Ranger roll sleep system

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IrishmanInNY

Member
Jan 22, 2021
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New York
Hello all,

I'm interested in the sleep system referred to in this video and am wondering if anyone else has used it? It seems to be a relatively inexpensive and compact way of building a winter sleep system and with some variations you could even add the wool blanket to the outside for use with a fire.

Let me know if anyone else has used this type of system as I'm planning on doing a trip shortly myself with these items.

 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,026
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Berlin
How should I explain it in simple words?

There are things that can be done and others that should be recommended.

The bed roll above is more something, that can be done, but shouldn't be recommended.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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This video is a reflection to a video by ReallyBigMonkey, a very experienced Bushcrafter from southern Georgia /USA.
He probably would make a bedding of twigs in freezing conditions.
And Georgia isn't so very cold anyway.

In the video above is told, that units of the US army trained with this setup in Germany. Why not? But the German army issued exclusively sleeping bags to the soldiers in the same time. Only a few german special forces got the poncho liner in US woodland camouflage pattern. The German Army even didn't produce own poncho liners.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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Exeter
2:25 " This is a system so as to not die but to get a bit of rest "

Pretty much sums it up.

If it originates with either the current or original Ranger units then those guys are not really well known for being well rested and unstressed.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
THE PONCHO LINER WAS DEVELOPED FOR THE VIETNAM WAR, NOT FOR COLD CONDITIONS.

In the videos about this sleep system, the comments below it, and all discussions about it, that I could find in the internet, I found a phrase, that I have problems to find a translation to German for.
Would someone tell me please, what's exactly the meaning of to "freeze my butt off"?
 
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IrishmanInNY

Member
Jan 22, 2021
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New York
This video is a reflection to a video by ReallyBigMonkey, a very experienced Bushcrafter from southern Georgia /USA.
He probably would make a bedding of twigs in freezing conditions.
And Georgia isn't so very cold anyway.

In the video above is told, that units of the US army trained with this setup in Germany. Why not? But the German army issued exclusively sleeping bags to the soldiers in the same time. Only a few german special forces got the poncho liner in US woodland camouflage pattern. The German Army even didn't produce own poncho liners.
Yes, Dave Pearson also did that but didn't use a wool blanket. I'm sure this increases warmth and impacts one's ability to sleep. I could try doing a bough or twig bed as well. My primary reason for looking into this is the fact the poncho can be used as a makeshift bivy, shelter, or ground mat. Or, the casualty blanket can be used as a ground mat leaving the liner and wool blanket to be used as primary insulators with the poncho acting as shelter. I do agree that you will not be as toasty using this sleep system as the MSS or the British equivalent but it can be more packable; albeit, maybe not much lighter.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,026
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Berlin
Thank You, John!
So, the direct translation I already thought about would be to a very similar phrase that's mainly in use in German military circles, that replaces the word "butt" with a relatively synonymous but more drastically word that is beginning with "A" and also can be found in the English language.

I think, that is due to the a bit harder becoming winter conditions in Germany, which seem to be more comparable to New York than to Britain.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,282
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Birmingham
This video is a reflection to a video by ReallyBigMonkey, a very experienced Bushcrafter from southern Georgia /USA.
He probably would make a bedding of twigs in freezing conditions.
And Georgia isn't so very cold anyway.
I also think he has more things in his roll, it like five items or maybe six.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
I ask myself why one should use such a setup.

Sleeping bag and bivvy bag are lighter and more compact packing than the system in the video.
The Snugpak Special Forces 1 for example has under the inner fabric a metalised heat reflective fabric, that is highly moisture permeable and doesn't create a condensation problem like such a waterproof space blanket. Over it goes a superior swiss made polyester filling and the outer fabric. Over that goes the water proof but moisture permeable SF bivvy bag.
Two zippers with insulated flap avoid any loss of already warmed air.

I can sleep in sleeping bag and bivvy bag comfortably in all conditions. For the evening I can set up a poncho to have a dry place for cooking or whatever.
Who wants more protection can use a modern double wall tent or larger tarp.

That is state of the art. Everything else is reenactment of the hard old times in my opinion. Especially if we talk about winter camping.

If I combine that with just short underwear, merino base layers, a padded suit, the SF 2 sleeping bag or a woolen blanket inside doesn't really matter and depends on the temperature I want to use it in and on the already existing equipment.

Lasy how I am, I often simply wear in it the clothing of the day without waterproofs. I simply avoid sweating before I go to sleep, and like this it works well for me.

Historically the poncho liner replaced the wool blanket. I think both were in use together just a very short time and not meant like that, although it's of course possible, that a few guys in the US army experimented with this combination. Obviously they got the poncho liner for the field and kept the wool blankets for the barracks and tried out what would work in a cold weather survival situation, regarding the existing stuff.

Poncho and poncho liner are an interesting lightweight option for warm weather. If it is warm and dry the condensation isn't such a big problem.

But there is one important point to mention:
The poncho plus liner combination was meant to be used in a combat situation. It works relatively well in a short night, 6 hours for example.

