Mil-tec ECW Jacket & Fleece
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- Last updated: 20/08/2021
I wasn’t sent this jacket to review, I simply saw Flecktarn’s advert in Gun Mart, visited their website, checked out the details, liked the price and bought it. I wanted something warm, waterproof, practical, rugged and affordable to close the gap between my full-on Scandinavian winter gear and my regular hunting clothing. It does that so well I thought I should spread the news.
The design harks back to the 1980s when the US Army created a comprehensive ‘extended cold-weather clothing system’ around the now-familiar three-layer principle (base-mid-outer). The ECWCS programme is today in its third generation, so continued commercial production of the Gen 1 jacket by Mil-Tec shouts ‘right first time’!
Despite modest waterproof and breathability figures, the jacket has done a sterling job of keeping me dry and is thoroughly windproof. The waterproof-breathable membrane is shielded by a tough nylon outer layer and a soft nylon drop liner. Like most membranes, it struggles with heavy perspiration, but long underarm zips let you give it a helping hand. That said, believing that you see more if you move less, I’ve only needed to do this for carcase extraction.
The outer layer is printed with Mil-Tec’s version of the ATACS FG camo pattern and has a nice non-shiny finish. It does scrape when pushing through branches, but the slight sounds generated when glassing or mounting the rifle are scarcely noticeable even in very still air. The smoothness of the outer fabric is welcome when shouldering a backpack but less so when trying to keep a basic rifle sling in place.
Protection from the elements comes by way of Raglan sleeves; taped and sealed seams; broad Velcro cuff tabs; a double storm flap over the fulllength, double-ended front zip; mega-storm flaps over the two front lower pockets secured with double Velcro tabs as well as stud closures; a high collar and a permanently-attached hood, complete with a peak and a tensionable baffle that prevents cold air ingress. (A similar baffle is located inside the jacket body at the waist.) Storage is also excellent.
The outer pockets are bigger than they initially seem, whilst the inner pockets, accessed via vertical zips on either side of the main closure, each occupy the entire chest area of the jacket. Finally, a small pocket on the left sleeve is perfect for a modestly sized multi-tool. Better still, the jacket comes complete with a detachable fleece liner.
No mere afterthought, it is seriously warm and comfortable, extends the available storage with fullwidth internal lower pockets, and is faced with smooth nylon to help it move inside the outer jacket, for greater flexibility. It zips in, with additional securing studs at the collar and wrists. When removed, it can be worn in its own right, giving access to two zippable hand-warmer pockets.
It’s not the most stylish jacket, or the most technically advanced, but I absolutely love it.