May / June 2001
machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.
No machine can do the
work of one extraordinary man."
- -Elbert Hubbard
I have been supplying the U.S. Air force and
the U.S. Navy with vacuum-packed sleeping bags for survival purposes for
nine years. Both of these services tested the bags extensively before they
were adopted and issued national stock numbers for them.
U.S. Army put out a solicitation to bid on
vacuum-packed sleeping bags
for survival in arctic conditions. I
received a copy of the bid package
and a huge amount of encouragement from the contracting officer (they want
as many bidders as possible),
until I told him I would be bidding a
synthetic bag and not a down bag as was described in the bid package. He
said that they could only accept what was written in the bid package. I
countered with: "my bags, several of them were already in use by other
branches of service for the same
purpose and already were listed with
NSN's (National Stock Numbers)." He
said that my bag would have to be
tested and they didn't have the time
to test it, as they were needed
immediately, and the fact that they
already had a NSN meant nothing. My
response dealt with the fact that
these other branches of service had
already tested the bags and that is
why they were buying them, and had
been since 1991. This statement fell
on deaf ears.
I took my case to
my congressman and senator. All their involvement
did was delay the
process. My protest was denied "due to the urgent
requirement of the
product." The contracting officer told me that
Biological and Chemical Command-technicians
advised him that "down is
the only known insulating material available
in the market that
maintains its loft to a point the Army considers
providing an acceptable level of insulation." These
are the same
people, who brought the Army the modular sleep system I
several years ago. This is the system that is supposed to
perform to a
low temperature of -30 degrees F, when in fact the best
soldier has been able to use it as has been "+15 degrees F.
technicians, whose names I couldn't get, have as much knowledge
insulation as I do of flying an F-16, which is nothing.
I fully expect
that the contract will be given to a company that is
not in the
business of being a manufacturer of sleeping bags. This will
unfortunate, because, the bags will be filled with down, probably
low a quality as is possible to buy. The technicians do not know
when down is put through the vacuum packaging process 20 percent
down is immediately destroyed and the balance deteriorates over
five-year period. The Air force changed from down since no down
bag manufacturing company had ever been able to give them a
would meet the necessary temperature rating after the vacuum
opened. Actually, the manufacturers couldn't make a bag
that would meet
the specifications before vacuum packing. The
know better. The down bag is undesirable as well
since it would be
useless in any wet situation. I pity any individual
who is put in a
survival situation with one of these bags, unless of
temperature is above +32 degrees F and is on land.
have to live with the "rules" regardless if they make sense
For the past few years I have been
selling a single-style backpack in
three sizes, that I have been
importing from Australia. I now have stock
of additional models of
backpacks from Crossfire, the Australian
backpacks are different from what has been available from the
producers in several ways. The main difference is the fabric
use a corespun-canvas, which is densely woven and saturated
mixture of waxes, polymers and an anti fungal agent. The
of this mixture makes the fabric highly water repellent and
resistant. I have used one of these packs for about nine years,
think it is waterproof, since I have not had a water
I believe they are the best fitting (most
comfortable), and easily
the most durable packs made.
If you are
interested, contact us for a separate backpack catalog.
UPDATE OF FALSE ADVERTISING
the January 2001 newsletter I printed a letter from a customer
Dan. His letter to me mentioned how he tried to use a parka made
Goretex laminated fabric under optimum conditions to no avail. It
Here is a second letter from Dan.
In my letter of 01/04, I stated that steam should
have been pouring
out of my Goretex parka during a +20F New Year's day
I enclose an advertisement for Goretex clothing that ran
February 2001 Backpacker magazine and December 2000 Ice and
magazine. This appears to be a photograph of a hiker/climber in
conditions, and visible vapor (steam) is seen emanating from his
parka about the chest and shoulders.
Is this honest
advertising? If you contact the graphics producer of
the ad you will
learn that the steam was added to the photo, for effect,
in Photo Shop.
(Photo Shop is a software program installed on computers
that can work
miracles in creating ads.) But if Goretex functions as
steam should have been coming out of the parka in the
would have been visible to the eye and camera. I have
compost pile in December for the Master Compost
workshops I conduct,
and the rising steam is clearly visible. No
enhancement was necessary.
Does this mean that the photo was produced in
a studio (almost
certainly), or that no vapor could be made to escape
through the fabric
under conditions specifically chosen for this to
occur? When is digital
manipulation of a photograph mere enhancement,
and when is it falsely
demonstrating an advertised feature that doesn't
I have not spoken with Dan, I just
wonder how he found out who the
graphics producer was. However, I am
not that interested in knowing. I
am enjoying Dan's research and happy
to report it. Also, his letter has
brought out a significant number of
responses agreeing with myself.
brands of overpriced, under-performing sleeping bags.
I just got in the
mail my April 2001 issue of Backpacker magazine.
It has several
"editors' choice" awards in it. Including one for a
Quantum sleeping bag. The model pictured in the
article is the Galaxy
SL, rated to +15 degrees F, and priced at $305.00.
A 600-fill power
down bag, with a water-resistant/breathable shell,
weight is 3 lbs. and
Toward the end of the magazine's brief description of the bag,
says, and I quote: On cold nights in the Grand Canyon, editors split
the Galaxy SL's ability to handle temperatures in the 20s'.
it is advertised as rated at 15 degrees, and editors "split"
or not it will even keep you warm in the 20's!!!
Well, I KNOW my
Wiggy's Ultra Light bag will keep me warm at +15
degrees, which is 5
degrees better than it is rated for, and for less
money. As you say,
you can pay more for a bag, but you can't buy a
better bag. Wiggy's is
simply the best.
"Subject: The bag.
you for suggesting the two bag system and not selling me
what I thought
that I wanted-and saving me $50.00 the bag performed
better than I ever
expected. We were in Utah last week camping on the
Green River, and we
had rain, snow, and freezing temperatures gives you
frozen water every
morning to make coffee with an idea of the
temperatures. I had an old
el-cheapo tent that my son had long since
thrown away for his nice new
expensive one that he slept in-he didn’t
have a Wiggy bag and was cold
all night every night, even though his bag
was an expensive, name-brand
bag. I would not have believed that you
could produce a bag that would
have kept me so warm and comfy in those
conditions. The tent leaked and
I got my head and feet wet three nights,
but still stayed very warm. I
mopped up the water in the tent in the
a.m. with some fleece, and dried
out when the rain and snow stopped.
What a bag-thanks Wiggy.
from a guy that hasn't camped out since Vietnam and swore
that he never
would. You have changed my idea of outdoor living!!! It
"Message: just wanted to say that I
purchased your Ultra Light bag last
February for the third-season hunt
in Colorado. This bag was worth every
penny and performed flawlessly.
While the temperature dropped at night
into the teens and single
digits, I was never cold or uncomfortable.
While my buddies were
sleeping with hats on and adding blankets to the
inside of their bags
to keep warm, I never once felt cold. I slept well
and I feel this
helped me get my first elk. Just wanted to say thanks
for a wonderful
"Subject: Sleeping Bag!!!
I wish I had bought your sleeping bag a long time ago. I saved
from Alaska magazine. I finally decided to spend the money. My
hasn't been the same since. On one of my trips some friends of
moved about twenty miles south of Petersburg, Alaska. I went with
to help unload their cabin package. During this time, we were
a tent that the only thing waterproof was the floor. I ended
in an inch and a half to two inches of water. Even though I
was wet I
stayed warm with the temperature running in the low to mid
What an incredible bag!! And at what a bargain. Thank you so
such quality merchandise.
Cleve I. Noble
"Subject: Another great