For recreational camping and 8 hours sleep it isn't such a good idea, because during the night the non moisture permeable poncho encloses more and more moisture and what may work relatively good for just 6 hours in most conditions doesn't work well for 8 or 9 hours. The poncho liner gets whet from inside.
It is possible to sleep on the open poncho and in the closed liner in the beginning and close the poncho with the first rain drops. Like this one can gain additional relatively dry time in the sleep system. That was the best option to do it before moisture permeable bivvy bags became available, and that stays a cheap lightweight option for summer hikes.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
And now I explain you why you should be very careful with any advice that is given by the man in the video:

Even if we assume that he really got taught this set up in the US army, we have to notice, that he has no good outdoor education.

In the video the given items are simply used in the wrong way!


Should one, whyever, need or want to use them in a combination for cold weather, the wool blanket goes at first around the man, then the reflective blanket, then the poncho liner, then the poncho.

Why like this?

Wool can absorb a lot of moisture before it doesn't warm anymore. It even generates, due to a biochemical process, heat if it gets a bit humid. If we don't have a moisture permeable waterproof shell, the wool has to go next to the body.
The olive green US army wool blanket from the seventies, that is shown in the video is very thin. The reflective sheet works the better the nearer it is located to the body. This water and gas proof reflective layer works as a vapour liner. The body moisture is kept in the wool blanket which generates heat if humid.
The outer insulation layer is the poncho liner with polyester fibre filling. The poncho liner works relatively well if it is dry but worse and worse if it get whet. Locked in between both waterproof fabrics it stays pretty dry and has the best effect.
The relatively heavy wool blanket would compress the poncho liner if located on top of it and would lower like this the ability of it to keep back the body warmth.

But if the poncho liner is the outer insulation layer, it can develop its loft with the best insulating result. The light US army poncho doesn't compress the poncho liner.

As you see, the guy isn't well informed and probably should better ask questions in bushcraft forums instead of making videos about bushcraft.

The poncho plus poncho liner combination was developed with the circumstances of the Vietnam war in mind. The sleeping soldiers could get suddenly attacked and jump out of this jungle blanket in order to defend themselves. Heat loss wasn't the main issue the designers had in mind.

In cold conditions one can use a wool blanket outdoors in two different ways:
1.) You wrap the blanket around the body in the ice waffle stile, 3 layers under you, 2 layers over you, before that one corner over your feet, that are protected by triple socks.
2.) The same, but due to the small size of the blanket it is tucked into the woolen coat that protects the upper body part.

In both ways the man sleeps in full woolen clothing, in cold conditions also woolen long underwear and a padded waistcoat or pullover or both. Scarf, gloves, mittens, knitted cap or fur hat.

Every outdoorsman or soldier did it like this before sleeping bags had been invented.

Would you really insist into using this equipment, what I absolutely do not recommend, you should at first wrap yourself into the wool blanket , over it goes the reflective blanket, over it the liner, over it the poncho.

Depending on how sensible you are that should work fine for six hours sleep on a thick bedding of twigs down to a limit of 0*C deepest temperature in the night. With sunrise you awake because now you reached the highest amount of moisture in your set up, what means the worst insulation, but the coldest temperature of the night on the ground.

That's how it can be done.
If you aren't able to ignite a fire with just one match in all weather conditions, or able to reach your car with spare equipment immediatly the trial could become dangerous.

If you have a balcony or garden try the set up out there at first. Or even on the ground of your sleeping room under the wide open windows with closed heating.

Using this set up in winter conditions around or below the freezing point you are playing with your health or even with your life, especially if you try it out alone and if you are inexperienced.

I generally recommend such trials. But a beginner has to start in the high summer and continue each weekend until he is an already pretty experienced person if it starts snowing.
Who isn't able to ignite a fire in all conditions shouldn't go for winter camping alone.

The only option to do it relatively securely as a beginner and alone is a proper modern 2 bag winter sleep system with additional army bivvy bag and one or below - 15*C better two closed cell foam roll mats over each other (under the bivvy) that are made according to the specifications of a NATO army.
 
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massa

Tenderfoot
Feb 1, 2021
54
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Wales
Hmmmm :rolleyes: interesting!! Sleep system! I wonder if this system protect you in one of the coldest night here in the valley of Wales? The cold not only from above and surrounding also underneath you from the ground! .... I will try this system but I will keep my sleeping bag as a backup :)
 
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IrishmanInNY

Member
Jan 22, 2021
15
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28
New York
That's especially a sensible idea if you inform us about it the evening before you will do it.
If you don't come back we will know what did happen. Probably too late to rescue you but scientifically interesting of course.
Hahaha, I'll let you know if I go out for the night. I did a quick 10 minute test tonight outside and the weather is -1 c here. It's pretty warm but I think a bough bed or mat is necessary to be comfortable.
 

Lean'n'mean

Nomad
Nov 18, 2020
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France
One of the advantages of attaining a certain age is that you don't need to try things first to know that they won't work.:)
 
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