Wednesday, July 5, 1995 [UPDATED FOR 2002]

Several battalions worth of 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers jump in before the approaching dawn. Without space inside their rucksacks for their ammunition, MRE's, mission essential equipment and their large, heavy issue sleeping bags, the Paratroopers forgo comfort and keep moving. But as night falls, men try in vain to warm their sweat-soaked, BDU-clad bodies with thin poncho liners.

In future days, if North Korea neutralizes the South's port/airfields, the only significant force the United States can deploy by parachute-forced entry is the 82nd Airborne Division, the "All Americans" and the 1-501st AirBorne Combat Task Force, the "Geronimos" from Alaska. Every Paratrooper will be irreplaceable. We cannot afford cold weather injuries to reduce combat strength. In the last Korean War, thousands of marines and Soldiers froze to death, taken out of the fight by frost or even with sleeping bags, bayonetted when caught inside.

The United States Army has a two-and-a-half pound, lightweight sleeping bag that compresses in its stuff sack to buttpack size, yet allows Soldiers to be ready with their weapons. Called the Ecotat Light Weight Sleeping Bag Multi-Purpose (LWSB-MP) its issued to aircrews, and has a NSN 8405-01-416-6216 for units to order. Additionally, its now in use by the U.S. Army Special Forces and marine force recon units; its needs to become 82nd Airborne and other Light Division standard issue. For parachute jumps, we suggest you make the buttpack detachable so its not a bulge in your way of a rear parachute landing fall using Fastex sternum straps, modular from BlackHawk Industries item# 603DSSOD. Detach your buttpack so its inside the rucksack which is lowered on a hook, pile, tape lowering line during parachute jumps. Afterwards, remove the buttpack from the rucksack and clip it to the back of your LBE.

Soldiers are ready-for-action even when resting in Ecotat LWSB-MP Note G.I. 'Trac-Shun' boots have had their sole's center spines cut to make expedient 'Panama treads'

It unzips into a long coat, short coat, poncho (using its head hole) or blanket, so Soldiers can sleep with their boots on-weapon at the ready. Using the latest insulating material, Lamilite(c), the bag is much warmer than the poncho liner and comes in different warmth ratings.

Designed by Ecotat(c) in Virginia Beach, VA., this patrol lightweight sleeping bag multi-purpose will take only a small corner in the ruck or buttpack or straps to the LBE belt or back "D" rings of the ETLBV. A poncho with 550-cord loops to act as a poncho-tent and an OD green mylar space blanket as ground cloth fit inside its stuff sack along with the bag to make a complete one-Paratrooper sun/rain/wind protective shelter system. A lightweight sleeping bag is the key element in the final solution of the Soldier's load, so our men can move as fast, if not faster than the lightly equipped guerrilla or even our own World War II Darby's Rangers, who could go 10 miles in just 87 minutes (better than 7 miles-per-hour on foot). We also call this concept "Combat Light" or "eXtreme Soldiering".

TIP #1 Enhance the LWSB-MP Stuff sack

The LWSB-MP comes with a compression stuff sack. I suggest spraying the stuff sack and LWSB-MP itself with a coat of Kiwi Camp Dry(c) silicone to further waterproof them. Sew your last nametape to the top stuff sack flap for ownership.

The best way to use the stuff sack is to undo only one of the cover flap's compression straps, lengthening the others. When its time to close the cover flap the one strap being undone allows the flap to be reversed until your nametape shows; the correct side for compression tightening.

The sack can be tightened down to a size to make it fit into a buttpack or strap it across the top of the buttpack.

Tighten down all 4 stuff sack straps to compress

LWSB-MP compresses to size smaller than a volleyball!

When the LWSB-MP is being used, the empty stuff sack can be filled with a sweater or Brigade Quartermasters BivvyWear jacket etc. to make an expedient pillow. We suggest the LWSB-MP, an OD green/mylar "space blanket" casualty blanket as a ground cloth and the poncho rigged to be a poncho-tent be stored as a unit in the LWSB's stuff sack and compressed outside or inside the buttpack as a "Combat Light Module" to attain climate protection without need of a rucksack. At your buttpack back its a sitting pad. Without a rucksack, Soldier 4-7 mph foot speeds are possible.

TIP # 2 Learn your LWSB-MP

Read your LWSB's operator's manual to know how to use it as a short and long coat as well as a sleeping bag and blanket.

LWSB-MPs without the hood, you need to realize the head end is the end with the black velcro strap that goes across the zipper end and has the Ecotat product label inside. The LWSB-MP models with a hood are obviously have the head end where the hood is. The importance of knowing where the head end is is so you can understand the 2-way zipper. Unzipping down from the head to the foot end, will eventually unhook the zipper where two metal prongs are. To reconnect, put the two metal zipper keepers together at the foot end and reinsert the opposite side zipper's prong. Failure to understand your zipper could result in frustration and snagging and possibly zipper damage.

Remove the Ecotat label for better camouflage, slight weight saving.

