MAY / JUNE
Moral Cowardice: is fear of upholding the good
because it is good, and fear of opposing the evil because it
---AYN RAND, "Altruism
The Voice of
I knew it would eventually
happen. Two credible sources, one a sleeping bag marketer and the other a
fiber merchant have told me of a Hong Kong laminator who has been
commissioned to laminate chopped staple fiber to material that has been
used in the manufacture of sample sleeping bags. The companies that have
commissioned this work are companies that sell sleeping bags in the U.S.A.
I am honored. Being copied is the greatest compliment one can receive.
However, they will fail.
In 1963 I started
experimenting with lamination of polyester fiberfill for use in outerwear
garments. At the time the only fiberfill available was the chopped staple
variety. All fiber is extruded as continuous filament, and then it is cut
or chopped every 2 to 2.25 inches to simulate cotton fiber so it can be
formed into a web on one of several types of garneting machines. In all
cases the thickness of the fiber, referred to, as denier that worked best
was a six-denier fiber. Resin was sprayed on each surface of the fiber to
hold the fibers in place for quilting. Each quilt stitch is a cold spot so
I decided to laminate the fiber, which would eliminate the cold spots
created by the stitching. Excellent idea, but it had problems. If the
product currently in production was used it would break up in laundering.
There was not enough resin to hold the fibers together during the
laundering of the jacket. Then I tried laminating what we called
“self-supported batting” which had plenty of resin to hold the fibers
together for dozens of unacceptable. Things were as it turned out put on
hold until 1968 when the firm I worked for started to produce Polarguard.
Polarguard of course is a continuous filament fiber, and as such needed
very little resin to old it together so it was soft and strong and after
lamination I had a terrific product. Minor problem, when I showed it to
manufacturers for use in jackets and sleeping bags, they turned me down.
Although, I did sell laminated Polarguard to glove and mitten
manufacturers because by laminating to fabrics they used made it easier
for them to work with the Polarguard.
jump to 1975 when I returned to the states from a 13-month sailing
sabbatical, and started my own sleeping bag company, Olam Outdoor Sports.
All of my bags and jackets were made with laminated Polarguard. After two
years I sold out to my partner to reenter the laminating business where I
built a laminating machine that would laminate specifically Polarguard. I
figured I had made a dent in the market and all of the other sleeping bag
makers in the U.S. would jump on board that was not to happen. I got the
same story from them in 1977 that I heard in 1969, no one would buy a
synthetic sleeping bag that looked like mine. Therefore, if laminated
continuous fiberfill was to be used in sleeping bags again I had to become
the manufacturer. That waited until 1986, when I started Wiggy’s
It is now 2003 and I am the only sleeping
bag manufacturer left in the country and the largest seller of quality
sleeping bags in the U.S., not bad for a kid from Brooklyn, N.Y.
I guess I have made my point that lamination
of fiberfill specifically Polarguard or continuous filament fiber is not
only the way to use it, but also the best way to use
The marketers of sleeping bags who bring
them in from China have some problems trying to copy me. First they are
using chopped staple fiberfill, which never has been acceptable for use in
sleeping bags, except the very cheap stuff, so they can expect fiber
deterioration to occur if they actually bring bags into the country. The
reason they are trying the chopped stuff first is because it is available
in Asia, and it cheap. Polarguard is made in the U.S. only. They may
already have asked the laminator to laminate the Polarguard and he would
have found out that his machinery is ill suited to laminate it. As I found
out years ago, existing laminating machinery wasn’t capable of laminating
it economically, that is why I built my own machine. And finally these
competitors should remember that I have a patent on laminated sleeping
bags, made with continuous filament or chopped staple fiber.
Many years ago when I first started Wiggy’s I
told store buyers who chose not to carry my products that the day in time
would come when all sleeping bags would be made like Wiggy’s. It was those
retailers who caused me to become a mail order company, although I do have
a few, maybe a dozen retail accounts today. Maybe they are the driving
force to get the marketers who import from China to provide them with
laminated bags, if so thanks for the compliment.
WHAT I DO
You may think that I
am a sleeping bag and cold weather-clothing manufacturer, and I am, but
that isn’t really what I do. What I really do is sell Lamilite insulation.
