Last Sunday Mrs Jarhead and I made the pilgrimage to Augusta to do a little shopping. She likes to visit the Goodwill and I like to stop at the Army/Navy store. Luckily they’re just a couple of streets apart, so what I normally do is drop her off and then drive on over to my happy place. (I’d walk, but the traffic is ridiculous and I don’t feel like getting killed by some inattentive texter.)
Anyway, I wanted to pick up another canteen cup to put in a second BOB and while I was there I found a couple of other really cool items. First, I found a one quart arctic canteen with a matching canteen cup, which is really important with the time of year we’re heading into – at least here in Maine. More about the canteen later.
Military Sleeping Bag
The next item I found was a military grade sleeping bag liner for just $39.95! This is a sleeping bag unto itself and it’s good down to about ten degrees. This is part of a sleep system that can be used in different configurations. The whole thing is about $150 and if it’s as warm as the older style bags I used when I was on active duty I can assure you from first-hand experience that you will stay warm in temperatures down to –40 degrees. I spent a couple of weeks in Minnesota and then a month sleeping outside in Norway (the country) and never got cold while I was in that bag. The reviews indicate that it’s a very warm bag and it comes with a bivy. I’ve got about five sleeping bags, but I’m sorely tempted to dish out the cash for this sytem.
The Arctic Canteen
I’ve never used one of these canteens and I’m looking forward to giving it a try. If I remember correctly in my early days of cold weather training we used the standard plastic canteens, which froze up like rocks no matter what we did.
A couple of quick notes about this canteen… instead of a screw cap it’s got a cap that plugs in instead. The cap is plastic and where it plugs in is made from rubber, which will ensure that your lips don’t stick to the canteen (I hate it when that happens) and that the cap won’t freeze to the metal of the canteen itself.
The only downside I can see so far is that it’s heavy, but winter gear tends to be that way. Suck it up!
I won’t go into much detail now because I haven’t had a chance to test these items in field conditions yet, but as soon as I do I’ll let you know how they worked out.
If you have experience with this canteen please leave a comment below. I’ve got a cold weather case for a Nalgene bottle, but when the temp drops below ten degrees or so it starts to freeze up if you let it sit for awhile.
Thoughts About Gear
Military grade gear tends to run heavier than the ultra-light high tech expensive gear you can buy at the trendy outdoor stores, which is important if your bug-out plan involves a long hike, but there are several advantages to using it:
First, it’s been tested under some of the harshest climates in the world and it’s proven to work. If it doesn’t pass muster it doesn’t get used.
Second, it’s usually a lot cheaper than the trendy gear. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the trendy stores and high-tech gear. With some of my winter hobbies I need the lightest stuff I can get, but I pay the price for it!
And third, you can buy most of what you need for a bug-out bag in one place. No traveling from store to store as long as your local Army/Navy is fairly well stocked.
Did I mention it’s cheaper?
Have you ever shopped at an Army/Navy store?