Very few items of military clothing command the reverence that the woobie, otherwise known as a poncho liner, does. I remember my very first day in Basic, during the whole in-processing and issuing gear, when one drill sergeant smirked at us and commented on how unfortunate we were that we wouldn’t be getting a woobie. Although I would never get issued one, I’d hear about the woobie and its mythical properties from lifers and senior-enlisted who brought one to the field. It is a good luck charm, warm, waterproof, and bulletproof. It supposedly also works as an invisibility cloak. It has a laundry list of properties, both magical and mundane, that proved just how important the woobie was to soldiers.
While this reversible poncho liner is neither bulletproof nor invisible, it was immediately evident why the woobie is treasured in the field or on deployment. It’s warm, comfortable, and easily compressible to fit in a rucksack. While not quite large enough to completely cover very tall people, it will fit most.
Warmth and Comfort
The modern woobie held up against the cold pretty well. While not designed for freezing temperatures, there is no doubt this would keep out the worst of the cold in most temperatures above 32 degrees.
The polyester material has a very “windbreaker” to it – not as soft and flexible as the older models. Sure, it’s not going to be as comfortable as a down comforter, but the purpose of a woobie is portable warmth. As with anything else made from polyester, the comfort improves over time as the item gets broken in.
Portability and Practicality
Polyester tends to resist being compressed because it is stiffer than natural fibers, although it was able to be packed down quite a bit. But be aware that there’s a chance that the polyester woobie takes up more room in your luggage than its previous editions.
As for practical features, it is everything you need a poncho liner to be. It’s not waterproof (gaps in the stitching will let in moisture if water pools or if it’s submerged), but it holds up well against moisture and should be completely waterproof when worn under a poncho. Ties on the edges are used to secure the liner to your poncho or gear. There is a small instruction placard sewn into it that lists the various uses of the poncho liner. One of the interesting uses is that you can use the liner as a sleeping bag when combined with a poncho!
This is not your granddad’s woobie. While not as immediately comfortable as the Vietnam-era poncho liner, the newer polyester version is much more water-resistant and arguably warmer than its natural counterpart.
The woobie is pretty good at what it does. While it doesn’t have the softness that has captured the hearts of soldiers in previous conflicts, the new one has the benefit of drying much faster and being warmer than previous versions of the product. If you’re looking for a replacement for CIF, this is the real deal. If you’re looking for one for camping or just general use, you can’t really go wrong here either. It’s a field blanket. It’s a poncho liner. It’s a woobie.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.