Large medium weight British army modular sleeping system size?

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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,844
1,116
Berlin
As long as it is your own thread, you can ask and write in it what you want.
In foreign threads it isn't always appreciated if you go off thread.

After you got now sleeping bag and rucksack it's sensible to continue here with the question what to pack into the rucksack in which way. It will help later others to organise the own equipment.


Ortlieb makes superior drybags in Germany.

They are very long lasting.
I own a lot of Ortlieb products that are decades old and look as good as new.
Most equally old civil equipment I owned did fall in pieces after approximately 20 years or faster. Ortlieb bags last. Some of them I use since 30 years. I never have seen Ortlieb products that degraded by aging. I did see only large dry bags that got holes at the bottom because people did throw them out of the canoe onto stones instead of treating them carefully.

The bags aren't glued together or sewn and sealed with a tape as usual. These bags are welded together! That's why the "seams" do not open.

Until last year they offered the lightweight dry bags PS10 in olive green too. It is still possible to find them on the market.
Currently they are regularly offered in bright grey and black and a few bright colours.

I avoid bright colours even for my dry bags but if canoeing on streams it might be sensible to choose dry bags in bright colours because like this one has a chance to find them later after capsizing...

You have several options to organize the rucksack.

1.) At first you can try out if you are able to stuff the sleeping bag into the bottom compartment. Usually there is between the bottom compartment and the upper main compartment a divider with a draw string closure, similar to the snow collar on top. Like this the bottom compartment can work like a compression bag.

You shouldn't roll the sleeping bag up.
It would break the filling where you fold it before rolling it. Just stuff it!
If in conjunction with a bivvy bag you start with the foot part of course.
Perhaps your sleeping bag in its bivvy bag fits by accident exactly into the bottom compartment. They are theoretically constructed like this, and because your both items are NATO equipment perhaps it fits well.

2.) You put something else into the bottom compartment and put the sleeping bag (in its bivvy bag) into the main compartment. On top of it you put a dry bag that contains your spare clothing and additional warm layers. This dry bag has the size of a comfortable pillow and you use it like this. In this use it is important, that your head is on the fleece jacket or padded jacket, because it is far softer than cotton. You need to think about your pillow function when you pack your spare clothing into this dry bag!

You could use for example an Ortlieb dry bag PS10 in the size of 7 litres as a pillow. That's a good size as a pillow.

They exist with a valve too. You fill them first, close them and press out the air afterwards. Of course the valve doesn't point to your head if you use it as a pillow...

The British army roll mat you attach under the flap of the rucksack for example.

3.) You put at first the roll mat into the main compartment and it opens like a barrel. You stuff into this barrel your sleeping bag. And perhaps a dry bag like a cork on top.

What's the best for you, you need to try out yourself. But it is very handy to pack the spare-clothing-pillow-dry-bag on top of the sleeping bag. Because like this you can reach during the day an additional warm layer if needed, but if you want to sleep, your bedding is stored in only one compartment. In a second little dry bag you could store here additional a knitted cap to use it during the night, perhaps additional base layers as warm pyjamas and a pair of sleeping socks.
(A plushie you don't need to carry because you have a real dog and your wife.)

More handy is to carry the roll mat under the flap, because you put it on the ground before pillow and sleeping bag. And in the morning you put first sleeping bag and pillow into the rucksack and attach then the roll mat.

But you can manage of course to carry the sleeping bag in the sleeping-mat-barrel. It's less handy but very common too.

There are of course more options how to organise the rucksack, but I recommend to try at first to do it in one of these three ways.

The kitchen I would try to carry in one of the side pouches, the water in the other or both.

Food I would carry perhaps in an additional olive green dry bag on top in the main compartment (next to the shoulders) and hang it over night mouse proof into a tree.
Mice can destroy rucksacks and tents if you keep your food in it. And they are silent and very fast. They are only looking so cute, because they are highly professional gangsters. The cute look is just a professional camouflage. They are waiting for you and already develop plans how they will bite through your tent and rucksack. So, hang your food in an olive green, dark grey or black dry bag into a tree, high enough, that the fox and boar can't reach it. Take a length of 10 m x 2,5 mm quality cordage from the boat shop with you, throw it with a stone over a branch, pull the food dry bag up and attach the cord to the trunk!

