Looking for a good, reliable winter sleeping bag? The army arctic sleeping bag is a great price and provides a great nights sleep. If you are not willing to pay or simply can’t afford to pay £100’s of pounds for a good winter sleeping bag please read on.
I will say here at the start of this post that if you are looking for an ultra-lightweight sleeping bag for your kit then this is not it. If you don’t mind packing or carrying a few extra pounds for the sake of a good nights sleep then this could be just what you are looking for.
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I actually had never thought of looking at army surplus gear for camping until the other month. My wife and I had signed up to do an extreme winter campout with a local charity and we had also seen a Bivy Bag World Record Attempt on Facebook. We wanted to do both!
This led to us needing to find a new winter sleeping bag but we did not want to pay the high price tags of some on the market. After all, we were unsure if the sleeping bags would be used much after these events. I think that might change now!
In Need of a Good Winter Sleeping Bag
We have camped in winter, on campgrounds, with EHU or been out in the camper, but nothing else. All of our sleeping bags are really only 3 season bags and the ones we have bought that say 4 season are nowhere near warm enough for us.
Now a good warm winter sleeping bag can set you back a good few hundred pounds. To be quite honest we did not want to pay out that kind of money for these two events. Yes we would probably use them again but maybe not all that often and were unsure if we would get our monies worth buying new.
There were many discussions taking place on the Facebook page for the record attempt and many were recommending the army arctic sleeping bags from army surplus stores.
The pro’s were that they were warm (down to minus 10°C), they were cheap at under £50 and they were dependable as they were used and trusted by the military. The drawbacks were that they were heavy, they may have already been used and that most did not come with a compression sack.
The drawbacks were easily remedied as they would be washed before use and we could always buy seperate compression sacks at around £10-£15 if we needed too. This would still allow us to purchase what we needed for at least a fifth of the price of some of the bags I looked at.
After checking out many sites and online stores we finally bought ours from a seller on eBay. They had some good reviews from previous sales of the same product and had the ones we needed in stock. We managed to get both in the size we needed and at a good grade. Products are graded and priced accordingly. These are the sleeping bags and supplier we used.
When they arrived we had them out and both looked as if they had barely been used. Delivery was quick and product as expected.
Don’t be afraid to purchase second hand or army surplus. This can often save you money and you are also giving a product further use rather than it going to landfill. With this purchase I was very much in the mind that if it is good enough for the forces then it is good enough for me. And in this instance we did not need to worry about weight as we would not be out climbing hills and camping during the winter. This would be used mainly for car camping or colder months on sites.
About the Army Arctic Sleeping Bags
Let’s look at the sleeping bag itself. As always it’s good to know the specs if you are looking to buy anything you are adding to your camping kit. Be sure to check the size of bag you will need if you are purchasing one of these. Size measurements are listed below.
- Grade 1 used condition
- Genuine British army surplus
- Central Half Length Zip with Storm Velcro Closing Flap
- Synthetic hollow fill Polyester filling
- 2 Large Internal Mesh pockets
- Approx weight – 2.8kg
- Bag can be machine washed
- Compression sack sold separately (CLICK HERE to buy compression sack).
Size Medium measures head to toe 180cm.
Size Medium measures 72cm at the top widest point
Size Large measures head to toe at 204cm.
Size Large measures 74cm at the top widest point
Size XL measures head to toe at 204cm.
Size XL measures 78cm at the top widest point
A Great Comfortable Sleep
So we did get to play around them at home before we took them out for a field test. First impressions were that they were heavy but well made bags.
The things we loved about the bag were that it was more shaped around your shoulders to help keep heat in. They also zip up the front rather than from the side and the zip is on the inside of the bag. This works well as you don’t have to struggle getting your arms in and out when zipping or unzipping the bag. There are also 2 large storage pockets inside the bag. These can be used for storing a variety of items. Especially your outer clothes so they are warm for putting on the following morning.
First use of these bags did not really let us test how warm it would keep you in minus temperatures as the temperature only fell to about 1° during the night. Despite this the bags kept us super cosy and warm. The bag being shaped around the shoulder area made a difference for me as I often feel my shoulders getting cold as I move around in my sleep. This helped to keep the drafts out. I got a great nights sleep and feel the weight of the bag helped with making me feel even cosier.
These are great for bivvying but also for use in tents, especially if you are a cold sleeper like a am.
We were so impressed with this sleeping bag that we are now thinking of getting our summer and autumn bags from an army surplus store when the time comes to replace them. We have also seen a few other surplus items that we will be adding to our kit over the coming months. If you would like to see what else available from these stores you can read more on this blog post – Is Buying Army Surplus Camping Gear Worth The Money?
If you have this bag or another army surplus sleeping bag or system, why not leave a comment and let us know what you think of them. Help other campers and outdoor enthusiasts make good informed decisions about thier kit.