Dutch or Danish issue sleeping bags, or.................

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Early P

Mar 8, 2021
Best issue sleeping bag advice.
Now that summer has ended in the uk my Snugpak Travepak2 wont cut it. My winter temp (UK 9 month) bag was a mid priced commercial buy and whilst not too bulky or heavy was never warm. I am not looking for the lightest or most expensive or the warmest. I've had the old British one and the german bag with arms and opening for legs. Warm but as i don't do a lot of sleepwalking rather redundant and heavy.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
Usually used military surplus equipment in the best available (or affordable) condition is the best deal you can make, especially if you buy stuff that was issued like that together in the army of your own country, because there you can find it for the lowest prices, and what was issued together also works very well together like the wheels in a swiss wrist watch.

Other equipment may also fit together very well, as most equipment of most NATO armies is very similar, but some pieces will not fit together. And if you don't know a specialist who can tell you about that, it's usually the easiest to get everything from the army of the own country. And usually it's also the easiest and best deal if you choose to collect the at last issued equipment system of the own army that already entered the military surplus market. For a Brit that would be currently the MTP camouflage stuff, that's easily available and still pretty new.

The NATO stuff is long lasting and robust and if you keep your equipment as streamlined as possible, try to achieve the shortest possible packing list, it will still be portable comfortably and will surely last you for decades if not a lifetime in intended use.

The only exceptions from that rule are modern glued military boots and padded clothing and sleeping bags.

You should buy boots, padded clothing and sleeping bags factory new if you somehow can afford it and rather save the money at other pieces of equipment if you have to consider a lower budget.

Modern glued boots degrade in the storage and they break by aging invisible from outside. Your risk to get bad ones if you buy them used or new old stock is very very high. The foam in the soles can fall in pieces after a few steps or a relatively short time. Usually that can't be repaired.

Padded clothing and sleeping bags also degrade in the storage and break invisible from outside. The plastic fibre insulation breaks, the sleeping bag keeps its weight but doesn't keep the ability of warmth retention.

Such old military sleeping bags can still be usefull for the hunting cottage, or if you transport them by car or boat. And especially if you want to sleep by the fire and a few spark holes shouldn't matter. The stuff is still heavy and bulky like a new winter sleeping bag (or rather more if it's an old model) but only warm like a new summer sleeping bag.

Not every piece of military equipment is offered factory new to private civil clients, but you can buy without any problems a factory new complete hiking equipment that is made according to the specifications of one or the other NATO army. And that's also sensible and worth the money, if you know what fits together how, or you can find one who will explain it to you, because the factory new bought original NATO equipment will surely last you a lifetime and often isn't more expensive than the usual short lasting civil outdoor equipment.

If you are a serious all weather camper it is sensible to buy step by step, or if you can afford it in one rush, a factory new modular military sleep system, consisting of inner bag, outer bag and bivvy bag.
Like this you get a summer sleeping bag, a winter sleeping bag and a waterproof bivvy bag (the latter also can be recommended to buy used in very good condition). And they all fit perfectly into each other and can be used in unusual extremely cold weather conditions and are even large enough to wear a complete field uniform in them including thick padded military winter clothing. That all together would allow you to sleep in the coldest weather conditions that one can imagine in most European areas.

All together it wouldn't be especially lightweight but you could still haul it around and might use that option from time to time. But what you surely will use regularly is the summer sleeping bag and the bivvy bag, and perhaps also the winter sleeping bag.

In my opinion it's the best option to buy such a modular military sleep system factory new.

So far I see the only two options for a civil client to get such a system out of European production are the both modular military sleep systems of the highest quality.
Compared to Asian made civil sleeping bags and newer used military surplus bags they are factory new surprisingly cheap.

One option is the Snugpak Special Forces system. The other is the combination of Carinthia Tropen (or Defence 1) and Defence 4 and Carinthia GoreTex Sleeping Bag Cover.

