I have been observing the Gore
Company promoting Gore-Tex material since its inception about 1976. As I
have stated many times that it doesn't work as advertised. In recent years
I have made known, through my newsletters, evidence why it doesn't work. I
have received numerous responses supporting my statements. Now I am
pleased to present further information from one of the largest users of
Gore-Tex, showing that it is not what it seems: the U.S. Military,
although they continue to use it.
One of my customers, having read in
my last two newsletters about the fact that waterproof/breathable
materials do not allow for a transfer of O2 and CO2, wrote to the U.S.
Army Natick Labs. My customer is retired from the Army and worked at or
with Natick at one time. His concern was that several of the members of
his Boy Scout troop had been given military bivi bags by their parents who
are military, and he observed that these kids simply stayed uncovered,
where as he rigged a coat hanger to keep the hood of his bivi propped up.
The kids had learned quickly to not close the hoods.
He wrote to
Natick referencing his observations and the information I published. The
response he received was as follows: "I can tell you that Gore-Tex is not
as breathable as one might assume. It's better than a non-breathable
fabric but overall I would not suggest you attempt to breathe through it.
It is only intended to add comfort to waterproof items like jackets,
EDITORS NOTE: I
suspect the meaning of the last sentence is that it is waterproof, and
therefore if worn over a jacket or pants they are protected. A second
individual working for Natick made the following comment: "The Gore-Tex
fabric, or any other waterproof or so-called breathable fabric, is not
really 'breathable' the way consumers may like it to be, i.e., fabric that
an individual can actually breath through.
"First, the term
'breathable' refers to microporous, membrane-based fabric because it is
air-permeable and air can be blown or forced through it. The Gore-Tex
fabric is not air-permeable because its microporous
polytetrafluoroethylene membrane has been coated with a thin layer of
'nonporous' polyurethane urea membrane, making it non-air-permeable.
However, Gore-Tex and other nonporous semipermeable membranes are
permeable to moisture vapor. This moisture vapor permeability aids the
evaporative cooling of the body."
EDITORS NOTE: I
believe there is ample evidence to prove that permeability in practical
application does not happen. It may have occurred in a laboratory, hence
"As far as using a
waterproof /moisture vapor permeable (WP/MVP) membrane-based sleeping bag,
leaving a few inches to breathe while sleeping in a cold, high altitude
environment is not such a good idea. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer
would say that this is a misuse of their product. In high altitude, the
user may consider a breathing device such as the microclimatic
conditioning system for warm air and a re-breather for CO2 removal and O2
supply into their WP/MVP sleeping bag. Additionally, to keep warm,
adequate insulation must be used. Moisture vapor from the body (sweat)
will condense on the inner wall of the sleeping bag if there is no
moisture vapor concentration-gradient from inside to outside. Especially
if the individual body is in a high, cold altitude (10,500 feet
EDITORS NOTE: Body
sweat leaving the body during sleeping activity is so slow that any
sleeping bag that has a Gore-Tex shell, regardless of its quality, will
retain whatever moisture reaches it.
There is an
unconfirmed report that the British military suffered two deaths by
suffocation in bivi bags this past summer. I have made several inquiries
myself without confirmation. Investigation is still going on and, if
confirmed I'll let you know. I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. It
should also be noted that I have no idea what type of fabrics the British
use for their bivi bags. As we know, there are numerous brands today.
EDITORS NOTE: As I
see it there are other problems associated with this bivi bag. We know
from past evaluations of the "modular sleep system" which is a
bastardization of my 'Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System" that it
does not function below +15 degrees. When combined with the bivi bag, any
person using the combination would most certainly close it as much as
possible. Having done so, involuntary suffocation becomes possible.
This is the system that is issued to our soldiers in all branches of
I read an article in
the November 2000 issue of amc outdoors magazine (Appalachian Mountain
Club). Three of the editors went on a winter camping trip for the first
time. One of them, Jane Roy Brown, made the following comment: "'Yeah,' I
murmured. Even at 32 degrees in warm sunlight, perspiration was already
dampening the two layers of polypro under my (allegedly breathable)
shell." I find the comment particularly interesting since I have read in
several past issues advice from Annie Getchell, a member of their advisory
board, that it is imperative to own Gore-Tex or some other brand of
waterproof/breathable garment. Maybe Annie should go out with Jane and
advise her as to what she did wrong so the waterproof/breathable jacket
Then she can learn why these materials don't work. I also
appreciated Jane mentioning that her polypro underwear and a second layer
of polypro were "dampening," I'll bet she thought they would "wick" the
moisture away from her skin surface. No such luck! She would have been a
much more comfortable if her first layer was fishnets.
The three editors
were only out for one night, and I am quite sure they felt that was a
sufficient amount of time for winter camping.
