Sleep system Experiences - MSS, Snug Special Forces, Wiggy's FTRSS?

Discussion in 'Sleep Systems' started by BlackBush, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. BlackBush

    BlackBush Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trying to build a flexible light pack so I'm going bivy+tarp and now looking for a modular sleep system.

    Sleep systems appeal to me since I can pack the light 3 season bag always and just add a second light bag to accommodate the cooler temperatures (distribute the load so to speak).

    Ill go into this saying the Snugpak looks like a light, compact system - which is really alluring with what I'm trying to accomplish with this kit and the center zip is nice too, but perhaps not quite as capable as the others.. I don't know.. Always find ratings to be very subjective, so opinions might help add a bit of real world experience.

    If you have used the system, might be a good idea to mention the pad's used as R value can be important when reflecting on a bags effective warmth.

    Has anyone compared these systems? Other sleep system suggestions? Ad hok recomendations (ie custom bag combo's that have worked really well)

    Wiggy's FTRSS combines for a rating of -30C (compressed sizes unknown)
    Core Bag Ultralight rated for 0C + Over Bag rated for 5C

    Snugpak combines for a rating of -15C (11x10 inches compressed) - includes a baffel unifying the zippers
    Special Forces 1 rated for 5C (6x6) + Special Forces 2 rated at -7C (9x9)

    US MSS combined for a rating of -30C? (14x30)
    Patrol Bag rated about -1C (8x6) + Intermediate Bag about -5C (8x17)
     
    gohammergo and Broke like this.
  2. NJStricker

    NJStricker Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,365
    Likes Received:
    1,299
    Location:
    Ohio
    The US MSS system is heavy, but a good deal if you are on a budget. I bought my components separately over the past 9 months over Ebay. The black bag I used alone over my 20 year old Thermarest pad and was comfortable down to 25F. I've used the lighter patrol bag by itself over a US green closed cell foam pad down to about 50F. I recently picked up the Goretex bivy. With the patrol bag buttoned into the bivy, I can compress both down into a Sea to Summit medium compression bag.
     
    gohammergo and Broke like this.
  3. Griffith

    Griffith just some guy Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,104
    Likes Received:
    458
    Location:
    East TN
    I've used the MSS (gen 2) quite a bit. The patrol bag is a pretty great three season bag, and the intermediate bag is usually more than enough for my winters in East TN. They're not the lightest or most compact bags on the market, but they are durable and effective. I've never been a huge fan of bivys, but they do work. The bags have heavy duty zippers and relatively few features, but I like that about them. Fairly thorough instructions are durably printed and sewn directly onto the foot of the bags.
     
    gohammergo and Broke like this.
  4. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    15,675
    Likes Received:
    12,725
    Location:
    Louisiana
    @GunGoBoom went through this awhile ago, though I don't remember if he was looking at the MSS as part of it... I'm just posting this to alert him and maybe he'll have some insight.

    I'm assuming you're somewhere cold, though your profile doesn't list a location. I personally use a 35* down bag. When it drops into the low 30s, I add a poncho liner to my list, to wrap around the bag. If it drops into the low 20s, I'll drop the liner and add my 35* underquilt since I'm usually back on the ground (vs hammock in the summer). This puts me about as low as I need for LA.

    If I lived in NY again, I'd do the same with a 20 degree bag and maybe a 40* quilt.
     
    gohammergo, Carbonmated and Broke like this.
  5. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom I'm not lost, I've just misplaced myself. Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    2,816
    Likes Received:
    1,746
    Location:
    The land of sand and fossil fuel
    This is my experimentation. It worked well but if I was doing it again I think I would use the Sierra Sniveler from Jacks R Better rather than the Doobie Express. The SOL bivy made a big difference and the Xlite is very comfortable although I would sacrifice a little space and get the women's version (slightly warmer and the length is between a full and 3/4 length pad.

    As for the mss and similiar systems, they're huge and heavy. I wouldn't even look into them for a small/light kit. Right now I have a homemade Apex quilt from @mtwarden that I have been experimenting with. It packs down tiny. I really want the ability to use it as an insulated poncho though. If I had the funds I would just buy an insulated jerven bag and call it a day.