The rainsuit I would carry in the outer flap pocket of this rucksack.

Little items I would carry in the lower or inner flap pocket if existing.

Tent and axe you could perhaps carry in between of the large side pouches and main pack, for this you have the little lower side pouches. If your tent doesn't fit completely like this, you could perhaps just carry the poles like this in the extra pole bag. And put the tent with the dog equipment into the bottom compartment.

I wouldn't carry an axe around for hiking tours but it could be attached outside or carried inside the main compartment in a corner next to the back, metal upwards, balanced with the water bottles. A folding bow saw like Agawa Canyon Boreal 21 I would carry outside, between side pouch and main compartment, a little folding saw like Bahco Laplander in a side pouch.

Or however. It needs to fit and you should keep the functional groups together and easily accessible. But that's more or less, how it can be done.

In the beginning you can use a large garbage bag as rucksack liner. If you twist it before you close the rucksack that's also waterproof, but of course not so long lasting as a professional dry bag.

Endicotts sells pretty waterproof insertion bags for the sidepouches cheap. If even the large insertion bag of the British army Rucksack is an option for you, you have to ask the Brits here onboard or try it out in the shop. It must fit exactly or be slightly larger, but not smaller than the rucksack.
They have draw string closures. The Ortlieb bags instead are totally water proof. That's sensible if you use tarp or poncho and bivvy bag. With the tent you probably don't need Ortlieb dry bags and garbage bags are good enough.
 
Last edited:

MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
1,844
711
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I have a pair of ‘insertion pouches’ and they are okay but they do let the water in the top of the draw string bit. a way round that is to underfill the pouch and then roll the top over, tbh a proper small dry bag (11litre is a good useful size) is much better in the side pockets

I don’t really use the insertion pouches tbh, I just put stuff in the side pouches that don’t matter if they get wet. Is what they are good for is putting wet stuff inside that you want to keep away from other dry stuff, but even then not sure they are worth the hassle.

I have a 100litres dry bag I put my rucksack inside when sleeping then it can stay outside the bivi and all my stuff in it stays dry (food etc)
 
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cipherdias

Full Member
Jan 1, 2014
497
212
Wales
As long as it is your own thread, you can ask and write in it what you want.
In foreign threads it isn't always appreciated if you go off thread.

After you got now sleeping bag and rucksack it's sensible to continue here with the question what to pack into the rucksack in which way. It will help later others to organise the own equipment.


Ortlieb makes superior drybags in Germany.

They are very long lasting.
I own a lot of Ortlieb products that are decades old and look as good as new.
Most equally old civil equipment I owned did fall in pieces after approximately 20 years or faster. Ortlieb bags last. Some of them I use since 30 years. I never have seen Ortlieb products that degraded by aging. I did see only large dry bags that got holes at the bottom because people did throw them out of the canoe onto stones instead of treating them carefully.

The bags aren't glued together or sewn and sealed with a tape as usual. These bags are welded together! That's why the "seams" do not open.

Until last year they offered the lightweight dry bags PS10 in olive green too. It is still possible to find them on the market.
Currently they are regularly offered in bright grey and black and a few bright colours.

I avoid bright colours even for my dry bags but if canoeing on streams it might be sensible to choose dry bags in bright colours because like this one has a chance to find them later after capsizing...

You have several options to organize the rucksack.

1.) At first you can try out if you are able to stuff the sleeping bag into the bottom compartment. Usually there is between the bottom compartment and the upper main compartment a divider with a draw string closure, similar to the snow collar on top. Like this the bottom compartment can work like a compression bag.

You shouldn't roll the sleeping bag up.
It would break the filling where you fold it before rolling it. Just stuff it!
If in conjunction with a bivvy bag you start with the foot part of course.
Perhaps your sleeping bag in its bivvy bag fits by accident exactly into the bottom compartment. They are theoretically constructed like this, and because your both items are NATO equipment perhaps it fits well.

