Bivvy Wear jacket = Retire the Field Jacket Liner with John Rambo

The U.S. Infantryman invading usually a hostile area, has to carry all his needs at least for initial movements on his back; thus he can ill afford afford to carry dead weight items that don't provide useful capabilities. What is little appreciated is that he is always fighting two enemies; the earth's weather/terrain and the enemy. We have known for years that the M65 Field Jacket is not useful in the field to the infantry Soldier; it soaks up water like a sponge and is too heavy for what little warmth it provides when dry. Wearing one in the field in wet-cold conditions got me hypothermia in 1982 and almost sent me to an early grave. Thus, over the years the M65 field jacket has been "retired" by the silent veto power of the Soldier whose life is on the line and can only be seen as a vintage relic on the back of say Sylvester Stallone in the first John Rambo movie as the preferred civilian attire of the contemplative veteran. The only bright spot is that the jacket has a button-in liner that is made of thin polyester batting that is lightweight and warm and compresses into nothing in your buttpack or rucksack. What many Soldiers do is wear the field jacket liner UNDER their BDU shirt in conditions where the temperature drops into the 40s. Its warmer than a polypropylene shirt though it will make you sweat, so the protocol is to march and fight without it, and then when the movement and fighting is over, you put on your derided "snivel gear" for stationary operations. If you freeze to death it isn't a "snivel", is it? The line between "hard ass" and "dumb ass" is a fine one we cross too frequently in the U.S. military.

The problem with the field jacket liner is that its a field jacket liner not a stand-alone insulation layer--it slick nylon slides freely under the BDU as its got no buttons to connect to inside the BDU shirt. So you feel like the "Michelin Man" with the puffy liner under your BDU shirt. When the temperatures drop below freezing, its simply not enough warmth insulation and on goes your ECWCS Gore-Tex® jacket, the polypro and the other thin and light layers of clothing the infantryman can ACTUALLY carry. The Soldier simply cannot afford the weight and space of the ECWCS thick fiber-pile "bear suits", so the end result is you shiver the last few hours of darkness praying for the relief of the sun which cruelly shows up and stirs the cold air molecules and mocks you as your men are even more colder in the dawn light then they were in darkness!

Soldiers, hunters, aviators, campers, boaters, bikers, and outdoorsman are unlikely to carry extra protection if it is heavy and bulky and can only store in a large rucksack. The dangerous result: No cold weather protection gear when it is really needed. The best way to reduce the load and keep warm is by the using high performance lightweight clothing that you can comfortably carry in issued pouches, or stow easily in crew cabin and vehicle spaces. The more compact and packable the gear, the less likely you are to leave cold weather safety clothing behind. Bulky fiber pile and poorly performing fleece garments take huge amounts of storage space are unsuitable for this task and simply are not there when needed.

Fortunately there is a solution--you must realize that a solution is possible since its only a matter of time and effort to where we can achieve the insulating warmth required at the light weight and low bulk to where the items are practical carries by the infantry grunt. It may take several attempts to get to this capability--the earth's weather/terrain challenges fortunately are constants so there is a positive end to this effort if we try.

However, the U.S. military doesn't realize lightweight climate protection is in our grasp through several all-out attempts, all its interested in is replacing what it has now, across the entire force and have it last for 20 years or more so they can buy sexy stuff like V-22s that get chicks into bed. Not realizing the romantic appeal of a night under the stars but kept warm by lightweight warmth gear, its fallen on private industry and largely the British Army to produce a lightweight jacket/pants that are thinner than the field jacket liner and polypro making it possible for the first time for the combat Soldier to actually carry a full-performance insulation layer with him. Brigade Quartermaster's offers the new "Bivy Wear™" jacket/pants/hood made of Dupont's Thermolite® micro insulation to trap warm air at a sub-molecular level so the garment is not puffy as a down or synthetic fiber jacket for easy packing, while being 4 times lighter. Bivvy Wear™ compresses to an incredibly small volume that lets you stow it easily inside the Combat buttpack, assault packs, M249 SAW mag pouches, behind aircraft seats and in vehicles. Its Ideal "kit" for Search & Rescue operations, mountaineering, hunting and other activities.

And like hard-to-beat wool, Bivvy Wear™ keeps warmth even when wet but at a lighter weight. In use by the British Army, its under trials by Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, Abu Dhabi Special Forces and UN Peacekeepers. Bivvy Wear™ comes in Olive Drab green but universal brown color would be better as it can be used in desert regions and would match the Army t-shirt color--thus drawing less attention from the nit-picking, uniformity-about-minor-details but important-issues-swept-under-the-rug tyrants endemic to U.S. units, though the current sleeping bag sleep shirt is OD green. I like the Bivvy Wear Jacket because it has a zipper and elastic cuffs/pockets so if worn under the BDU shirt where it stays in place, though it has outside water repellency and side pockets to warm hands (I know we don't do this in the U.S. military...but in the field it beats frost bite) for wear as an outer layer in cold-dry conditions.

