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U.S. Military Gen III, Level 2 ECWCS Top

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: U.S. Military Gen III, Level 2 ECWCS Top base layer top

U.S. made Polartec Power Grid fleece top for $20. Compare to the $100 Patagonia R1 which is now made overseas.


  • Incredibly breathable
  • Versatile
  • Long sizes available

I find myself wearing the level 2 grid fleece top (aka waffle top) more than any other garment when playing outdoors. Here's why:

  • Ultra breathable
  • Great wicking properties
  • Warm, even as an outer layer
  • Versatile: can be used effectively as a base, mid, or outer layer
  • Thumb holes to facilitate the donning of other layers
  • Half zip for venting

Even if I do sweat while wearing this, the impressive wicking has me dry with the quickness. Infinitely faster drying than my thinner merino wool base layers.

Downside of wearing as an outer is that it can be somewhat easily torn by brush or worn by backpack straps. Upside is you can buy five of these for the price of one Patagonia R1 and not worry about wear and tear (ebay has the best prices and selection).

I have several of these and have paid from $12 for lightly worn up to $20 NWT. This easily represents one of best values in outdoor wear IMO. Added bonus is it doesn't require me pimping a Patagonia label or any other brand name.

I use a base layer plus the Level 2 top and a softshell and I'm comfortable for most active winter activities here in CO.

Long sizes! Med Long size fits me perfectly with an athletic cut. I'm  6'2", 190lbs, athletic build with long arms for context.  

Color is subdued light tan.  


Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $12-20

I agree. Great layer.

I live in Colorado and use this Level 2 layer—I agree with the other reviewer.

You just have to make sure you are getting the authentic Polartec fabric version spec. Needs to have Polartec tags.

Source: bought it new

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Price Reviewers Paid: $12.00

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