More and more people are turning to a modular sleep system to provide year-round comfort outdoors. Modular sleep systems are versatile, flexible and can be cost-effective too but what exactly is a modular sleep system?
What is a modular sleep system?
Much loved by the military, a modular sleep system is a versatile solution allowing you to mix and match different components to suit all seasons and conditions. All the components can be used individually or combined together in a number of configurations. A modular system may include, for example, a 1–2 season sleeping bag, a 3–4 season sleeping bag and a bivvy. Alternatively, it may include items such as a sleeping bag liner or a blanket.
Why use a modular sleep system?
Modular sleep systems are particularly useful when the temperature and weather varies a lot and changes quickly, such as in the UK. In these kinds of conditions, many people find having two or three sleeping bags to cover all the seasons leaves them uncomfortable during those all too common ‘in between’ nights. Yes, you could have a summer sleeping bag, a spring/autumn bag and a winter season bag, but what about those nights where the temperature is annoyingly just too warm or too cold to be comfortable using the bags you’ve got? You could just make do (and many people do, quite happily), but for some, a modular sleeping bag system can prove to be a game-changer.
A modular system can also save you money. If you plan to camp throughout the year in all weather, then buying one modular system should do the trick, rather than needing to buy a number of different sleeping bags.
Who makes modular sleep systems?
There are a number of modular sleep systems on the market and they tend to be geared towards military use. Check out Carinthia, US Army, British Army, Snugpak and Mil-Tec for examples. Keep your eye out for good quality military surplus kit too – it could save you a stack of cash.
Should I buy a modular sleep system?
Modular sleep systems are not for everyone. They can be heavy, so they are not going to suit an ultralight backpacker.
If weight is not a huge issue, then you should certainly consider a modular sleep system – particularly if you are looking for a versatile solution that will work across all seasons.
Military grade gear tends to be tactile, solidly built, robust and will last a long time. Buy a decent modular sleep system and you’ll be able to use it for years.
Whether you go for a modular system or individual sleeping bags, is very much a personal thing.
It’s worth noting also, that a modular sleep system can add a little something to the overall camping experience. It can be quite good fun picking and choosing which components to use, and knowing that you’ve got all situations covered feels good when you’re out in the wilds.
Remember, there are no rules. You don’t have to buy a set modular system, or a military system for that matter. You can make one up using any combination of sleeping bag(s), sleeping bag liner, quilt, blanket, etc. Things might not connect together neatly, as they will with an off-the-shelf solution, but they will no doubt do the job.
If you prefer military grade gear, check out our article in the Litefighter 1 tent.