Sleep System Newb Question

Discussion in 'Sleep Systems' started by TattooBlade, May 15, 2018.

  1. TattooBlade

    TattooBlade Scout

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    I've been mostly a tent camper for years. I've slept under a few tarps in my day too. I'd like some input into a good/great modular sleep system (bag, bivy sack, etc) that will work more or less year round from cold to hot weather and keep out the critters.

    I've been looking at the military system and it seems good, but in the Air Force we didn't sleep on the ground much. :)

    Please give me some thoughts and idea.

    Thanks!

    Mike
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    I always wanted to modify my MSS bivy to have a bug net just never got around to it.
     
  3. TattooBlade

    TattooBlade Scout

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    64 views and one reply?! Come on guys, give me some input! What sleep systems do you like?
     
  4. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    MSS is hard to beat considering cost vs value. Heavy and bulky when fully assembled. IMHO best bang for the buck.
     
  5. blind & lost

    blind & lost Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'd check out Wiggy's for bivys and sleep systems, hard to beat and warm bags IMHO. Lots of options. Good luck.
     
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  6. stingray4540

    stingray4540 Scout

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    I personally like a low rated down bag, and either a z-rest pad or that ultralight inflatable one.
    For protection, if I’m going light is an 8x10 silnylon tarp and bivy. Can’t remember the bivy brand but it is the size of your bag but has netting over the face that can be tied up to the inside of the tarp to keep it off your face.

    Otherwise, if I don’t mind a little more weight there are several really lightweight tent options out there depending how much you are willing to spend.
     
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  7. OMRebel

    OMRebel He who piddles Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Depends on what your doing. If you are hiking out a good peice then the militery system is pretty heavy. Also, how much is budgeted plays a factor. I use MSS at present, but when I can afford a lighter alternative I will be upgrading.
     
  8. Leshy_apprentice

    Leshy_apprentice Scout

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    First, thanks for your service in the Chair Force, haha. Just kidding and I'm sure you guys have jokes about the other branches too.

    Seriously MSS is a pretty good value if you find a used one in decent condition at a good price. As others have stated, it is bulky and heavy. But you can consider it a sleeping bag and "tent" in one, so all things considered it can be about equal to the weight and space of a cold weather sleeping bag and a 1 person backpacking tent. You'll be warm in your MSS sleeping bag(s) and bivvy, but you won't have the internal space luxury you'd get with a tent.

    It'll keep you warm, and it's cool that it's versatile for all seasons depending on what combination of components you pack out. In warmer months the bivvy and lightweight bag may be all you want to bring, thus saving pack weight and volume.

    The material and construction is pretty robust. If I had to think of problems, I'd say I have had some condensation in cold weather but I'm not an expert with the MSS (I wasn't issued the MSS either because I was in the Navy and slept underwater in a submarine). I just use it for camping, and I use it only occasionally, not as my primary sleeping kit. Maybe I could have managed it better to prevent the condensation? There is a "vent" I tried using, but still got a bit damp inside. Not soaked...just slightly damp.

    Something to consider: the MSS is great as a set. But you may already have light sleeping bags and cold weather sleeping bags you like. The MSS components are also sold separately. You can buy just the bivvy bag to save money and use your civilian bags inside. They won't snap in place like the MSS bags, but it'll be cheaper, and possibly lighter/less bulky depending on what bags you have already. And you could install mating snaps in your bags pretty easily if you wish. Installing snaps is just about as easy as installing grommets. But really, the snaps aren't strictly necessary, and would add a few ounces of extra "hardware weight" any time you're using them tent backpacking instead of snapping them into the bivvy. Just an idea.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  9. RJM52

    RJM52 Scout

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    Unless you are an ultra-lite backpacker Wiggy's is hard to beat. They are one of the only USA made sleeping bags and the only one that the company encourages you to wash the bag right at home in the washing machine.

