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Reedy26

BDU jacket question

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I have been looking through eBay for a warm/dry Multicam coat to use during cold weather (20-40 degrees, possible light rain) and have noticed quiet a price range. Anywhere from $25-$200+. I've also noticed some of these coats say level 5 or level 6 in the descriptions. These seem to be the more exspensive ones. What do the levels mean? I tried to google it without much luck.

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I have been looking through eBay for a warm/dry Multicam coat to use during cold weather (20-40 degrees, possible light rain) and have noticed quiet a price range. Anywhere from $25-$200+. I've also noticed some of these coats say level 5 or level 6 in the descriptions. These seem to be the more exspensive ones. What do the levels mean? I tried to google it without much luck.

 

Here is the guide to the ECWCS levels:

 

http://www.adsinc.com/company/solutions/cl...s/gen-iii-ecwcs

 

And trust me, even those of us who use the system every day don't have all of the levels memorized!

 

Level 6 over level 3 is what most commercial systems are, I believe, and is adequate for most folks' needs.

 

The outer fabric on level 7 rips extremely easily, no matter what vendor the garment is from (ask me how I know!), so I would not recommend investing in that if you aren't issued it. You are better off getting a COTS PrimaLoft-filled garment.

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Here is the guide to the ECWCS levels:

 

http://www.adsinc.com/company/solutions/cl...s/gen-iii-ecwcs

 

And trust me, even those of us who use the system every day don't have all of the levels memorized!

 

Level 6 over level 3 is what most commercial systems are, I believe, and is adequate for most folks' needs.

 

The outer fabric on level 7 rips extremely easily, no matter what vendor the garment is from (ask me how I know!), so I would not recommend investing in that if you aren't issued it. You are better off getting a COTS PrimaLoft-filled garment.

 

Thank you! That is exactly the info I was looking for. I'm leaning towards the level 6 due to the gortex and water proofing features.

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One thing I note again and again and again to people with camo concerns: A stock pattern is almost never the most effective for your environment, and most people buy stuff that "fits properly".

 

You always, always, ALWAYS want to buy a couple sizes too large, and just rigger tape (camo duct tape, or OD duct tape) the wrists and ankles.

 

Why? This helps with breaking up the natural smooth lines of the body, taking them even further away from anything resembling a human body. Humans are the most dangerous predators for humans, and this has been the case since caveman days. The eye is naturally and unconsciously drawn to any outline resembling a man, as a result. The purpose of the alteration in colors in camo is to artificially create a "shadow" and "highlight" effect, with the darker colors making "shadows" that aren't in the right places for the human silhouette, and highlights also in the wrong places. But even with that advantage, at reasonably close range, you need MORE help (and any airsoft battle is "reasonably close range", being that it is, at most, maybe 35 yards for a long shot with non-sniper guns).

 

That said about how camo functions, the solution to weather changes is ALWAYS "layer, layer, layer". A lightweight shell enough larger that you can put other layers underneath it without stretching it smooth like a sausage skin is better than a heavyweight shell that will hold that basic human silhouette, no matter how over-sized it is. Get a lightweight, over-sized windbreaker weight soft shell, and an over-sized cotton or cotton blend shirt to wear as your second layer (deeper layers should always be wool, which holds heat, while breathing, even if it gets wet). Cotton gets wet, it gets COLD, and saps heat from the body.

 

Inner layers need to be figured for heat saving value, and need to be something you can discard quickly (I think highly of getting the camo button downs sold just about anywhere, now that camo is a fashion thing, for the layer immediately under the coat...unbutton it, yank off your under-layer, toss it somewhere to be recovered later, once you start getting hot).

 

 

The reason for all of this is not only do you get superior heat control (getting hot enough to sweat on a cold play day is "death", and if you have a heavy outer layer, you can't afford to discard it, but a discarded under-layer can always be recovered and put back on, if you start getting cold. If you're concerned with it having gotten too cold, and wet, while sitting out, wad it up, and put it in your shirt between layers (don't want to freeze yourself) until it warms up again).

 

 

This all sounds complicated, but it is exactly how mountain climbers, ice climbers, skiers, and soldiers handle it, because it's the best way to. If the soft shell you have isn't already waterproof, simply spray it with waterproofing spray once a day for about a week, keeping it indoors. Most windbreaker thickness soft shells will already be waterproof, though.

