I had to laugh in appreciation at this paean of praise to the so-called 'Woobie' or poncho liner, US military issue since the 1960's.
There have been some amazing military innovations over the years: freeze-dried food for MREs, jet aircraft, rail guns, and the soul-sucking website, Army Knowledge Online. But none of these compare to the simplest, most wonderful invention known to mankind: the poncho liner, affectionately known by all those who have felt its life-giving warmth as the “woobie.” Ask any soldier or Marine, especially those in the infantry, how he feels about his woobie, and his eyes will light up and then mist over as he waxes lyrically over the virtues of this item. Hard-bitten combat veterans grow poetic and wistful, declaring their love for this piece of equipment. If you don’t believe me, read the Amazon reviews. It is perhaps the single most-loved item in the armed forces.
. . .
No matter what you call it, is it really like a security blanket?
The answer is a resounding, “Hell yes!” A mere glance at veterans’ internet forums show a myriad of uses for this simple item. It can be used as a blanket, pillow, shelter, hammock, camo hide for concealment, jacket liner, seat cushion, mattress — when you are sleeping on the ground, anything helps — and something soft to hold onto when you’re far away from home and everything’s going to … well, you know, the stuff that hits the fan. It is remarkably resilient to extreme heat and cold, dries quickly when wet, and most importantly, can be squished up into a tiny ball that takes up barely any room in your rucksack and adds virtually no weight. I am still convinced it is magical.
Veterans often hang on to their woobies well after they leave the military, preferring to claim it as a “field loss” and pay the charges rather than turn it in. One vet claimed his woobie had outlasted several marriages, which probably says more about the stresses of military life than it does for the woobie, although many claim that woobies go missing in divorces. Young men in the military claim that “girls love it and think the term woobie is cute,” and so it is often used to begin a romantic relationship. Kids love the woobie because it is light, soft, reminds them of their mom or dad, and can be used as a cape when running around pretending to be a superhero. Many woobies get passed on through generations of veterans, with some troops deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan with their dads’ woobies from Vietnam.
. . .
Simply put, it is the greatest thing to ever be issued by the U.S. military.
There's more at the link. There's also this video on YouTube illustrating the point. (Slight language alert on the video.)
I didn't have a similar piece of equipment in the South African military, but I learned to appreciate the woobie when I met up with US veterans after coming to this country. There's also great appreciation for Kifaru's aftermarket poncho liners, in Woobie (insulated) and Doobie (double insulated) versions, as well as their Arctic Woobie for cold weather extremes. I keep telling myself I really need to get some of those . . . but living in a temperate climate like Tennessee, it would be overkill (of my wallet as well as my body).
(On the other hand, while courting Miss D. in Alaska I made very good use of a military-surplus parka to keep me warm. That would have been just the place for an Arctic Doobie . . . but unfortunately, at the time I didn't know they existed. If we ever go up there for a second honeymoon or something, I'll take one along!)