MSS (Military Sleeping System) Review

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by IA Woodsman, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass Instructor

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    Let me start by saying I wish I had this piece of kit when I was in the military.

    [video=youtube;qyHVZeg5flM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyHVZeg5flM&list=UUnHwxnLdWlkpvCrfwGoPZ9Q&index=1[/video]


    This system has 3 main components.

    Gortex Bivy

    This is the first part of the system that I bought a few years ago. It is water proof and really helps to keep you bag clean. It is also big enough to fit extra gear with you inside it. It has a very solid zipper and a flap that snaps over the zipper to keep the weather out.

    [​IMG]

    Intermediate Black Bag

    For me this is about a 20 degree bag. It also has a great zipper. There are baffles on the chest and zipper. This really helps to keep the heat in. One of my favorite features is the double insulated foot area. The bag is tapered and has a mummy style hood with draw string.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Green Patrol Bag

    This is my least favorite part of the system. For me this is a 50 degree bag. It does have the same beefy zipper. When used with the Bivy it is good for Summer tarp outings.

    [​IMG]

    When layered they make a great winter sleep system. There is an order in which to put them together.Gortex Bivy is on the outside, next is the over sized Patrol Bag, and the Intermediate Black Bag is the inside layer. If you line up the zippers it is easy to snap it all together.

    [​IMG]

    I have used this system in below freezing temps and never been cold. You can get them from 100-250 depending on condition. in my opinion,for the money you really cant beat it.
     
  2. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass Instructor

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    Here was my helper for the day.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    Good stuff Terry, i actually hate mine and wish we still had the old mummie bags they were heavier and sucked when wet but i liked em
     
  4. waterman308

    waterman308 Guide

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    That is very nice! Need to add that to my list (growing day by day). Far cry from my first camping trip with a plastic tarp and some blankets.
     
  5. MJDavis

    MJDavis Unworthy Field Participant Supporter Bushclass I

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    I just bought one of these and have not had a chance to try it out. Thanks for the review on the system.
     
  6. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Supporter Supporter

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    This is the one item I regret not purchasing before my EAS.
     
  7. RangerJoe

    RangerJoe Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    Very cool Terry, I think my next piece of kit will be the bivy.
    Thanks for the info
     
  8. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Great review. Thanks for puttin the time in buddy.
     
  9. Tech

    Tech Solo Craft Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Good info IA. I've seen this discussed on the forum but wasn't quite sure what it was. Definitely a sleep system to look into.
     
  10. 1Jesster

    1Jesster Guide

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    I've got the bivi that has been tested in the yard a time or to but haven't gotten to really use it yet. Didn't get the 2 bags but am wishing I did after seeing how it all snaps together.
     
  11. gunner65

    gunner65 Scout

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    I love mine and if you look hard enough you can find them for less. The only problem with it for me is that I cannot backpack with it. Its just to heavy to attach to any of my packs. I think it is designed to for at the bottom of the a military pack but those guys hump 100lbs regularly.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  12. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Guide

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    I heard these run a little short. I am 6'3". Would it fit me? Thanks for the review Terry.

    Scott
     
  13. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass Instructor

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    I am 5'10" and I have lots of room. Maybe someone bigger than me will speak up.
     
  14. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    What would be the max height of someone using one of these in your opinion?
     
  15. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass Instructor

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    I am not real sure, Mac is over 6' he might pipe in.
     
  16. gunner65

    gunner65 Scout

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    The patrol bag is 90-92" and the intermittent is 85-87" the bivvy accommodates both. Hope that helps.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  17. bharner

    bharner Guide

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    Thanks for the video. I've heard of these but haven't seen how it all works. I may have to start hunting for the bivvy

    Tapatalk ate my spelling and grammar.
     
  18. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    They only issue one size and theyre are some tall dudes in the military and ive never heard any of the taller guys i know say they didnt fit
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  19. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw Tracker

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    We used this system when we deployed to Norway each January. They are good for what they are. Very warm and stand up to moisture very well. I actually bought the lighter green "patrol bag", just under two pounds and you can compress it to the size of a coffee can. It is good down to the mid-thirties by itself. The full system stood up to sub-zero conditions.

    The negative to the system is the bulk involved. All three layers take up a LOT of space, even when you compress them. Weight is not the best, I believe 7-8 pounds for the whole system. But bulk is the biggest issue in my mind. We carried oversixed "vector" packs, monster sized internal frame models to work with this system.

    But it will definitely keep you warm, even when wet.
     
  20. bharen

    bharen Guide

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    I bought the complete system new about 8 months ago and just got a chance to use it over the Christmas holidays.