The lightweight Bivvy Wear thermally efficient jacket, trouser and hood are designed primarily for wear beneath Gore-Tex® ECWCS cold wet weather components, duty BDUs, and most any other outerwear. When bivouacking, wear Bivvy Wear™ to increase sleeping bag warmth and gain cargo space by carrying a lighter weight, less bulky sleeping bag system like the Ecotat LWSB-MP.

Bivvy Wearis made of high performance, lightweight rip-stop nylon with a middle layer of DuPont's Thermolite® Micro 200 grams/m2 insulation. This patented blend of ultra-thin synthetic fibers, finer than silk, compresses to an unusually small size, yet deploys with full loft for maximum warmth. Efficient insulation is primarily the result of trapped air held around the body. It is important to have an insulating material, which is highly effective in maintaining the trapped air, but at the same time has minimum bulk and weight. The British MOD Stores & Clothing Research and Development Establishment (SCRDE) conducted testing comparing Bivvy Wear™ against the British Army Service Fleece Thermal Liner (NSN 8415-99-869-5329). The results of the Warmth/Mass ratio shows that Thermolite® Micro was four times more efficient than the Service fleece (21.25 to 5.50) making it far superior to the fleece jackets. The Bivvy Wear™ Jacket provides more warmth than three bulky Service Fleece Jackets!

Test Comparisons

Bivvy Wear™ Jacket

British MOD 6mm Service Fleece Jacket

Tog / Clo Value (1 Clo = 1.55 Tog)*

4.25 / 2.74

1.40 / .903

Weight - Average

1.45 lb / 640g

1.6 lb / 720g

Volume (compressed)

9.85" x 6.5" x 6.5".

15" x 6.75" x 16.75"

Warmth/thickness ratio (TOG/cm)



Warmth/mass ratio (TOG/m2/kg)



Bivvy Wear™ Key Features:

Dupont Thermolite® Micro 200grams/m2 high tech synthetic insulation
100% nylon ripstop outer / inner shell
Moisture resistant DWR finish
Windproof and breathable
Low bulk, easy to compress pack
Maintains performance after being compacted
Quick drying synthetic materials
Maintains insulation performance when wet better than other fillers
Easy care - machine washable
Quality Assured ISO 9001.

Made under strict ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Standards.

* Tog & Clo are units of thermal resistance used to express thermal resistance (insulating) properties of clothes & sleeping items. A Tog value of 1 (= Clo value of .64) is comparable to a light suit or medium quality

Whether in combat, field training, on a police stakeout or climbing into a tree stand on a cold morning, a major enemy of the Soldier, police officer, hunter, and outdoorsman is the environment and climatic conditions. To avoid chill, misery and possibly hypothermia after strenuous activity and perspiring in cold zones, an additional intermediate warmth layer of clothing is a matter of life and death. In fact, even in hot climate and desert regions, the night temperature can fall well below freezing, making packable thermal clothing a necessity.

In my earlier article I described a "Combat Light" field living system that uses the buttpack to carry a poncho-tent, OD space blanket and Ecotat Light Weight Sleeping Bag, Multi-Purpose. Even with those items, there is space for a Bivvy Wear Jacket but not a lesser-performing M65 Field jacket liner. The Bivvy Wear Jacket/Pants should also replace the fiber-pile layer in the next go-around of ECWSCS that's issued to everyone in Force Package I units. But why wait? Go ahead and order at least the Bivvy Wear jacket from BQ's web site and retire your field jacket liner to a place in the closet with your VHS copy of Rambo: First Blood, part 1, issue field jacket, steel mess kit, shelter-half and other bureaucratic absurdities the Army still issues out, hasn't used in decades but can't seem to let go.


Mike Sparks

eXtreme Soldiering Combat Light Working Group (ESCL-WG)

1st TSG (A)

Bivvy Wear™ Jacket

Raglan sleeve High turtle zip thru collar Full length front zip opening with zipper guard Welted slanted front pockets with zippers Inside left chest zip pocket Elastic cuff and waist Compresses and stows to 9.85'' x 6.5'' x 6.5''" (.23 ft3) Stuffsack included Weight: 1lb 7oz Olive Drab Green. Imported

$74.99 each







Brigade Quartermasters, Ltd.
PO BOX 100001
1025 Cobb International Dr. NW Suite 100
Kennesaw, Georgia 30156-9217
(770) 428-1248