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  • Military Sleep System sleeping bags

    Looking for information on the 4 part military sleep system sleeping bag. The system consists of two mummy bags, a gortex bivy sack and a compression bag for storage. Has anyone used this type of bag before? Are these suitable for Scouts? Any ideas on how to clean/wash them? Does anyone know the temperature ratings used separately and together?

  • #2
    Eagle732, the 4 part system is superb...Uncle Sam really got it right! Suitable for scouting, yes. You have plenty of options for warm or cold nights. Cleaning should be outlined on the sewn-on label. Vast improvement over the old GI "chicken feather" bags.

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    • #3
      I can say that if you have acces to or enough money for these sleeping bags then you are looking at a great bag.

      The layers of the bag make it a VERY good bag so that you have options from REALY REALY warn to just the Bivy sack to stay dry.

      If you are going on long back[acking trips you may want to consider only taking the least amount of layers that you will need, as the whole things does carry some weight. But that is the great thing about it, you have that option.

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      • #4
        Indeed, the bivy and/or light mummy is perfect for summertime, and in the winter, the light bag inside the heavy bag will keep you warm even in bitter cold. Haven't used the bivy bag, but it's durable and well made. And though it seems hard to believe, all three items fit quite well in the storage bag without alot of stress and pushing. Final product is very reasonably sized. Agree with SctDad, take just what you need and save some weight.

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        • #5
          For those of us not familiar with this product, would someone please post a link (if available)?

          Thanks,
          Guy

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          • #6
            Here's a website with several examples (no endorsement intended).

            http://www.armysurplusworld.com/product.asp?productID=7252

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            • #7
              I own one, and had previously used them from the time they were first issued.

              It is great to be able to not take the tent and just have the bivy if an unexpected shower comes up for warmer weather - it and the military poncho liner(not included) are an awesome combo.

              For slightly cooler just the green outer bag and a tent.
              Cooler yet the black bag instead
              Getting cold put them together

              In my humble experience, if you use a tent do NOT use the Gore-tex bag inside the tent, a tarp maybe(depends on height and airflow do disperse body vapor) but not a tent.
              Even though made for rough handling(and it will take it) do store each part uncompressed - I have to take it completely out of the stuff sack to accomplish this.

              This is an outstanding four season bag system from 60 degrees F down to about 15 degrees F for my personal preferences. Your temp rating may vary...

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              • #8
                Oh and I hand wash mine with the "Gentle" Woolite by hand and hang dry, no more than once a season. (Your body oil mileage may vary)

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                • #9
                  Great info on the sleep system, thanks to everyone who weighed in. I'm in the process of washing a several of these bags. It looks like if you remove the bivy bag from the system and pull out all of the straps on the compression stuff sack you could store the two bags with little compression. However I might buy a cloth laundry bag for storage for each system for storage. These bags will be loaned to Scouts who need a bag and don't have the means to purchase one (we have several in our troop). Also I'm considering not issuing the bivy to take home but keeping them to be loaned out if needed. Considering Gunny's comments on condensation, the Scouts may never need it since we have good tents.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, Frank, for posting the pointer.

                    Eagle732 -- the link that Frank sent showed a price of $149 for a "gently used" system. Do you have another source that runs less than that?

                    (I'm sort of in the market for a winter bag or two)

                    Thanks,
                    Guy

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                    • #11
                      Check eBay, they always have a few for sale.

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                      • #12
                        I've got an older version, which I recieved from my dad when he came back from Turkey/N. Iraqi in the early 90's. It's just the bag and the compression sack. I've been using it for over 15 years, it's very warm, goes in the sack great, but is a bit heavy.

                        When it does get a bit warm, I usually just take a poncho liner, in stead of a bag.

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                        • #13
                          I've been using that sleep system for over ten years. I really like the lightweight green bag for warm weather camping. The goretex bivy sack is the BOMB! Saved my hide during mutliple cold weather events in Korea and Afghanistan. I prefer my North Face and/or Mountain Hardware heavy bags, but the black military bag is also very good and when combined with the green bag you have a superb cold, cold weather bag. The compression sack is good at compressing, but i have had lots of seam failures with that compression bag. Still it's worked well for me both in the military and outside. I have 5 sets of the green/black bags and compression bags enough for the whole family. As for washing them, straight into the washer, gentle cycle, but I hang them dry outside.

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                          • #14
                            We've been issuing the Military Sleep System bags to the Scouts for a year now. So far we have not had any failures of the bags, no broken zippers or torn fabric. We did have a few buckles break on the compression straps. The boys have tied those straps off and we may end up buying replacement buckles but they need to be sewn into place. We did remove the Gortex bivy bags from the system since the boys sleep in tents and it was felt that the bivy in a tent would hold too much condensation. However they can borrowed them for sleeping under the stars. Parents have been appreciative of not having to buy a bag for their Scout. It's also a selling point for our troop.

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                            • #15
                              One source for group gear could be your state's federal surplus warehouse. I don't know if each state creates their own rules, but in NC BSA units can apply to get government surplus with a low "service charge." I saw lg. ALICE packs as low as $50 with frame, and sleeping bags cheap.

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