    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/compact-sleep-system.179590/

    ETA: @Cro gave some great advice and pictures for reference in that thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    gohammergo, Broke and Seeker like this.
  6. BlackBush

    BlackBush Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    8
    I live in south western Ontario. We have humid weather in the summer and we get about 0 to -5 in late October.

    I don't have experience with down, but I'm a bit cautious about investing in it with the humidity we get.

    That snug pack bag isn't down but still seems fairly light and compact at 6x6. For 5C - 0C bag

    Never heard of a Jevon, will check that out thanks.
     
    gohammergo, Broke and Seeker like this.
  7. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    4,191
    Likes Received:
    3,831
    Location:
    ATL
    just so you know, none of the gear you listed is considered lightweight, just sayin'...

    you don't say what temps you expect but a good 2-bag system is a 20* and a 40* . layered together, with the lighter over the heavier, you should be able to get a bit below 0*. as always though, these ratings depend more on you as an individual, than on the gear itself...

    for 40* and warmer, I like a quilt. you can crate drafts if you move at night but that isn't an issue in these temps. because of this, and the included hood, when it gets cold I prefer a bag.

    also, a quilt on top of a bag won't compress it as much as trying to fit one bag inside another...

    I prefer down below freezing and synthetic above. this is due to how they handle liquid water and vapor that may or may not be present at the temp you are at.

    it also has to do with weight - a warmer bag is heavier and down is lighter than synthetic. a 20* down bag will weigh less than 2lbs but 20* synthetic bag will be 3lbs or more. in warm weather you can get away with synthetic as you don't need as much of that heavier insulation to begin with.

    my own system uses a 20* down bag with a 40* long and wide Enlightened Equipment Climashield quilt. this has been comfortable for me to below freezing...
     
    gohammergo, wizard and Broke like this.
  8. designtom

    designtom Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    I've used the Wiggy's FTTRS. It's actually overkill for the Mid-Atlantic. (0 deg F bag, plus overbag). Around 10 F I need to vent it a little bit. At -10 F it's rocking just fine, with no external heat sources.

    In retrospect, I probably would have been served fine with a Wiggy's 20 F bag, with the overbag. (still rated to -20F).

    I'm sure you've heard, that Wiggy's ratings are pretty much honest. I don't think either of the other two bags you mentioned will allow you to sleep for 4+ hours at their lowest "ratings".

    I've been quite shocked with what temperatures I've used the Wiggy's overbag when it's coupled with full winter clothing (hey, it's an overbag, it's huge), and a cheap down throw from the thrift store.

    I do own a serious down sleeping bag, and I love how the Wiggy's allows me to bring damp clothing into my bag, and the moisture moves completely through the bag, and will only freeze up as it touches the freezing temperatures on the nylon of the out most layer.

    Moisture when you're below -10 F is something that needs to be accounted for ........

    I'm usually in a hammock, and have increasing the amount of either foam pads, or under quilts to match or exceed the loft of the sleeping bag I'm bringing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    gohammergo likes this.
  9. digdug18

    digdug18 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Bristol, Pa.
    I have also had excellent experience with the Army MSS, mostly while in very cold climates, though I have woken up to a rain storm, and realized that I was laying in 1" of standing water, but I was completely dry in the bivy bag. I've been looking for one for use for myself, but it's rather difficult to locate one of the complete sleep system's in a "long" size.

    It's not well know that they have different versions, mainly a regular and long, but it is a fact nonetheless.
     
    gohammergo likes this.
  10. that mike dude

    that mike dude Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    914
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    I just got my pair of army mss. We slept out in 48 temps last weekend. The wife used her intermediate bag and the word she described was cozy. I used my patrol bag and was good to go. I got a deal as well. I got two mss in great condition for 148.00. The vendor forgot one of the compression bags and sent it along with a variety of 'i'm sorry for the goof' goodies.
     
    gohammergo likes this.
  11. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Messages:
    5,283
    Likes Received:
    8,347
    Location:
    Maine
    I have both the 1970 USGI issued down mountain bag for winter and the green patrol bag for spring, summer, fall used with a cheap fleece sleeping bag liner if needed, no problems with either. My USGI Bivy is often used with both.
     
    gohammergo likes this.
  12. Bad Hand Two Nine

    Bad Hand Two Nine Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Delaware
    I have a Varicom Sleep System made by Slumberjack/Kelty.
    It's like the MMSS but modernized.
    Has a medium bag,heavy bag and hooped bivy.
    Supposed to be good to -20 degrees.
    Very compact and good quality..USA made too.
     
    gohammergo likes this.
  13. Carbonmated

    Carbonmated Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    1,440
    Location:
    Florida gulf coast
    I have used the MSS in my hammock down to 38 degrees with 57 mph winds and hard driving rain. Slept in a t shirt and shorts with a CCF yoga mat under me. I was so hot I had to keep sticking my legs out to cool down for 3 nights. It is a heavy system but if you are willing to carry it it will keep you warm.
     
