View Full Version : Modern army sleeping bags
I've seen quite a few modern army sleeping bags on sale on eBay. I've spent a couple of nights in the older down version wich was far from comfortable, admittedly it appeared old and well used, the top had about as much stuffing as a tea bag though........
Anyway...does anyone have any opinions about the modern ones, they're advertised as winter or arctic, go to all sorts of minus temperatures (yeah right) so I'm looking for some more objective opinions. I like the idea of the mesh pockets inside, they appear well shaped so presumably come in different sizes. I also like the central zip affair, looks like it'd open easier than a side zip.
whilst I'm asking, what's the deal with all the army surplus stuff for sale on eBay. Some of it's obvioualy from dealers having gone the proper route, but I'm guessing some of it's been issued and is being sold off on the QT? By the amount of desert camo stuff some of it has been issued recently. Does the army not keep track of all this gear?
Not so sure about the dessert camo that I saw advertised though..... :roll:
Anyway...does anyone have any opinions about the modern ones, they're advertised as winter or arctic, go to all sorts of minus temperatures (yeah right) so I'm looking for some more objective opinions
Yes they are warm, but to honest the bulk and the weight always put me off. They are ok if you are traveling by car, but on your back you need a bergan to carry one.... As for the temperature rating, remember that a soldier will sleep fully clothed when out .... so take that into account.
Army bags are robust (remember that quaddies get into them boots and all) and warm but they are bulky. Also, remember that they are designed to get into fully clothed - so that adds to their rating.
I've spent many a night in an army maggot and bivvy bag nice and snug while the frost was forming on the outside of the bivvy bag!
I agree with Adi, Ive spent many a night in my maggot - in many a place too.
I have loads of sleeping bags, from all sorts of makers and I still go back to my old issue bag.
Bulk be damned you cant afford to skimp on a good nights sleep.
One safety tip for anyone sleeping outside in a DPM bivvy. I was told about a chap on exercise who haad a kip in one and was run over.
There are two types of ex British army bag on ebay - the feather/down '58 pattern bag and the current issue one (?hollowfibre- I'm not sure)
I only know about the '58 pattern one - it packs down reasonably well, has a waterproof base, and I've never been cold in it sleeping clothed (even winters in Aberdeenshire)
However, I wouldn't get a used one (they can smell) and the standard length is way too short. Designed for Gurkhas maybe. Get the long length.
I'm looking for a sleeping bag too, but am thinkiing more along Snugpak lines.
The British Army issue Sleeping bags come in several different forms.
1. The old '58' pattern bag this is the type with the waterproof base and the water proof cover which it rolls up into. It was filled with a very cheap feather down combination which tends to fall out. They came in standard length and a long version. very heavy and hard to compress down small. Warm while its got some filling and very well made. The old issue poncho could pop on top to make a water proof but not breathable cover, quite cheap now. Useless when soaked.
2. The old Arctic bag. Hard to find as very few were on issue and being a star item on issue from the store meant few went missing.
Similar in construction to the '58' bag but a better fill of better quality down no waterproof base often issued with a water proof cover which pre dated Goretex so wasnt breatheable. Well made very warm. again in long or standard versions. Ideal if you're in a snow hole again useless when soaked.
3. The new issue bag is a lot better it comes with a compressor stuffsac and you can buy a goretex bivvy bag to go with it. either the old zip less type or the newer zipped type. The bag is warm and well made again available in two different lengths. Compresses down but not as well as a civillian bag.
Hope this helps.
I have done plenty of sleeping in the old down ones and a bit in the new ones but neither is a patch on a decent snugpac bag.
When on exercise in Northumberland a few years ago I was all toasty and warm in my Snugpac bag (cant remember which one it is :roll: but either a Kestral or a hawk but it is the one built by them for HM Supplies shops) whenc all around me others were still cold in their issue bags (new type)
Given a choice of bivvy bags I prefer the zipless ones. Crawl in so it's just my eyes showing and it'snighty-night! :-D
The bags issued now are excellent in 96 I was on exercise in Canada out on the plains and it was the only place I could get warm, -15 at breakfast someone told me I dunno for sure but its the coldest Ive ever been.
