Welcome to Wiggy's
Newsletter! All of my newsletters and letters appear here every two months.
The topics deal with the effectiveness of materials in use today, and
whether or not finished products using these materials perform as
INSULATED AIRCRAFT ENGINE COVER
I have been supplying many pilots in Alaska for years with my sleeping
bags and clothing. It has come to my attention that most of the bush
pilots use our insulated engine cover to keep the engine warm for short
periods of time when landing. It is very important that the cover maintain
the heat of the engine for the longest time possible; or, if a pre-heater
is used, the heat build-up should be as fast as possible. The Lamilite has
proven over the past 13 years that it is the best form of insulation
In addition to its insulating capabilities on an engine, the engine
cover can also be used as an emergency sleeping bag. The insulation is the
same as we use in our Ultra Light +20 bag. Also, you can wash our engine
cover in any washing machine.
All the materials are waterproof. The side that goes against the
aircraft is black and the exposed side is international orange. The orange
is for signaling in the case of an emergency.
All straps are one-inch webbing with adjustable side release buckles.
The first size will fit a super cub or any similar size craft. The
weight is 9.5 pounds. Included is a compression stuff sack. When fully
extended the sack measures 13 inches in diameter and 22.5 inches high.
When compressed the height is reduced to 12 inches.
Other sizes can be made on special order.
INSULATED WATER CARRIER
It seems none of the companies that make water carriers resembling
backpacks has bothered to make one that is insulated. As you know, we make
an insulated water bottle carrier that has proven itself in the Alaskan
winter, keeping water from freezing. We now have a water carrier that
resembles a backpack that is fully insulated with Lamilite. Its capacity
is 3 liters. While it does not show in the photo, there is even an
insulated sleeve that covers the tube.
The insulation will not only keep cold water cold longer, but will also
keep the water from freezing in cold conditions.
The bladder is made in the United States by a manufacture that supplies
the food industry, so it is food-grade quality. It is also very strong,
possibly the strongest on the market. Filled with air and sealed, it has
easily supports a 200-pound man.
For as long as I have been in the field of synthetic insulation I have
seen the fiber companies such as Dupont, Celanese (now Kosa), and several
others try to improve their product so it is as good or better than down.
It is and has always been my contention that continuous, filament fiber
batting, now a product of Kosa Company, is the premier fiber for use as
insulation. It was originally made as a non-resin-bonded batting, however,
nobody, myself included, knew how to work with it. Therefore, it was
resin-bonded to facilitate ease of handling in manufacturing. In 1986 I
learned how to work with the non-resin-bonded fiber, and that became
Over the years Lamilite's uniformity and resilience have been improved.
This past January we started using an improved version that is even more
uniform and resilient than before. There is one more improvement to it:
its launderability. Until now, laundering the bag was fine, and that
hasn't changed, but the drying has. Until now, all we could do is line-dry
or use a no-heat setting on the dryer. But now the fiber is being
preshrunk for me, which means you can put the bag, jacket, or any Lamilite
insulated product in a hot dryer.
I have also noted in all testing that there is an increase in the loft
of the bag, not significant but still noticeable.
Isn't it nice to know that even the best of products can be improved
FABRIC WITH A HIGH IQ (?)
That is the title of an article that appeared in the April 14, 2000
issue of Sporting Goods Business a trade publication.
Since 1977 we have been hearing about "miracle fabrics," fabrics that
have the ability to breathe, fabrics that hold and release heat when you
need it, etc. Now Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan has outdone all of
its predecessors in the field of smart fabrics. They have come up with a
fabric that has the most unbelievable characteristics of any I have read
about. The fabric is called Diaplex, and it is water and wind resistant,
breathable, and adjusts to temperature. (Emphasis added) It is a new,
non-porous membrane that supposedly manages heat and moisture on a
molecular level. It is a laminate for cold and warm weather activities. It
laminates to any fabric, and then the fabric acquires these wonderful
properties-amazing! The following comes from their information packet.
"This high tech material works on the scientific principle of thermal
vibration. (Emphasis added) The molecules rearrange themselves when the
temperature rises above a pre-set activation point. When the temperature
reaches this activation point, mirco pores are created in the polymer
membrane, which allow water vapor and body heat to escape. (The body heat
escaping through the pores [holes] is fictitious.) As the temperature
rises, permeability increases. For example, in 32-degree weather, the
molecules align to form a solid sheet, completely sealing heat in and wind
out. As the temperature warms, millions of molecular windows open to
promote moisture transfer."
They further state: "The key to this innovation is the polymer, that by
nature of its molecular structure can transform and adapt to temperature.