 

For "discarded" layers, I tend to favor using a camelback or other pouch that will hold a couple long-sleeved shirts, wadded up. Keeps them off the ground, or from being eye-catchers.

 

 

This is ALSO much cheaper than buying a heavy weight jacket, much less having to buy camo for every season. A single light soft shell, waterproof, a single camo shirt, bought at K-Mart or Wal-Mart, and then long underwear, Underarmor, and underwear weight tee shirt in tan, brown, any shade of gray, or olive drab. (put the Underarmor as your "against the skin" layer). Do that and you're out how much? Maybe $30 for the jacket, $5 for the lightweight tee, $15 for wool long-johns, anywhere from $20 to $40 for Underarmor, and anywhere from $* to $25 for the camo button-down shirt.

 

Sounds like a high expenditure of money...but you have just covered camo for every season (except winter snows...which can be handled by getting a thin light gray button down built for a Samoan at any thrift store, or even a white one...the camo of the soft shell will somewhat show through it, giving you the camo effect for snow conditions). And with that "all season" setup, you have the versitility to keep yourself at maximum comfort, at all times.

 

 

 

While I'm new-(ish) to airsofting, principals of camouflage and cold weather activity don't change, no matter what they're being used for, and I have a ton of experience in this area, from skiing/snowboarding, to ice climbing/mountain climbing, to army applications, to hunting (never use any form of cotton while hunting, or facing enemies with IR capabilities...the cotton reflects pure white, the dyes don't reflect at all...this includes denim type fabrics), to paintball, to what airsofting I have done to this point. The methods and principals don't change, just the reasons you're using them.

Edited by Whiteout

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Did I miss that detail? LOL. Too right. Cotton against the skin is disaster in cold or wet weather. Wool, or one of the wicking/breathable artificial fabrics, such as the one Underarmor is made of.

 

And wet wool gets heavier than my mother-in-law. So unless you're Scottish or Welsh and have a thing for sheep, the Underarmor as the layer closest to the skin is most comfortable and effective.

Edited by Whiteout

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Good info I will use. My against the skin layer is almost always Under Armor or some sort of similar athletic gear for its moisture wicking capabilities. I have decided to go with a Level 4 jacket & layer up as the 5 & 6 get rather pricey.

 

Next up now is a good pair of water proof boots. I have dry/summer boots, but playing in early march in northern IL requires something that will stay dry in the slop. Good news is the money I'm saving on the coat will be applied to the boots. I never skimp on footwear

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Good info I will use. My against the skin layer is almost always Under Armor or some sort of similar athletic gear for its moisture wicking capabilities. I have decided to go with a Level 4 jacket & layer up as the 5 & 6 get rather pricey.

 

Next up now is a good pair of water proof boots. I have dry/summer boots, but playing in early march in northern IL requires something that will stay dry in the slop. Good news is the money I'm saving on the coat will be applied to the boots. I never skimp on footwear

Two ways to go on boots...find someplace that sells the OLD Army style combat boots (the "speed lace" type), and wax and polish the bejeezus out of them. As long as I didn't step in water deeper than my boot-top, my feet stayed dry through 4 years of wearing those, in georgia clay, central american jungle, and a not-so-dry desert, plus various FTX environments. They're fairly inexpensive, but get them from a reputable surplus dealer. They'll run between $30 and $99 a pair, depending on source, and whether they are old surplus, or new boots simply made in the same way. The old surplus are usually cheaper, because the shop bought job lot crates at government auction, in unmarked crates, and got boots...but since that means the leather is older, oil it, let the oil soak in, a few times, THEN wax/polish. And put a new coat of polishign wax on them after every cleaning (just a buff shine works well...smear black shoe polish, which is wax, on the boot, snap a cloth diaper across the surface a few times, and you're done)

 

Second option is go for brand. Think hard on getting plain old hunting boots. I use Irish Setter's Ridgehawk. About $150 a pair, gore-tex lined, waterproof, good track, breathe well enough for summer, spring, and early fall wear, warm enough to spend half a night traipsing through snow to get to a late fall or winter season tree stand. And they come in Mossy Oak pattern standard :a-grin: But Irish Setter is one of about a dozen brands of high quality gore-tex lined hunting boots that provide the ankle support, foot protection, traction, and so on that makes them desirable.