2.) You put something else into the bottom compartment and put the sleeping bag (in its bivvy bag) into the main compartment. On top of it you put a dry bag that contains your spare clothing and additional warm layers. This dry bag has the size of a comfortable pillow and you use it like this. In this use it is important, that your head is on the fleece jacket or padded jacket, because it is far softer than cotton. You need to think about your pillow function when you pack your spare clothing into this dry bag!

You could use for example an Ortlieb dry bag PS10 in the size of 7 litres as a pillow. That's a good size as a pillow.

They exist with a valve too. You fill them first, close them and press out the air afterwards. Of course the valve doesn't point to your head if you use it as a pillow...

The British army roll mat you attach under the flap of the rucksack for example.

3.) You put at first the roll mat into the main compartment and it opens like a barrel. You stuff into this barrel your sleeping bag. And perhaps a dry bag like a cork on top.

What's the best for you, you need to try out yourself. But it is very handy to pack the spare-clothing-pillow-dry-bag on top of the sleeping bag. Because like this you can reach during the day an additional warm layer if needed, but if you want to sleep, your bedding is stored in only one compartment. In a second little dry bag you could store here additional a knitted cap to use it during the night, perhaps additional base layers as warm pyjamas and a pair of sleeping socks.
(A plushie you don't need to carry because you have a real dog and your wife.)

More handy is to carry the roll mat under the flap, because you put it on the ground before pillow and sleeping bag. And in the morning you put first sleeping bag and pillow into the rucksack and attach then the roll mat.

But you can manage of course to carry the sleeping bag in the sleeping-mat-barrel. It's less handy but very common too.

There are of course more options how to organise the rucksack, but I recommend to try at first to do it in one of these three ways.

The kitchen I would try to carry in one of the side pouches, the water in the other or both.

Food I would carry perhaps in an additional olive green dry bag on top in the main compartment (next to the shoulders) and hang it over night mouse proof into a tree.
Mice can destroy rucksacks and tents if you keep your food in it. And they are silent and very fast. They are only looking so cute, because they are highly professional gangsters. The cute look is just a professional camouflage. They are waiting for you and already develop plans how they will bite through your tent and rucksack. So, hang your food in an olive green, dark grey or black dry bag into a tree, high enough, that the fox and boar can't reach it. Take a length of 10 m x 2,5 mm quality cordage from the boat shop with you, throw it with a stone over a branch, pull the food dry bag up and attach the cord to the trunk!

The rainsuit I would carry in the outer flap pocket of this rucksack.

Little items I would carry in the lower or inner flap pocket if existing.

Tent and axe you could perhaps carry in between of the large side pouches and main pack, for this you have the little lower side pouches. If your tent doesn't fit completely like this, you could perhaps just carry the poles like this in the extra pole bag. And put the tent with the dog equipment into the bottom compartment.

I wouldn't carry an axe around for hiking tours but it could be attached outside or carried inside the main compartment in a corner next to the back, metal upwards, balanced with the water bottles. A folding bow saw like Agawa Canyon Boreal 21 I would carry outside, between side pouch and main compartment, a little folding saw like Bahco Laplander in a side pouch.

Or however. It needs to fit and you should keep the functional groups together and easily accessible. But that's more or less, how it can be done.

In the beginning you can use a large garbage bag as rucksack liner. If you twist it before you close the rucksack that's also waterproof, but of course not so long lasting as a professional dry bag.

Endicotts sells pretty waterproof insertion bags for the sidepouches cheap. If even the large insertion bag of the British army Rucksack is an option for you, you have to ask the Brits here onboard or try it out in the shop. It must fit exactly or be slightly larger, but not smaller than the rucksack.
They have draw string closures. The Ortlieb bags instead are totally water proof. That's sensible if you use tarp or poncho and bivvy bag. With the tent you probably don't need Ortlieb dry bags and garbage bags are good enough.

Probably the most informative post I have ever read on this forum! Bravo Sir fine effort!!


