Blackdog wrote:Thanks for the work and the insight. My only comment is that you for sure have made educated choices driven by experience but as someone who has lived and worked long term in both the old school Military and civilian versions of cold/wet weather gear I can 100% say I prefer the appropriate civilian versions for the weight reduction, packability, function and in many cases hard use wear. I can't tell you how many Military goretex parkas I went thru and f--ked up real good but I can tell you I have been treating a Marmot Alpinist goretex parka poorly for just over a decade now with no complaints.
The cost of the items may or may not figure into the equation as the Mil version may or may not cost more than the civ version depending on your shopping/research skills and interest in running down good functional gear. If camo is a concern, many items come in good subdued colors or (as one example) the Patagonia MARS line of clothing are civilian models manufactured in Military colors.
I am not in anyway dissing (is that a word?) your gear or choices only pointing out to anyone who wanders by and bothers to read your excellent post that there are many (in my mind anyway) superior options to old school Military cold/wet gear and I urge people to investigate the different options, make their own choices (and then go bang on their gear often and repeatedly to make sure it works for them).
I completely agree that some of the premium civilian wet/cold weather clothing are reputably superior to anything made by the lowest bidder for the military.
However, I purchased my entire set of Brand New In The Bag USGI ECWCS for $75. I bought two sets for this price, and have been testing one of them for over a year now.
I do not abuse my gear, but the "used" set has been: camping; hiking; shooting; and even to some rainy political rallies without so much as a single droplet of water getting through. There are no visible signs of wear or damage anywhere on them.
My only compliant is the weight. I suspect I could save a few ounces by utilizing a civilian version.
Since I don't abuse my gear, I guess it could be argued that my "testing" isn't a realistic representation of the conditions a person would face in the PAW. However, I'd counter that since replacement gear wouldn't be an internet click away, most people will treat their gear BETTER during such conditions.
The same applies to my BHI SOF Ruck. Is a brand new MultiCam Kifaru EMR superior? Most likely. However, in spite of what you read on the internet - neither the USGI ECWCS nor any of the Blackhawk gear I have listed has lived up their to internet conjecture about them.
My testing has yielded that my gear is up to the challenge.