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The Internet

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Wiggy's Inc. is now on the Internet. Some of you may know that I started to respond to questions and comments on Gear Talk at the Backpacker Web site. Unfortunately, some readers of the site took my responses to be free advertising and displayed an attitude of lack of interest in learning.

Therefore, I have purchased my own Web site. Its purpose is to publish the newsletter, answer questions, as well as introducing new products. The basic line of products will not be shown. I prefer for people to call for the catalog. The Web site address is www.wiggys.com.

SWEDISH GREENLAND' 97 EXPEDITION

On the 9th of April 1997 two men walked 650 kilometers across Greenland. Unbeknownst to me, they had purchased Antarctic bags from my Swedish representative. The following comment was noted in their diary regarding the performance of the bags.

April 30, 11th day. "The first real cold day on the ice. At bedtime our thermometer showed -39C. Convinced by previous experiences of other sleeping bags that it would be a chilly night with bad sleep, we entered our bags.

When I woke up later at night and looked at the thermometer it appeared to be -44C. To my surprise I wasn't cold. Not the slightest tendency of chill; as a matter of fact, I was closer to sweat than chill!

Obviously, Wiggy's statement that this bag had a comfort temperature down to -50C was correct. Very pleased, I went back to sleep. That night we discovered that Wiggy's does stand up to their promises!

A warm, lofty, yet well ventilating and surprisingly thin insulation combined with the black fabric makes the moisture very quickly vented away when the bag is hung up and aired, even at very low temperatures. This is of very big significance for avoiding buildup of ice in the insulation, which deteriorates the efficiency of the insulation drastically. In an extreme climate like in Greenland this can mean the difference between life and death.

The long zipper makes it very easy entering and leaving the bag. An efficient zipper protection prevents cold air from leaking in. A good sleeping bag!

Ola Skinnarmo

I f you speak Swedish, you can read the entire adventure on the Internet. Their Web site is www.greenland-97se.

WATERPROOF AND VAPOR PERMEABLE

My August newsletter created more of a stir than I expected, which I am pleased to have happen. Some readers even went as far as asking if one firm or another legal counsel had ever contacted me. The answer is No.

My comments specifically about materials that are touted as waterproof and breathable are not new to the industry. As an example: During the month of February 1977, I was an exhibitor at the National Sporting Goods Association trade show. I had a company known as Olam Outdoor Sports Products. Amongst the products produced was rainwear.

The Gore Co. as a customer solicited me. To the best of my knowledge this was the first outdoor products trade show for them.

The way they presented their product was a giveaway that it would not work as originally advertised.

A glass pot was partially filled with water and placed on a burner. The Gore film was stretched over the pot and secured. A glass cylinder was placed over the film, with a glass plate on top of the cylinder. The water was boiling, creating steam. The steam naturally rose and passed through the film. When the water vapor reached the glass plate, it condensed, and as the water was accumulating on the plate it increased in weight and fell to the film. The water droplets were too big to go back through the film into the pot. Also, the pressure of the rising steam would not allow it to go back.

Several retail storeowners were in awe of this demonstration. I asked the Gore representative giving the demonstration a question. I asked if he could introduce me to only one human being whose perspiration rate was comparable to water boiling. I further stated that if he could introduce me to this hypothetical person, I would start using his product immediately. The man to whom I was speaking was Bobby Gore; and to date, I have yet to meet that hypothetical person.

If the demonstration utilized a laminated piece of fabric, the fabric would have billowed out like a sail on a sailboat. The amount of vapor coming through the fabric would probably have been 20 or 25 percent of what the unadulterated film will allow through. Imagine how much less vapor comes through the laminates when the source of vapor is the human body.

I do not want to belabor my point that these products don't work any longer. When Bobby Gore reads my newsletter, if he ever gets a copy, he is not reading anything new from me. I told him in 1977 that his product didn't work as advertised, and that it would never work as advertised. At the time all that saw the product wanted it to work. A few were in my camp, even Evon Chinoud, owner of Patagonia, and he stated as much in his catalog years ago. Today my camp is huge and growing.

The Gore product must rely on new buyers, who have yet to receive an education in the fallacy of the product. As P.T. Barnum said " you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." For a while longer they will continue to fool some, but as we have seen Lite Loft go by the wayside, we will see these products follow suit.

To all who purchase products that are made with these materials, all I will say is you have wasted your money.

With respect to some company's legal counsel, contacting me, it will not happen. They know that they cannot prove their claims in a court of law.

