Are Military Sleeping Bags Actually ANY Good?

In the United States, the military has designed many sleeping systems to keep their soldiers warm during cold winter nights. But do military sleeping bags actually work?

Military Sleeping Systems, or MSS, are quality sleeping bags that are meant to withstand extreme cold temperatures as well as protect against heat. They are made of four components; a waterproof layer, a layer to withstand heat, one to withstand cold, and the last to compress the bag.

What Is In A Military Sleep System?

A Military Sleep System is made up of four different parts so that the soldiers who use them can adapt to the different environments they are sent to. While the actual components may vary depending on what version of the MSS you have, they typically contain a patrol bag, intermediate cold weather bag, stuff sack, and a bivy cover.

They tend to have a military camouflage pattern, but many are only green in color. However, the color and pattern of the fabric may vary depending on the component and the sleep system that you obtain.

The patrol bag is made out of water-resistant, ripstop nylon. It has a reversible double-pull slider that opens from top to bottom that allows top or bottom ventilation. It also has a non-locking slide fastener that self-repairs if jammed or snagged, so soldiers do not have to stop and fix it if it becomes jammed or snagged.

The intermediate cold weather bag can protect the user in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also made out of water-resistant, ripstop nylon. It also has an anatomically designed foot box that contains twice the insulation as the rest of the bag, so your feet don’t get cold. It also has a sewn-in, quilted chest collar that prevents air drafts up and down through the hood, which keeps you extra warm during cold nights.

The stuff sack is what soldiers use to carry everything. It allows them to condense all of the pieces into one cubic foot, which is good because they have to carry weapons and other equipment with them as well. The stuff sack has six 1″-wide nylon webbing straps that can be adjusted with ladder lock buckles.

The bivy cover provides an extra layer of protection from the elements and the one included in the MSS is made out of a durable, waterproof, and windproof 3-layer laminate fabric that has been approved by all departments and agencies of the Department of Defense.

Should I Buy A Military Sleep System?

The Military Sleep system is a worthwhile investment, but only if you plan on using it frequently and in very low temperatures. MSS’s are very good quality sleeping bags, and they are made to withstand extreme temperatures because of who they are made for.

However, if you do not go camping very often, and you rarely go into places with extreme temperatures, then I would not recommend getting a Military Sleep System for your family to use. I would recommend getting a slightly cheaper, and less heavy-duty, type of sleeping bag that will be easier to carry to your various destinations.

I personally would not buy a Military Sleep System because they are very heavy and meant to be used in extreme climates and situations. However, they would be useful for people who enjoy camping and spending time outdoors frequently. If you work outdoors often, then a Military Sleep System is a very good sleeping system to consider when looking for a new way to keep warm at night.

How Much Does A Military Sleep System Cost?

Because the Military Sleep System has multiple components and is made from durable materials, it can be an expensive purchase. Because the military pays for the equipment that they issue their soldiers, it is typically free for the service member that it is intended to be used by.

A very used MSS with missing components can cost as low as $50, while new, unused MSS’s can cost up to $400 in the United States.

How Much Does A Military Sleep System Weigh?

The Military Sleep System can weigh up to 9.5 pounds because of the multiple components that are included in the system. While all of the components are made out of lightweight materials, they are built to keep soldiers warm, and the materials needed to do that are not always lightweight.

This is unfortunate for the soldiers, especially because they have to carry weapons and other heavy equipment with them wherever they go. However, it is worth it for them because the Military Sleep System protects them from the harsh elements, and makes it easier for them to get the good night’s rest that they need.

Wash Care For A Military Sleep System

If your Military Sleep System becomes dirty, wash it. It is very easy to wash the Military Sleep System when it gets dirty. Just put it in the washing machine and wash it on the gentle cycle in warm or cold water. Use very little soap to avoid too many suds that may damage the fabric. If there are stains, treat them with your preferred gentle stain remover before you wash the sleep system.

You can also put your Military Sleeping System in the dryer if you want to dry it quickly. I would recommend using the delicates setting. However, most sleeping systems are built to last and will withstand your washer and drying with no problems.

When you wish to store your Military Sleeping System, let it dry out completely before packing it and putting it away. Put it in a dry place where it is not likely to get water or moisture on it. It helps if where you store your MSS is warm, but it does not have to be. It is most important that the storage area is dry, rather than warm. If moisture gets into your MSS and is allowed to sit, your MSS will start to develop mildew and may even start to mold.

Where Can I Buy A Military Sleep System?

There are many places where you can buy a Military Sleep System. Most people buy them from Military Surplus stores, but you can also buy them from other retailers, like Amazon.

If you have any friends in the military that no longer want or need their Military Sleeping System, and it is in good condition, then buy it from them and support your local soldiers and friends. They might even let you test it out before you buy it, which many companies do not let you do.

Should I Buy A Regular Sleeping Bag Instead Of A Military Sleep System?

Military Sleeping Systems are meant for very extreme climates and for people who are going to be in those kinds of environments. However, if you do not plan on going into extreme climates, I would not recommend getting a Military Sleep System. They are expensive and would be better used by someone who goes into areas that it is made to withstand.

If you do plan on going camping frequently but are only planning on going into moderate climates, then you should get a regular sleeping bag that is made to withstand moderate climates.

While Military Sleeping Systems can cost up to $400, regular sleeping bags range in price from $10 to $400. There are sleeping bags that are made to withstand extremely cold temperatures, and they do tend to cost more than $400, but you won’t need them unless you plan on going into those climates.

If you plan on going into climates that have temperatures lower than -10 degrees Fahrenheit, then I would not recommend getting a Military Sleep System. Many sleeping bags are meant to withstand colder temperatures, but they can be even more expensive than the Military Sleeping System.

MSS And Sleeping Bag Differences

One of the main differences between a Military Sleeping System and a commonly used sleeping bag is the material that they are made out of. While Military Sleeping Systems are made out of waterproof and wind-resistant materials, sleeping bags are made out of loud, nylon-like fabrics that change depending on the quality of the sleeping bag.

Military Sleeping Systems are designed in a mummy shape and have extra padding towards the feet area to keep your feet extra warm. While the shape of sleeping bags varies depending on the brand, design, and quality of the bag, the most commonly used ones are shaped like very long rectangles.

It is very easy to find mummy-shaped sleeping bags outside of the Military Sleeping System, but they tend to be made for zero-degree weather and are of higher quality than the more commonly used sleeping bags.

Sleeping bags come in almost every color of the rainbow, which makes it very easy for others to find lost or missing hikers and campers. However, Military Sleeping Systems are designed for soldiers, who do not want to be found by their enemies and have other ways to contact their allies. MSS’s are green and tan, and many have a military camouflage pattern.

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