High Loft Fleece Jacket

Level 4

ECWCS Gen III Level 4 Wind Jacket (Surplus)
Wind Jacket

Level 5

ECWCS Gen III Level 5 FR Soft Shell Jacket & Trousers (Surplus)
FR Soft Shell Jacket & Trousers

Level 6

ECWCS Gen III Level 6 Extreme Wet Weather Jacket & Trousers (Surplus)
Extreme Wet Weather Jacket & Trousers

Level 7

ECWCS Gen III Level 7 Military Parka Jacket & Trousers (Surplus)
Extreme Cold Weather Military Parka & Trousers

Gen III

Official Gen III ECWCS Logo

This guide will focus on the winterized level—namely the military Parka and Trousers from Level 7.

(If you’re interested in purchasing the other levels you can click the images above or check out the Winter Clothing options at the Gear Shop).

ECWCS GEN III Level 7 - Military Parka & Trousers fit big to accommodate several base & mid layers

Warmth

Level 7 features the incredibly warm “Primaloft” high-loft insulation—known to stay warm when wet, unlike down which loses its warming properties when wet.

What’s more, the military parka & trousers were designed to keep soldiers warm even on static missions where soldiers may be expected to stand on guard for long hours without much activity.

It makes being outdoors at sub-zero temperatures or colder easy and enjoyable, even for individuals that get cold easily.

Light & Adjustability Score
100%

Weight

EASY TO CARRY
As you’ve probably realized weight is such an important factor with your bug out bag, so we really appreciate the incredibly light weight and compressibility of the Level 7 Parka and Trousers. 

EASY TO WEAR
ECWCS is nothing like the typical heavy ski winter jackets you’re probably used to. It’s really enjoyable to wear—so light and roomy that we can move freely and comfortably all day long.

IMPROVED DESIGN
According to the manufacturer ADS Inc., GEN III is “25% Lighter than previous generation ECWCS.”

Weight Score
100%

Durability

FEATURES
Water resistant outer shell, Nylon reinforced knees and elbows, and a high collar with collapsible stow-able insulated hood. The light grey color makes these blend in well in both urban and wintery outdoor environments.

DOWNSIDES
Everything has a downside, and with ECWCS LEVEL 7 the light weight and compressibility comes with sacrificing some durability.

THE SOLUTION?
Pair it with a good outer shell to protect against brush and trees, such as rainwear, which you’ll likely need anyway. We feel there’s really no way around it. If you want a tough heavy winter jacket you’ll add so much weight and space that it’s not realistic to keep in a bug out bag year round.

LEGENDARY MILITARY QUALITY
That said, the ECWCS Level 7 Parka & Trousers are still tough enough for US Military soldiers in extreme cold combat settings. So it’s still an excellent item for your bug out bag that should last if well cared for.

Durability Score
65%

Price

Originally retailing at around $670 USD (roughly $850 CAD or £500) per set of parka & trousers, now reduced to less than half the original price when purchased as used surplus.

However, in all our ECWCS orders we have never received an item that wasn’t in good to excellent condition.

Essentially you get amazing, expensive gear made for soldiers, but at insane discounts. 

Price Score
100%

We hope you found this guide useful! If you did, share this with your friends and let us know in comments.

SIZING TIPS
Use this Sizing Chart before ordering. All sizes are made to fit extra large to go over all your mid layers and base layers, so you want to order true to your size, not bigger! In our experience, tops tend to fit well as is, but pants tend to fit a full size too big, Example: If you’re an XLarge XLong pants we recommend going with Large Long pants instead.

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About the Author

James Emry is a hands-on, outdoor enthusiast and family man who loves learning new things and acquiring new skills. He developed an affinity with nature as a child and is now passionate in his study of bushcraft and wilderness survival. James founded Fox Survival Gear to help families to get equipped with high quality, affordable survival gear for the event of an emergency. He believes that “Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Well.”

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