USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPDATE.

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USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPDATE.

Post by moab » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:32 pm

USMC Polartec 300 GEN II ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

(EDIT/UPDATE - Here's most sizes available on ebay for cheap prices. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... et&_sop=15 Peckham only has 3XL on their site. But many of the ebay offerings are new and just as good of deals. This jacket was meant to go over a lot of other cold weather gear. So it is sized very large. I would get a size smaller than you normally take. The 3XL I purchased is totally a size 4XL if not bigger.)

(My apologies for the sideways pics. But the forum has a limit on how tall a photo can be. And I shot some of these vertically instead of horizontally. So I had to rotate them to get them to work.)

As best I can tell this jacket is the first issue Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS fleece that performed as a jacket by itself and as a zip in liner for the GEN I Goretex jacket. Although I have not had a chance to try to zip it into my Goretex GEN I ECWCS yet. (We just moved and are still unpacking.) The NSN reverts to a "Shirt, Cold Weather". This may have been worn by other branches of the service. I am simply not aware of which ones those are.

Reports from another member here and one on the manufacturers website describe the jacket as - and I paraphrase here - "The best fleece we were ever issued. However once GEN II came along we were no longer allowed to use them. And it was far and away a better fleece jacket than following issues." I would have to agree with this. Having seen following versions (not all of them) they are much lighter weight. And not nearly as functional. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I might be able to explain the exact differences. My review will focus on the jacket itself.

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I purchased the jacket from here for $28 (Mind you it's a discontinued item and only comes in 3XL here.) https://www.peckhamperformancewear.com/ ... k-P97.aspx Peckham is a government contractor that is selling off their discontinued stock. They refer to the jacket as the "DSCP jacket fleece black". It is made of 300 weight Polar Fleece. It's key features are:

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It's lined on the outside with a nylon shell that covers both the shoulders and the back of the lower two thirds of the arm.

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Starting at the top the jacket has a nice inner batting that covers the zipper. Blocking cold and some wind from creeping in via the zipper.

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The medium weight YKK zipper is doubled. So that you can unzip from the top or the bottom. I'm sure there are other uses. I just don't know what those are. lol!

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The cuffs have a slim nylon covered trim around them at the ends. And a velcro flap for securing the cuffs to the wrists.

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The jacket has two outside pockets at the bottom. With nice quality zipper strings.

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This is the killer part of this jacket IMHO. It has pit zips to match the GEN I parka it is meant to zip into. I have a couple of these. And although they are to thick and heavy for backpacking. They are bombproof for everything else.

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This is the only place where they skimped on this jacket. Everything else is top notch. The inside pockets and lining. The pockets do not close. The top is open with a little bit of weak elastic to keep things in them. Then below the pocket the lining continues down behind the stomach area of the jacket. For lack of a better term. I suppose you could get a pair of light weight gloves to hang in those pockets. But I would be nervous about anything heavier or not as bulky as that. The pocket appears to be an afterthought. That really isn't safe to use IMHO.

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The thickness of this jacket is phenomenal. The 300 weight fleece is certainly not made for ultralight hiking. But I could see using this jacket hunting or hiking on cold days. It's the perfect insulator for a hard shell jacket. If a little bulky to pack. But if you needed this type of warmth in the winter it would be totally worth it to pack along. I've been wearing it in low to mid 50F and it's worked out quite well. Not to hot. Not to cold. But again has a lot of options for cooling off.

I find more and more turning to fleece jackets, As the heat vs ventilation factor is hard to beat. I rarely get to hot. And I always stay warm. And the many modular ways of opening this jacket up offers further usefulness to this garment. The pit zips, the main zipper and the ties at the bottom of the jacket (I forgot to photograph that. It does have an elastic cord waist band at the bottom of the jacket. That keeps it tight against your waist. Or hangs loose to allow for more ventilation.) all help to regulate this jackets heat.

For $28 it's the best fleece jacket I've ever purchased. To find something like this on the commercial market would undoubtedly cost you much more. If you could find it at all. The two Columbia fleece jackets I own are very nice. But not nearly as well outfitted as this one is. I'm sure this will be my go to backpacking fleece from now on. And with it's ability to zip into my GEN I Goretex jackets it's well suited for a myriad number of things. If you can find it in your size. I say buy one. You won't be disappointed. And they are available on ebay and various surplus sites in other sizes.

EDIT - I found them here with the fleece pants included for $45. In size Large and Extra Large only. http://www.maingun.biz/Jacket_Gen_II_EC ... ketnew.htm But I did see smaller sizes on ebay. Search using "ecwcs gen i fleece jacket". Or different variations of that. Also check out Peckham for other discontinued items at dirt cheap prices.

Here's most sizes available on ebay for cheap prices. http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_id=17 ... dium&rt=nc
Last edited by moab on Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:59 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:02 am

Thanks. Great jacket and price. Too bad they do not have sizes for larger chests.
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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by moab » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:08 am

Asymetryczna wrote:Thanks. Great jacket and price. Too bad they do not have sizes for larger chests.
This 3xl jacket is huge. I'd say it's more of a 4xl. Maybe even a 5xl. I normally wear a 3xl. But this jacket has a good six to ten inches of fabric that can be gathered up in the front. And it's quite long.

