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  1. #1
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    "I have an old military bag you can use"

    ...says my friend. It was his uncles! I was telling him I was looking for some down to salvage for a top quilt. He tell me that he's got his uncle's old sleeping bag from the army I can have to do whatever I want with.

    You know the type. "army green" and "tan dirt" colored cotton canvas. He doesn't use it, been sitting in the guest room closet for years, and said he'd rather it be used for one of my projects then sit there not being used even if it means tearing it up.

    It's in good shape, and the zipper is still even functional and is only missing two teeth along the whole draw. No holes. But because of the canvas it weighs a ton LOL. (very little compressability LOL)

    My question is if it would be worth it? I wouldn't think that the down fill used 'back then' would have been as lofty and high as fill power you can get in sleeping bags these days. Thoughts?

    I am however considering making a hammock for my room and wouldn't mind a new "feather/down" quilt if it wouldn't be suitable for camping. It seems as though there's quite a lot of "poof" in there, as if overstuffed to compensate for the weight of the material?

    Worth my time? I'd hate to start tearing into it only to find out it's not worthwhile. But on the other hand my friend is insistent his uncle would rather it be used somehow than not at all.... *is torn*

  2. #2
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Is it down for sure?

    only one way to find out...snip, snip.
    But the price is right. I'd go for it.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  3. #3
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    I'd go for it too.
    I have a WOODS 3 stars bag and that thing weighs 32 lbs.
    It's 7' x 7' so almost 50 square feet and about 4 inches thick of down filled baffles.
    Ok grant you it's got about 15 lbs of heavy gauge green canvas on it but nonetheless,it has at least 15-18 lbs of down it it.
    On my tag,it clearly states filled with Down,here's what it says:3 stars all down filled Sleeping Robe.
    I've slept in this Bag and never once got cold feet.
    I have it cleaned every other year by a professional dry cleaner that specializes in down filled bags and pillows and he restores it beautifully every time.
    I believe i will have that bag till i die or until i find something warmer,which i dont think will ever exists,that bag got me to sleep on a snowstorm at -52C with windchill right outside my house 6 years ago so i know i will never be cold in it,thats for sure
    I wont carry my WOODS when i'm backpacking for obvious reasonsbut it's always there when i need it to go camping with the RV!

    I say take it and try whatever you can to salvage it and adapt it to fit your needs.

    Clark-O-Phile

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the input.

    His uncle meant a lot to him so that's where some of my reticence comes from... but he keeps telling me his uncle would be more offended by keeping it in the closet and no getting some use out of it.

    I'm on my week-on shift at work on the overnights so i'll probably start in on it next week. thanks again.

  5. #5
    Dutch's Avatar
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    I think I have one of those bags. IMO it isn't worth dulling you zipper. If it is the same bag as i have it is a mix of feathers and synthetic. Very warm and weighs a ton. Emergency exit for killing people from your bed. I use it though when I car camp in the winter. It isn't just the canvas that weighs so much. Remember they felt your friends uncle was expendable.
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  6. #6
    SlowBro's Avatar
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    Most of those old army "Down" bags are filled with feathers and maybe some down. It will insulate, but you will get no weight advantage and not much compression advantage from such a mix. Free is good, but unless your bag is different from all the other "old Army" bags I've seen, it is not such a great deal in the end. As a test- just grab a hand full of the bag with some feathers and squeeze. You shouldn't feel any stiff feather shafts or sharp pointy things inside. If you do then you have feathers.
    -SlowBro
    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."-Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    Excellent tip! many thanks..KM

  8. #8
    Senior Member Trooper's Avatar
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    I didn't read carefully, but I think Dutch is right. That is likely an M-1949 that is poor quality down with chicken feathers. They are warm bags, but they come with considerable weight. The military made up for the poor quality insulation by adding more of it. I'll bet that some of these bags were stored compressed for as much as a decade. I can't find it now, but NATICK did a study on these bags and it is available in .pdf somewhere on the internet.

    In my opinion, this bag is best left intact and kept in the car for emergencies. I still use mine in the back yard.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ice man's Avatar
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    Don't do it!

    As a military veteran, I used these army green bags on my "Government paid Asian vacation" then in Germany and afterward had one or two in civilian life. They were generally known to be chicken feathers, and nowhere near as warm as a genuine down bag. In low temperatures the bag cover was needed or you freeze. They compress badly and lose "loft" rapidly. I strongly advise not chopping it up.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Perfect Timing!

    Funny, I was just given one of these bags this weekend!

    It definitely has feathers from the "squeeze" test.

    This one has never been used, and is in perfect shape.. too bad I'll never use it...

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