on November 15, 2012
The item described on this page is not the product that ships out. I understand that people are giving the gear positive reviews because it is good gear, but the product being shipped out is not new, in plastic wrapping, still with original tags as described. It is used and in very good to like new condition but that is not what is described on this page so the product fails to meet the description so I am leaving a negative product review. I received a product that was simply stuffed loosely in a shipping box, not wrapped, no tags. It was immediately obvious that it was used by the bags' worn condition. Also the compression sack was torn through at the bottom. SELLER WILL MAKE YOU PAY RETURN SHIPPING ON AN ITEM THAT WAS DECEPTIVELY AND INACCURATELY LISTED, DAMAGED, AND DIFFERENT FROM THE NEW PRODUCT YOU ORDERED. Be aware that you will get a used product even though it clearly is advertised as new. Sellers are pulling a scam and some people just think the "like new" stuff is actually new or that it's good enough for them. The product I received was not what I ordered (new) so I have to give a negative product review. Beware. I would only order this item from a seller that is advertising it as used. The price will be less and at least you know they're being honest about it being used, unlike here where it is listed as new but ships as a used one for the full new price. I didn't get what I paid for so I have to leave a negative product review to reflect my disappointment in the product I received from this particular page. If you understand this product is USED, not new as clearly stated in the page, then you might want to order it, but you can find much cheaper ones in good-like new condition on other Amazon pages. The product you receive from this page is simply a scam to raise the price by pretending it's new even though it's used. If you want it, I'd advise to order from a more upfront product listing page because this one is a rip off. Maybe just go to a local surplus store so you can physically see it before buying & getting scammed. Negative review for the product received vs. the product advertised.
on February 28, 2011
Bought a MSS from the local Surplus store a week or two back. Obviously, its the same as what we've been issued by the Army with the exceptions that is has the older style of compression sack and the older coloration and pattern on the Bivy. the Zippers are heavy duty, the materials are thick and durable, and all hardware is rock-solid. This is a great all weather sleep system (obviously, thats why the the Army issues them), that you would really have to try to destroy in order to really hurt it. its a great year-round bag because the various bags can snap together. If its hot out, you really only need the Patrol Bag and the Bivy; likewise, when it gets colder, you bring the rest of the system. one of the main downfalls of this Sleep System is thatwhen the entire System is together in the Comp Sack, its rather bulky/heavy when compared to the civilian bags. the bonus, as i have said, is that you can choose, climate permitting, to leave parts of the system at home and cut down on bulk and weight. this is an excelent buy for those who are ex-military/military and want something you're familiar with, and for just regular Backpackers/campers who want a cost effective, all season, all weather sleeping bag.
Side note 1: I chose to pay $240 for mine at a local surplus store because they let me pick and choose which parts of the sleep system i wanted from their stock. i came out with a MSS that looked brand new.
Side Note 2:for those who aren't experienced with Sleep Systems, the Bivy cover allows you to sleep outside and out of the elements without making you sweat to death. I also use it as a summer bag by its self sometimes.
Side note 3: having been issued the new version of the sleep system (compression sack) and now possess for personal use the older style of sack, i must say i prefer the new version of the Compression sack. i have heard that sometimes the sewn straps could break loose on the old style as they were only sewed on. the new version has crisscrossing straps that go over the end of the sack. that way, even if the stitching gives out, your MSS isnt going all over the place. its not a big deal, however, i will probably upgrade on down the line.
on February 15, 2014
I WAS EXTREMELY HESITANT TO PURCHASE this product for two reasons:
(i) it wasn't clear if I was buying something made by one company and sold by different distributors (since I could never find just one product name and there are multiple Amazon sites), and
(ii) I was concerned about weight. My camping partner (= my wife) has a KELTY IGNITE DOWN BAG (16 Degree), that the manufacture claims is 2.7lbs. I didn't want to pay those prices.
Given the price and what is claimed by previous reviews, I have some initial thoughts.
