Ever Wonder Why U.S. Marines Cannot Live Without Their “Woobie?”
Back while I was with the Marines, if things were to go awry, my woobie was one of the few things that I could count on for comfort? But exactly is a woobie? And why in the world would soldiers all refer to their favorite piece of military issued gear as a woobie!?
So people might be wondering – why in the world do we, in the United States Marine Corps, all refer to our favorite piece of military issued gear as a woobie!? And yes, we are referred to as “the few, the proud!”, being known for our intestinal fortitude, toughness, and all-around hard-charging attitudes. I want to go over a few reasons why I feel anyone focused on preparedness and enjoying the outdoors should add one of these magical blankets to their kit.
Woobie: 7 Reasons Why Troopers Can’t Live Without It
1. It’s Easy To Carry
The woobie is extremely lightweight due to the micro-fiber cloths 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. The dimensions of the poncho liner are usually 62 x 82 inches. This gives you a lot of coverage without incurring much additional weight, especially in the cold nights.
2. Used As A Sleeping Bag
One of the intended uses for the woobie is a fair weather, lightweight sleeping bag. Surprisingly, it provides ample warmth while adding protection from the wet weather while in the wilderness. 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
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 To Build Shelter
In a pinch, my poncho liner can be affixed as part of my shelter because of its 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. Having your woobie with you will provide comfort, but having your woobie and skills may also save the life of a loved one!
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. 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 our furry friends will claim it in a heartbeat!
Check out this full video tutorial from Coach Helder’s channel for visual cues on the woobie and why it’d be great for 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, the woobie is in a league of its own. I agree 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? If you have some stories to tell, talk with us down in the comment section below.
Up Next: Planning to camp this spring? Looking for tips on how to make your next outdoor experience a blast? Why don’t you try these 26 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.
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March 19, 2017 at 8:32 AM
If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to post them here.
June 17, 2018 at 8:06 AM
Whoot! Whoot! for the W00Bie…..I can see the sense of it or like gear….USMC woobie, I’ll look for one, although Army/Navy surplus type stores seem to be fewer and fewer….
March 19, 2017 at 9:41 AM
I once read an account of a young girl in her early teens who survived the horrors of Pol Pot in Cambodia. At a couple of places in her account, her mother handed her a small black object that was regarded as criticallly important. You had to read well into the book to discover what it was. It was a folded piece of thick black plastic. Forced by the madmen of Pol Pot to work at labor camps in the jungle, lying on the bare ground, that bit of plastic provided protection from the cold ground and any parasites that might be living in it. It was literally life-saving.
The same is true of this Marine wobbie. It’s not much, but what it is can make a big difference.
March 19, 2017 at 9:44 AM
Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.
April 1, 2017 at 10:17 AM
Can’t say enough good about the woobie. I have slept under one since 1968! I kid you not, it goes everywhere with me. From Alaska to Venezuela to the Caribbean to the Maratimes, the first thing I always pack is one of my woobies. I sleep hot. My wife sleeps cold. She’ll be under layers and I sleep on top of the bed under my woobie. Winter, spring, summer and fall. Always comfortable. Cool when it needs to be and warm when it needs to be.
I have given every family member all the way down to grand nieces and nephews their own woobie. The are great for babies and pets. Just throw in wash and they take about 10 minutes to dry.
Believe it or not they come in different weights and warmths. I find the Marpat to be warmest and jungle to be coolest. I also find the best and cheapest place to get one is Sportsmans Guide.
I gave my grandson one when he was born and his first Cricket rifle at six months and since he already had a dog, I always laugh when I tell his parents that, while he might not appreciate it yet, with a dog, a rifle and a woobie he has everything a person needs to be truly happy.
My will directs I be buried in my oldest woobie because while I’m not sure where I’m heading, I figure I better be prepared for any eventuality.
April 1, 2017 at 10:34 AM
Great information, thank you for sharing it with us!
I’m glad that I’m not the only one who is Extremely Passionate about my poncho liners. 🙂
Thanks again for taking the time to comment and have a wonderful weekend!
June 2, 2017 at 10:01 AM
I was an infantryman for 10 years starting back in the mid-70’s & a 2d gen paratrooper for half of that. My poncho liner was by Far my most favorite bit of field gear. When tied into the poncho, together they were able to keep me fairly comfortable in the Italian Alps in the middle of winter during mountain training. The only modification I’d like to make to it would be to add a hood of the same material to the center of it to match the poncho’s hood so it could be worn together with the poncho while walking or sitting out in the middle of nowhere on guard. When you’re wet & shivering it’s damn difficult to pay enough attention to what’s going on around you.
June 2, 2017 at 10:20 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Great idea on the Mod also.
Have a great day and thank you for taking the time.
June 17, 2017 at 2:56 PM
would be nice if pop up and crap didn’t try to cover your page ,then i could read it
June 18, 2017 at 9:40 AM
Here is the link to the article on my website. I hope it helps.
Pingback: Ever Wonder Why U.S. Marines Cannot Live Without Their “Woobie?”
June 9, 2018 at 6:52 AM
June 17, 2018 at 8:14 AM
Coach, awesome article. I have learned so much from reading your articles. Where can I get my own woobie? (msak89)