April 18, 2010:
Operations in Afghanistan have more troops out in the countryside, and in much nastier weather than was encountered in Iraq. As a result, troops are paying more attention to the tents and sleeping bags they use. The ones the military issues are inferior to the best ones available on the civilian market. So many troops are more than willing to spend a few hundred dollars to provide themselves with a little extra comfort in the combat zone. For about $200 you can buy a one man tent that sets up in less than a minute and weighs less than a kilogram (2.2 pounds). For about the same money, you can get an even lighter sleeping bag that is highly wind resistant (important in Afghanistan) and good for a wide range of temperatures (0-15 degrees centigrade/ 0-50 F). These items can be had in green, but not camouflage colors. This is not critical, as the troops typically are behind cover, or some kind of concealment. When operating in the Winter, at high altitudes, troops will buy a somewhat heavier bag that is good for the worst temperatures they are likely to encounter. In combat, getting some sleep is often a matter of life and death. Being drowsy while on watch, or in combat, can get you killed.