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

photo: U.S. Military Gen III, Level 2 ECWCS Top base layer top


Price Reviewers Paid: $12.00


2 reviews
5-star:   2
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

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


Thanks for sharing this find, JtothaK.

5 years ago

Thanks for the review. Where do you find these?

5 years ago

This is definitely my go-to mid layer. If the temps are in the 50's It's an outer layer. I've got about 3 of these and JtothaK is right about being good to use as base, mid or outer layer. Goose; you can get these on Ebay, just search for ECWCS Level 2 (or L2 works also) and these and the matching pants will come up. I personally also use the ECWCS "long johns" as my base layer because of how ell they keep me warm. Never thought to review them here since they're not really "trail" clothes, but mil surplus. Hmmmm reviews coming. :-)

5 years ago

Yes, feel free to review yours, Don.

5 years ago

@Goose - As per DonP, ebay is the place. I also have searched by "Gen III Level 2" (caps don't matter).

5 years ago

Ebay or a local army navy surplus store. I have quite a few pairs of these that I collected over my years in the Navy. They are definitely a good piece of gear and something I use frequently.

5 years ago

The fleece "overalls" are also a great product. Those can typically be found anywhere from a.........wait for it...... $1.99!! to maybe an expensive $6.00!

5 years ago

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


Thanks for the recommendation, Frederick.

9 months ago

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