    Having spent 23 year using the old Intermidate and Cold Weather bags I have to say that I would have signed up to pull staff duty for a month straight if that would have gotten me one of these MSS systems before heading out on a REFORGER or off to Grafenwoehr for a winter range week.

    Being somewhat 'wide' I find the black (cold weather) bag a bit confining, but not too bad. The patrol bag, as the OP notes, is nice and roomy and I agree that the bivvy sack and the patrol bag make a dandy warm/intermediate weather combo.

    I am of the opinion that the bivvy sack adds about 10 degrees to the bag's range. While it doesn't offer any insulation it does serve as a heat reflector and wind break, helping to reduce heat loss through the unprotected insulating bags.

    I like the OP's suggestion about slipping the sleeping pad between the bivvy sack and the bag. A neat idea and I'll have to try it the next time I use it.

    Fair warning, when new the Gore-Tex bivvy sack is somewhat 'crinkly' and makes a good bit of noise when you move around in the bag. I had more than one camping partner politely comment on it. (Polite as in "Stop moving - you're makin' too danged much noise!")
     
  21. Bearpaw

    Bearpaw Tracker

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    Wash it a few times and let it tumble dry on low. This will reduce the noise. If you use detergent at any time, use powdered. Liquid soap will clog the pores in the goretex and make it breathe about as well as a big bread sack.
     
  22. GurNewbie

    GurNewbie Scout Bushclass I

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    Thanks IA for the review. Scott just purchased one in December to tune in with my Double Nest. I am 6'1 in the morning and I will say that it is a bit short but doable for me. If I forego cinching the hood an just use a baclava and a watch cap I can use it with comfort. I agree with IA that it is a darn warm bag as a system but have only used it into the teen so far with a hammock using a woobie underquilt and thermarest pad. I plan to use it at Green Ridge if you want to try it out for length. The bivy does not add much to insulation but it does an excellent job at cutting the wind thus convection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  23. backwoodsamerican

    backwoodsamerican Supporter Supporter

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    I have 2 of these, one is issued and the other I bought. I got to test mine out in the field wile in basic training for about 2 weeks total (not all at once). Love the system! I love how I have options depending on the weather. Weight is kinda high and bulk is a problem when humping all 3 pieces. But for the money and what you get I don't thing you can go wrong.
     
  24. Howie

    Howie Guide Bushclass III

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    A great set up, I used it for many years AD and in the woods, still have a closet full of them...dont use any more as I switched to different bag alltogether...any way.

    One thing I ran across with them is there are at least three different verions of the bivy out there, all tenneir industries on the tags, interchangable of course.

    the two color you have vidioed is the better. zipper with the storm flap

    there is a two color w/o the zipper but with storm flap and just snaps

    An all camo one with no zipper an storm flap, and its a lighter weight gortex as well.

    There were some hood differences as well within too. Ive traded em all away, cuase I dont use it much anymore, Or id give some photos ...

    any way over all a good bag set up, I ve personally been in -40 with it, and no other shelter, it was cold but sleepable, under a big fir tree...
     
  25. Panzer

    Panzer Prepared Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    the bivy is the gem for sure. but I love the green bag for summer
     
  26. Desiel

    Desiel Tracker

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    I have one just like it I picked up on one of these sites for $60 and have been toasty in it to 30F, it was almost too warm I had to leave the top open.
     
  27. fuzzycraft

    fuzzycraft Tracker

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    i picked one up off ebay for 42 bucks still waiting on it to arrive of course, cant wait to try it out
     
  28. NorCalHermit

    NorCalHermit Scout

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  29. Aegis

    Aegis Tracker

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    By far, my favorite bedding combo.

    For anyone looking for one, I'm 6.4, 250, and fit comfortable in the regular system.
     
  30. C_in_IN

    C_in_IN Scout

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    Good review IA I just got one of these for Christmas after reading this thread:

    http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/73999-US-Sleeping-System-69-98

    From Here:

    http://www.armygear.net/ag/store/0148g.html

    I am really happy with how mine came. It is the real deal w/National Stock Numbers and USMC markings, looks brand new, no stains, tears etc. even smelled clean.

    They are currently selling the 4-piece system (two bags, bivy and stuff sack) for $76 which is a killer deal.


    As to the sizing, I am 6'3" about 260 with about a 42 inch chest and the black bag is okay lengthwise. It is pretty snug in the foot area and at the chest with my arms at my sides but I like the bundled in feeling, YMMV.
     
  31. hossmann

    hossmann Scout

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    I recover one of these systems for Christmas from my wife and used it after our Iowa blizzard

    Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk 2
     
  32. YTSESoldier

    YTSESoldier Scout

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    I have to agree with Terry and disagree with Kerri....I hated the old mummy and once we got these I have loved them....my last 2 deployments we actually had beds with mattresses and all and I used this instead of bed linens. I have looked at getting a newer fancy sleeping bag(s) for camping, but after looking at a few at REI and a few other places, I feel that I can't beat my MSS, especially for the price. I use various party of it when camping with the family, and when I finally have to turn mine back in to uncle sam I will be getting a surplus one for my kit.
     
