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How good are the Softie 6 Kestrel Sleeping bags?

#1
Just trying to save weight a space in my bergan, and trying to find out if its worth investing in a softie 6? Most of my training is in Sunnybridge so may switch back to the issued bag during the winter if its not warm enough.
 
#2
My experience of the Softie is too small and too cold.
Didn't I see a new issue sleeping system in KiT magazine last month, more modular like the yanks use?
 
#3
yeah, i saw the new sleeping bags in the KiT Mag as well. We won't be getting them for quite a while and was after a personal sleeping bag as well. What was the weather like when it was too cold? I could always just wear a layer or two when inside it. Do you have a better alternative?
 
#4
I have this particular model of bag and can echo that it is quite small. I think you can by expanding panels for them however. I personally find it to be plenty warm enough for field use taking into account its compressed size and weight. I'm in NZ though so climate here is pretty different to yours, in saying that though I have used it at high altitude in the central North island with little trouble.
 
#6
I used one this weekend...roasting! but I was in RAF accomodation where we get individual rooms with the heaters turned up!!

Seriously though, I would only use it in "British Summertime" as its not that warm. Rated to -5, I would say thats if you are a bit of a blubber merchent with your own insulation. If a racing snake, then you will freeze! +5 is more realistic.

Adding a bivvie bag helps keep windchill down and a good termal mat helps, as does cuddling up naked with your buddy. You need the expanda panel for that though.
 

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#7
I've got the Snugpak Tactical 3 which is their flagship 3 season bag and essentially just a better version of the Hawk 9.

http://www.snugpak.com/outdoor/sleeping-bags/3-season/tactical-3

Good points - It's very well made, the materials are top quality, it compresses much smaller than the issue bouncing bomb and weighs a lot less.

Bad points - It's not warm enough, the zip snags.

I can't say I've had any issues with the size. I'm 6'2" and I don't find it too small, having said that I'm not a fat **** so couldn't comment on width.

I wrote a full review on Kit Reviews but it doesn't seem to have made it across to the new site.

From April to October it's OK, but you won't be happy if you plan to use it in winter or the colder days of spring and autumn, even with a bivvy bag. To me this is not really acceptable when it has an advertised comfort rating of -7c.

Go for the 4 season version instead and get it from This Tribe because they always have deals on. I got mine for over £60 less than the RRP on the Snugpak website.
 
#8
While a lot of military people think their only alternative is a softie, there are hundreds of bags out there for sale.

What requirements do you need?
Does your bag really need to be olive green?
Will it get wet, or could you keep it reasonably dry. This will affect whether you can use down or made made filling.

Do you need a military bag with Central zip or could you have the zip on one side?
 
#9
If we accept that most military bags are just cheap rubbish, very large in pack size and very heavy then it makes choosing a civvy bag much easier lol

My sleeping bags can get wet so I stick with man made insulation. This pic is of my favourite Vango bag which although years old is still perfectly good to be used down to zero. Although I generally use it in a tent, a bivvy bag would make it just as warm. This bag is navy blue in colour.....but is magically cammo when inside an issue bivvy bag :)

Here you go, my bag and an inflatable pillow in its compression sack. The bag weights 850 grammes. Oh, and I'm the proud owner of one of the original green '58 mugs (little bit smaller than the black mugs) and is shown for scale :)
 
#11
Their TROPEN bag looks nice. A good size and low weight.
Would be good in the UK if used with a bivvy bag, but it doesn't have a shoulder baffle so could 'vent' out heat in windy conditions. The main zip baffle isn't too large either so may snag.

That said, I didn't do a money conversion :)
 
#13
I've owned one since 1995, and I'm still using it, zips gone and the foot end lining has shredded, but a bit of sewing will restore it to front line service again. Money well spent at Du Boras ?
 
#14
If you're happy to spend the cash, Rab have several ranges of both natural down and artificial insulation. The Ascent 900 is about £200 but it's rated down to -40 C survival, light as ****, and packs down to nothing. It's spacious, hard-wearing, and gen like sleeping in a cloud.

Can't recommend them enough.


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#15
The ascent 900 is an ok bag IMHO. If its comfort level was minus 40 then it would be great at just over 1500g, but it isn't so it's not :)

Its comfort rating (meaning you'll actually get to sleep) is minus 11, which is still adequate for what the OP wants.

I know you stated that minus 40 was its survival (extreme) level, but I'm guessing the OP wants to be warm enough to actually sleep rather than just about stay alive for a few hours :)
 
#16
If the cold's that bad, polar bears and avalanches are going to be up there with fatal risks!


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#17
Sorry, I don't understand that.
I did point out the 900 will cope with the OP's request, but do also understand that troops operate in temps much much lower than minus 11 where the 900 would be totally out of its depth :)

Of course when the temps are very low a wise person would also ditch the issue roll mat for something a bit better :)

Sorry for thread drift.
 
#19
That's a better option than what I had in mind to be honest :):)

Roll mats come in differing grades, from the thinnest 3mm (not even one season rated really) to mats that are suitable for laying on bare ice at minus 40C and offering safe comfort levels.

I use the 3mm foam, but on top of an ultralight inflatable mattress for one and two season UK use. The foam on its own just isn't comfy or warm enough for a softie like me :)
 

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