The Gore Company is
concentrating heavily on the footwear market. In the November 10, 2000,
issue of Sporting Goods Business a Gore product specialist made the
following comment: "As Gore continues to focus on developing versatile
footwear technology, the company will gradually move beyond its
winter-oriented 'warm and dry' story. We want to spread the word that
Gore-Tex is about protection and comfort, in cold and warm seasons."
EDITORS NOTE: Do the
Gore Company employees really believe that the film actually keeps people
"warm and dry." It is apparent that Gore-Tex is not only not protection
from the elements, but a detriment in those same elements as we are now
Don't they, the Gore Company employees, read any of the
negative comments that contradict the "hype" they spew? They have made a
concerted effort to evade the acquisition of knowledge.
"First of all I have
one of your Antarctic sleeping bags which I have been using now for the
past year and a half in the field in Alaska and have never been cold once.
I also have one of your cagoules, which I also enjoy.
I work for the
Alaska Department of Fish and Game."
"Hello, This past
July I purchased your Lamilite vest from a small outfitter in Talkeetna,
Alaska. Although it has been rather warm these past few months I have been
wearing the vest in the evenings. It is quickly becoming one of my
favorite jackets to wear."
Thanks, M. Magni
EDITORS NOTE: The
shop is Alaska Wilderness Experience, located in Talkeetna, AK. It is the
only retail store in Alaska that carries Wiggy products.
"Your sleeping bags
kick ass, keep me warm, so warm I had to open it up to cool down, it was
about 9 degrees. That impressed me a lot. I tell everybody about your
sleeping bags, keep up the good work. The guys in the 20th Airborne, S.P.O
Army Reserve Unit say keep up the good work too. And thank you for keeping
us warm, in those cold nights."
"Wiggy's, I saw your
advertisement in a magazine today and thought I would take a moment to say
thank you. Not so long ago (two- three years) I ordered one of your
systems (-20degree). After requesting a catalog from an ad. Little did I
know how much use that bag would see. Three hundred nights a year would be
a fair guess. I like your style and when I immediately returned the bag
for a change in size, response was prompt. Good service is getting scarce
and when I get a chance I pass your name along. Thanks for a trusty
J. Ranck Chitina, AK
"Dear Wiggy, The
claims you make on your fishnet underwear are right on. I bought them
based on my experience with your sleeping bags-superb products, which give
you lots of credibility. Now I've tested your fishnets for a week of
rugged camping and hunting for Colorado elk, temperatures varying from -16
to + 45. On several days, the fishnets were all I wore under my wool outer
layer. They were great."
Thanks, C. Lambert
The following letter
is one that I was particularly pleased to receive.
"Dear Jerry, When I
went to the P.O to pick up my new flotation suit, I couldn't wait to open
the package. The first thing I said to myself was; self, Jerry forgot to
put the suit in the box! It was so light! I got home and unpacked my suit.
My wife said, 'how will that float you?' and my friends all said, 'there's
no flotation to it!' So I went out for a test. Blowing about 20 knots and
a three-foot sea, I pulled my King Crab pots while wearing your suit. In
my old Mustang suit I would have become overheated, but in your suit I did
not. Also, when running into the wind in my open skiff at 20 mph, not a
whisper of the air touched my skin. When I got back to the dock I decided
to go overboard for the supreme test. Would I float and stay warm? The
initial shock of the 38-degree water took my breath away, but I floated
high, and after the water warmed I was fine."
Thanks again, Greg
Gallant Juneau, AK
EDITORS NOTE: The
only letter that I could imagine being better, with respect to the
flotation suit, would be if it came from someone who really had to bail
out of a sinking boat, and was saved because he was wearing the suit. Greg
has given me permission to use his comments in advertisements directed to
offshore fisherman, for which I am very grateful.
The following is from
the Internet-An astronomy Web site.
warm--Wiggy's is good stuff and quality. David is correct about Wiggy's
equipment being top of the line. I sold my goose-down sleeping bag quickly
after purchasing one of Wiggy's synthetics and using it on backpacking
trips in both the Smokies and the Rockies. The insulation is nearly as
light and compressible as down, but far superior in wet weather protection
(rain or dew) and durability. He uses the exact same insulation for all of
his products, but just enough more or less of it to work well. He doesn't
advertise much due to his loyal customers referring others to his very
high-quality line of products. He does have numerous defense contracts for
various products he manufactures. These products do work much better in
weather extremes than what you would find in the standard sports stores.
By the way, I too have been a very active scouter in the past, used far
worse equipment, and still made do. I just know that when I'm up at
12,000+ feet and gone for more than five days in a row, I don't ever have
to worry about getting cold with Wiggy's equipment. Wiggy's line is also
definitely under-priced when compared to other 'high end' cold-weather
gear that doesn't perform anywhere near as well.
This equipment is
extremely useful for winter astronomy as well. You don't ever have to
stink or sweat in these products, because they breathe. You may be happy
with other gear and it's definitely prudent to use what works for you, but
you will never be disappointed in any Wiggy's product. Warm and clear
Posted by Lonnie
HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY