Best Military Sleeping Bag for Backpacking: Sleep Soldier Style

Best Military Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

When it’s time to grab your backpack, only top-quality survival gear with a military sleeping bag will do. You could opt for a single sleep sack from a decent company that’s been making outdoor equipment for decades. However, there’s a place that’s been working how best to sleep outdoors for almost two-hundred-fifty years. Naturally, I’m talking about the US military. The modular sleeping bags that soldiers carry are the real deal, made for all weather. Getting serious about your survival equipment means finding the best to get you through the worst. An excellent military sleeping bag gets troops through wartime. It can undoubtedly get you through any SHTF scenario.

A Military Sleeping Bag is Different

Military sleeping bags pack down small and carry well with backpacks. One glance at soldiers who are ready for overnight field operations will show you how prepared to hit the trail this style is, in very little time. Like many good sleep sacks, they’re lightweight and quick to roll up when you need to move out right away.

Additionally, the military uses camouflage patterns to help soldiers blend into their surroundings. From ultra-modern urban camo to classic forest camo, all the color combos used in soldiers’ equipment help to make it harder to spot and track troops on the move. Fortunately, this can work for you too.

So far, these are all qualities you can find in other sleeping bags. What makes a military sleeping bag unique? Well, technically, it’s not a single piece like almost every other option on the market. Instead, you’ll find the four parts work separately and together to create the most exceptional range of backpacking sleep accommodations regardless of the weather.

Using a Military Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

A ‘normal’ non-military sleeping bag for backpacking is straightforward. You have one piece and maybe a compression sack. Resultantly, you don’t need to think much about how it works. However, your options are limited to a single sleep style as well.

Interestingly, for those who don’t know already, a military sleep system uses three different sleeping bags. It is effortless to use once you understand how and when to put the parts together. The outer bag is a simple compression sack like you find many sleeping bags packed inside. The rest is ingenious.

First, there’s a Goretex bivy sack. This outer shell is waterproof to protect you from moisture and goes around either or both of the inner bags to keep you dry in the rain, sleet, and snow. Second, comes the Patrol Sleeping Bag, which will keep you warm down to around thirty degrees. The third is an Intermediate Cold Weather Bag, which is better for temps from just above freezing down to negative ten.

When you combine all three bags, you can sleep comfortably outdoors even if the weather gets down to negative thirty degrees. Staying safe, warm, and dry in extreme temperatures, or mild conditions is what makes your military sleeping bag so uniquely useful.

Top Five Best Military Sleeping Bags for Backpacking

Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or a serious emergency prepper, the military sleeping bag is ideal for backpacking. Moreover, it’s a better choice than any standard sleeping bag you can find because of the versatility. Although that would be more than enough reason to carry military sleeping bags on your next trip, there’s an additional bonus.

All the military sleep systems are made in the USA by a single company called Tennier. Not only will you have the best all-weather option for your needs, but you’re supporting the local economy. With parts and labor coming from the US, you can feel good about where your sleeping bag comes from.

1. Tennier Military Modular Sleep System

Sleeping in comfort while backpacking means it’s essential to be prepared with the right clothing and an outstanding military sleeping bag. Fortunately, finding a military sleeping bag is much simpler than you might think. There is only one company that makes sleep systems for the US armed forces, Tennier.

This upgraded Tennier Military Modular Sleep System is the pinnacle of sleeping bag technology for backpacking (or any other reason). While a typical military sleeping bag is only rated down to about negative thirty degrees, this model takes it a step further. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find you can camp in temps from 50°F to -50°F.

The biggest problem with a military sleeping bag is that, once you’ve slept in one, nothing else feels the same. For all that people complain about ‘lowest bidder’ equipment for the troops, you’ll find that this sleep system is second to none. With rip-stop fabrics and waterproof Goretex, you’ll sleep well, even in an emergency.

Get the whole Tennier Military Modular Sleep System from Amazon right here.

