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Snugpak Softie 3 Merlin Sleeping Bag

I was given the chance to test this sleeping bag thanks to those good folks at RV Ops. I've bought something from them before and their customer service is excellent.

Like most members of the Armed Forces I leapt at the change to use a non issue bag. The reason why the chaps don’t like the issue bag are several. It’s bloody warm I grant you, well designed and well built. But no matter how many times you twist it in your bivvy bag and try and shove it in the bottom of your Bergan, it still takes up most of the space in the central compartment. The other problem is its weight; I use the issue bag instead of bags of gravel for extra weight in a CFT, specifically to avoid bending over picking up rocks in the AO of those suspiciously well groomed chaps wearing those tight white T-shirts just before said bimble.

So when this little bundle of weight free joy arrived I was excited as a dog with – well you know the rest. The Softie 3 comes packed in an incredibly small compression sack that nobody in the world takes into the field. Inside there was a lovely light sleeping bag (900g) that looks like it would squeeze down to fit in a utility pouch – it won’t of course. The rest of the advantages of this sleeping bag were its well built stitching. You can pick right or left side opening and it has a nice little reinforced foot well that will take the punishment of a set of issue boots. Due to its thin size it will dry out very quickly and avoids the problem of its issue counterpart in that it won’t smell like a Newfoundland with a more than average penchant for swimming. They have also added baffles to stop heat escaping, and an anti snag strip so you can slide into the old bag with the minimum of effort.

Now, how did this particular item fare in the field. Thanks to an incredibly irate Sgt, who had a sense of humour failure about non issue kit on a promotion cadre I’m afraid I can’t share this with you. However this was rather irrelevant at this stage as I’d already made my mind up not to test it in the field. I’d love to tell you that decision was made after in depth discussions with levitating wise men over the bones of the ancients, but like all people, I made the decision based on the fact that I was breaking icicles off my dick at 04:00 whilst in it.

And this leads to the one tiny problem of the Softie 3 in anything approaching temperate climes. Space age metallised barrier or no, I’m afraid that it just doesn’t cut it in the warmth department. I used it for 4 days in an unheated building that was basically open air temperatures without the wind chill and it wasn’t warm enough. Sorry to those very clever chaps in Switzerland who provided the thermal properties for this fart sack, but it isn’t insulated enough for Temperate Conditions except in the height of summer. Ditto Desert conditions where anybody who has spent time in them will attest that its rather chilly at night. The only area where the Softie 3 will cut it is in the Jungle. I heartily recommend this sleeping bag for that particular strain of Angry Camping, but that’s about it. Save your money for the well built lines further up the warmth scale.