Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Winter Camping- M.S.S. (Military Sleep System)

Winter Camping- M.S.S. (Military Sleep System)

I think it was a couple years ago I said I was going to do a review on the military Sleep System and to be totally honest with ya I kind of spaced it off I had it out not too long ago and I thought you know I really need to get this done so this is what I'm going to do I used this thing for several years now as a phenomenal piece of gear to start off with I started with keeping just a bivy sack because I thought well I have other sleeping bags I can use this gore-tex bivy sack to just slide my bags into and I'll be good to go or you know just a quick real quick shelter to get into keep me dry and this thing has really really been worth its weight in gold I've had it the rain I've had in the snow it's protected my bag I can slide sleeping mat down the side of it and I don't come undone with it or come off of it and slide off of it which is just absolutely awesome it is a really a well-thought-out piece of gear it's got a piece of velcro in it to attach the top so it kind of goes over the top of your face and you still get condensation if you breathe inside your bag but not as bad all these bags have heavy-duty zippers on them heavy-duty snaps welded seams it's military you know how can you go wrong with military gear almost all that's been tried and tested and used all over the world so just a very solid piece of gear after that I decided well I got this maybe I'll get the piece that snaps into it so I ended up getting the intermediate bag which is the black bag and once again I've been nothing but pleased with this bag it has once again the heavy-duty zippers velcro attachment for keeping your zipper from sliding down a nice hood drawstring that's easy to use and fine it has this baffle right here that keeps your hot air inside your bag so that when you move it stops it from running out which is nice it has a really nice baffle on the zipper also zipper baffle and the good thing about it is if it snaps right into this liner and I'll show you how I do that here in a minute once I talk about the rest of it so it's all interchangeable so now I have a core cortex bag that can snap which i think is intermediate cold bags about 20 degrees for me I sleep kind of cold but one thing I've been really happy about these is the fedor double insulated on it I've never gotten cold feet on this and the coldest I've slept in in this system was I want to say like right at 2 or 3 blow and it was great but I had long johns and puller police and stuff on but just the bag alone is probably much 20 degree bag I don't really think gore-tex bag the sack really adds any temperature difference but it does make a little bit more comfortable and especially if you're sleeping with a tarp a lot it gives you a little bit of peace of mind then the last bag that I ended up getting to close this patrol bag it is about flimsy for the weight there's better bags out there but the nice thing about it is it snaps into the rest of system and it's oversized because enough when I put it together I'll show you how this all works and snaps together it really completes the system out so this temperature rating on this bag I would say it's probably about a 50 degree bag it's really not a super warm bag but the zippers are solid on it once again it's got a good drawstring on it maybe a little bit colder you know 48 degrees but it's not a very warm bag but it's better than nothing right you couple that with your gore-tex bag and get a nice summer system so we'll go ahead and put this stuff together and I'll show you how I put it going how I've had luck doing it alright put this baby together first thing I do is I start out with my busy sack open it up and notice the zipper doesn't go all the way to the feet then I take my green bag I find the head put that the head and then it kind of all zippers line up take feet shove them down in there pull it tight find my zipper again and correspond all my snaps together because then it snaps and the zippers all correspond alright then don't go on this outside flap this outside flap snaps to the bag itself to the baby bag itself so there's inside snaps that are right on the zipper and that's what you want to go to take your time don't get them crisscross because there is a lot of snaps on here illness I have a friend of mine who's in the Marines I'm doing this to tell you this story he got issued this this whole system and he had the bivvy sack with him and he said he was on like a patrol and he was on this super super steep slope and he actually took a piece of 550 cord and tied off the top of his gore-tex bag and slid down the side and pulled the rest over the top of him it was like on a real steep incline he said it kept him dry and it didn't move all night long to me that kind of speaks volumes when you have a guy that's actually had it out on missions you know use it now I'm sure there's stories like that all over but it just really attests to the solid nature of this year I wish I would have this issue to me when I was in the military but all we had with those 20-degree intermediate bags all right so there was set up with that green bag nice and big I can take that flap flap it over it snap it onto these snaps they all correspond now if I want to put the black bag in once again I unzip my green bag and they're snaps in here so I start with my head and I lay it on the head take the feet and shove them inside a green bag then I line my zippers up my snaps are inside the green bag and then I just snap together super easy and the nice thing about this is once it's together I've never had this thing come apart either just a great system there is one kind of disadvantage to this and that is the weight I know the military doesn't really care about weight a lot of times but the older you get the more you tend to care about weight obviously the military's young man's game so it is a little heavy but I guess it's all give and take and I mean so you never can tell what's what's going to be good what's not good until you get it out so get it all snapped up put together and the hoods there waves of each other this way in there and there's your sleep system right there you can zip up that black bag what I usually end up doing is just zipping up the black bag one a minute cuz it's got that nice baffle in it and then zip up the gore-tex bag if you want to take the time to put those snaps over you can but it is a super solid solid piece of gear and you know you can pick them up online used for about a hundred bucks brand new I don't know what they go for anymore but if you got the extra cash I probably go with a brand new one they also come with a black compression sack that I don't have because I have different sacks for it but a really quality piece of gear