    I've been using not only their sleeping bags but also their coats, vests and gloves for 23 years and never have had a problem. Wore out the zipper on one of their sweaters because it was used every day from late August to May for 18 years and they replaced the zipper free...

    Bob
     
  10. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm not sure my input will be any help. I just use blankets any more. I have a fleece blanket I sewed a footbox in for summer, a wool blanket for chilly weather, and a Costco down blanket with a footbox for cold temps. All three together is way too warm for anything but really cold (sub-freezing) temps.

    I'm a hammock guy, so I have another Costco down blanket UQ, a USGI poncho liner UQ, and a Klymit Static V Jr. pad for really cold temps.

    Between all that, I just grab what I need for the temps. I've done the ground sleep thing with this gear too, but the hammock is just so much better.
     
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  11. Hawk136439

    Hawk136439 Tinder Gatherer

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    I've had a similar questing regarding the MSS how waterproof is it? I have this idea in my head that a "bivvy" is basically tent big enough to fit a sleeping bag is that totally off base?
     
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  12. PauperoftheBush

    PauperoftheBush Tracker

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    The MSS is well-built and very warm. If its been properly maintained the bivy is waterproof and thats always a plus. Its a great system in the winter time, especially when you use an insulated sleeping mat too. I havent looked the sleeping mat market lately so there are likely better choices now, but I have a Big Agnes insulated Q-core and a Thermarest Neoair that are both great options. A good warm weather option is the Snugpack jungle bag but Im 6'6" 225 lbs and it is a very sung fit for me. I have a blanket called a ThermaShield that is always in my sleep system/shelter kit. A good bug net is my go-to option when Im tarp camping in buggy season but usually I prefer a hammock. Tarps are for winter camping.
     
  13. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    I'll be honest, I don't like any of the military sleep systems unless I didn't have any choice. a consumer product is far better in almost every way except cost...
     
  14. Benjamin Shoemaker

    Benjamin Shoemaker Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I too am thinking about buying the mss. I just bought the improved combat shelter. Yes it is the digital camo but so is my ruck. If you get it let me know what you think about it and if I get it I will do the same. Good luck
     
  15. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    LOL

    When I was in the Air Force, I got stationed on an Army base for a few years and 'got' to go camping in fun places like Fort Greeley - in the winter.

    The military sleep system is OK, but you should consider adding more ground insulation than the normal foam pad. A Reflectrix insulator pad help quite a bit for a small weight penalty.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    For your area, I'd prefer to be off the ground. I use a double bottomed, bug netted hammock with a Walmart 40 degree quilt in summer and a Kelty 30 degree bag for cooler weather. I use both if it's cold enough. The only problem I see is if you have enough trees to hang in. I use a CCF pad between the layers of the hammock, more for mosquitos than warmth.
     
  17. Young Blacksmith

    Young Blacksmith Supporter Supporter

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    I use a couple different styles. For me, ground sleeping occurs from Thanksgiving until St. Pattys. I usually use an inflatable pad, 30 degree bag, and wool blanket. Depending on bugs, I may have to use a bug net. I don't worry too much about the bivy, if it rains I pull the ground sheet over me, it's an Ozark Trail sun wall, waterproof sil nylon. Or I use a one-man bivy tent for an all in one solution, it weighs 2 lbs, about the same as a few tarps and ropes.

    For the other 8 months I've been using a jungle bed. Gets you off the ground where the snakes like to roam, and the water likes to pool. Also gets air circulating under you to help cool you off. I have a hammock to try, but just haven't done it yet. Both use a bug net, and tarp over the top if rain threatens. I've been going tarpless if the chance of rain is small enough, just one more thing to not worry about. My OT Sun wall makes a good a-frame over the jungle bed for brief storms, or a larger tarp for the greater chances of rain.

    I've looked at the bivy bags, but just can't justify the occasional use and cost compared with the multi-purpose OT sun wall. It's a tarp (wind, rain, sun protection), ground sheet, rain cape, and sit pad. My version of a MEST.
     

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