 

 

 

Little edit* If you go with Setters, you have to break them in WELL, the soles are thick, and they stay rather stiff for a while. Army boots break in in about two days of full-day wear.

Edited by Whiteout

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and just rigger tape (camo duct tape, or OD duct tape) the wrists and ankles.

 

this is a recipe for heat stroke in 90% of the US during the summer, stay hydrated if you do this, and don't plan on moving too quick if you wear oversized uniforms.

 

Whiteouts advice is ok if you are trying to stay still, but he has some of the worst advice for Direct Action scenarios that make up most of airsoft. Loose fitting clothes impair movement, are a giant snag hazard, and are difficult to keep on during high energy activities. Take a look at the kit modern SOF use. Look through pictures, get ideas, use them.

 

As for boots, look to lighter weight trail runners or hiking boots. Hightop military style boots are designed for one thing, looking pretty while standing in formation, there is a reason high speed guys in modern combat ditch combat boots when they can.

Edited by frogfish

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this is a recipe for heat stroke in 90% of the US during the summer, stay hydrated if you do this, and don't plan on moving too quick if you wear oversized uniforms.

 

Whiteouts advice is ok if you are trying to stay still, but he has some of the worst advice for Direct Action scenarios that make up most of airsoft. Loose fitting clothes impair movement, are a giant snag hazard, and are difficult to keep on during high energy activities. Take a look at the kit modern SOF use. Look through pictures, get ideas, use them.

 

As for boots, look to lighter weight trail runners or hiking boots. Hightop military style boots are designed for one thing, looking pretty while standing in formation, there is a reason high speed guys in modern combat ditch combat boots when they can.

 

I agree with 2/3rds of your post, but I believe 6"-8" boots do help keep you from rolling your ankles. I know thay've saved me on a number occasions.

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this is a recipe for heat stroke in 90% of the US during the summer, stay hydrated if you do this, and don't plan on moving too quick if you wear oversized uniforms.

 

Whiteouts advice is ok if you are trying to stay still, but he has some of the worst advice for Direct Action scenarios that make up most of airsoft. Loose fitting clothes impair movement, are a giant snag hazard, and are difficult to keep on during high energy activities. Take a look at the kit modern SOF use. Look through pictures, get ideas, use them.

 

As for boots, look to lighter weight trail runners or hiking boots. Hightop military style boots are designed for one thing, looking pretty while standing in formation, there is a reason high speed guys in modern combat ditch combat boots when they can.

I was speaking to winter gear about layering. But loose clothing isn't the heatstroke hazard you paint it to be (haven't even had heat exhaustion using such methods, even being in the field all day in Texas brush country summer. Hydrate. Which you want to do in ANY weather.)

As for snagging issues, depends on terrain and material used. I have very little issue with snaggage, even going through blackberry thickets, wearing loose outers made of ripstop nylon or working trade "canvas". Best source for ripstop nylon clothing? Army/Navy surplus or summerweight work coveralls.

 

 

You are entirely wrong about "high speed guys in modern combat gear" abandoning combat style boots. They go to reinforced canvas side boots of the type that was called "jungle boots" in the Vietnam era, and is now referred to as "tactical weave" or "desert issue". If you're playing in muck in the colder weather, as the OP was asking about, you want waterproof, so you go away from weaves. Summer, they will probably do the job. But a decent ankle reinforcement is still preferable.

 

As for the "looking pretty in formation" note...100% wrong. In formations which appearance is at all considered, uniform is low-quarter shoes and your greens. In BDU formation, standards aren't "pretty" at all, as it is acceptable in such formations to show up with an uncreased, unstarched uniform with no wrinkles actually ironed into it, and a pair of boots without obvious streaks in the wax. And that's exactly how most soldier show up for BDU formations...those are our "working duds", not our "show-off clothes".

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You are entirely wrong about "high speed guys in modern combat gear" abandoning combat style boots. They go to reinforced canvas side boots of the type that was called "jungle boots" in the Vietnam era, and is now referred to as "tactical weave" or "desert issue".

