September 2008 #2
September 22, 2008
I do not know about other industries other than the outdoor industry so
I wonder if people with knowledge in other industries experience seeing,
reading the many talk forums pertaining to that industry and also see, read
People who are I expect legitimate ask questions
about one product or another and someone else chimes in with an answer; offering
advice etc. then a second and a third and so on. When it comes to the outdoor
industry the greater majority of the information offered in these forums
is erroneous, unfortunately.
It has been some 30 years since “waterproof-breathable” (wb)
fabric was introduced to the market place initially for rain wear and as
a shell fabric for use in the manufacture of down sleeping bags. Try and
buy a down sleeping bag made with a wb shell today. If you can find one it
is 1980 or so vintage. People found out very quickly the combination of materials
did not work. However, people are trying to make the wb work in rain wear
and bivi bags. Virtually everybody using these items discovers in short order
that the wb material does not allow the moisture from the inside out. But,
they try to compensate in some manner, again to no avail. I read recently
about hunters (hunter oriented web site) who used bivi bags. The initiator
of the discussion complained that he had condensation between the top of
the sleeping bag and the inside of the bivi bag that had frosted (18 degrees)
and was asking what he did wrong. About 10 responses said they had the same
experience but they offered some remedies possibly. Obviously he as they
did nothing wrong; the product just didn’t work as advertised.
I make two bivi bags; one is waterproof and
you will have condensation in it, no question about it. The other the Single
Person Bivi Shelter will not for all intents and purposes. Why because the
initial top layer of the bivi is a layer of insulation that is “vapor
permeable” and the second layer which is exposed to the atmosphere
is a water proof layer. Condensation will appear between the two layers and
that is just the way it is. The outer layer is waterproof fabric so it keeps
the rain out. This is physics and physical properties do not change. Here
is a situation that the marketers of the wb material have claimed the impossible
and they have said so, so often now they believe it.
I read also on the same hunting web forum about
a fellow who wants a -20 degree sleeping bag for his boys. I believe they
are less than 10 years of age. He is being told to go to REI or Campmor or
get a custom bag Feathered Friends or maybe even Western Mountaineering.
The reality is these companies do not have -20 degree bags that perform for
adults, how then one can expect they will have one for a 10 year old.. One
poster said the kids have more body heat than adults; he is a jack ass. In
reality kids that young do not have much muscle mass so their heat making
capability is significantly less than that of an adult male. If the original
poster were to listen to this guy his boys would probably freeze to death.
If he posed the question to me I would ask a lot of questions; such as where
will you be hunting, sea level or in the Rocky Mountains? Do you have good
ground pads, will you be in a tent. What type of clothing do you have for
these kids? If it is the sea level location I would recommend the Ultima
Thule or the Super Light FTRSS. If it is in the mountains then the bag would
definitely be the system.
I have been selling the Super Light FTRSS to the
boy scouts in the state of Alaska for about 12 years and have yet to hear
of one scout not sleeping. If you are warm you sleep, if you are cold you
do not; there are no cold sleepers; just cold people who can’t sleep
because they are cold. I read constantly about cold sleepers but when I question
someone who tells me they are one I ask if in fact they actually slept and
the answer is always no. Ultimately I would strongly recommend he go with
the system. Maybe he will call.
Wicking underwear is another of the products that
the fabric makers have hyped so much they actually believe the synthetic
materials they produce wick moisture. This is another bogus claim coming
from those who will profit from the sale either of the material or finished
product; to the unsuspecting public. I commented on one web site the explanation
of wicking or wicking action. One of the other posters told me the person
I was having the discussion with is an aerospace engineer so my delving into
physics was something I should consider because this guy is an aerospace
engineer. I discovered the aerospace engineer has a web site where he reviews
products; raw materials and finished product. He endeavored to write about
the continuous filament fiber product trade named Climashield. He should
stick with aerospace engineering.
The synthetic fabric producers who claim wick-ability
of their fabric know it will not wick which is the ability of material to
absorb moisture which moves from the source your body to the atmosphere if
possible. What they do is load the fiber up with something like silicone
so some of the moisture while still in a vapor state slides through the spaces
between the yarns that comprise the fabric. The movement of what ever vapor
there is through these spaces is not wicking but vapor permeability. However,
the greater bulk of the moisture produced about 80 percent or more is trapped
between the inside of the fabric and your skin surface. The aerospace engineer
in my opinion is simply being arbitrary for the sake of.
Actually you don’t want your first layer to
wick anyway, you don’t want it to trap the moisture at all, hence wear
fishnets and the problem is solved. All moisture exits through the holes
of the fishnets and where it goes is of no concern since it can no longer
touch your skin surface which is the problem with close knit first layer
underwear regardless if it is natural or synthetic fiber composition.
These discussions come and go and the amount of
factual information that one can glean from these forums is marginal at best.
When someone does post a truly factual response they are beaten down. Truth
does not appear to be wanted by posters on internet forums. If it were to
be recognized a substantial number of posters would not have there presence
on the forum. They present themselves as modest know it all’s, not
wanting to sound absolute about the subject, but just enough to make some
think they do know. I may be wrong but I believe they like having anonymity.
Wiggy's Inc. P.O. Box 2124, Grand Junction, Colorado 81505
Wiggy’s Alaska 8225 Old Seward Highway, Suite A, Anchorage, AK
1-866-411-6465 Fax: 1-970-241-5921