It has been said, that no other piece of equipment holds as special a place in the heart of America’s fighting men and women as the Woobie. There have literally been entire articles dedicated to the military’s love affair with this item of… well, it’s not strictly clothing, in fact no one really knows what it is… blanket, pillow, poncho liner? It’s official name is: Liner – Wet Weather – Poncho, but it’s such a flexible bit of kit that you can’t really put it into one particular bracket. There’s one thing for sure though, it’s a well loved piece of gear and one that’s held up well through the years since its inception.
From the Mekong Delta to the Hindu Kush, many a soldier has relied on their woobie to provide that little bit of relative comfort in an adverse environment. But for all it’s earned love and affection, the Woobie is not a truly perfect item by anyone’s standard. The original woobie is pretty basic overall, whilst this simplicity happens to be its greatest asset, it’s can often prove to be its single biggest weakness.
You can use it for a number of jobs, from blanket to pillow and even to wrap around fragile items within your bag, but moving around whilst wearing one can often be more trouble than it’s worth. Perseverance Survival saw this gap in the woobie’s potential, and decided to design something that maximised the woobie’s strengths and diminish its main weakness by turning it into a dedicated wearable item.
A veteran owned business, Perseverance Survival was formed in 2016 by former US Marine Corps SERE Instructor James Keeling, who started off making woobie pullovers for people he knew. One or two turned into a few dozen, before long he was shipping them across the country and then onwards to the rest of the world. The business has by all accounts rapidly grown into a brand that’s sought out globally, It’s best selling woobie hoodie is an item seen adorning the back of many a respected member of the shooting/tactical community; Drew Hopkins, Rudy “Fruity Rudy” Reyes and Travis Haley have all been seen wearing their Woobie hoodies around.
There’s a USMC old boys network at play with some of the marketing for sure, certainly Rudy and Travis would be more inclined to buy from a fellow Marine corps veteran than some random joe, but there’s also an underlying sense of this being a product and company wholly deserving of it’s garnered praise. Their hoodies have had great reviews from almost everyone whose ever bought one, certainly I’ve not seen any negative press in regards to their Woobies or indeed Perseverance Survival as a whole for that matter.
I’m a sucker for jackets and certainly ones that are relatively inexpensive yet highly regarded, so I decided to grab one and find out what all the fuss was about.
I currently own a couple of jackets that are designed primarily to keep you warm, the older MOD issued Snugpak Reversible Softie and also a Wild Things Tactical Low Loft SO 1.0 (reviewed here). Both are fantastic jackets in their own right, but they both offer significantly different benefits to a Woobie Hoodie, neither are really jackets I’d want to use in game where the chance of snagging them on a bit of wire or a thorn bush is relatively high.
I’d been looking for a “Tacticool” jacket at an affordable price point for quite some time and with a restock conveniently happening on their website, there really wasn’t a better time to buy one (I’m also an advocate for buying out of season, buy it before you need it and when you can get it… or at least, that’s the plan).
So what sets this apart from the other jackets in my collection? Well it starts with the materials used, and its not simply about the colours available either. The exterior and lining material is listed as 100% ripstop nylon, this should help stop any little tears from becoming an immediate issue and allow you to quickly repair small rips or tears before they become terminal issues.
I chose my Woobie Hoodie in a US Woodland pattern fabric, partly because I like the pattern, I know it works well in the UK and its subtly different enough from UK military surplus DPM to work as casual wear. There is the main reason though, I’m a basic bitch and anything in US Woodland has been able to turn a no into a yes for quite a few years.
Perseverance Survival offer a wide (and growing) selection of colours, from Multicam to Tigerstripe, Grey and MARPAT, it genuinely wasn’t easy to choose which one I wanted with such a choice available… Tigerstripe and MARPAT were definitely close contenders.
The filling or “batting” is 100% polyester, this key component is what gives the jacket it’s soft and warm feel. The key thing to know about loft type jackets is that it’s the filling’s air trapping quality that helps insulate you from the cold, retaining that lovely heat next to your body.
Goose or even Duck Down is fantastic and ounce for ounce its warmer, but as soon as they get wet, they tend to clump up, loose their effectiveness and become a pain in the arse. Synthetic fillings are a little heavier but they retain the majority of their qualities when wet, dry incredibly quick and are much cheaper to ethically manufacture.
The interior lining is (as previously mentioned) the same ripstop nylon as the outside fabric, the lining’s colour is Coyote Brown, which has distinct echoes of USMC load bearing gear and plate carriers. I’d put money on this being a big reason for the lining’s colour, certainly given the history of Perseverance Survival, it seems a logical reason.
