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.
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.)
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).
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.
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.
According to the manufacturer ADS Inc., GEN III is “25% Lighter than previous generation ECWCS.”
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.
Everything has a downside, and with ECWCS LEVEL 7 the light weight and compressibility comes with sacrificing some durability.
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.
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.
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.