****WHAT ARE YOU BUYING? WHO IS SELLING IT?****
First, since there isn't one particular company selling this product, selecting the appropriate vendor does seem important (pace Amazon's suggestions). You are purchasing two sleeping bags, a bivvy, and a stuff sack made for the US Military. So, you have to purchase the system from Military Surplus stores, which have a reputation (deserved or otherwise) of claiming used items are new and take their time to deliver items.
My experience was pleasant. I ordered a "NEW" bag from BLACK STAR on Sunday night, used standard shipping, and it arrived in CA by Friday evening. BLACK STAR puts a sticker on ever product indicating who inspected it. I appreciate that little touch. It had a strong, unquestionably military surplus smell, and everything looked new with one exception. The BLACK SLEEPING BAG had some loose threads on the inside of the bag and the outside on the very bottom of the bag. None appear to be the result of BLACK STAR or indicate the bag was used. But, the drawstring cord for the BLACK SLEEPING BAG's "hood" had a visible section that was frayed just about the point of breaking. Luckily, it was apart of the cord that I could tie off just a few inches before the built in tie off. It was easy to miss, but something someone might complain about. The STUFF BAG also has straps that are showing wear, but I don't think this is the result of BLACK STAR. It indicates less than perfect sewing. In short, I would recommend BLACK STAR! (fwiw, they included a coupon also.)
Second, you are paying for three separate things (four if you count the STUFF BAG): two synthetic sleeping bags (one for mild and one for moderately cool-to-cold temps), and one GORTEX BIVVY. The BIVVY and the two bags may be combined via old-fashion blue-jean style snaps to create at least six different combos. Since I had to search for the information, let me describe these items in brief detail:
- A Black STUFF BAG, which is black, very large, and has four vertical straps and three horizontal straps. A tight roll of the other bags leaves plenty of room. Too much, really. You probably don't need to roll anything. I will probably not use this STUFF BAG outside of home storage because of how many straps were dangling.
- A WOODLAND CAMMO BIVVY GORTEX BAG. The BIVVY does not zip past the standard sleeping bag to either close or open it wider. There are jean-style-snaps to cover the zipper for extra protection. If you wanted to cover your face, there is a large velcro patch at the top of your head that would secure the BIVVY. Water could not get in unless the rain was horizontal and the wind forced the bag open; but I suspect getting wet would be the least of your worries in this situation; focus on surviving whatever weather event you're living through should take the majority of your attention. As far as water, its GORTEX! I poured half a bottle of water on it, and it rolled off. I then put the bag in the puddle, and nothing soaked through.
- A BLACK SLEEPING BAG that is thick, and one that you might use as default. It attaches to the bottom and top of the BIVVY via jean-style-snaps. The zippers were heavy and a nylon lining prevents any accidental zipping of the bag. As others indicated, this is for cooler temps. If combing all three, it is designed to be the middle layer.
- A GREEN SLEEPING BAG is not as dense as the BLACK, made for mild temps, and I think would make an excellent pillow. When combining, it attaches to the inside of the BLACK SLEEPING BAG via the same snaps on the ground side, but I didn't see that it attaches to the top of the black bag, which didn't bother me. If you connect the snaps on the ground, they are all connected. The GREEN BAG acts more like a lining without snaps up top. It had the same zippers and a nylon lining prevents any accidental zipping of the bag. Of course, you could skip the BLACK BACK and combine the GREEN with the BIVVY and you should have snaps on top and bottom.
When combining all three bags are together, it is much like throwing in a liner to any sleeping bag. It took approximately five minutes at a relaxed pace and connecting almost all snaps before I jumped in. My test location proved too warm for all three (mid 60's and partly cloudy). But, seeing what each was like, I realized the GREEN BAG rolled is about as thick as my cheap fleece liner that I often use as a pillow. Having tested it at 60 something temps, I trust others saying the bag could handle sub-zero temps. All this is to say that whether you view this system as individual items or collectively, this is an exceptional price for what you are getting.
