Temp ratings of issue sleeping bags?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by cokecan, Jul 1, 2011.

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  1. ok, odd question:

    looking to take some cadets to an unheated farm at SENTA next Winter, and, as usual, parents are baulking at forking out for decent, long last kit when they could buy a £200 phone, pay £80 for a replica football kit, or 'invest' their Giro in Lottery Tickets...

    so i'm trying to sort out some sleeping bags - there are three (as far as i know) types: Jungle, 'normal' and Arctic.

    given that i don't want to go to prison the Jungle ones are out, so i'm looking for information on the two others - i'd be very grateful if anyone could advise me on the relative Temp ratings of the two different types, and what kind of size difference there is between the two when they are packed.

    i'm going to have to pretty cautious, as these are not kids with 'a lot to spare', by and large they only get fed at school or when they get taken into care...

    very grateful for any help you can offer.
  2. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    jungle bags are softie threes without the silver coating so summer bags. 2 season

    normal bags would suit all year as four season bags but are big and bulky - 3-4 season depending on age.

    artic are 5 season so very cold when you probably wouldnt be allowed to take them out anyway.

    outside bivvy bags add half a season, indoors a full season. squeezing them all together makes a difference too as they share their heat with each other in non child protection ways.

    it might be worth looking at some of the other surplus kit out there if price is an option, french or dutch bags are well made and can be cheap. even 20 quid civvy bags are okay if you find green ones, more comfy as they have polycotton liners but the outer shell is often a bit weak as china doesnt make good outdoor eqpt fabrics. the best cheap outdoor fabrics come from vietnam.

    I had similar problems with venture scouts and expedition gear - we ended up buying some kit then renting it back to the kids as and when so added 20 quid to the costs. eventually the kids bought the same stuff because they had gotten used to it.

    having not having green everything isnt so much of a drama then you could also ask the council D of E people about central kit stores as they should have some which can be loaned out.
  3. cheers.

    i've got outline permission for the trip (i'm a ML(w)), my CoC are happy(ish) for it to take place in real winter conditions as long as i have 'the appropriate equipment and clothing' - its merely a matter a making sure i order/beg/borrow the right stuff.

    personally i'd prefer to go for civvy kit that i'm used to - like my own Rab Ladakh bag - but i'm simply unable to find it at prices that my unit could countainance...

    if the Jungle bag is a Softie 3 (ish), is the 'normal' bag the Softie 9 and the Arctic bag the Softie 12?
  4. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    ratings wise yes. I know they have issued softie 6 as well on occasion.

    the army I know does school trips which include overnight camp outs so it might be possible to borrow some kit or contact a local TA unit or regular one if you know anyone in a local camp as it comes under recruitment and/or goodwill.

    I borrowed a full catering setup for her scout troop a few years back when I just happened to ask during a garrison open day so the stuff is out there. when I was TA we used to take cadets out to play enemy irregulars for the battalion and kitted them out appropriately.

    to be honest even a clean 58 bag is still up to the task.
  5. Army maggots are the way forward they way about 3kg's and will fill up a bergan unrolled but i have never been cold in one yet you can pick 'em up cheap or try groveling around your local T.A's or regs. Or what about the cadet training team ?
  6. Horsehair blanket and buddy buddy 38ptn ground sheet in my day (softies indeed).
  7. Are you even sure you can do this? I know from my yoof organisations of the past that winter stuff was only ever done with heated accommodation even if outside all day. Now I'm a parent I'd not be too happy with an over-enthusiastic instructor taking kids out overnight in winter in unheated accomm. There has to be a certain level of camping / outdoor admin before stepping up to winter drills - have these kids got it?
  8. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I am often out overnight in extreme temperatures with people who are not so flushed with cash.
    A few ideas:
    You do not mention what they are sleeping on, a mattress or foam/inflatable mat of some sort is better than a camp bed for example.
    Bag liners - I use a fleece one and a cotton one depending - adds more warmth than you think due to trapping an extra air layer, very cost effective and keeps your doss bag clean.
    Bivvi bag on the outside, again an extra layer.
    As you describe it, you could probably also arrange for a stack of blankets to throw over the sleeping beauties if needed.
  9. Even tesco have some alright bags or £20 and fleece liners to go with them. My local one has the 4 season one for £17 at the mo! God knows how good they are though.
  10. entirely reasonable question - the cadets involved have significant spring/summer/autumn camping experience, they are all at the older end of the spectrum, and my CoC is reasonably happy with the concept. i'm NGB qualified to take the kids to that location in winter conditions, and i'm not going to risk it unless i'm happy they have the kit and attitude to enjoy it - i've also got heated accom booked a few Km down the road with a minibus parked outside...