  33. Rescue2

    Rescue2 Guide Bushclass II

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    I really like it. I've used that sleep system for the past couple years and don't have any complaints. I got cold once on a winter over nighter but switched up ground pads to a Thermarest and haven't been cold since. Great write up.
     
  34. nothinghead

    nothinghead Guide Bushclass I

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    I will have mine at the meet in a couple weeks. you can see what you think then, and if you like it, I have a guy who is selling them for $75 in Hanover.
     
  35. nothinghead

    nothinghead Guide Bushclass I

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    I fit in them fine and am just over 6'. Room to spare too.
     
  36. Boroffski

    Boroffski Scout

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    I'm 6'3"/230 and couldn't take the crammed feeling with the intermediate bag over my head. I found a long version of the bivy and patrol and my son got the regular for his birthday. My brother(supply sgt) is keeping an eye out for the long intermediate for me.

    I only slept in the regular system once, but it got down to 10f and I was toasty with the black hood stuffed like a pillow.

    Sleeping Bag, Patrol, X-long - NSN 8465-01-452-1688
    Sleeping Bag, Intermediate, X-long - NSN 8465-01-452-1690
    Bivy Cover, X-long - NSN 8465-01-452-1695
     
  37. clanmaki

    clanmaki Guide

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    I found the bivy bag at a thrift store, looked brand new. Great review. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of leaving out the black bag and just using the warmer one to cut down on bulk and then if needed just stuff in natural insulation (dried leaves, pine needle duft, etc) between the bag and bivy.
     
  38. sasquatch

    sasquatch Scout

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    I am about 6' 4(or 5)" and with my zero degree bag I am tight in the bivvy sack with my sleeping bag. I think there may be an extra long in there. Its too short for me. At least with my bag and pillow. With wool blanket and a pillow its a good size.
     
  39. Ambu

    Ambu Tracker

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    You could do that, but you would have an incredible mess to clean up. Plus I might be afraid of ripping the green sack. I don't think it was really designed to be used without the bivy, you might rip it or put some wear on it.
     
  40. rb

    rb Guide

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    I snagged one on ebay last year for less than 100. I have used it as a complete system in winter, the patrol bag in summer, the bivy with my down bag, the bivy alone under the sky... the combinations are limitless. It would be perfect except for the weight but I would not trade it, even to get my old Army Mountain Bag back.

    I agree Terry, i wish they had these when I was in.
     
  41. Macrosill

    Macrosill Supporter Supporter

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    I am 6'1" 180lbs and I feel the length is good for me but any taller and it might be a bit snug.

    I have 5 of these. I bought one for myself and liked it so much I bought 4 more last week for the rest of the family.

    They are a bit on the heavy side but once compressed in the compression sack they fit nicely under my Alice pack.
     
  42. J

    J Bushwhacker Bushclass I

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    Great review Terry. Definatly one of the best gear purchases Ive made. That bivy is awesome. A wool blanket is easy to add in the system as well. Thanks for the review.
     
  43. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Wish I had them back in the day too Terry
     
  44. MK-9

    MK-9 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have one and absolutely love it. It's kept me warm in the BWCA in fall and in the mountains. But, at 11-12 pounds, I'm definitely looking for something [a 2nd bag] a bit lighter that packs smaller for longer treks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  45. bharner

    bharner Guide

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    You don't happen to know the length of the Bivy Cover for the X-Long, do you? I'm checking some auctions and some don't show the NSN, just have length/width listed.
     
  46. WiskieTango

    WiskieTango Supporter Supporter

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    Another good addition to the system that works really well is the military issued therm-a-rest pad. When using my MSS, I slide it the space between the bivy and patrol bag. It fits perfectly! When using my hammock, I dont have to worry about the pad sliding out from under me because it moves where I do.
     
  47. nothinghead

    nothinghead Guide Bushclass I

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    Here's mine with Alice.
    [​IMG]
     
  48. Pat1973

    Pat1973 Scout

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    Awesome review my friend!
     
  49. rusty stove

    rusty stove Guide

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    good review- i must have the regular instead of the x-long as the black bag is rather snug- i have used this both snapped up and un snapped- as I am a side to side sleeper i found the un snapped inside the bivy sleep more tolerable- as the two bags would move independant from the bivy- in the snapped config. the bag tended to twist up on me.
     
  50. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    I just bought one too. I haven't been out with it yet either.
     

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