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Overboots

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When I told the Marine Corps about the new Herman Survivor boots, they asked about an overboot. They wanted an overboot that could be used with existing issue combat boots. It had to be as light as possible, easy to put on, and had to perform to -25 degrees. The weight of large size is 12 ounces each. I had made several custom Joe Redington mukluks that are rear entry, so this became rear entry for ease of putting on; if you wear a good sock like the Smartwool brand, -25 is not a problem.

The sole is the same construction as I use for the Joe Redington mukluk. The upper shell is a waterproof 600 denier polyester and the lining is 200 denier oxford nylon, also waterproof laminated to the L-6 Lamilite. In addition, there is a one-inch web strap that goes around the ankle to hold it in place.

Hunters, you can now have warm feet if you are in a tree stand. You needn't take the boots off if you have to get out of the tree in a hurry. There are products on the market that you put on when you get into your stationary position. These were not made for walking. With the Wiggy overboots, however, you will be able to walk, run and, to some degree, climb.

They are made to fit all hiking or hunting boots.

HERMAN SURVIVOR BOOTS


I've had these boots field-tested in Alaska this summer. The primary tester has been a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The main mission of his department is to catch poachers. The officer, Corky, was testing the boots in conjunction with the insulated flotation suit.

At this time I do not have his written report and pictures, but I will share his comments. Corky went into ankle-high water and found the boots totally waterproof. The water temperature was about 40 degrees. His feet were never cold, even though he had been wading for quite awhile. He then went into water deep enough to fill the boots. After the initial shock of the water in the boot, and since it was not flushing out, his feet became warm very quickly. When he got out of the water, he took off the boots and noted that they dried in about six hours.

My theory as to why they dried so quickly rests on the fact that Lamilite was the insulation material. The leather will not absorb water as long as it is maintaining its waterproof finish. Therefore, the only part of the boot that will retain moisture is the insulation. Look at any other brand of insulated boot and you will find the manufacturer has used foam or a felted fiber fabric. These materials absorb and retain moisture, while the Lamilite doesn't. Hence, the reason the boot dried out so quickly.

Enclosed is more information about these two new products.

Corky's comments about the insulated flotation suit were equally positive. Where he was fishing were black flies. Apparently they get to be pretty bad, so he jumped into the water and floated around for awhile to get relief, just like moose do. Because water gets into the suit and doesn't flush out, after a few minutes the 40-degree water warmed up and he felt fine.

I watched a program on PBS about the effects of cold-water immersion. There were many scenes of people being rescued from 50-degree waters. There was an interview with a British scientist who was studying the effects of being submerged. The primary observation, which most impressed me, was that swimming used much of the body's heat. As he explained it, when you swim, heat moves from the torso to the muscles of the arms and legs. He explained that you make your arms and legs into radiators. You deplete your body heat very quickly with this form of action.

When you wear the insulated flotation suit you float on your back naturally. As I have noted previously: "no matter how I fell into the water, I wound up on my back." Therefore, it is the natural position to be in when you wear the insulated float suit and fall into the water. When you float you are relaxed and consume the least amount of energy.

Presently, the Airforce is also testing the suit. When military transports fly over water, all personnel must wear an immersion suit. This is probably the most comfortable one they have ever tested.

One of the Iditarod racers wore one in this year's race. His response was excellent. The temperatures he encountered were in the -40 to -65 degree range. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance in those temperatures. Part of the reason for its excellent performance is due to the fact that the exterior fabric is not only waterproof-coated but is also laminated to the foam. This significantly adds to the wind resistance of the fabric. Of course, there is the layer of Lamilite as well.

UPDATE ON MILITARY PURCHASE OF SLEEPING BAGS


Last year I reported that the Army and Marine Corps had purchased thousands of sleeping-bag systems and Goretex bivi bags. A supplier who deals with the contractor awarded the contracts told me that they have not been consummated. Just being low bidder doesn't mean you get the work automatically.

I was delighted to hear this for three reasons; one, it means soldiers will not be issued a product that doesn't perform; two, we are saving tax dollars; and, three, I am receiving small orders for my system, which does perform.

There are two reasons why these contracts may have been held up. One, maybe the government wants to save money, and two, maybe someone acknowledged the many complaints from soldiers, who have been issued the bags, and has put a hold on further purchases.

TESTING


This past year we supplied a number of dog-mushers who competed in the Yukon Quest sleddog race. It starts in Fairbanks, Alaska and ends in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. It is run in February. It is somewhat colder than the Iditarod.

I am happy to say that next year most every dog-musher for this race will have some Wiggy gear with him. The Canadian government agencies located in the area are also ordering Wiggy clothing.

With the help of many of the people who ran the race or worked at the race in some capacity, we have developed what may be the warmest mittens ever made. I call them Arctic Extreme. They are two-part mittens. An insert made with one layer of 6-ounce Lamilite and a shell made with a double layer of 12-ounce Lamilite throughout. It has a high gauntlet as well. The temperatures were -40/-50 for days, and not one person complained of cold hands.

This type of testing can not ever be done in a laboratory; maybe some day other manufacturers in this industry will realize that and go into the field in the same spirit as I do. Available in small to extra large, black only at $160.00 a pair.

JOE REDINGTON 1917-1999
For those of you who don't know who he was, Joe Redington started the Iditarod Dogsled Race.

Since I was a supplier of clothing and sleeping bags to many of the races, I was known to most people involved in the race. When Joe had a problem getting a company to make the mukluk he designed, he called me to see if I would make them. My initial response was yes, even though I had never seen a mukluk. As you know, I've been making them for eight or nine years now.

I had the opportunity to speak with Joe many times, but I have yet to visit Alaska so I never met him face to face, which I am very sorry about.

Joe fits the category of a hero of sorts. He represents what American people did at one time in the U.S. in large numbers, and that is to be single-minded of purpose, to accomplish something without infringing on anyone else's space. When he first proposed the idea of this dog race, people in Alaska thought it was crazy. Without going into detail, it is now a 3-million-dollar event and brings several thousand people to Alaska every March, as spectators, which is good for the Alaskan economy.

He was not a native of Alaska, but he was certainly considered a native son. He will be missed by all that knew him.

I received the following letter from him after he finished the Iditarod race.

3/20/92
Dear Jerry,
Just returned from Nome. We had a cold race this year. We used a lot of sleeping bags in the last 50 years, but none as good as the Wiggy's bag. We had -40 degrees, to as much as 56 degrees below zero, for several days. I never once got cold; it's so roomy and soft. We'll be ordering more for our Alaska Tour. The boots were also tested and proved okay. Thanks for everything. We'll be talking to you soon. So long for now, Joe Sr. Joe told me he thought steam was coming out of the bag. It was his body perspiration condensing and freezing. Since the atmosphere is so dry, the atmosphere basically sucks the moisture away.

Joe was 76 that year, a remarkable achievement for a man his age to complete the Iditarod.

Wiggy's Signature

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