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buying a winter parka that works

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RESPONSE TO YESTERDAYS ARTICLE

Wiggy,

I just want to say thank you for what you do. I have been in the US Army at FT Bragg is the 90’s I am still active duty. The problem with the military, is they have shiny object syndrome. Meaning whatever looks cool must be cool and work as advertised. I spent 90% of my career thinking GORTEX (made in Mexico) =warmth. I always wondered, why do I have cold feet? I am talking 35 ish degrees and below. Easy answer, MY FEET SWEAT!!! I know I know that is shocking to some, and others say, well GORTEX is breathable!! That’s about the most oxymoronic term I have ever heard. If an objects main goal is to keep water out, it is next to impossible to let condensation/ sweat out.

That’s where Wiggy's comes I to play! The one and only person in the industry that UNDERSTANDS!!

I could go on but will stop.

Wiggy please feel free to post as you would like.

Aaron

MARINE CORPSE

What I forgot to include in the article with respect to the marine corpse situation is to say the contracting specialists (2 of them) I believe lied to the IG when they said the solicitation was published, even though I could not find that it was ever published the day they claimed first to me and then to the IG. As far as I know the IG accepted what they told him as truth. Then the IG went to the project officer with whom I spoke with on several occasions who told him he could not find any companies that made Muk Luks and that is as bold a face lie as exists. But again, the IG must have believed him. THIS IS WHAT I CALL THE “PROTECTION RACKET”.

AARON’S COMMENT

What we have here is one more person verbally stating that his experience with goretex lined boots is not at all as advertised. I now know what the problem is at the gore company; all of the employees selling or having anything to do with goretex are “OXYMORONIC”.

Thank you, Aaron

The following article is reprinted in its entirety from outside on line .com the author is Blair Braverman.

When I first moved to the Arctic after high school, my parents bought me a parka. Or at least, we thought it was a parka. It was from a popular company I won’t name, lest this seem like a critique of them when in fact it is a critique of the jacket industry as a whole. But it cost about $200 and was baby blue with a fake fur ruff and, at the time it arrived at our house in California, it seemed like the biggest, warmest garment I had ever seen. Then I got to the Arctic and promptly realized that this parka was a joke. It was too short, it didn’t have enough pockets, and—worst of all—it was fitted with princess seams, as if to remind everyone that I had a waist, thank you very much, even as I tromped through the backcountry. I’m opposed to most princess-seamed winter outerwear on both practical and philosophical levels, but the biggest reason is this: when you’re out in deep cold, you want a lot of bulk around your torso, and snug hourglass-shaped “parkas” make it difficult to move freely and stay warm at the same time.

These form fitted “parkas” I have written about for two or three years. Maybe a article from outside magazine will bring attention to the fact that they do not keep people warm.

It doesn’t help that most outdoor brands use the term parka for any puffy that covers the top of your butt. Most of these coats are intended, fundamentally, for walking between buildings. But I’d like to propose a return to traditionalism, or at the very least, a return to the intention behind parkas themselves. Maybe Blair should have done a little more research for the article which I think is good but lacking in her not mentioning Wiggy’s. The term comes from the Canadian Inuit, and refers to a caribou-fur coat. It shares characteristics with other traditional northern winterwear, like the Sami pesk (and cape-like luhkka) and the Nenet yagushka. What do they have in common? They’re long and they’re big—and they’re warm. The size is the point. A well-designed winter parka isn’t made for going outside and then going in again; it is, quite simply, its own indoor space.

It’s no accident that small parka brands have sprouted up across the North, and that adventurers who spend real time in the cold are devoted to them. Dogsledders know. Go to a dogsled race and you can tell exactly where in the country you are by the parkas people are wearing. If you’re in Fairbanks, you’ll see a lot of Apocalypse Design and Non-Stop. I know of apocalypse because at one time they were buying Lamilite but when I found out they were buying chopped staple fiber and calling it Lamilite I cut them off. They are not a company you can trust. As for non-stop I have never heard of them. If you’re on Minnesota’s north shore, they’re wearing Wintergreen Northern Wear I know of wintergreen, they use my Antarctic sleeping bags and have for years. As for their outerwear I offered the Lamilite but the turned me down to use fleece primarily, not worm material. —and if you’re in Bayfield, they’re wearing Wolfsong. I looked up wolfsong and found they are fashion makers and their insulation is polarteck 300 which is not an insulation. It’s not because dogsledders are hipsters, although, on an individual basis, this may or may not be true. It’s because they need things that function, and small brands exist because there’s a function vacuum in the parka department. They pick up where commercial parka makers leave off. So far I have yet to see any outerwear garment that can function for dog sledding unless you do it in September when the dogs are pulling bikes.

When I asked Justin High of High’s Adventure Gear—a dog gear and parka maker based on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula—why he and his wife, Jaimee, started making and selling their own parkas in 2016, he answered without hesitation: “Because commercial parkas don’t work for us.” The reason? “They’re either designed for cross-country skiing, where you’re doing aerobic exercise the whole time, or ice fishing, where you’re sitting on a bucket. And companies have existing contracts with textile manufacturers, but those textiles don’t work in real cold.” They wanted something that prioritized function for cold-weather fun. These folks missed the boat. They are using from what I read on their web site quilted chopped staple fiberfill. The cheapest you can buy. But their prices are comparable to Wiggy’s.

Let’s say your community doesn’t have its own cult parka, but you want one. What’s a winter-lover to do?

How to Choose Your Parka

First off, let’s not outerwear-shame here: the best coat is the coat that works for you, period. If you’re comfortable in a puffy, or even a hoodie, then that’s what you should wear. But if you’re cold, if you’re limited in your ability to enjoy winter but you want to be warm enough to get the most out of it, here are some parka tips to keep in mind.

  • Think of a parka as a wearable bivvy sack. It doesn’t need to be particularly thick (although it can be), but it needs to contain all your inner layers comfortably. I like my parka sized to fit over a thick sweater or fleece, bibs, and a down puffy if I need one.
  • The longer, the warmer. A parka should reach at least to your hips, but it’s not uncommon to see one that’s thigh- or even knee-length. If you go for a longer parka, look for a two-way zipper or side-zip option for mobility.
  • Anorak styles, which have only a partial zipper and pull on over your head, are warmer than full-zip coats, but can be unwieldy to put on. They’re a good option for long hours outdoors, but can be unwieldy for short jaunts.
  • Look for large outer pockets (for easy access) and inner pockets (to keep snacks and electronics warm).
  • Real fur ruffs serve a purpose: they block wind and shed ice from condensed breath. Performance parkas often come without a ruff, so that you can add the kind you want. An attached faux-fur ruff, which can collect ice, may be a sign that a coat is designed more for style than function.
  • Avoid anything advertised with the word “sleek.”

I find it incomprehensible that Blair Braverman has no knowledge of Wiggy’s. what I did not print was the 4 or 5 parkas she thinks are good. The reality is they are not. and if she is so knowledgeable, she should start her own company making arctic outerwear.

She is just another useless writer who I believe picked a good subject to show what you shouldn’t buy versus what you should buy.

Blair Braverman there is a reason why Wiggy’s is the dominant seller of parkas and bibs not only to the oil field workers on the north slope, dog mushers and people in general who live in Alaska and that is because what Wiggy’s makes are the warmest outerwear garments in the world just like our sleeping bags.

Wiggy's Signature

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The First Article I Ever Published I received this article from a customer in January 1992 and decided to publish it since it correctly said what I knew about Goretex but could not put into words. Today I received in the mail two old catalogs from a customer with all of the literature that was sent with [...]

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Wiggy’s Inc.
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