Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System

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ECWCS levels 7 (left) and 6 (right)

The Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System, or Gen III ECWCS (/ˈɛkwæks/ EK-waks), is protective clothing created in the 1980s as an exclusively cold weather system by the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Massachusetts, but has been radically redesigned to cover a broad range of combat climates. The first generation ECWCS consisted of parka and trousers plus 20 other individual clothing, handwear, headwear and footwear items which are used in various combinations to meet the cold weather environmental requirements of the US military (and others). Now, the third generation, or Gen III ECWCS, has been developed to maintain adequate environmental protection in temperatures ranging between +40 and −60 Fahrenheit (+4° and -51° Celsius).

The System[edit]

The [1] complete system features seven levels of protection to provide defense from environmental conditions. All garments are designed to enhance a soldier's ability to train and operate in many combat conditions.

Levels of Protection

  • Level I: Sandy-colored Light-Weight polypropylene Polartec Power Dry Silkweight Undershirt & Drawers
  • Level II: Sandy polyester Polartec Power Dry grid fleece Mid-Weight Shirt & Drawers
  • Level III: Black Polartec Thermal Pro® polyester High-Loft Fleece Jacket
  • Level IV: Gore-Tex Wind Jacket
  • Level V: Water-repellent stretchable nylon soft shell Cold Weather Jacket & Trousers
  • Level VI: Extreme Wet/Cold Weather Gore-Tex Jacket & Trousers
  • Level VII: Extreme Cold Weather soft shell with PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation USA Parka & Trousers

Total weight: 12.82 lbs / 5.82kg

Initial fielding of the system began in August 2007 to the 73rd Cavalry Regiment in Afghanistan.[1] (2) Provided by a member of the National Guard unit identified at Fort Greely that took part in the GEN I testing.


  1. ^ as well as with two locations in the United States for their extreme cold weather temperatures: Fort Drum, NY and Fort Greely, AK. (2) "Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)" at the Program Executive Office Soldier website Gen III authorized for U.S. Army Issue is only currently available through ADS and Tactical Distributors online.

External links[edit]