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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,844
1,116
Berlin
What I forgot to write recently:

Which is the best way to pack the rucksack also depends on the usual camp set up.

In the morning you put your equipment together like this:

A)
You stuff your sleeping bag kept in the bivvy bag to the bottom of the main compartment. It is clean but perhaps the bivvy bag is a bit whet outside. You put your clean, perhaps a bit whet pillow-dry-bag on top of it, perhaps the clean and a bit whet food dry bag on top. You close the snow collar and put the relatively dirty roll mat under the flap and the whet tarp into a side pouch.

B)
You put your dry and clean sleeping bag and pillow bag into the the dry and clean roll mat barrel. And afterwards you pack your whet tent into the bottom compartment.

C)
You carry the mat outside in an own dry bag if you want to use it in a tent. Like this it stays dry and clean.

The point is, that some people use a clean and dry sleeping mat in a tent, but others use the roll mat as a ground sheet that is dirty at the ground side.

It isn't intelligent to put a dirty and muddy roll mat inside the rucksack as a barrel.

So, the question how to carry the roll mat depends on if you use it in a double wall tent on an extra ground sheet or the mat as a ground sheet itself.

The most versatile option is of course to carry the mat outside in an extra dry bag and to cover the sleeping bag in a light bivvy bag like the Snugpak Special Forces bivvy bag and the spare clothing in a really waterproof dry bag.
You carry a lightweight poncho like the Defcon 5 poncho and can protect with it the head area of your bivvy bag. Or you can cook under it if it rains.
And in the bottom compartment you carry a tent.

Like this you keep both options open and can decide if you sleep just in the bivvy bag or in the tent.

If you used your roll mat as ground sheet you have to clean and dry it of course before you put it into the tent. But to keep both options is no fault anyway, especially if you hike in dry weather conditions but keep the tent just in case. If it's dry your mat will not become so dirty if you usually put it on to grass.

Like this you only need to pitch your tent if the weather becomes unfriendly or you visit a touristic camping ground in order to use shower and washing machine...
 
Last edited:

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
159
79
Devon
How are you getting on with the saracen?
Hahaha @Erbswurst!

As for the Saracen, it's brilliant in many ways, has its downfalls in others!

As Erbs says it's huge, but the fact its massive means the temptation (and sometimes enforcement) to carry a ton of stuff is always high, but that also means it's got plenty of room if needed. The first v cold camp we did with it, we didn't plan on walking far (about a couple km) so I seriously overloaded myself, I think with camera equipment, food, Doggo food and sleeping bag! and too much water, it was pushing 30kg o_O But we were in a rush to get out and enjoy ourselves so we weren't looking to minimise stuff!

It's also heavy on its own, so when loaded that extra few kilos doesn't help, but it feels blooming solid! Which makes me feel comfortable "using it" rather than over protecting it.

My wife, dog and I have camped out a couple times and had a lot of late night fires/dinner on various secluded beaches and the pack has been a beast for carrying stuff to make them all the more fun. I've even wrapped up a bunch of logs and thrown them in there incase there was a limited supply of wood.

I also bought the rocket pouches which have helped to organise things a little more. No plans on changing bags just yet!

Edit: To confirm, it is actually bloody easy to lose things in it, I had a small dry bag which had a couple bits like some paracord, roll of electrical tape in it plus a few other bits and I had the bag emptied on the beach looking for it, eventually figured I must have left it at home (no worries) get home, no sign, look in the bag and it'd got into an internal pocket that I was sure I checked and was sure was empty!!! - lesson for organisation and not just "chucking it in there quickly!"
 
Last edited:

Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
306
195
Melbourne, Derbyshire
Not sure if you've figured this one out but you can get a better fill in the bergan with the sleeping bag if you "spin" it. Put the sleeping bag in the bivvy bag then grab both by the foot end and twirl it until you end up with a twisted tube, this will conform to the shape of the bottom of your bergan a bit better than a solid compression sack. Just don't tell the other half or they'll want to use the spare space for more kit.
 