2. US Army Woodland Camo GTX Sleeping Bag Cover

Sometimes you only need to replace one piece of your military sleeping bag to go backpacking. Even the highest quality sleep systems can get damaged or lost over time. Luckily, you can pick up individual parts as well. The Woodland Camo GTX (Goretex) Sleeping Bag Cover is just what you need for the outside of your sleeping bag system.

Additionally, you could use the cover for a regular non-military sleeping bag in an emergency. However, I recommend carrying the complete system. Regardless, with its woodland camo printed fabric, you’ll blend into your surroundings no matter how you use it. The ability to go unseen, or at least keep a low profile is one of the significant bonuses to military equipment.

In a survival situation, using something as simple as the Woodland Camo GTX Sleeping Bag Cover can mean the difference between getting spotted and sleeping peacefully. Although, hopefully, you’ll never genuinely need to hide where you catch your Z’s while backpacking, it never hurts to be extra prepared. Consider picking up more covers for any loved ones who are using standard sleeping bags, at least until they upgrade.

Have the BIVY cover shipped to your door when you order here.

3. US Military Patrol Sleeping Bag

When you’re looking for a lighter single bag for backpacking, consider grabbing only the US Military Patrol Sleeping Bag. Rated from about fifty degrees down to just below freezing, this is an outstanding way to get what you need into a smaller package. Plus, like the cover, it’s good to know you can replace one part of a full sleep system without a problem.

After TEOTWAWKI, you may have a harder time getting parts. Hence, it’s a good plan to pick up spares for anything you use often. If you typically camp and backpack with a moderate weight sleeping bag, this olive drab bag will get you where you’re going and make sure you sleep well when you get there.

Packing light is often a lifesaver when backpacking or weathering an emergency. If you need to take the least amount of gear possible, and it’s not supposed to get much below freezing, pick the US Military Patrol Sleeping Bag from Amazon. At just three pounds, this standalone bag won’t weigh you down on the go.

Get your Patrol Bag by clicking here.

4. Intermediate Cold Weather Mummy Bag

For those who go backpacking further north, or in winter, the Tennier Intermediate Cold Weather Mummy Bag is a superb, high-quality solution. Like the Patrol Bag, you can carry this military sleeping bag by itself. However, the difference is surprising. Rated from thirty degrees down to at least negative ten, the mummy bag is ready for icy conditions.

Tennier prides itself on excellent manufacturing practices. Even though Tennier produces vast quantities of these sleep system bags for both the US military and the public, you’ll find the quality is uncompromised. Moreover, they’ve fulfilled every major contract for military sleep systems in the US since 1980. As a result, forty years of soldiers have slept in these bags.

To check out Tenniers’ Amazon reviews, click here.

5. US Military 4 Piece Bivy

If you’re looking for the classic version of the Tennier US Military 4 Piece Bivy, you’re in luck. Depending on where you live and camp, you may not need your sleep system to handle negative fifty degrees. When negative thirty, or warmer, is your plan, then this classic is the ideal solution. 

The combined weight of the whole Tennier US Military 4 Piece Bivy is a comfortable ten pounds. While you can get lighter weight sleeping bags, you won’t find one that’s as all-inclusive, comfortable, and versatile.

If you’ve never slept in a military sleeping bag, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you try it out the first time. Alternately, for those who spent years in the service and miss their BIVY, you’ll discover this is quite literally the exact same equipment. The only difference is that your civilian sleep system won’t have a DMRO stamp on it.

Check out the classic by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

When you need tried and true equipment, a military sleeping bag is an outstanding choice. With hundreds of years of testing in every conceivable environment and disaster scenario, it’s hard to argue with a product that’s been through literal wars. Luckily, even a civilian can get their hands on a military sleeping bag.

Despite calling it a sleeping bag, military ‘sleeping bags’ are actually multilayered sleep systems. Typically there are at least three layers. Waterproof on the outside, warm within and lightweight, military bags pack down easily into an ultra-portable small package. Plus, you can count on the durable and sensible design, whatever the weather.

Whether you’re in the service or not, choosing a military sleeping bag system is a smart move. Although people make jokes about the lowest bidder, there’s a lot of testing and quality control that goes into the equipment troops use in the field.

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