INSULATIONS

The Outdoor Retailer Show took place the first part of August. At the show some retailers discussed the fact that Polarguard 3D was on the return wagon. Further, I read on the net, specifically the BACKPACKER Gear Talk site that people are beginning to show signs of displeasure with sleeping bags insulated with the product. One person said that his bag was OK in mild temperatures, but washing damaged the bag. He intends on returning it.

Question: Do the fiberfill makers or the other manufacturers of bags ever tune into the Net? Yes, and they ignore what the general public is learning about their products, whether they are finished products or the components that go into them.

Do these manufacturers try to improve their products? No! Why? Because, they would have to think in order to improve the product. They would have to think about the problem at hand, and then think of what steps they need to take to eliminate the problem. This is the opposite of the knee jerk reactions that they have been employing, namely, spending more advertising dollars, from the fiber merchant to the sleeping bag manufacturer.

They also present skewed facts. In the 3-M Co. literature it clearly states "when washed and dried 10 times under military field laundering conditions, Thinsulate Lite Loft insulation retained 92% of its initial warmth value, compared with a competitive product which retained only 85% of its initial value after only 5 such launderings".

What the literature leaves out is the original temperature rating of the bag.

Also, the literature references the army purchase of 35 bags each using several different types of insulation. 3-M's claim that their bag and another bag made with the Polarguard HV were the only bags that met all of the field-use criteria. Who is there to question that statement? Me!

I was the manufacturer of all of those bags. The types of insulation involved were Lamilite, Polarguard HV, Lite Loft, Micro Loft, Primaloft and a fiberfill product called Ultra Fiber. All of the bags were constructed exactly the same, contrary to their statement of different construction techniques. All of the fiberfills were laminated to the nylon fabric. All of the bags were made exactly like all Wiggy bags.

The only bags to become finalists were the Wiggy bags and the Polarguard HV bags. According to the marines that actually used the bags, the Wiggy bags were the overwhelming choice.

You may recall, in a prior newsletter, my comment about a temperature probe inserted in the tester's rectums. Well, this was the test, in the laboratory. There the testers thought the Lamilite bags and the Polarguard HV bags were about the same. Hence, bid packages were sent out and the Polarguard HV bags were the ones purchased, based on price.

As I have reported, they have yet to perform, but the marines and Army are still buying them.

Primaloft in the Albany International literature states that the U.S. Army requested that Albany develop a truly water-repellent "synthetic down." What they don't say is that they were the low bidders on not one but two contracts awarded them by Natick Labs (owned by the U.S. Army). It was to develop a synthetic alternative to down. Have they done it? No!

They further make a big deal comparing the Primaloft to all other fiberfills, except Lamilite. My suspicion is that they have purchased Wiggy's bags and found that their product does not come remotely close to Lamilite, as an insulation medium in sleeping bags or in anything else.

One last note about certain people in the employ of Albany: they lie. One individual in particular has been quoted in trade media that they are the inventors of the Primaloft. I have a copy of the patent, and this person's name does not appear on any of the six pages.

And finally, we have a material I wrote about several newsletters back known as "OUTLAST", a phase change material.

It was originally developed for NASA and the U.S. Air Force. I have lots of dealings with the Air Force, and thus far have found no one in the Air Force knows about it. In any event, this material according to their literature "eliminates the inherent limitations of traditional insulation by minimizing the reliance on trapped air." Instead it is proposed that the wax encased in microscopic balls (micro-encapsulated), will absorb the heat that you produce, and when you stop producing heat these little balls of heat will be released back to you.

They obviously don't know that a wall for example, that is 12 inches thick, made of steel will not retain heat as well as a wall 6 inches thick made of wood. The reason is simple; there are dead air spaces in the wood, in contrast to steel, which is solid. In addition, they exhibit no knowledge of physics. Heat moves away from the source, never to return. It moves in one direction!

But, they are spending literally thousands of dollars advertising to the trade and will soon spend at least as much advertising to the public. You needn't believe me. A product with this material, is a waste of money.

Soon you will hear or read about "moisture management materials and or finishes" applied to them. As I become more familiar with the explanations of how these materials are supposed to work, I'll on report them.

TRUTH: Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.

-Ayn Rand in For The New Intellectual (Galt's Speech)

INTEGRITY: Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence. That man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions. That, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him. That courage and confidence are practical necessities. That courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to truth, and confidence is the practical form of being true to one's own consciousness.

-Ayn Rand in For The New Intellectual (Galt's Speech)


KNOWLEDGE: "Knowledge" is a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation.
Ayn Rand, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" (1979)

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