A review of the Australian Army Issue (Winter) Sleeping Bag

Edward

Mors Kochanski
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The Australian Army Issue (Winter) Sleeping Bag (in service from 2007-2017 & possibly still current issue).

What can I tell uzzz about this bag? Well, lets start with the stuff sack: It is fully water proof & the AUSCAM blends in well with the Australian bush. I have seen it works in the sub tropics of Qld, as well as in semi-arid areas of the south, like malee country. I noticed the compression straps are generous & are up there with the more expensive bags. They are great for strapping the bag to a packs. I have not seen another military sleeping bag with a stuff sack this good. That said, the more elaborate the stuff sack the more weight one carries.

Weight: Sure it is not a U.L. sleeping bag, as with most military surplus. However, in this case this can be a plus as well. Last winter I used it with a O.D. TAS sleeping mat & wool blanket underneath. It was incredibly comfortable. In fact I would say almost too comfortable. I think this is because the bag itself is so well padded. This time I am going to try it with the German Army Bundeswehr Folding Sleeping Mat, a much thinner pad, & no wool blanket underneath.

Accommodation & field use: Very good indeed. The bag is both aesthetically and tangibly pleasing. While its a synthetic bag, you don't really get the feeling it is. The bag itself is a beautiful matt O.D. colour- the outside of the actual sleeping bag looks & feels almost like cotton, but its nylon or is a hybrid of the two. The interior is lined with lovely soft natural cotton. As mentioned it is well padded, & is therefore very comfortable.

What I liked about this bag & what I looked for in a military sleeping bag, was a zipper that was on the side of the bag, not in the middle of the bag, so it doesn't nearly take out your eye when you turn over, like with some military sleeping bags I have used in the past. The zipper travels a generous two thirds of the way down the side of the bag. The bag has a few tie-down loops around its perimeter if things get windy. There is also a handy headlamp/ small book pocket located on the upper outside area on one side of the bag where the NSN plaque is.

This bag has what is called a 'footbox' area near your feet. Some of you will be aware of this feature, but for those who weren't, like me, this is almost like a lightly rubber framed/ re-enforced area so you can comfortably wear boots inside the bag with you, if necessary. It has been a while since I brought a modern sleeping bag, so some of you may find this a little odd:rolleyes: but I didn't appreciate the tapered design of the lower part of the bag. Obviously it is there to save weight, but I guess I just wasn't use to it. Something about being a bloke & needing to spread my legs out shall we just say. I noticed once I calm down & start to go to sleep it isn't too much of an issue. Lets just say I am giving it a real go! What also surprised me was the bag also seemed to have this soft rubber framing around the head and neck area. This really takes shape and conforms to the head and neck area when the bag is zipped right up. This gives a real sense of comfort & security, but it also increases body warmth & incredibly acts as a wind break! I noticed it does however reduce your ability to hear things around you to some degree. I used the bag with an A-frame Army tarp set up. During the night the wind increased to about 26km/h and came at my head at an angle of about 23 degrees (I couldn't set the tarp up exactly where I wanted it & as the wind was lighter when I did, it wasn't easy to judge its direction exactly, although I tried). I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how well this head frame works. I heard about this framing about 10 years ago when they came out & wasn't keen on it, but its not at all stiffly-rigid like I imagined it to be & is quite subtle. Its like its there when you need it and isn't when you don't. It can feel good to join the 21st century:)

Performance: In summary good. I found I was over prepared for that trip. It got down to about +3 C degrees & I was warm in the bag with jocks & a T-shirt. Had worst come to worst & I had donned my woolly pulley & trousers, I am sure I would have been fine inside the bag, even if it hit -3 C. I plan to really test the bag to its limits this winter by monitoring weather forecasts & tarp camping out on the coldest night winter has to offer, out here in the desert. I was advised that the bag is rated to 0 degrees C. There are no markings on the bag saying his, but the NSN# does identify it as a 'winter' sleeping bag, presumably for Australian conditions.

Quality: Excellent. It has huge, heavy duty, double row YKK zippers with para cord tabs. Overall construction and materials seems very good for what is a synthetic sleeping bag. After close observation & experience with the bag, I had no sense this was a cheap 'K-Mart' sleeping bag. To the casual observer, there is definitely more than meets the eye here. The bag is made under contract with a military manufacturer in the United States. IMHO, I think one would be hard pressed to find a bag with this level of thoroughness, quality and with these features in civilian or non-specialised commercial stores.

Value: Excellent. For those who are looking for a quality, but 'normal or regular' sleeping bag, that isn't normal or regular & at a fraction of RRP, you can't go wrong, if that makes sense. In this case you don't get what you pay for, you get more! Cost around $70 (used).

Condition: I was lucky to be able to see the bag in person at an big Australian authorised surplus dealer. But of the 2 (XL sized) bags I inspected, all of them had very minimal use & were grade 1 surplus (basically mint). I gave it a long wash, dried it outside thoroughly & that was it. I have found that if purchased through an Australian A.D. military surplus dealer when stock is plentiful & fresh, condition should be excellent to very good. But not in all cases of course.

Summary: I am overall very pleased with my purchase of this bag & would highly recommend it, 'if' it suits you're application, environment & needs. The bag & I are looking forward to many future years together!