Reader Comments

  1. I have the bivvy and use it with a -6 bag, a two-season bag, a silk liner, a The Therm-a-Rest Women's Trail Pro, a thick reflective blanket, pj's, socks and gillet. I use a USMC 2 man combat tent and sleep like a baby.

  2. Last night i used the black intermediate bag with the bivy in 25 degree temperature. I wore a tee shirt and jeans with no socks and i felt just fine. My wife had the same set up. Our green patrol bags were used by our 2 kids. They had a 30 degree ozark trail bag inside the green bag. We all slept comfortable with no fire and we had tarps to block the wind. Best piece of camping gear I've ever bought.

  3. Sorry to be a nay sayer BUT I used this system on an elk hunt in Wyoming in the Bighorn Mts in Sept. The nightime temps got down in the teens and with the four bag system I FROZE my ass off. It is wiggy's for me now. This system sucks.

  4. I bought a new one and I feel very secure with my purchase. I’m going to try to put 2 Black bags together or 2 green bags.

  5. I've used the MSS for wintercamping for a few years. I loved it, but it does not dry quickly, and I've been colder and colder in it. I wonder what the life expectancy of these bags are. I just bought a Wiggys system. It's being delivered today!

  6. This is sometimes sold as Modular Sleep System. I have two, both bought via paypal. I wish I had one when I was in the forces. A little on the heavy/bulky side but an excellent bit of kit that is well thought out. You dont need to take all three bags, you can pick which ones are appropriate for the temperature /environment. In heavy rain/wind you will still need a poncho/tarp to keep your head and gear dry. Good review

  7. There are two things I have always wanted and they only really available in the US. And super costly to import. A set of thermal Under Armour long johns and shirts. And this sleep system. Man to camp in this…I would love camping more.

  8. When i was in Alaska last year i bought this from a surplus store, it was one of the best investments i have made!! I have camped out numerous times up north here in california in the winter times and during rainstorms and both times it had kept me warm and dry(: i camped out in big bear on january during a snow storm with just the sleeping bag on the snow and i was toasted warm! This year i am going back to Alaska and i am gonna bring this sleeping bag with me because i am gonna camp out northern light hunting in -40 weather and yea its gonna be cold!

  9. Mine was not  new but it 99%new.
    I got it to go along with my pop up tent.
    I can have the tent and the sleep system up in 10 minutes or less.

  10. Flint_2016 from BCUSA here.Thanks IAWoodsman for the review.I bought the whole system at a military surplus store for $125 new.I used it once so far back in November and was warm all night in it,unlike my old mummy rated at 20F didn't quite make it.Thanks for the video

  11. Used it when I did SERE in 2005, now I'm looking to buy surplus for myself and my wife. Amazing piece of gear.

  12. I got one of these back in the late 90's when they were first being "surplused". Mine was unissued and I paid $300 for it–and I've blessed that investment ever since!

  13. This system is way better than the tan down bag I had in the marines. I got lucky and had this given to me a few years back by a woman that gave MILSURP to veterans.

  14. What do you use to protect the Bivy around fire ??
    I'm trying the cover from one of my military down bags, I saw one guy using the wool liner on the outside, but I use mine inside….
    Lee, Indianapolis

  15. I own 2 of these….one for me and one for the wife. They are as high quality gear as you can ask for. Because of the weight, I do not use mine for Backpacking unless it is to be my ENTIRE shelter during an inclimate weather trip. (which it can do quite nicely) The patrol bag is really great in the late spring and early fall for backpacking.

    When I backpack (usually in the winter) I take a much lighter Hollofill, 0 degree bag, Lightweight tarp and a hammock with pad.

    I took no offense at all at your story. You were just trying to drive home the durability of the goretex bivy sack. Also, it's strong enough that you could bind up each end with 550 and make a narrow hammock out of it….It's really that strong!

    That being said If I could only own one bag and it had to do the trick and last me a lifetime the MSS would be my pic!

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