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Posted: 8/21/2015 1:29:14 PM EDT
Asked this in GD yesterday, but didn't really get any responses.

I need to get new clothing this year for hunting, and I'd prefer to do it on the cheap as opposed to overspending for bro-camo at Basspro or Cabelas.

The ECWCS obviously piqued my interest, since its designed around layering, and can be had fairly cheaply on ebay or the EE, in Multicam. I figure Multicam will be fine for breaking up my silhouette, and this stuff should be pretty durable, with plenty of pockets. I'm going to need warmer, wind/water resistant stuff as it gets later in the year. Seems like a combination of the level 4 softshell, and/or the level 5 jacket/pants would be plenty for anything I might encounter weatherwise during the season, with base layers.

My question is -- what is the material like in the level 4 jacket, and the level 5 jacket/pants? Is it really synthetic, in the sense it makes a lot of noise when walking around, bending your arms, etc? I used to have a Gen 2 Gore-tex set (level 6? I think?) and that was way too loud for me to use. Can anyone compare the level 5 stuff to those $10 Chinese soft shell jackets that everyone in GD was buying last fall, in terms of thickness and noise?
Link Posted: 8/21/2015 2:05:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2015 2:07:53 PM EDT by FDC]
The level IV and V are soft.  No real fabric noises.  The V may have a soft crinkle sound to it when clean.  Nowhere near as loud as Gen II goretex.

FWIW, I'm not a fan of the level IV.  It would only fit a very small niche, and I'm not going to waste space with that niche.

ETA:  One of the dealer pages that has a decent explanation of the levels.  http://adsinc.com/equipment/gen-iii-ecwcs/

There are also large PDF slides on the NWTC site which breaks down HOW to wear during cold weather.  
Link Posted: 8/21/2015 2:09:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2015 2:11:20 PM EDT by thormx538]
Thanks for the reply. The more I looked at the L4, the less I think I'd use it.

I suspect with some scent-lock baselayers, a set of FRACUs, and the L5 softshells I can mix and match to stay warm all season.

I hate buying hunting camo. I had it all figured out, then decided to lose 100lbs and shrank from an XL to a M. I know what I want in terms of the types of clothing and thickness of layers, I'm just trying to assemble that package as cheap as I can.

Seems like I can snag a L5 set in multicam for a little over $100.

ETA for your ETA () -- thanks. I've seen that before, and read through the PDF explaining which layers to use. I was just having a hard time finding out how soft/quiet it was when walking around in it, compared to commercial hunting softshells specifically designed to be silent.
Link Posted: 8/21/2015 2:15:26 PM EDT
Note that the Level V is designed to be worn over either the Level I or Level II.  The Level V top can easily be worn over regular clothes(or an ACU top), but the Level V bottoms might be a tight fit(never tried it though).

Spent plenty of time in AK wearing just the Level I and Level V.  Maybe adding the Level II if not as active.

Link Posted: 8/21/2015 3:25:54 PM EDT
I used to use combos of the SPEAR suit and ECWS for hunting gear on the cheap and it worked pretty well. I even used a British dpm pattern NBC suit as a scent blocking outer layer Worked perfectly and the deer never called the fashion police on me.
Link Posted: 9/1/2015 8:14:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2015 8:16:28 AM EDT by thormx538]
Just wanted to update this, in case anyone reading had the same question I did.

I got the non-FR Gen 3 L5 softshell top/bottom for just over $100 shipped on eBay. Came in yesterday. I think these will work fine for hunting. They are very thin and light, which should allow me to use them for the entire season with different base layers. Walking around in them, I think they're quiet enough for hunting. Obviously not as quiet as a $300+ purpose-made hunting softshell (that uses that fleece type material with a water/windproof membrane or coating), but even drawing back on a bow from a stand should be fine. Significantly quieter than the old Gen 2 Gore-Tex stuff I referenced.

They are oversized to allow for layering -- I normally wear size M for t shirts and gym shorts, and the M/R sized ECWCS is big enough that I can easily wear the grid fleece base layer, and a fleece jacket under the sosftshell (as intended). If you don't plan on layering heavily under it, you could get away with sizing down for sure.
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