The bag in its stuff sack & fully compressed. I brought the XL size. As far as I know & based on what I have seen, they come in sizes M, L & XL. I purchased the bag in 2018. It is a 2007 model bag. This ties in with the military rotating their stock after 10 years. Also note military NATO stock number on stuff sack & contract built in the US to Australian military specs.




Marking plaque on the actual bag: showing Australian military issue 'broad arrow' symbol, official military NATO stock number & US contract markings. Note, even the heavy duty marking plaque is a nice, discreet, fawny off-white colour. However, the picture doesn't quite capture its true colour.




Initial winter tests at home, just before heading out in +3 degree C weather. Note, there is a headlamp/ book pocket on the upper left side of the bag, where the plaque is located




Field use in +3 degree C winter weather, with Australian Army Hootchie: mosquito box & tarp




Supplemental gear taken on first field test (minus TAS sleeping mat). Shows 2 Australian Army issue tarps. Note Gerber LMF straps supporting wool blanket. I kept them after I lost the knife pig hunting. I will not be taking this gear when I test the bag to its limits this winter
 
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Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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Thanks for the thorough review. I prefer a centre zip, but that is because I find it easier to use in a hammock.
 

Edward

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Thanks for the thorough review. I prefer a centre zip, but that is because I find it easier to use in a hammock.

Thanks. Ah yes, I know what you are saying. I have seen a few reviews of people saying they prefer that option in a hammock, which makes sense!;)
 

Kindlling

Malcolm Douglas
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I like the idea of the -minus deg sleeping bags ,
Its too warm here however, I have the auscam summer weight bag, with an added tropical sleeping bag mesh liner.
That way if the bag gets too hot, I can go in the bug mesh liner by itself to stay cooler.

I've heard it said the liner can add 2 deg c , to the body temp when added.

I was looking online at the patrol mk 4 etc bags recently,
As an option , not sure it they are the same as you have.

I ended up buying another cheapy summer bag to add and subtract inside the other as required.

Good review thanks.
 
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Edward

Mors Kochanski
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I like the idea of the -minus deg sleeping bags ,
Its too warm here however, I have the auscam summer weight bag, with an added tropical sleeping bag mesh liner.
That way if the bag gets too hot, I can go in the bug mesh liner by itself to stay cooler.

I've heard it said the liner can add 2 deg c , to the body temp when added.

I was looking online at the patrol mk 4 etc bags recently,
As an option , not sure it they are the same as you have.

I ended up buying another cheapy summer bag to add and subtract inside the other as required.

Good review thanks.


Thanks. So do I;) I had a minus -4 C down bag once. Guessing you may have seen some of the reviews of arctic military bags done by Survival Russia on YouTube in -30 C weather in Siberia? Helsinkipop has also done a few quite cold tests on 'the Tube'.

The tropical bag seems like an essential piece if kit here. Seems you have it sorted. Layers are a good way of regulating heat, or so I hear. Thanks for the tip on the liner. I did consider getting the TAS AUSCAM bivvy, but its pricey for just 'a bag'. BTW, see the first pic above. That dark green thing in the plastic bag (bottom left of frame) is actually a British Army Tropical Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack- I just don't have the sleeping bag! :rolleyes:

I haven't heard of the patrol Mk4 bags. Sounds interesting, do you happen too have a link to one by any chance, I may be able to let you know if it looks like my bag, also just curious too see it?
 
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Kindlling

Malcolm Douglas
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Edward

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www.aussiedisposals.com.au/tas-mark-iv-patrol-sleeping-bag?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1IHMt8zC4QIVzgoqCh2-mAJmEAQYASABEgKNSvD_BwE

Here you go re the link , hope that works.

I haven't seen that particular review on YouTube, I've watched some, and bought some of the army surplus gear from other countries like Canadian arctic or extreme cold weather parkas for presents overseas, value for money there too. Shipping is the pricey bit.
I'm staying closer to the sun:)


That bag looks very similar, but this one is not made by TAS. That bag looks plenty tough!

Yes, overseas shipping has become expensive. That's what I struggle with when trying to justify gear I want. Now I try to buy in bulk when I can to help save costs. Although who can do that all the time! I know Army & Outdoor in Christchurch New Zealand has comparatively very cheap shipping to Oz, if that helps at all.

I know what you mean by cold weather- here is the review I was talking about of this brave (or stupid) man camping out in -30 C weather:rolleyes::)

 
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Chigger

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-30C would certainly make your teeth chatter. How people live in those freezing countries I don't know.

Like the night time photo of your campsite which looks quite comfortable.
 

Kindlling

Malcolm Douglas
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That bag looks very similar, but this one is not made by TAS. That bag looks plenty tough!

Yes, overseas shipping has become expensive. That's what I struggle with when trying to justify gear I want. Now I try to buy in bulk when I can to help save costs. Although who can do that all the time! I know Army & Outdoor in Christchurch New Zealand has comparatively very cheap shipping to Oz, if that helps at all.

I know what you mean by cold weather- here is the review I was talking about of this brave (or stupid) man camping out in -30 C weather:rolleyes::)

Well that bag looks like a beauty anyway.

The tas bag sounds similar to what you describe, that's why I asked. Probably its the similar military spec. they get made to.

i have seen the tas and other mil spec bivys come up from time to time In used good condition.

like everything a bit of patience and right time right place.
 
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