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  1. #1
    Member jennalyn216's Avatar
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    Anyone familiar with the military 4-piece sleeping bag system?

    Not a hammock question per se, but this seems like a great place to get info from a lot of different folks, so I figured I'd ask.

    Is anyone familiar with the military 4-piece sleeping bag system (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/261...g-bag-system)?

    From what I've read, just the green "patrol bag" is good for temps down to 30* and the inner black "intermediate cold weather bag" is good down to -10*. I assume that -10 is actually both the black and green together, but I'm not sure. If so, I'm wondering what kind of temperature rating JUST the black part has without the green outer bag. Anyone know? I'm looking at buying a bunch of these inner black bags (no green part) for group campouts, but I want to make sure they'll be reasonably warm for spring/fall camping (i.e. 40-50*).

    Thanks for any info you can offer!

  2. #2
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    I have a Military Integrated Sleep System and it is rated to -30 degrees(F) for 4 hours. The last 3 words in that sentence are usually left off of a lot of the product descriptions out there. The lighter of the 2 bags is rated to 30 degrees(F). The heavier is rated to -10 degrees(F).

    But, there are a few caveats. One, I believe all of these ratings are for nested arrangements. For example, the lighter bag has to be combined with the Gore-Tex bivy outer bag. Ditto, for the heavier bag.

    To get the -30 rating, the heavier bag has to be nested in the lighter bag, which is nested in the bivy bag. As far as I can tell from my research, all of these ratings are for 4 hours of sleep, not 8.

    Plus, this rating is for someone dressed in expedition weight polypropylene shirt, pants and issue cushion sole woolen socks.

    That also reflects my own experience. I have only taken the heavier weight bag down to around 40 degrees/8,000ft (i.e. very dry air) for 8 hours wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I was warm but just warm enough. Any colder and I think I would have been uncomfortable. I sleep hot too. It usually has to be below 70 degrees(F) before I need a blanket.

    One more thing: You definitely need to use under-insulation - either a pad or an underquilt. I tried the full nested arrangement (bivy/green/black) in 20 degrees on snow with no pad as an experiment and it was too cold to be comfortable. You can make really cheap, good pad using a double layer of Reflectix for under a dollar.

    YMMV
    Last edited by sliver; 09-25-2013 at 22:52.
    I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, Ah! I didn't know, I held opportunity. -Hazel Lee

  3. #3

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    The -30 like they claim will keep you alive. It would be a horrible night with no sleep but you would live.

  4. #4
    barchetta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amilykovic View Post
    The -30 like they claim will keep you alive. It would be a horrible night with no sleep but you would live.
    Couldn't have said this better myself!!! That and they're HUGE and HEAVY!!!

  5. #5
    lostagain's Avatar
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    I've got one as well, and yes, the temp ratings are generally for it nested. However, each bag is rated as a stand alone and the system together with the Bivy and (read carefully) most or all of the ECWCS bein worn. This is a 7 layer system that starts with a thermal, wicking base layer and works its way up to a full blown winter parka and pants with booties. Combined with all 7 layers and nesting the 3 components (bivy, green and black bags) the system will give you up to 4 hours of sleep at -50*.

    The key is you have ot be wearing all those layers AND nesting the bags to get that low. Now, that also said, real world experience, I've had the green bag down to about 30 back in March. I was quite wwarm and even had to vent it open to keep from sweating. However, I was weraing a base layer of thermals and was also fully dressed in long sleeve shirt and nylon pants with thick socks on. Put a liner in it and you can safely take it down to about 25 if you are also layered. Haven't tested the black bags lower imit and, being rom Texas, don't plan to at any time in the future. Mainly because the dang thign weighs a bit over 4 pounds which is more bag than I ever care to carry just to get down to minus temps.
    Remember...no matter where you go...there you are.

  6. #6
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    I can't speak as to the 4-bag system personally, but I agree that it makes sense for it to be rated as a "survival" temperature rather than a "comfort" one.

    On the other hand, if you're looking for a decent inexpensive top quilt or underquilt for down between 40* and 50*, take a look at poncho liners.

    I've found that a poncho liner is an acceptable top quilt down to 50* for most folks without any supplementary insulation and 40* is quite reachable with normal supplemental clothing (long underwear, sleep socks, and an hat or balaclava). Me, I'm comfy pushing it to freezing in a T-shirt and shorts as long as I have adequate bottom insulation, but I'm an human furnace.

    As an underquilt, well, I'll just point you at the two different versions of a PLUQ: no-sew and sewn up.

    Poncho liners can be had for ~$10 to ~$30 a piece, depending on where you buy. It's hard to beat the weight versus cost ratio on 'em, though they (like all synthetics) are a bit bulky.

    Hope it helps!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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  7. #7

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    I had just the black bag in Afg. I slept in thermals and socks and was still cold with a crappy night of sleep when the temp was in the 20s.

  8. #8
    Member jennalyn216's Avatar
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    Thanks, all.

    Just to clarify: I'm not concerned about weight or really low temps. And they're not for hammocking, just your traditional tent camping. I found a great deal on them and figure they'll work for what I need, just wondered if I could get any more details about them first.

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jennalyn216 View Post
    Thanks, all.

    Just to clarify: I'm not concerned about weight or really low temps. And they're not for hammocking, just your traditional tent camping. I found a great deal on them and figure they'll work for what I need, just wondered if I could get any more details about them first.

    Thanks again!
    What is this traditional tent camping you speak of????

  10. #10
    Uber-Noob Extraordinaire Short White Guy's Avatar
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    I have one of these sleeping bag systems left over from my recently-ended time in the military, and if you read the labeling, it shows the temperature ratings for each piece separately and together, with no mention of how the bivy works into it. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I know from experience that I used just the green piece as a TQ (not zipped up, just laid over me) and a military issue sleeping mat in temperatures in the 40's-50's and I was very comfortable. I was also wearing polypro long johns, socks, and a knit cap, too. I hope this helps.
    - We're never going to survive this!!
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