In the United States Marine Corps, we are referred to as “the few, the proud!”, being known for our intestinal fortitude, toughness, and all-around hard-charging attitudes. So people might be wondering – why in the world do we all refer to our favorite piece of military issued gear as a woobie!?
7 Reasons U.S. Marines Can’t Live Without Their Woobie
Before you start asking, U.S. soldiers and Marines needed something to keep them dry on damp nights in the jungles of Vietnam. They also needed a solution for a bit of warmth during the cool nights in the jungle. The military poncho, as we know it today, along with the poncho liner, was developed to address this need. I have spent countless chilly nights cuddled up in my woobie while on active duty. My poncho liner traveled the world with me and was that one bit of comfort that my fellow Marines and I had access to. I want to go over a few reasons why I feel that anyone focused on preparedness and enjoying the outdoors, should add one of these magical blankets to their kit.
1. It’s Easy To Carry:
The woobie is extremely lightweight due to the materials that it is constructed from. It can be stuffed into a pack, rolled up like a sleeping mat, or affixed to the top or bottom of your ruck. You can also attach it to your external molle webbing, which alleviates the need to take up valuable interior space. The dimensions of the poncho liner are usually 62 x 82 inches. This gives you a lot of coverage without incurring much additional weight. It doesn’t roll up to a super tight profile (12”x5”x5”) but the fact that it is so light makes it viable for any size backpack. The fact that the woobie is a bit fluffy, is what makes it incredibly comfortable as well as its ability to protect you from the elements.
2. Used As A Sleeping Bag:
One of the intended uses for the woobie is as a lightweight, fair weather, sleeping bag. Keep in mind that It is better suited for use in temperatures above 40 °F. The ties or strings, at the corners of the poncho liner allow it to be tied to the grommets on the poncho. Surprisingly, it provides ample warmth while adding protection from the weather. The fact that you can get so many versatile applications from your woobie and poncho make it a considerable choice above other sleeping bag options in fair weather situations.
3. Used As A Pillow:
While out in the field working on whatever the mission of the day may be, it’s nice to have a bit of comfort when it’s time to relax. In an emergency scenario, things are going to be extremely challenging. Rest and conserving calories are certain focal points. Something as simple as a pillow can aid you in some much needed R&R.
4. Used In Shelter Building:
I prefer to have my woobie attached to me when I am inside my field-expedient shelter. But in a pinch, my poncho liner can be affixed as part of my shelter. Because of the poncho liner’s construction, it can protect me from damp weather and windy conditions; especially when coupled with my poncho. When rain is not an issue, the poncho liner makes a great tarp or fly which can shield you from the sun, not to mention debris and critters falling from trees. Check out the Stone Mountain Emergency Shelter that is warm in any weather, waterproof, and windproof.
5. Used As A Field Expedient Stretcher:
A poncho liner can easily be fashioned into a stretcher. It’s just a matter of finding a couple of poles and folding your woobie around those 2 poles. Due to the poncho liner’s nylon and polyester materials, it can handle some serious weight. A stretcher is quite simple to make but you need to get some practice in now! Having your woobie with you will provide comfort, but having your woobie and skills may also save your loved-one’s life!
6. Can Provide Concealment:
After all, this is a military issued piece of gear designed for military use. Due to the woobie’s various OD and camouflage patterns, it can be integrated into the environment to provide concealment when needed. You can wrap it around you and wear it like a garment or it can be used to cover exposed areas that need not be exposed. Think about it. It’s a large camouflaged blanket. If you are ever in need of concealment, you are only limited by your imagination if you have access to a woobie.
7. It’s A Family Favorite:
My wife knows how prized my woobie is to me. After countless times of catching her and our pets cuddled up with my woobie. It truly amazes me how my pets gravitate towards the woobie. We have thick quilts, goose down comforters, and a plethora of the comfy pet beds that belong to them – but if my wife happens to leave a woobie on the couch, you can bet that our furry friends will claim it in a heartbeat!
Check out this full tutorial video for visual cues on the woobie and why it’d be great on your survival kit!
At the moments following the end of my duty, I only looked to keeping my woobie as a keepsake. But as I maintained my preparedness and outdoor lifestyle, my woobie continued to be part of my standard kit whenever I was on the field. When I put up other equipment, against the versatility and comfort of the woobie, the woobie is in a league of its own. I agree that there’s other more pertinent gear than a poncho liner. However, if you have the possibility of including it in your ruck, I certainly wouldn’t think twice.
Do you also have a woobie? It’s amazing, isn’t it? If you have some thoughts on it or some stories to tell, talk with us down in the comment section below.
Planning to camp this spring? Looking for tips on how to make your next outdoor experience a blast? Why don’t you try these 25 five badass camping hacks for size?
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.