They also state the product has the ability to absorb perspiration and
then diffuse it through the membrane. Mitsubishi can pre-set the
activation point at two different levels: 32-degrees for winter outerwear,
and 50-degrees for warm outdoor end uses."
Now, I ask, is this or is this not the most absurd information yet to
come along about a material for use in outdoor clothing? I fully expect
some writer in the industry to write glowingly about this material, in the
not-too-distant future, since Ralph Lauren and Woolrich, manufacturers of
outerwear, are using it. To say I've heard it all would be a mistake, I am
sure some other company will soon come up with a newer and more remarkable
The following information comes from the "Konnarock Information Packet"
from the Appalachian Trail Volunteer Crew:
"Rain Gear: 100 percent waterproof rain gear is best.
Polyurethane-coated nylon is a good choice for something low cost
lightweight and durable. Goretex Fabrics are expensive, less effective,
and not recommended."
Would you believe I agree? What I believe is important here is the fact
that professionals are in effect telling their staff that Goretex doesn't
The following came from the industry publication Sporting Goods
Anti-microbial fabrics address mildews and molds whereas anti-bacterial
deals exclusively with bacteria. Definitions are what are important here.
With the new definitions it is stated that the fabric is protected, not
the individual that is protected by the anti-bacterial agent. Consumers
still need to wash garments made with germ-hating agents (and they still
need to wash themselves). Anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, what's the
difference: they are still poisons put into the fabric and picked up by
An e-mail from Cathy, May 18, 2000:
Hello Mr. Wiggy, Well, my friend and I have each been using one of your
-60 degree sleeping bags over the winter. We both ice climb and glacier
travel here in Alaska. Your sleeping bag is amazing. One day about four
weeks ago, on our last glacier trip, temperatures were about -20, which
around here is warm. Anyway I was a fool that day and just didn't take off
layers as I got hot while hiking. Consequently, when we set up camp for
the night, every piece of clothing I brought was soaking wet from sweat
and when we sat still to make dinner I started shaking uncontrollably from
the cold. This was a bit scary since the only way off this glacier was to
fly off and the plane wasn't coming for four days. Anyway my friends told
me to just undress and get in the sleeping bag for the night. I also have
your hot socks and always wear them when sleeping at night. Well, within
about five minutes I went from fear of hypothermia to being completely
warm and snug. I even decided to put all my clothes on top of my body in
the sleeping bag in hopes they would dry by morning from my body heat.
Pretty much by the next morning everything was almost all dry.
this was a pretty extreme case, but even on regular trips at -40 degrees
over the winter and condensation all over the outside of my sleeping bag
by morning produced by all of us in the tent, I would be totally warm and
dry in the sleeping bag.
I was very pleased to receive this letter, since it was from a female.
As we know women, due to having less muscle mass than men, produce less
heat; their sleeping bags need a greater amount of insulation than men's
bag at equal temperature. In this case, the temperature being as low as it
was, Cathy could have been in serious trouble. However, due to the
Lamilite's ability to retain heat and allow moisture out, she was fine.
I did write back to her to look into getting the fishnet long
underwear, which would never allow moisture to build up against the skin
Received this e-mail June 5, 2000, from J. Aspensen:
I have talked to you on several occasions over the phone (I called you
from Boseman, MT). I just got back from a week-long trip to Zion and the
Kodachrome Basin. I took one half of my FTRSS bag, and it served me well.
In Zion I camped above 6000 feet, and although I only had the overbag
with me, a few layers of clothes kept the cold at arms' length. It dipped
below freezing. However, while camping at Lee's Ferry (Hell without the
fire), the unzipped overbag was a terrific blanket. What a great bag!
I do not know whether I told you, but this winter I used my FTRSS with
a thick closed cell foam pad and comfortably slept on a seven-inch slab of
ice in the snow. All that were witness to this thought I was out of my
mind. Perhaps, but the bag worked well-too good!
As a matter of fact,
I had to vent the bag several times during the night. It was only 25
degrees F. Likewise, when we camped, and a snowstorm blew in, the
temperature dipped to 10 degrees F, and once again I had to vent the bag.
I look with considerable eagerness toward next winter and using my
Received this e-mail June 6, 2000 from David Jankowiak Jr.:
I am just writing to say how much my wife and I enjoy your sleeping
bags. My wife has a Wiggy's Ultra Light bag and I have a Super light. We
live in Mid-Michigan and do a lot of camping in the northern areas of our
state. Since purchasing the bags we have not had a cold, uncomfortable
night yet. I certainly believe in your outstanding products and will most
certainly spread the word that you have the BEST sleeping bags available!
Thank you for helping to make our outdoor trips so comfortable!
Dave and Lena Jankowiak