I did have a spare which I lent to someone and never saw it again ( we moved)
i was on a TA excersise in the thetford area only basic stuff, we'd dug our shell scrape, and had snuggled down for the night we were issued with58' bags.
in the night it rained, and water trickled down into the shellscrape, i first noticed it when i felt a cold dribble going down my neck.
once it started to get wet it just went stone cold, i ended up putting my waterproofs on and getting back in but it just did noithing for me at all!
i think i remember waking lieing ontop of it very cold in my waterproofs, and bugger me the bloke next to me was totally dry! :rant:
ever since then i have used a bivi bag! :shock:
later that year i went on another excersise where pretty much the same thing happened, just to everyone else! when it came to changing sentry duty half the squad wanted to get in my sleeping bag!
( :oops: ...ahem...because it was warm and dry!)
:oops: there were some women in the platoon! :lol:
now i am very cautious about using anything with down insulation!
the naughty boy
at last ..i have a sleeping bag that warm,plenty of room for me and was cheap.
its a modern issue sleeping bag [the zip down the middle and hollow fibre]
cost me thirty quid and is toasty warm.really good up round the head area too.i will be testing it properly this weekend with the bivvy bag under a tarp.
I've been using one of the new british bags for a couple of years now. It certainly is a bulky bit of kit, and weighs a fair amount, but if you are willing to carry the extra weight/bulk to ensure a good night's sleep, then that shouldn't bother you. Ben McNutt has recommended this bag on both the Woodsmoke courses I have been on, with the same warning about size/weight.
If you take into account cost - they are £40 on www.the-outdoor.co.uk and I'm sure you can get them cheaper elsewhere, then it certainly is a bag worth considering, though you'll want a fairly decent sized bergan. I used to carry one of these about in an 'all arms bergan' and it literally took up half the space.
Look out for the imitations/reproductions, as in most cases, the quality is far inferior.
It even has nice little mesh pockets so your socks don't freeze, good for holding hot water bottles too ;) Don't get it wet, especially when you're in it, you will actually feel the heat leaking away.
the naughty boy
its different to the one i was issued with years ago.i remember hiking a mile with a m8 carrying a fivegallon drum of water in mud up to our knees.when we got back to our bivvys the corporal told us to get straight into our bags...boots and all.we thought he was taking the p*** but did it anyway.when we woke the next morning we were dry as a bone and the mud we were caked in was just dry soil which we shook out of our bags.
wouldnt like to be doing that with an expensive designer bag. bulky as they are its well worth it for a decent nights kip.
I have used the british army bag and have a lot of respect for it. I found it rather hot when posted in cyprus, but then again I also spent four and a half months in South Georgia (800 miles south east of the Falklands) where temperatures drop below -40. Have used them in snow holes with just a bivi bag and therma-rest and been quite snug.
As a cheap bag you can't really beat it.
If you are trying to keep the size down though this is not the bag for you.
Yep the army does keep an eye on what it has, but some items of equipment are only issued for specific enviroments.
When you leave that enviroment and return to the U.K. you have to hand this kit back in to the Quartermasters store. If the item has been worn next to the skin it can be considered a fomite and as a result has either got to be destroyed (for this read burnt) or disposed of.
If it is in good condition you may find that the QM will ship it out to a local Army surplus, or one of the guys that is supposed to be burning it will cache it somewhere for later retrieval and then it finds it's way down into the local army surplus or possibly E-Bay.
Either method means that it is no longer on the QM's books so the army don't really care.
I've got a Norwegian army bag I bought years ago. As you say bulky and heavy but very warm :-D
Justin one of the other things you mentioned was the central Zip, yes they are quite easy to get out of because of this, but the other thing is that Army bags have what they generally term burst through zips in case you have to get out of one in short order.
Bagman I must admit that after years using normal issue sleeping bags I did splash out for a Snugpac. I have the osprey version (think it is also called a softie 10), it's supposed to be an intermediate bag, between the heavy weight 12 and the 9 softie versions.