    having read the replies so far, as well other things i've heard, i'm not convinced that the Arctic bag is going to do the job if its properly (-5 to -10c or so) cold - keeping a well fed, fit, disciplined 23yo man warm is such conditions is one thing, doing the same for a 17yo with no actual flesh on their bones and who thinks that eating is is an optional extra is something else.
  11. Surely you must be able to get this sort of equipment through your system?

    Temperature ratings of sleeping bags are very much dependant on many variables. Person, floor insulation are some

    However -5 to -10 you should have no problems with an Arctic bag.

    The biggest problem you have here is the Risk Assessment and kit provided to you kids.

    If you provide equipment based on you research off the internet and then purchase based on that you could have issues?

    If you’re relying on the parents to purchase the bags then you’re in danger of the equipment not being as required or up to specification.

    I not sure if Cadets can bid from the loan pool but that might be a job for your CoC.

    Its risk versus gain here, what’s the risk of them being in -10< temps ?

    what’s the gains from this in terms of experience etc, surely hill walking during the day then returning to a heated house or barn would not remove from the aim of what you're trying to achieve.

    Also what if you purchase bags for use at -10, if one of your kids then freezes to death in the night and the coroner gains weather information that at SENTA it dipped to -15 what could be the out come of an inquest.
  12. these are indeed issues - we're looking at the loan pools, but we're such a low priority that we've been bumped off for kit/clothing before and don't want to take the risk that it'll happen again - and the AT pool (where they have high-end civvy kit) is off limits to us.

    as for the exercise concept - we're looking to challenge them. we've done quite a bit of winter walking, we've done some good AT, and we're just looking to take it a bit further. in the real world -10c isn't a problem, people sleep in that everyday, certainly i did it at 18 with the climbing club, the ATC do it with cadets on the winter course at Grantown-on-spey...

    i'm not keen on a 'buy it yourself' solution because those who can afford it will get the wrong thing, and those who can't will miss out, and thats not what the cadets, in my view, exists for. i'm not daft, i'm not going to risk the cadets and my own future on a dodgy temp rating, ceeding control to idiotic parents and then being the fall guy when it all goes tits up.

    if i'm happy with their skills, experience, attitude and kit (and that means having a big safety margin between what the kit will do, and what the met says will happen), then i'll go ahead, if not, then i won't.
  13. The simple answer is.

    If you are doing this for an "organisation" then the "organistaion" needs to provide the correct safety equipment for the task, based on what you require.

    I'm not sure how the Cadets work but simply put if the equipment is provided by the parents then you have to go by that, i.e they buy exactly what you tell them and you take the risk. If the child has anything other than what you have detailed in your risk assessment then they don't go.

    It boils down to the risk assessment here if your risk assesment identifies that the temperatures in that area at that time of year hit -15 then you need to ensure that the risk is reduced.

    Again what are you hoping to gain by letting them sleep in those temperatures, remember if your kids are having problems purchasing the sleeping bag, what about other kit?

    Brecon and the hills at that time of year are challenging enough maybe you should look at the challenge as a hard day on the hills then back to warm comfortable shed/farm house to allow them to try and dry the kit and get thier energy levels back up.

    Remember if they've been walking all day then the energy levels will be low, to then want them to sleep in the bags in -10 will require alot of stored energy too, before long those levels will reduce.
  14. Get your QM to bid from Loan pool I have before, just give yourself a long lead it time for booking it and getting it sent to you
  15. 3 months minimum for Bicester/Donnington Loan pool, but ask your local area Army Camp, Im sure they'd help you out with kit.