The new year will bring new gear for Marines everywhere.

For starters, Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller wants Marines to have lighter gear, so the Corps expects to begin making a new tropical uniform and boots available in late 2018, said Lt. Col. Christopher Madeline of Marine Corps Systems Command.

The new boots and uniform will not be seabag items, meaning Marines will not be required to have them. Marines who know their units will be deployed to desert or jungle climes can get the uniform and boots at individual issue facilities or purchase them in exchanges.

A team in Hawaii with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines has been testing the new tropical uniforms.

“Midpoint review was very promising,” said Madeline, program manager for infantry combat equipment. “They used terms like: ‘fast drying,’ ‘lightweight,’ ‘felt like pajamas.’ Those are all good words to meet what we want with that tropical uniform.”

Meanwhile, Marines have been testing three types of boots made by Danner, Bates and Rocky Boots, said Madeline. “The decision may be that all three of them are acceptable.”

Also at the start of 2018, Marines will be issued reinforced backpack frames to replace the frames that were breaking in Norway and at the School of Infantry, officials said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin on Dec. 15, said Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman for MARCORSYSCOM.

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