ECWCS Level 5 – Cost Effective Tactical Softshell

If you’re in the US anywhere it gets cold or rains and you need camo gear to fit the bill, you can’t beat the value of some army surplus ECWCS Level 5 gear. They buy stuff in such bulk that to get better quality or features on the commercial market you’re likely going to spend a ton more money. I’ve compared this set to my PCU equivalents and didn’t find any noticeable difference in comfort or performance; if you’re an average human being I’d wager you’ll find the same thing.

Folks have this thing that softshell is only for jacket and by comparison the lowers go for way less on ebay. But as I’ve talked about before, softshell isn’t a foul weather uniform, it’s designed to work great in just about anywhere other than the real hot and arid places. Even then the wind blocking properties would be incredibly handy in the cold desert night.

If you’re expecting generally kinda shit weather, I’d go for the shell trousers every time. You can throw a hardshell gore-tex jacket over anything on your top half if it’s really hammering, then not have to worry about your lower half staying soaked for hours and hours once the downpour stops (or doing the goretex trouser dance). The softshell will soak through after a few minutes in a deluge yes, but it won’t stick to you as much, soak up a ton of water to bog you down or go as cold against the skin as cotton blends do; then it’ll dry super fast by comparison later on.

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