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Canadian Enhanced Combat Uniform (ECU)

I’ve been holding off on posting this story until today.  Why?  Because today is CANADA DAY.  Get it?  Well anyway, the Canadians loaned their CADPAT pattern technology to the US Marine Corps for MARPAT, the US Army for UCP and the US Navy for NWU I, II and III.  So I guess you could call it reciprocity that the Canadians are now transitioning to a new uniform style that borrows from some of the features of the US Army ACU – it have has a similar name (ECU).

But rather than just copy the ACU design, or slightly modify it, it looks like the Canadians have added a few advancements and innovations of their own and come up with something even better than the ACU.  On top of that, the Canadians aren’t having any of this silly inter-service rivalry that ends with each branch having its own uniform style and camouflage pattern.  The Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force all wear the same camouflage pattern and the same camouflage uniform – what the Canadians refer to as being a “converged” design.  The Canadian Special Operations Regiment does also use a more high-speed / low-drag combat uniform purportedly designed and made by Crye Precision (see our recent Friday Foto).

Word of this new Improved / Enhanced Combat Uniform has been floating around for close to a year now, but the first details of the actual design and production specification has only recently emerged – and was first published by our friends at Soldier Systems Daily.  The new uniform will be produced in the CADPAT TW and CADPAT AR camouflage patterns and is scheduled to begin being issued this year.

The ECU Coat (or “top”) incorporates the following features –

  • stand or fall collar
  • single breasted front closure with covered buttons
  • loop fastener tape for rank badge on front fly cover
  • loop fastener tape for name tape on right breast
  • pockets with vertical slide fastener at the breast
  • pockets with hook and loop flap at the hip area
  • set-in two piece sleeves with hook and loop tab wrist closure
  • semi-bellows pocket with vertical slide and loop for removable CADPAT patch
  • left and right upper sleeves
  • double pencil pocket with hook and loop flap and web pull on both lower sleeves
  • one-piece elbow reinforcement patches
  • yoke
  • “action” back (i.e., accordion pleats on either side for unrestricted movement)
  • waist adjustments on back side

The ECU Trousers incorporate the following features –

  • loose fitting
  • two-way slide fastener fly front opening with button and loop assembly and tab closure on waistband
  • elasticated waistband on each back side
  • front hip quarter-cut pockets with flap covered with hook and loop fastener
  • semi-bellows patch thigh pockets with covered buttoning flaps
  • front thigh to knee reinforcement panel with knee pad casing, hook and loop fasteners andpull tab
  • semi-bellows double pencil flapped pocket and flap with hook and loop fastener
  • back hip pockets with flap and hook and loop fasteners
  • reinforced seat
  • bottom leg hook and loop tab closure with elasticated drawstring, cord lock and cord pull
  • storm cuffs
  • six belt loops

All images copyright Canadian Department of National Defence.



  1. CSOR has received Crye ACU in Multicam pattern just recently.

    • What the %$%$ is up with the system when SARTechs are stuck with those damn flight suits. SAR Techs need to get out of the AirForce and its Aircrew bullshit.

  2. CanadianSoldier

    July 9, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    I took a closer look at the photo of the CSOR guys. It looks like they have the standard-issue combat pants modified to have Crye Precision kneepads sewn onto them. If you look closely, one guy’s kneepads are multicam and the others are Cadpat. As for their shirts, they look like the CPGear ‘Outside the Wire’ shirt.

    Custom tailoring of issued uniforms is a no-go for pretty much the entire army, but the SF guys can fudge the rules a bit 😉 Actually, when the CF deployed to Afghanistan, many soldiers had local tailors / seamstresses modify their combat uniforms to get arm pockets added to them. Our current uniform design dates back to the 60s, and it was never designed to work with body armour, hence the local mods. Eventually it became an approved thing, and I believe all Desert Cadpat combat shirts ended up with the arm pockets.

    • Strikehold

      July 9, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      Hi Patrick,

      I think your right about the trousers, I noticed the same things you did. However, a very trusted and reliable source also told me that Crye have made combat trousers and shirts for the CSOR as well.

      • CanadianSoldier

        July 10, 2012 at 4:24 AM

        It wouldn’t surprise me. Units like CSOR and JTF-2 probably have the budget and the ability to get a custom uniform built by Crye – I just wanted to make my best guess on the kit the guys were wearing in your photo.

        Great blog, by the way 🙂

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