That tag reading 45 inches is totally wrong. Gotta be a 55 plus inch chest jacket.
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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by slingstone » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:51 am

Pretty sure this is part of ECWCS Gen 2. Gen 1 was the "Brown Bear" fleece with the black pockets and Gen 3 is the lighter sage/coyote fleece with the Velcro nametape/rank patches that's currently issued.

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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:48 am

I'm actually wearing mine right now in MARPAT desert (I don't know what Gen it is), and it might be the warmest fleece I have. It feels like it has a "tighter weave" (if that's possible with fleece), so it isn't as fuzzy as other fleeces that I own.

When it comes to sizes, mine is obviously made by Peckham with Polartec fleece specifically for the Corps. It is an XL and it is HUGE. I'm 6'0" and a small 240 pounds (I don't look like 240) so normally my clothes are all XL. This is more like a XXL or 3XL.

I only wear it around the house now or if I don't care about looking homeless (i.e. Walmart at 3 AM).

Don't know if that helps with sizes, since mine isn't exactly like what you posted
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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by moab » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:46 pm

Here's most sizes available on ebay for cheap prices. http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_id=17 ... dium&rt=nc
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by moab » Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:51 am

Here's the USMC liner for $25!!!! In normal sizes. These run large. http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com ... acket.html

And lightweight goretex to go over it for $29!! http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com ... r.html?p=4
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by Stercutus » Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:24 am

That brings back some memories.

The black fleece was vastly superior to the green fleece. It was thicker, warmer and more water repellent. It was never designated for external wear although the Army made an exception for a number of years until the green fleece came out.

Once the green fleece came out you had to be on sergeant major lookout if you were wearing it as outerwear or he would eat your lunch.

Someone stole mine out my office in 2009 and i haven't had one since.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by 111t » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:49 am

I picked up two of the polartec 300 jackets for $30 each from either old grouch surplus or colemans I can't remember which. The jacket looks identical. The tags are a little different. They say 'made expressly for south Florida goodwill. Strange. Anyway it is ridiculously warm.

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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by Woods Walker » Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:44 pm

Looks warm!
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Re: Marine Corps GEN I ECWCS Fleece Jacket/Liner Review.

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:14 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:I'm actually wearing mine right now in MARPAT desert (I don't know what Gen it is), and it might be the warmest fleece I have. It feels like it has a "tighter weave" (if that's possible with fleece), so it isn't as fuzzy as other fleeces that I own.
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Classic Polartec comes in three weights 100, 200 and 300 think of them as light, medium, and heavy. There have been many improvements since like adding wind protection but if the price was good and it keeps you warm, then it is a good buy.

I'm just baffled why South Florida Goodwill is peddling 300 wt fleece. Maybe for the homeless.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by teotwaki » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:27 pm

Much of the newest military performance clothing is designed by well established companies such as Patagonia, North Face, etc. Many of the materials and design features of commercial clothing are directly carried over. The inner mesh pocket is used in mountaineering for the purpose of holding and drying out small items such as fleece beanies, gloves or socks but nothing of any weight.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by 111t » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:58 am

teotwaki wrote:Much of the newest military performance clothing is designed by well established companies such as Patagonia, North Face, etc. Many of the materials and design features of commercial clothing are directly carried over. The inner mesh pocket is used in mountaineering for the purpose of holding and drying out small items such as fleece beanies, gloves or socks but nothing of any weight.
Image

Interesting! I was wondering.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by moab » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:01 pm

111t wrote:
teotwaki wrote:Much of the newest military performance clothing is designed by well established companies such as Patagonia, North Face, etc. Many of the materials and design features of commercial clothing are directly carried over. The inner mesh pocket is used in mountaineering for the purpose of holding and drying out small items such as fleece beanies, gloves or socks but nothing of any weight.
Image

Interesting! I was wondering.

Again WW. Comments on my thread and no notifications. Any idea what's up with that?

Very interesting use of the inside pockets. Here I was denigrating them and they actually have a sound purpose. Very interesting.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by Tobias05 » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:29 pm

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Here's the guy that Jeeper is talking about. I was issued one in 08 before I went to Iraq, then immediately ordered not to wear it so we wouldn't get it dirty.

Still afraid to wear it to this day.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by rklessdriver » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:38 pm

As said that black fleece is probably the single best piece of clothing I was ever issued Iin the Corps. The fleeces that followed were in no way as good.

I kept mine and still enjoy rocking it today.

Found another one at a surplus place selling at a gunshow for the wife so we can have matching gear.
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by moab » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:23 pm

These are on sale for $25.88 at TAG all sizes S to XL.

http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com ... acket.html
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Re: USMC Polartec 300 GEN II Fleece Jacket/Liner Review. UPD

Post by 0122358 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:07 pm

moab wrote:These are on sale for $25.88 at TAG all sizes S to XL.

http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com ... acket.html
Bought one a few weeks back. Fits almost perfect if a bit too short in the waist and baggy in the chest, but my torso is shaped weird so I'm very happy with it
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