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cipherdias

Full Member
Jan 1, 2014
497
212
Wales
Not sure if you've figured this one out but you can get a better fill in the bergan with the sleeping bag if you "spin" it. Put the sleeping bag in the bivvy bag then grab both by the foot end and twirl it until you end up with a twisted tube, this will conform to the shape of the bottom of your bergan a bit better than a solid compression sack. Just don't tell the other half or they'll want to use the spare space for more kit.

The female of the species will always find extra space to pack essentials. I recall many years ago a girl I was dating and we decided to go to Snowdonia for a few nights of wild camping and everything conveniently fitted into one rucksack so I carried everything. It was only when we got to our destination that I realised some of the items she packed included hair straighteners (she was most upset when she found out there was no power!), several handbags (I kid you not!) and an extensive makeup bag!!

The next time we went I vetted everything that went in the rucksack and anything extra was down to her to carry


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Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
159
79
Devon
Hahahah! Well my wife is not that bad!! She will pack useful things or creature comfort things, but there are only so many useful things one can carry. I suppose and example would be when we went to the beach in the late afternoon/eve it was "should we take towels and swimmers?" now .. it was pretty chilly, but then there is that nagging feeling of 'what if it's quite sheltered...oh alright then'..
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,844
1,116
Berlin
If I put my Snugpak Special Forces complete system (two sleeping bags) without compression bag and any stress into my rucksack, it has approximately 50 to 60 litres.
My padded German army suit for extreme cold weather has approximately the volume of a civil 3 seasons sleeping bag.

If you would put both into the 120 litres Saracen there is a rest of approximately 50 to 60 litres for other equipment.

A usual 60 litres rucksack packed for trekking weighs approximately 2 kg empty and 16 kg full.
The Saracen counts approximately another 2 kg empty and 2 kg padded suit and 3 kg two bag sleep system plus 1 kg bivvy bag, together 8 kg.

8 kg + 16 kg is 24 kg.
That's round about what they thought when they issued this rucksack to professional soldiers. And that's in my experience the limit I can carry over longer distances.

I recommended to choose the Saracen and not the Sting when we figured out that the dog needs an own little sleeping bag and other stuff too. That's comparable with my padded suit.

And a big guy needs a big sleeping bag and large clothing of course.

For other people who go alone that's a full size winter equipment rucksack. One can live out of this rucksack all the year round if the equipment is chosen well and doesn't need to own more than it.
The competition made by Berghaus is called Crusader and that's a well chosen name and the concept behind. That are INCH rucksacks, I'll Never Come Home, or not so soon...

Who wants to use this rucksack for trekking and bushcraft needs electronic kitchen scales, pencil, paper and a calculator and has to write a packing list that shows every single weight of every single item of the own equipment. It's needed to think about what to put into it and what should stay at home, because if we just throw in such a pack what might be usefull, it's already a torture to carry it just 3 km.
 
Last edited:

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
159
79
Devon
Oh for sure, the moment I plan a longer walk, what goes into it is going to be super strict. Nothing thats over what is needed unless absolutely necessary. One issue is the camera equipment isn't too light, so when we packed that we only planned for a short trip, which despite the weight, was actually surprisingly doable.... I wouldn't carry that much (near 30kg) on many walks, especially not longer distance!!! Obviously the load was lighter coming home, water was less, Doggo food gone, human food gone, booze gone haha.
 
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Coastal73

Tenderfoot
Feb 18, 2021
64
19
48
Cawston Okanagan
Hello there. Just placed my order for the British Forces Medium weight 200cm bag. Was waiting to hear back from a UK shop as they have their British kits are cheaper cost but they didn’t get back to be on alternative shipping possibilities as their Postal rates or courier rate was the same price as their bag. Was looking at a Poly Cotton Swedish Synthetic bag with liner. Went with the medium weight bag which is I understand modeled after the Carinthia Defence 4. Have the MSS Patrol bag to go along with a Canadian arctic flannel liner and a couple Ranger/Poncho liners. Looking at some mats to go with the folding German mat and the USMC folding mat. Possibly the CAF self inflating mat or inflatable mat from either USGI or Canuck Armed Forces.
 

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