    Bad Hand Two Nine and gohammergo like this.
  14. nameless

    nameless Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    24
    I have the MSS and it did well in 5 degree weather last year. I only had a tarp under my tent and the tent itself and the bag.
     
  15. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    1,674
    I have four MSS set ups for cabin / base camp use use, they are way too heavy and bulky for my hiking style. If in winter the MSS travel well in my polk. The Snugpack bags are lighter and less bulk, I like the Softie Elite 3 which for me is right on the edge of packability. For warmth and packability I carry my 0 degree top quilt with an insulated pad and if on snow I also carry a second z fold foam pad. Lots of info available on the virtues of using quilts over sleeping bag.
     
  16. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    A couple of Long versions have come up in ebay in the last couple of weeks, about $50 more than you can get the regular size for. The long ones do sell quickly. Keep an ongoing search for one if you would like.
     
  17. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    If you are considering bulk and weight as an issue then you should also consider using a top quilt. You have the pad providing you with ground insulation which is effective. Any sleeping bag insulation underneath you is compressed, thus greatly reducing the insulating characteristics, and giving you low insulating value with more bulk. If you look at insulation values, it is most effective as it is lofted.
    You can get some sleeping bags with insulation only the on top and sides, and a sleeve for an insulated pad for bottom insulation.
    You may also get top quilts from many cottage manufactures with straps to hold them to a pad, and they can be customized to fit your preferences. You can also get different temperature rated quilts, layering them, thus creating your own modular system, probably with half the bulk and a third of the weight of the MSS. I owned two but sold one, will probably get a long version someday.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
    xrayit likes this.
  18. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    I tried my MSS in about Zero Degree conditions in the backyard.
    I used an R 5.7 pad on the deck wrapped with a wool blanket.
    I wore a very light sleeping layer.
    I had the Bivy and both the patrol bag and intermediate bag snapped as per directions.
    I tried it out and was back in the house within an hour.
    So after this experience I went on the military websites looking for how they rate the system and found that those minus 30 to minus 50 ratings are based on different clothing layering and a four hour comfort window, actually a survival level, not comfort level.
    I love those pictures of the MSS where they are all lofted up, almost like they have down insulation. In reality, they are pretty flat.
    The most extreme cold rating requires the Gen 3 level 7 Primaloft suit, along with thinner layers.
    Bottom line is that you need to wear proper layering to get those ratings.
    I did use the MSS in the 20 degree range without any special layering and it performed fine.
    Just a final thought, the patrol bag is thinner than the intermediate bag and goes on the outside. My theory is that the thinner bag should be on the inside giving a better warm pocket next to your body. Similar to layering thinner clothing layers against the body.
     
  19. Bcelect

    Bcelect Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    The label on the bag, does it say cold weather or extreme cold weather? The bag my father used in WWII was a two part, He always told me that he put one inside another. I later learned that they had a two part extreme cold weather mountain bag system. The two bags are labeled inner and outer. They also came in reg. and large.
     
  20. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    4,204
    Likes Received:
    7,641
    Location:
    NW Montana
    You are right on the 4 hour time assigned to the MSS. The Level 7 puffy suit wasnt worn in the sleeping bag system though. During my time at fort wainwright (fairbanks ak) we had to test out sleep systems every year by doing at least four hours in the bag in at least -20 degree weather. We would wear our first two layers of the ECWCS system, two pairs of socks, and balaclava in the bag. Also I would put the sleeping pad inside the bivvy bag but outside the outer bag. Also the thinner bag did go over the thicker bag.

    It would work and I was usually able to sleep through it. It wasnt the best sleep but it worked. I know people that would bring an ipod in the bag with them and spend the time watching movies.
     

Share This Page