Thursday, January 24, 2013

U.S. Military Modular Sleep System Review

I'd like to introduce you guys to one of my previous residence's- The Modular Sleep System or MSS for short. I've spent many nights in this sleeping bag system as most forward deployed troops. From cold mountain environments, deserts, to jungles. This system is designed to be used in a variety of environments and climates. The MSS has traveled the world with me. Very sadly I had to turn it back in to supply when I decided to leave the military. Luckily you can find this sleep system over at Uncle Sam's Retail Outlet. You can find a ton of military or government issue items at Uncle Sam's Retail Outlet. If your in the market for surplus items make sure that's the first place you look. They have some of the best prices on the web. They are a surplus supplier so inventory does fluctuate.

First off this system is made in the U.S.A. An excellent feature. The MSS has 4 components: Compression Stuff Sack, Gore-tex Woodland Camo Bivy Sack, Intermediate Cold Weather Sleeping Bag, and a Patrol Sleeping Bag. I'll go into further details about each of the components.
All components in included compression sack

During my career I rarely carried the entire system at one time. I would take individual pieces for the environment we were headed. Unless of course it was really cold or we were vehicle carried. The reason for this is because the system is quite heavy. Weighing a whopping 12 lbs in its entirety. It would be mounted to the bottom of our Mountain Rucks. So that itself was not ideal to carry the entire system when humping over rough terrain. This isn't meant to be negative, actually a positive for the system. The MSS works so well in it's design. Each component works in the temperature rating designated by the manufacturer. So there is no need to carry extra weight when you don't have too. Most lightweight or ultra light  commercial sleeping bags wouldn't hold up to the stress that is faced in a combat environment.

Starting off with the component I used most- The Patrol Bag (by far my favorite). It's rated down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. A very lightweight bag that has a little extra room. A great feature when your in a tactical environment and have to sleep with your rifle. It's also an awesome Olive Drab color.

The intermediate bag contains a little heavier fill weight. It's rated down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. This bag alone can handle most cold weather excursions. It comes in a tactical black color. I'll go over why I like the various color's below. Both the Patrol bag and Intermediate Cold weather bag are a hooded sleeping bag design. This works great since most of us don't carry pillows to the field; we just pile up our utilities in the hood for an improvised one.

One thing that really sets this system apart is the Gore-tex bivy sack. Both sleeping bags fit inside the bivy cover to be used as an improvised shelter. We would normally use the bivy instead of carrying a tent. It's small and keeps you from getting wet. The camouflage pattern also helps the warfighter to disappear in a tactical environment.

All the components fit into the included black stuff sack. The stuff sack has compression straps running vertically and horizontally. This makes it easy to "mold" the sleeping bags into your desired size for packing.
Note the nylon webbing draft tube on the Patrol Bag. This keeps wind from entering the bag
Gear designed for the military is usually very trustworthy in regards to their ratings. As commercial manufactures sometimes exaggerate things like temperature ratings on sleeping bags. You can be confident with the Modular Sleep System ratings. The versatility of the system doesn't stop at having two sleeping bags with different temperature ratings. The Intermediate Cold Weather Bag is designed to go inside of the Patrol Bag. This enables the system to be used comfortably down to a serious -30 degrees. In the photo above you can see that the sleeping bags and bivy all snap together to make a single sleep system. The varying colors also make for quick identification when needing to pack in a hurry.

 All of the hardware-snaps/zippers/stitching are top of the line on the MSS. The MSS is a great piece of gear. Our men and women that selflessly put their lives on the line for our freedom deserve top quality gear. Commercial sleeping bags of this quality would cost close to a grand. You can find it as well as other military gear at Uncle Sam's Retail Outlet for a steal.  This would be an excellent system to round out your camping or Bug Out Gear.

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