You are also getting military surplus, which is an industry that exists for those of us who will continue to make a decision to purchase what our country's heros use. So, despite not having one company you purchase from, it is a quality product that I think will prove to live up to these reviews.
***WHAT ABOUT WEIGHT ISSUES?*****
My second concern I was also hesitant to purchase this system given weight issues. Several people have posted their findings, and I'll add mine since it was a concern. I weighted everything using a fairly accurate luggage scale that is +/- 0.3lbs according to my scrambling to get under 50lbs while in line at various airports. I did everything multiple times, and the weight differed. Still, here are my ranges:
- STUFF BAG: 1.1 - 1.2lbs. Avg: 1.1lbs
- GREEN SLEEPING BAG: 2.3 - 2.6lbs. Avg: 2.45lbs
- BLACK SLEEPING BAG: 4.5 - 5.5lbs. Avg: 4.95lbs
- WOODLAND BIVVY BAG: 2.2 - 3lbs. Avg: 2.3lbs
TOTAL: 10.2 - 11.4lbs. Avg: 10.8lbs (SUM of other averages). I should add that 10.8lbs is one number I happened to take a picture of, so it isn't crazy.
So, you SHOULD NOT expect the same weight from the expensive bags, which seem to be of two types. Either you purchase a high-tech, state-of-the-art, water-proof-every-feather type or you purchase a high-tech, state-of-the-art, that-is-really-poofy-synthetic type. While I grant that bags like KELTY, NEMO, NORTH FACE or MOUNTAIN HARDWARE offer these types with weights (allegedly) as low as 2lbs; they also come with a considerably more expensive price tag. But, this system does what more expensive bags don't: this system provides options. Consider the following...
If there will be an issue of water, take the BIVVY, purchase a new stuff bag for next to nothing, and pack either the BLACK SLEEPING BAG or the GREEN SLEEPING BAG and you are carrying 7.25lbs or 4.75lbs, respectively. If you ditch the BIVVY, when there is no chance of water, you get more options depending on the outside temps. My wife's KELTY weights as much as the GREEN SLEEPING BAG, but in the summer she won't want one rated for 16 degrees; she appreciate the lighter bag this provides. So, for the price your paying, you're not only getting a system that is waterproof and functional at snot-freezing weather, but the system also allows for everything in between that and camping on the beach. Can this be said about anything NEMO or KELTY makes?
But, if weight is still an issue, think of it this way: with the money you save on this system by adding maybe 2lbs extra to your pack, you can put the saved money you didn't spend on a name-brand bag into a switching your cloths from poly/nylon/cotton to wool/silk; moreover, you could spend your saved money on investing in lighter shoes, a better pack, or a super-light tent. Or bring the tent's cover without the tent, or nor tent at all since the GORTEX BIVVY will keep you dry.
****WHO SHOULD BUY THIS?*****
After my research, I think this is a great find and even better purchase. I'd also offer the unsolicited advice that this would also be a great system to have if you match any of the descriptions below:
- you car camp, or the car is a short hike away,
- you aren't concerned about weight,
- you need a water proof bag at mild, cold, or sub-zero temps,
- you are camping at a variety of temps on the same hike,
- you get cold in the middle of the night, and instead of adding a new bag, you have to find that sweatshirt that smells like campfire.
- you and your camping partner have different needs (e.g., if your partner has, say, a nice liner that adds several degrees, they could use the liner and the GREEN SLEEPING BAG while you use only the BLACK SLEEPING BAG at cooler temps. Or, if you or your camping partner have different opinions regarding what means to be hot at night.)
- you forgot rain gear around the campfire, the BIVVY would be a quasi-snuggie
- you've never slept under a starry sky without a tent because your super-high-tech sleeping bag doesn't perform well in the morning dawn's dew. No problem here!
- you want an inexpensive, but quality bag.
Given the accolades, there is something to this sleeping system.