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U.S. Military Poncho Liner Woobie

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: U.S. Military Poncho Liner Woobie top quilt

Get your woobie on. One of the top inventions by the U.S. Military, the poncho liner (aka woobie) is very lightweight and is nice on mild nights as a wrap or can up the warmth of sleeping bags on colder nights.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Dries fast
  • Keeps you warm
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Not all that good in really cold situations
  • Can bunch up in sleeping bag if you toss and turn

I'm amazed that no one has ever reviewed probably one of the best ever sleeping and warming inventions. It's the military poncho liner, aka woobie (don't ask me where the name woobie came from—it goes back to time of invention). 

I was in the Infantry for 10 years and came to love the woobie. I think most Veterans who've used them would agree how good they are. I still use them for backpacking and search and rescue (in my SAR pack—one for me and one for the patient).

Originals date back to Vietnam, basically a thin, quilted blanket of fiberfill sandwiched between nylon sheets, originally parachute material. The size is 62 inches by 82 inches and weighs 23 ounces. For Vietnam, a lightweight, fast-drying blanket was needed in place of the issue wool blankets and the woobie has been that way to this very day.

Around the edge are eight sets of flat cords to use when tying the woobie into an issue poncho to make a kind of sleeping bag or a warmish blanket while sleeping under the stars, providing your poncho is good. Cords can also be used to tie two together and other creative uses.

In one of the Leave No Trace principles, it is said "let the sounds and sights of nature prevail" and thus the woobie is perfect as necessarily they come in a variety of camouflage patterns for the various environments the troops are exposed to. LNT-wise, you are using subdued nature-oriented colors, for all your gear, right? My favorite is grey-green, a really nice blending color and one of the more recent woobie camo patterns is grey-green digital.

You can nicely wrap up in a woobie and one or more can be used in a sleeping bag to enhance the warmth, although they can bunch up while you're sleeping, especially if you tend to toss and turn. The Marine Corps is now issuing them with zippers so that you can make a lightweight sleeping bag and also use such as a liner for your regular bag. If you tend to be a minimalist, it's the way to go, and for a nice price.

While a quality item, woobies are very cheap. You can get them used and unused at anywhere from $20 to around $50, with the average price from an Army surplus source for about $25-30. Some sources: Sportsman's Guide, Amazon (usually the cheapest), Brigade Quartermaster, local military surplus stores. Don't wait—go out and get your woobie.

Source: I've bought them new and used and also have a couple of my original issue ones from the 1970s
Price Paid: $30

This is a great multi-purpose camping/hiking resources. I have had mine nearly 30 years and it's still as good as when it was new, only a little less stiff.

Pros

  • Easy to stuff in a day pack for emergencies
  • Great in a hammock
  • Easy to carry, lightweight

Cons

  • Not good in extreme cold, but helps
  • Not as compressible as I would like

I got mine early in my military career and when I retired it came with me. It has been good in cool evenings and summer camping. Does not replace a sleeping bag in my opinion, unless you are in warm climate. If paired with a military poncho as designed, it does replace a sleeping bag in moderate climates. 

I love this in a hammock during the summer months or as a leg cover around a fire in colder seasons.  

Source: Issued in the military, available at military surplus

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Price Reviewers Paid: $30.00

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