Way back in 1968/9 when I discovered that the
best way to use continuous filament fiber was to laminate it, hence
Lamilite was born. From its inception I found that I was up against a
brick wall trying to sell my way of using continuous filament fiber it to
any outerwear or sleeping bag manufacturer. Therefore, if what is now
known as Lamilite was to be put into the market place, I had to become a
The end result is, that Lamilite
is so good at insulating it makes all other forms of insulation obsolete.
It is of no consequence what insulation is used, if you replace it with
Lamilite into it makes the product better.
Because Lamilite is so good as an insulating
medium I think about all of the different items that can be improved upon.
You know all of the products that are produced at Wiggy’s that are used in
the outdoors; however, we make insulated coverings for monitoring devices
that are used in cold environments too. There are many more products that
would benefit if Lamilite were used such as pizza delivery containers or
coolers for caned or bottled drinks. Maybe, one of you out there has an
idea for an insulated product; I listen to one and
June I was exhibiting at a conference for DOW law enforcement officers.
Across the isle a company was exhibiting flashlights of extreme quality.
One was the Key-Mate, which is explained in the enclosure accompanying the
newsletter. The quality of this product is superb. The cost is $15.00
(shipping included). You will be
I just wanted to tell you about a little camping trip
that I just went on with a friend from the United
States Army. My friend Kris and I had been
planning a little vacation from the world after he returned from duty
activation in Kuwait. It so happens that our trip began the day
after the renewed action in Iraq. Anyway, on to my
story, We went camping in the Texas Hill country
where the days were in the low 80's and night time
temps were in the upper 30's. My friend who had preached the blessings of the new army multiple bag sleeping system to
me since before I purchased your bag and continued
to question my opinion of your bag till the first
morning of our trip. I awakened to the smell of coffee and left my tent to find him making coffee and frying
some bacon. When I asked how he slept he advised
that it was cold until he added his Gore-Tex outer
lining then he slept like a baby. I immediately advised him that I had slept warm and cozy in my wiggy overbag all night. I
then went into sales mode. (I love preaching the
blessings of Lamilite) I asked him if he knew why
he was cold in his overbag? I explained that his
bag used a substandard insulation that simply allowed his body heat
to escape while my wiggy was designed to create a
warm blanket of warm air around me and not only
did it hold in my heat, but pulled away my own
body moisture leaving me dry and warm. (I already told you the
story about the gallon of freezing water I slept
in the camp out before this one.) I then attacked
the Gore-Tex fabric that he had around him. I
asked did you wake up clammy this morning when you got out of your bag? To which he acknowledged that he did. To my
expectations. I just wanted you to know Mr. Wiggy.
I always exclaim when I drag out your bag "There’s
my Wiggy" Like I am seeing an old friend again. I trust your bag(s) with my life...and that's the most important
thing that I can say to anyone about your bag.
(I didn’t realize the letter wasn’t signed, except for
the e-mail address, which I deleted after copying to the newsletter, hence
Editors comment: This is the first letter I have
received that has been so specific about the condensation problem that is
created when Gore-Tex material is used.
I am a Staff Sgt. In the US Air Force. I
have had the pleasure of using your bags on several outings. The first was
an elk-hunting trip in October, in the mountains of Utah. The second was
in Arctic Survival Training School (ASTS) at Eielson AFB in the Arctic of
northern Alaska. The hunting trip was mild and I used a friends 3 in 1
system. (Probably the Super Light FTRSS). During ASTS I was issued a –60
bag (Antarctic) with a bivi bag. During the school we had to spend 3 days
and 2 nights in –20 temps. At no time did I have to question if I was
going to suffer through the extreme cold conditions. I asked the
instructors if they had a way to contact you. This is how I got your site
info. I read your letter to my Commander-in-Chief.
SSgt. G.R. Crawford
Editors comment: I have been the primary supplier
of sleeping bags to the Armed Forces of the U.S. since about 1992, been
selling them since 1987, and am very proud of that accomplishment. One of
the benefits is to have my products used by people from all areas of the
country, some with lots of camping experience in all weather conditions
and some with no camping experience until joining the military. Therefore,
my bags are given the greatest exposure to the greatest variety of people.
The success rate is phenomenal with respect to keeping people warm. If I
were to try and use people who are intermittent campers, I couldn’t
possibly get the same results. Using the military exposes my products to
people who are wearing the same clothing, eating the same foods and
participating in the activities on the same days. That is a significant
benefit to Wiggy’s.
In conclusion being a supplier to the military is
beneficial to me and the troops get the best that is available.