All pieces of both systems are always easily available from the makers, well described on their homepages and for sure worth the money.

The Snugpack system is a bit lighter and cheaper, the Carinthia system is a bit more robust but more expensive, especially regarding the bivvy bags.

What's the better recommendation for the single user depends on several details of the intended use. Roughly said, they are nearly identical, but in use there are indeed a few pretty important differences, like different pack volume and weight of the bivvy bags, moskito net in the Carinthia Tropen or the zipper adapter and warmth collar in the Snugpak Special Forces system.

I already wrote half a kilometre about these systems for example here:

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Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
Dutch sleeping bags are very similar if not the same as the latest issue brit army sleeping bags. (I may be wrong but i think they're made by Carinthia??).

If buying a surplus bag (I have a British army surplus arctic bag from HM Supplies for £40) I'd strongly recommend giving the sleeping bag a good shake before laying said sleeping bag out on the shop floor. Leave it for a quarter of an hour and then have a good look at the loft. Should be nice and fluffy with no flat spots. Turn the bag inside out and check for filth especially around the foot end and around the head end. Grease from those filthy squaddies builds up over time......

Although my surplus bag is bulky, in the middle of a West Highland winter it sees me a solid! Bomb proof as expected.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
Most if not all European NATO armies currently issue different versions of the Carinthia Tropen and Defence 4, some made by Carinthia, some made elsewhere.

It is always the same system, so far I see, but some may have a bit more or a bit less filling for example or other little pretty unimportant differences.
Really different are only the bivvy bags that are issued.

The Dutch army issued Carinthia sleeping bags in the beginning, which became very rare on the military surplus equipment market.
If you nowadays order a used Dutch army sleeping bag, last model, part of the modular sleep system, you usually get a bag that was made by Fesca in Spain.

Fesca produces in official licence Carinthia sleeping bags, but they don't do that in the same quality. Their seams are less accurate and the zippers they use have a lower quality and sometimes break, what the Carinthia zippers don't do.

Because informed people know that, everybody tries to get an original Carinthia product and the result is, that the used Carinthia sleeping bags are usually offered too expensive if you compare the price with a factory new Carinthia sleeping bag.
You make without any doubt the better deal with a factory new one.
(You have the same phenomenon regarding Berghaus military rucksacks, by the way.)

The used modular sleep system of the German and Austrian army that is easily available is, especially regarding the sleeping bags, simply overpriced on the military surplus market.

Half informed clients know that the Carinthia sleeping bags are the best of the best military sleeping bags and pay insane prices for the used ones instead of simply buying a factory new one.
These people just look at the military surplus equipment and don't get the idea to look at the maker's homepage, assuming that one does make always the best deal if buying used military surplus, what is, as I tried to explain above, usually right, but not in this special case.

Otherwise the bivvy bags of the German army are used relatively cheap compared to the factory new Carinthia prices. But you get the British bivvy bags far cheaper, because that is a simpler construction and informed people prefere a zipper in the bivvy bag for use in south and central Europe.
And in the warmer areas are living simply much more people than in northern Europe.
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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
You should have a look at a new military bag instead of buying a civil one in my opinion.

Of course a sleeping bag model from 1990 is outdated. The pattern is more than 30 years old!
Apr 7, 2016
The dutch M90 is pretty warm but i find it very bulky.
Brilliant design with the liner, Excellent bag but very heavy and bulky....very!
Following Erb's post above, the modular bags are very versatile, I have the cheaper British one and it is excellent value for money, although the issue liner drives me mad. A good, no nonsense and effective piece of kit.
Apr 7, 2016
I just had a look at one. It is like the British one. They look nice and warm but they are heavy and bulky. It looks like i am going to have to take a look at civilian ones.
Way, way better in every respect, but yes heavy and bulky. Not for carrying. As Erb's says....effective (very) but old technology and the weight and bulk is the price.
Compare it with a modern equivalent such as Snugpaks Softie 15 or Antarctica...........

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