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Perception

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During the latter part of summer 1996 and continuing into the fall of the year, almost all sleeping bag manufactures who used Lite Loft as their insulation--and almost all retailers--started to "dump" these bags at cost or below wholesale prices.

The answer why they did this is simple. The bags were being returned almost as fast as they were being sold, and they were no longer being bought. Consumers who had no particular knowledge of synthetic fiberfill for insulation purposes had acquired knowledge very quickly and passed it on to friends--that the Lite Loft didn't work.

When I heard that R.E.I was one of the retailers on the dumping wagon, I called one of their product engineers to discuss the situation and offer to sell them Lamilite bags. They chose not to even consider my bag. But this fellow, as well as the sleeping bag buyer, said it was a pity they were forced to walk away from the Lite Loft because it tested better than any synthetic insulation they had ever tested, including Lamilite.

I also asked why they didn't continue to promote their bags with Lite Loft. They told me that the general public's perception of flat bags was that they wouldn't keep them warm. The same comments months later were made to me by the fellow who operates the plastic mannequin, known as Fred, in the testing laboratory. Were all three of these guys at the same meeting and one of them (or someone else) said, "It's the public's perception that the stuff doesn't work." Who knows?

It is obvious that they are misusing the word "perception"--in the sense of an unfounded belief. They don't want to give their customers credit for interpreting and knowing what is true.

When you are cold in a sleeping bag, and you note how flat it is, your consciousness retains that information, and you associate flat bags as not warm bags. Therefore, you choose not to buy a flat bag, or one that you know will go flat very quickly. You are dealing with reality, they are not.

INSULATIONS AND LAMILITE

How many of you have given thought to why the manufacturers of supposed high quality sleeping bags change synthetic insulations almost every year? They do so in hope of finding a product that works. Unfortunately, they choose not to think or go into the field and test for themselves the materials available to them.

I have been using Lamilite since mid- October 1986. For all intents and purposes it is no different today than it was when I first used it. I have looked at all of the various fiberfills that have come along since and found that they are, for the most part, throwbacks to the products that were being made when I first entered the business of selling fiberfills in May 1961.

As I have stated in the past, those other fiberfills weren't good as sleeping bag insulations then, and that hasn't changed.

Lamilite has continued to enlighten me with its functional abilities as an insulation. The first of its many characteristics is its ability to maintain its loft--with your help. Since the fiber is silicone-coated, it slips and slides away from whatever it touches. But if it is subjected to excessive oil (body oil) and dirt, the fibers will begin to stick together. Therefore, when you wash your sleeping bag, you clean the fibers so they can once again slip and slide away from each other, thereby ensuring continued retention of loft.

The density of Lamilite is significantly greater than any of the other fiberfills or down, so the movement of heated air, which is rising from your body, is stifled for a very long time. But, the moisture emitted from your body has no trouble finding its way through the fiber to the outside of the bag. This appeared to me as a riddle, until I realized that the heat contained in the bag is adequate to keep the moisture in its vapor state until it reaches the outside surface of the bag where it condenses.

Water as a liquid has shown that it has absolutely no adverse effect on the Lamilite. Many times in the field, people who own Wiggy bags have experienced their bags getting wet to the point of being soaked. In all cases they have found that they sleep warm and dry, and that the bag is dry in the morning. The silicone coating will not allow the water molecules to attach themselves to the fiber, so the water simply runs out of the bag.

Here is an example of how well the fiber works in warding off the effects of water on it: A group of 11 men left Anchorage, Alaska, on snowmachines to travel the ice pack from Nome to about the Alaska- Canadian border this past March. They started up the Iditirod trail two days before the start of the Iditirod Race. It was a fundraising activity. On the second day one machine broke through the ice, and the fellow driving it broke his back in, I think, three places. He was pulled from the water, undressed and placed in his sleeping bag, a Wiggy Antarctic FTRSS, which all 11 men had purchased from me. The temperature was -28 degrees. When the rescue helicopter arrived, he was warm. One month after he was operated on, he was back at work on a part-time basis. I believe he is alive today as a direct result of Lamilite's abilities to trap and retain heat. His friends, who have lived in Alaska for 30 years or more, couldn't believe that he survived, and in such good fashion.

My hypothermia bag is standard equipment on almost all of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopters, and is now being placed on the cutters. Water does not effect the function of Lamilite.

The weight of Lamilite has shown that it allows me to make sleeping bags that are lighter than any other manufacturer has ever produced for each and every temperature range and, in some cases, in temperature ranges nobody has ever made bags for.

I have posted on the Internet discussion about the weight of my bags. Almost all of the comments noted that Wiggy bags are heavier than those of companies like The North Face, Marmot, Western Mtn. and Mountain Hardwear, to name a few. But are they? As an example, the TNF model called the Cats Meow which is rated to a low temperature of + 20 degrees weighs two pounds 14 ounces is 71 inches long, and is 30 inches wide at the shoulder. My Ultra Light, also a +20 degree bag, weighs three pounds 8 ounces. The size for a regular/ regular is 80 inches long and 31 inches wide. Upon reading the Backpacker Gear Guide from April 1997, I noted that all of the above manufacturers produce bags that are lighter than mine, for the same temperature rating and they are also smaller. In addition, I do not believe they are accurately rated. I do not believe they will retain adequate heat from the user to justify the rating. By returning them, users of these bags are stating that the bags are not performing.

Therefore, the question is, are Wiggy bags heavier than those of other manufacturers, rated for equal temperatures? No.

If the other manufacturers were to use my patterns, the weight of their bags would obviously increase. But they still wouldn't perform any better. Therefore, they would have to downgrade the colder-temperature-rated bags to a warmer rating, and those bags would still be heavier. The answer to the question becomes obvious: the Wiggy bags are lighter.

Also, Lamilite is remarkably compressible. I will only mention the stuff size of the Antarctic model: the extra long wide body (90 inches X 34 inches), weighing 7 pounds, fits into an 11 inch x 23 inch compression stuff sack. The Antarctic bag is the only true -60 degree bag made in the world. Knowing how small the Antarctic bag stuffs should give you an idea of how small the warmer temperature bags can be stuffed, which are lighter in weight.

When I first started using this fiber, all I knew was that it was the best insulator available. I now know, both from personal use and, more important, consumer use, how good Lamilite truly is.

CORRECTIONS

In the September newsletter I made two mistakes. Apologies to Yvon Chinouard for misspelling your name.

I attributed a comment to P.T. Barnum that should have gone to Abraham Lincoln.

If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

To a caller at the White. From ALEXANDER K. McCLURE, Lincoln's Yarns and Stories (1904)

Having learned the true source of the statement made me think that the many legislators who are elected to office at all levels of government should take heed in what Lincoln said.


The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception. A "perception" is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things. An animal is guided, not merely by immediate sensations, but by percepts. Its actions are not single, discrete responses to a single, separate stimuli, but are directed by an integrated awareness of the perceptual reality confronting it. It is able to grasp the perceptual concretes immediately present and it is able to form automatic perceptual associations, but it can go no further.

Ayn Rand, The Objectivist Ethics


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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