The zipper is an American Plastics manufactured, delrin zipper with a metal pull tab. Whilst I can understand the choice of a polymer zipper, it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice to use one with a metal pull-tab. I’ll be swapping it out to a short section of paracord or similar in the near future, but it works well enough for the moment. As with the majority of clothing made in the USA, the zipper is right handed which might be a little novel for my U.K. and European readers but those who are already initiated into the tactical geardo fraternity shouldn’t find this too unfamiliar.
The original pattern of Woobie Hoodie was a pullover design, arguably the more effective option at keeping you warm but I’m not a massive fan of pullover jackets. They often require you to remove other gear such as helmets and night vision etc, with a zipper fronted design, this isn’t necessary.
The top of the jacket is home to a large fixed hood, it’s something that on most jackets I’d rather choose to tuck into the collar and simply never use. I’m not really a hood wearing person and can find myself fighting with it whenever I get into my car. Whilst I completely get the concept of simplicity, adding a small toggle on the collar to police up the hood might make it a lot more user friendly for those who rarely use the actual hood. A long section of soft cord comprises the hood drawcord, this is another aspect of the jacket that’s aimed more at pure comfort than outdoors durability. With all things considered, the hood is actually fantastic at its job. The sizing allows for headgear to be worn, and overall its positives outweighs the negatives.
A pair of pockets sit in the traditional abdominal area, they’re stitched in such a way that loose change won’t spill out, but not so deep that you can’t fully sweep the pocket with a gloved hand… In fact, the pockets are one of my little gripes about the jacket as a whole. I’d have preferred to see the pockets a little bigger in their overall size, I can barely fit my whole hands in to keep them warm which is a bit disappointing. I am used to seeing slightly bigger pockets on my hoodies, even the split front design ones.
A Bomber Jacket style Hem and Cuffs round off the jacket nicely, these are elasticised polyester and feel rather thin, although they do work well to cinch the jacket at those areas of heat loss around the bum and waist. The wrists are exactly what I’ve been asking for all this time, no irritating Velcro and no lacklustre and limp elastic, just a tried and tested band of the same hemming material as used on the hem of the jacket.
The overall cut of the hoodie is quite generous, it’s not what I’d call baggy but it’s certainly on the larger end of its sizing with the arms being perfectly sized for my large reach and frame. I bought an XXL to make sure that I’d have the option of wearing it either over or under a chest rig, sometimes I simply want something to chuck over the whole lot just to keep me warm in those little pauses between the shooting. Other, colder times, I might want something warm on all day.
This works well with the XXL size I bought, but I’ll probably want another size down if I do happen to shift a little timber over the coming months. I’d say that the jacket is slightly “sized up” against standard U.K. sizes, but this is pretty normal for US manufacturers, as is the (back to front) right handed zipper.
This model has been impregnated in its surface with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR), I’m sure it won’t last forever but it’ll certainly be fine for the foreseeable future. As you can see from the rain beading off its surface recently, it works rather well. Nothing lasts forever though and when it starts to degrade, I’ll give it a booster treatment of Nikwax.
But all this is for nothing if the quality doesn’t match the desirability, so how does it stack up?
Against a more polished design such as the Snugpak softie or the Wild Things Low Loft SO 1.0, its a little more rustic in its overall feel. one item that sums this up is in its primary seam stitch type. An overlock stitch might be a little less visually appealing than a fully shrouded seam, but it is less time consuming and therefore cheaper to produce whilst still being more than up to the task at hand. The overlock stitch does a fantastic job of making sure that the seams do not start to fray and they’re also nice and flat which makes for a “seamless” feel whilst wearing the jacket.
Overall for the cost, its a well put together hoodie. It stays relatively dry in light rain, it keeps you incredibly warm as well. Overall its a great little addition to my collection, although it might lack the fitness of some other jackets, there’s plenty of reasons I’d choose this for a weekend camping or shooting over some of my other jackets… The key things I really like about this jacket is its warmth, water repellency and the design of the cuffs and hem. It also just about packs into a large Haley Strategic Insert Bag, fantastic as my other two warm jackets take up a fair amount more room!
Can I recommend it? Sure. It’s never going to find itself as a number one choice for an expedition or serious climb, but as a comfort item whilst camping in milder climates or to strut around the range or safe zone? It’ll serve you well enough. The important thing to remember is that this isn’t designed or marketed as a serious outdoor item, it’s a comfort item first and foremost, one that has more than a little “warrior ethos” fashion within its makeup but not so much that it’s adorned with Viking skulls and obscure quotes. Now that ive bought my first, I’ve got to decide which colour to opt for next and maybe throw a pair of those silkies into the basket at the same time!