 

Sure they do... I could google thousands of photos of US SOF and not find one image from 2004 onward of "jungle boots", I don't think you know anything about the kit used by modern military forces, hell even conventional warfare troops are using boots more akin to hiking boots. Even backpackers who spend months on end rucking difficult terrain don't use anything like combat boots, most serious packers switched over to ultralight boots like Inov-8 or trail runners like Salomon XA Pros years ago, coincidentally those are the very types of boots you'll see Team guys using in Afghanistan..... Vietnam ended almost 40 years ago, technology and the paradigms revolving around combat and packing equipment have evolved.

 

Thermal regulation through clothing has as much to do with heat induced health issues as hydration. Hydrating alone can't compensate for heat rash, high body temperatures, and massive amounts of electrolyte use caused by wearing clothes not suited for the climate. By taping your legs and wrists you are trapping heat and moisture in your clothing, creating a sauna that does nothing to vent that heat or moisture that causes rashes and heat related stress. Your thinking follows the mindset of several decades ago, my mom (who is now 80) used to tell me to do that, when I met people much more experienced in outdoor survival and started taking classes and course revolving around back country hiking I quickly learned how stupid some of the older paradigms my parents followed really were.

Edited by frogfish

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Sure they do... I could google thousands of photos of US SOF and not find one image from 2004 onward of "jungle boots", I don't think you know anything about the kit used by modern military forces, hell even conventional warfare troops are using boots more akin to hiking boots. Even backpackers who spend months on end rucking difficult terrain don't use anything like combat boots, most serious packers switched over to ultralight boots like Inov-8 or trail runners like Salomon XA Pros years ago, coincidentally those are the very types of boots you'll see Team guys using in Afghanistan..... Vietnam ended almost 40 years ago, technology and the paradigms revolving around combat and packing equipment have evolved.

 

Thermal regulation through clothing has as much to do with heat induced health issues as hydration. Hydrating alone can't compensate for heat rash, high body temperatures, and massive amounts of electrolyte use caused by wearing clothes not suited for the climate. By taping your legs and wrists you are trapping heat and moisture in your clothing, creating a sauna that does nothing to vent that heat or moisture that causes rashes and heat related stress. Your thinking follows the mindset of several decades ago, my mom (who is now 80) used to tell me to do that, when I met people much more experienced in outdoor survival and started taking classes and course revolving around back country hiking I quickly learned how stupid some of the older paradigms my parents followed really were.

No, you would not find mention of "Jungle Boots", you would find mention of "tactical boots" and "desert boots"...which are exactly the same boots, in different color. Same materials for sole, same patterns for sole, same weave sides (materials are no longer raw canvas, as the original jungle boots were, but it's still a heavy-duty breathable fabric weave), and same sole and ankle re-enforcement. I HAVE a pair (and they're good boots for spring/summer/early fall hiking and climbing). I purchased them because my old jungles finally blew a seam. Know where I got hold of them? I have a cousin on the Chicago PD who purchased them from uniform supply on her PD discount. Believe me, I stay current on issue equipment. Hard not to, when you have family who uses it on a day to day basis, in various areas...a CPD cop, an SAR/Fire pilot in Montana (ex USAF cousin, mentioned elsewhere), two current close relatives (son of a cousin and cousin) in the Navy and Marines, a recently ETSd son of a cousin from the US Army, and a brother-in-law who retired as a Lt Col less than 5 years ago, with his butter bar years, and both CO stints in combat arms (and a tour in the dusty and in the rocky since 2003, as well as having been a butter bar with an armored cav unit in Storm).

 

I might be 17 years discharged, at this point in my life, but I regularly talk to family still in, or more recently separated, than myself. Nor are they my only contact in the services (hard NOT to be friends with at least a few servicemen when you live on the edge of the Puget Sound. 3 naval bases, a combined air force/army base, and a NAWS base all within 90 minutes of me. The nearest naval base less than 15 minutes from me, actually) or various local police forces (you get first name basis with a fair number when you're heavily into local live steel culture, archery culture, and hunting. I happen to practice pistol at the same range the local SP barracks, the town I'm in, plus three closest "local forces", and the county sheriffs use for practice and qualification.)

 

As many cops have a military background, if you still doubt me, go find yourself a senior officer, someone nearing retirement, who will have done their military time around the same time I did...and ask him. You'll get the same thing I've been trying to tell you.

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