Major reason for doing this was space and weight, the snugpacs are considerably lighter and more to the point smaller.
Buckshot what is the Norwegian bag like I have never used one, are they anything like the Ajungilak Tyin (a freind of mine was very complimentary about this bag)??
im guessing a burst through zip can open quickly but i dont understand what the difference is could someone explain?
My understanding of it was along these lines. Bare with me on this.
Have you ever been in a sleeping bag, put pressure around the neck area of it and the last thing that it looks like it is going to do is open without you physically finding the zipper and undoing it, I have and a lot of others probably have.
On the other hand if you put pressure on the walls or neck of this bag with intent of getting out the zip will come undone without having to find the actual zip itself.
The bag itself remains quite secure at all times but if you need to get out of it quickly then you can is the basic idea.
the naughty boy
not the cheapest are they? :yikes:
No they are not, but invariably, quality costs.
Did you read his whole pitch?
I received one of his catalogues years ago, and he completely and utterly convinced me. No fancy pictures, no good looking models pretending to be out camping, blah, blah, blah. Just several pages of text. That text convinced me that Wiggys are the only sleeping bags worth getting.
When entire units of US Special Forces units buy his bags out of their own wallet, this makes me think there is something to what he claims. When on virtually every military kit forum that I go to, people sing the praises of Wiggys bags, I think there has to be something to them. And my own experiences leave me with undeniable proof that they are the greatest sleeping bags on the planet.
Jerry is a very uncompromising individual. He tends to **** a lot of people off, but those are usually the manufacturers of inferior quality products.
His newsletters are definitely worth reading. Lots of reading there, but if you want an alternate take on a lot of stuff out there in the world of outdoor gear. Virtually heretical, but judge for yourself.
Yes basically the ideal of the burst out zip is so a soldier can get out his bag and fight quickly - remember when fully tac the squaddies sleep fully clothed. The reason the zip is on top and not down the side is also becuase 'in theory' it is easier to open as there is less chance of you laying on it.
Going back to the other points mentioned - Arctic down bags as John mentioned are rare but well worth the pennies if you find them, just remember to use a bivi bag to protect it and the bag will serve you well for many moons - but then I would say that as I sell em.
58 Bags are excellent too - but dont but old ones - look for new and long - theae are becoming available too.
Hope that helped a little.
the naughty boy
true true exploriment. i wouldnt dispute the point at all. they look like smashing bags and well worth the money ...i just aint got it to spend on a bag. but then i wouldnt buy one of those ray mears knives either,but hey ...some people drive minis and some drive jags..if you get my meaning.with me its cost v functionality and the right balance between the two.
good link too m8.
do you know my uncle ? he lives in canada too.lol. :-D
I've got a Snugpak Softie 6 kestrel. The big advantage of this bag over the military issue stuff is weight and Tardis-like pack size. They claim comfortable to 0 celsius and OK to -5. I always find these ratings (from every manufacturer) over optimistic - this might be just me and your mileage may vary, as they say.
However, I find it to be very comfortable down to 2 celsius, used with a tent and wearing a T shirt. In fact, this is ideal if, like me, you're mainly out and about April to October, as at worst you can sleep in your fleece or Swannie and be fine. Add a liner and you can cope with worse temperatures still. Definitely not as warm as the 58 pattern army bag, and does not feel as robust, but about a third of the size. About £60.
I note the Wiggys chap is very critical of Snugpak - I'd be inclined to take this as a recommendation.
the naughty boy
i know it was mild at the weekend but i had a brilliant nights kip in the modern bag i got from ebay ,plenty of room for a big lad like my myself and the break ut zip function worked well at one stage..to let some of the heat OUT!
most impressed. :-D
Just my 2p worth , went camping with the kids last bank hols, in a tent with my issue bag , 1st night I was freezing but the second night I used my bivvy bag and was as warm as toast
the naughty boy
yeah im looking forward to a night under the stars in my bivvy bag setup soon.