Tech Review – ACU Modular Sleep System.
Carp fishing kit is getting bigger, bulkier and heavier, no doubt. That’s fine if you’re long-stay angling, and can use a barrow, and the paths are like your local park, but there is still undoubtedly a need, to my mind at least, for lightweight, high-performance kit for those whose angling demands something a little different. I first saw an ACU Modular bag with Sean Leverett inside it. The DPM finish and material caught my eye straight away, and I’d been unhappy with my current bag for a while due to its bulk and continual ‘cold corners’ because of the big, unnecessary, square design and the difficulty in getting it to fold inside my bedchair (I flatly refuse to take a bag on and off my bed each trip!). Sean couldn’t speak highly enough of the ACU, and after speaking to James Turner, who also highly recommended it and had used one for a few seasons, I was sold.
The bag is incredibly solidly built, and also incredibly versatile, offering a thin summer liner, thick spring/autumn liner, and the capability to use both together, for serious, cold-weather performance. I’ve slept under the stars a few times in mine early in the spring and woke up to a layer of frost on the outer shell and had remained warm and snug inside. The two different weight liners press-stud together solidly with seemingly industrial strength poppers, and each liner also has a substantial baffle to stop any heat loss through the equally substantial zips. The size and ‘mummy’ design means that heat is not lost into unoccupied parts of the bag so you stay much warmer and the bag doesn’t drape over the bedchair either, which if you prefer a lower bed set up is another nice touch.
The outer is 100% waterproof and a fully-breathable, sealed DPM Gore-Tex unit with taped seams – and not only the top layer, but the whole bag so you can effectively sleep outside in the rain. I’m not suggesting that is sensible, or necessary(!) but I do a lot of very short-session angling with no brolly, so being safe in the knowledge that I’m staying dry regardless of an unexpected change in weather is essential to me. The head end of the bag is also nicely designed so that the liner stops snugly just above your shoulders but the waterproof ‘hood’ extends right over and can even be velcro’d to hold it in place, for those wet nights when the drizzle is blowing in, or even just the chillier ones it is nice not to have the oppressive ‘heaviness’ of the liner over your face, just the waterproof and windproof shell.
I use the bag all year round and have found it has coped fantastically with anything the elements have thrown at it so far, and quite importantly for me, folds neatly inside my bedchair and doesn’t weigh a tonne, even with both liners and in the full-blown cold weather mode. The only downsides are the lack of a ‘fixing’ system to attach to your bed, and if you’re anything over 6ft, it will possibly be a bit on the snug side for you, but other than that I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have had two winters use from mine so far, with not even a sign of any wear. A specialised bit of kit for the discerning specialist angler.
Search eBay and expect to pay £60-80 for a used bag, or £160 plus postage and import duties for a new bag from the US. Well worth every penny.
Reviewed by Gareth Fareham
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