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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Recently we picked up several Viet Nam era 5qt collapsible canteens from military surplus and we've been thrilled with them. Not only do they hold five quarts (1.25 gallons) but they also hold air and can be used as a pillow and as an emergency flotation device. Versatile gear is invaluable! I am going to need to figure out a way to be able to use my Sawyer water filter with these collapsible canteens and I don't think that is going to be difficult a task.

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The five-quart canteen was designed for use in Vietnam around 1968. It was made of soft materials that allowed the soldier to use it as a water canteen, a personal flotation device, and a pillow. The 5-quart collapsible canteen was excellent at keeping sloshing sounds of water to a minimum in that deadly environment where even the slightest of sounds would give away position.

Water was held in a five-quart soft transparent vinyl-film bladder inside of an OD Green nylon cover. The size is approximately 13.5 by 10.5 inches, much larger than the otherwise similar First Pattern Two Quart Collapsible Canteen. The neck of the bladder is made of rigid plastic closed by the M1942 black resin plastic screw-on cap. It features a removable strainer that keeps trash out of the canteen when submersed for filling. The top of the bladder has an area of thicker white reinforcing plastic vinyl around the neck for added durability.

The nylon cover has four nylon tape loops and 95 cord sewn in at each corner allowing easy attachment of the 5-quart canteen to a rucksack, daypack, vehicle or other attachment points. The opening at the side of the cover is secured by three snap buttons and is provided for insertion or removal of the collapsible canteen. A nylon fabric funnel is sewn on at the top and is used when filling the collapsible canteen. A pocket for water purification tablets is sewn on the outside of the cover.

5-Quart Collapsible Canteen Versatility

The design of the 5quart collapsible canteen allows it to be used as an emergency flotation device. This is particularly helpful when crossing sift river water or still lake water. The collapsible canteen can also be used as a comfortable sleeping pillow. The soft materials allow a quiet and comfortable rest.

Carrier and Canteen/Collapsible, 5-Quart Capacity (Assembly) NSN 8465-01-254-5759, MIL-C-44218

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