Tip #3: Use the LWSB-MP as expedient camouflage: the enemy does it, why not us?

The recent After Action Reviews of recent Afghanistan combat by the 10th Mountain Division reveal the enemy is using blankets to provide camouflage to hide from American firepower:

"The enemy moved in small groups of three to five fighters, making them hard to spot. "During the daylight, we watched them on the Predator," Hagenbeck told Field Artillery. "At night, when these groups heard a Predator or AC-130 coming, they pulled a blanket over themselves to disappear from the night-vision screen. They used low-tech to beat high-tech."

The Ecotat TMP and LWSB-MP could also be used as instant camouflage in the same manner by U.S. forces!

Order your LWSB-MPs NOW!

Units or DoD individuals can order directly from Ecotat(c) at government prices. Cost of the basic model, which I recommend is less than the price for a new pair of jump boots. For information about ordering the bag, contact Ecotat(c) Systems Company, Attn: Mr. Richard Haislip, 2223 Commerce Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA., 23454 (757) 340-0866 or FAX: (757) 340-1270.

1st TSG (A) Staff


Ecotat Jungle Patrol Bag (without hood) / +40 degrees F

$ 73.00 plus shipping

Ecotat Desert Bag / +40 degrees F

$ 93.00 plus shipping

Ecotat Ultra Light / +20 degrees F

$139.00 plus shipping

Ecotat Super Light / 0 degrees F

$155.00 plus shipping

Ecotat Ultima Thule / -20 degrees F

$203.00 plus shipping

*****All prices include a Compression Stuff Sack

*****Stated prices do not include shipping

Send to POC:

Ecotat Systems Company
(Attn: Mr. Haislip)

2223 Commerce Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Phone # (757) 340-0866
Fax # (757) 340-1270


Another excellent LWSB with a traditional "mummy" configuration is the Merlin Softie 3 from Ranger Joe's:

Merlin Softie 3

Weight is just 2.5 pounds and cost is $149.

Absolutely the lightest weight and smallest pack size bag we have seen on the market today. Packs to the size of a football.

Material used are:

COVER-PARA-TEX. A high performance derivative of parachute silk with millions of tiny pores. Allows perspiration to escape, yet prevents water from coming inside.

LINING-PERTEX. A high wicking, breathable fabric that is comfortable and light weight.

FILLING-SOFTIE. A superfine high thermal filler bonded with special resins to produce a luxurious down like feel.

REFLECTATHERM. This bag contains a soft and breathable reflective barrier designed to reflect back body warmth.

Carry Wt: 27 oz. Fill Wt: 3.8 oz. per yd2. Anti-Snag 2 way zipper. Length 86". Temperature Range: Comfort 41F, Extreme 32F.

Complete with compression bag. Liner sold separately.

Made in England. Color: Olive Green.


Philip West writes:

"This may be of interest to several of you. Been looking for something to supplement/substitute for my Snugpack Merlin Softee 3 bag in colder weather. Several ultra-light campers seem to like the Rab Topbag, and field and trek have just started stocking them, so I brought one.

First this bag is down, which may turn some of you off, although several armys ahve used down bags as standard issue. On the good side, down lasts a long time, is very warm, packs small. On the down side (ahem) it costs a bit and is near useless if you get it wet. The latter can be avoided with a bit of care.

In the pack keep the bag in a tied off plastic bag (stuff sacks are seldom water tight). In use use a bivi-bag or shelter, and if it is humid ensure a good airflow through the shelter. In very cold weather use the bag as the middle component of a vapour barrier system.

So what is special about this bag?

First, a very good quality of down -96% and a loft of 750+, for those who know what that means.

Second, all the fabric is pertex, and this is a pertex called "Quantum" that is supposed to be lighter and even less bulky.

The real innovation is the design.

Somebody had a hard think and wondered what was the point of down under a sleeper when it just gets compressed by body wieght and therefore doesn't insulate? The Topbag therefore has all of the insulation on the top, with just a sheet of pertex underneath. Idea is you use your kipmat or therma-rest to insulate your underside.

I only got it last night, and it being july I probably won't get to use it for real for a while, so just initail impressions. What really strikes you is how light it is. Label says 400gms -which if I recall right is less than a single M203 round. Feels even lighter. Yet to try the stuff sack, but that item is even smaller than the one for the merlin, which has a packed size similar to a rugby ball. Very thoughtfully, the Topbag comes with a large cotton sack (like a big pillow case with a drawcord) for storing it when not in use.

This is pretty much a dedicated sleeping item. If you sit up in it your back is going to get cold (there is a sister bag of conventional construction (the Quantum 200) -but this only has half the insulation on the top, since it is the same weight as the Quantum Topbag). You'll see the bottom of the bag described as "mesh" -but it looks like this has been changed for a sheet of pertex. The bag is of the crawl in type-it would have been nice to have a version with a zip so you can ventilate when using another bag inside.

Got my bag from field and trek -look under sleeping bags and "Rab" Cost me 100"

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