Armor: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

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April 20, 2010: Troops have learned to love sleeping under trucks. And now they have new tools to make that easier. MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles, because of their superior ability to resist the effects of mines and roadside bombs, make safe places to sack out at night. They are basically armored trucks, with a V shaped underside. Unlike other armored vehicles, MRAP chassis are higher off the ground (to help protect the crews), and this makes it easier for troops to sleep underneath. There isn't much room inside the vehicle to sleep, so slipping your sleeping bag underneath provided a sheltered (from rain and snow) and protected (from rockets, RPGs and mortar shells) place. But in Afghanistan, there is a lot of wind, which produces a lot of blowing sand. This also sends the rain and snow underneath the vehicles. So why not pitch a tent under there? One tent manufacturer (Nemo) came up with a one man tent (the Magbag) that has magnets sewn into the top portions, so that the tent can be "pitched" underneath an MRAP by sticking the magnets to the metal underside of the vehicle. Thus you get a one man tent that is about two feet (60cm) high. The Magbag weighs about 2.1 kg (2.5 pounds) and costs $249. The tent takes care of the wind and all the crud that can blow in.

There is one complication. The new M-ATV designed (as more mobile cross country) for Afghanistan gains its greater stability by being lower to the ground (13.4 inches/34cm). That's too low for the Magbag, although not for troops who don't might bedding down in a tight, but safe, space.

 


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