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Should I Do It To All Of Them?

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Recently I noticed in a catalog from a mail order company known as Ranger Joe's that they were marketing a competitors bag rated for use as cold as -58 degrees F.

Knowing that this was nonsense I wrote to the Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc. National Advertising Division, and at their request I also wrote to the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs in the state of Georgia. In essence, I challenged what was being advertised. From the Governor's office I received a copy of a letter that came from the law firm representing Ranger Joe's. The attorney for Ranger Joe's asked the importer in the United States and the manufacturer in England for "supporting/testing documentation of claims contained in their promotional literature." The lawyer further states:
"Unfortunately, the manufacturer is either unwilling or cannot support the claims for the promotional statements contained in the Ranger Joe's catalog."

Therefore, all of the information in the current catalog will not appear in the next catalog. The lawyer goes on to say: "It is regrettable that advertising copy suggested by manufactures and distributors cannot be fully relied upon by clients such as mine." To that I say "bunk." The buyers at Ranger Joe's could care less if the temperature rating were reasonably accurate or not. They should have looked at those numbers and said, "can you prove these ratings?" What if I went after the rest of the sleeping bag makers who sell in the United States? Would I get the same result if I challenged them? Probably, but I won't. It takes too much time, it's my opinion that people are quickly getting enough of an education to know which bags are the best made. Also, almost all of the high-priced sleeping bags you see in stores today are made in China. The companies in China have contacted me. I inquired about the cost of various bags. What they (the Chinese) consider a +20 degree F bag would cost me between $22.00 and $32.00 and a 0 degree bag would cost $43.00. These prices do not include shipping. These bags are sell at retail under well-known brand names for $125.00 to $300.00 each.

I am very proud of the fact that all Wiggy's bags are made in Grand Junction, Colorado, and even the components are made in the United States, including the YKK zippers. (YKK is a Japanese zipper manufacturer).


Several years ago I wrote that the editors of Backpacker magazine were advertiser- oriented and not consumer-oriented. To prove my point, at that time I noted that the Backpacker field testers always slept warm in Thinsulate Liteloft sleeping bags, but the buyers of these bags had a different experience. What these buyers experienced was that Liteloft had almost no heat-retention quality. The same scenario existed for Primaloft. Also, all of the waterproof breathable advertised materials worked for the testers but not for the consumers. The Backpacker testers gave glowing reports on these materials, however, the buyers of products incorporating these materials again had just the opposite experience. One of the industry publications I subscribe to had a most interesting article in their latest addition. It is about a letter written by the publisher of Backpacker, John Viehman. The letter was apparently sent to retailers of outdoor products all over the country. The letter is entitled "How Can I Lighten My Load?" Viehmen says that this question is often asked by the readers of Backpacker. Probably so. He then goes on to state how-well made, light, efficient and functional the products are from the company GoLite. He also states that the products have been "trail- and mountain-tested over thousands of miles and they are constructed of ideal [emphasis added] materials for each application. This ensures that the products perform optimally in the most demanding real-world conditions." A brochure is enclosed. The letter got the proper response from the many retailers, who received it: they were "miffed," according to one retailer interviewed. They viewed the letter as an endorsement of the GoLite products, which I believe was the intention of Mr. Viehman. Apparently Mr. Viehman is delusional about the influence Backpacker actually has in the outdoor marketplace. Do you think he would have written such a letter if GoLite did not advertise in the magazine? No! Do retailers want to be told by a publication what they should carry in their store? No! If the GoLite products were as good as Mr. Viehman suggests in his letter, he would never have had to write it in the first place. Why? because every retailer in the country would already have these products in their store.
Two facts are blatantly clear: Backpacker is definitely promoting a manufacturer because the manufacturer is an advertiser, and second, they are promoting products that they have no knowledge of. The end result therefore, is more erroneous information from the experts in the employ of Backpacker magazine.


From Steve P.
Schenectady, N.Y.
"Here is a story about a Wiggy's bag I found.
Three years ago while canoeing in the Adirondacks I went
bushwacking behind our campsite. After about a half mile I spotted
something about 25 yards away that at first I thought was a body. It
turned out to be one of your 0 degree bags. (I found this out only by
weighing the bag once I returned home and comparing the matching weight
to your catalog.) Anyway the bag was partially in the stuff sack with
the rest having been pulled out and mauled. From the looks of the rips
and the distance the bag must have been carried I can only guess a black
bear must have been involved. The amazing thing is that only the nylon
shell was damaged (about a 22' x 22' square in the head/shoulder area of
the bag along with an 18" tear near the zipper, and numerous 2"-3" rips
all over). The fill was totally intact and only needed to be stuffed
back in. The same thing with the pillow that I found nearby-nylon
totally destroyed, with the fill in great condition. After a washing, an
extra large patch job and numerous smaller patches with ripstop tape,
the bag is as good as new! I've used it on a spring climb of Mt.
Rainier, numerous winter trips tto the White Mountains of New Hampshire
and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks as well.
Thanks for making a bag tough enough to take this kind of animalistic

Editors note: I have wondered how well the fiber would stand up to the
power of a bear's bite. Now I know.

From Sue M., in Michigan
"Dear Wiggys,
Just to let you know my husband purchased a sleeping bag from
Wiggy's last year to take on a Canadian caribou hunt. He was very
pleased with your product and raves to his hunting buddies about his
sleeping bag. I was very glad to hear it kept him warm and dry on this
hunt as I was worried about the element's etc."

From Joe P. Newberry, Michigan

"Dear Wiggy,
Thanks for your newsletter! I agree completely with your opinion of
Goretex. Fortunately my experience didn't cost me money, just
discomfort. I found a Goretex rain jacket left behind by a fellow camper
years ago. It didn't take long to find out why it was left behind. Wear
the jacket in the rain-you won't be soaked by the rain but by profuse
sweating. Happy I didn't buy it!
Please send me your new hunting catalog."

From Bobby Woods, Payson, Arizona

"Dear Wiggy's,
That’s one hell of a sleeping bag! I'm 69 years old on social
security and certain purchases must be of high quality. (A winter coat,
a hunting knife, etc.) The bag I chose will double as a comforter on my
bed. Your statement "to purchase any other brand of sleeping bag would
be a waste of money" really hit home. I believed you then and I believe
you now."

From David Chizum, Valley Mills, Texas

"Dear Wiggy and people,
On the basis of my experience with my son's bag (he got it while
living in Grand Junction), which, by the way, I took to Tibet with me to
the northern Everest base camp, I've decided to place an order with you.

One Super Light-Purple-long and wide, with appropriate-sized compression
stuff sack.
For your information I plan to use the bag this coming fall and winter
on the first ever transit along the entire border between Mexico and the
U.S., and I want to be prepared for those rare occasions when the
weather down there gets brutally cold."
Editors note: I have supplied bags to the border patrol in that area.

July 9, 2001Dear Wiggy:
Thought you might like a copy of this picture, which shows my Ultima Thule drying out at 14,000 feet on Mt. McKinley after a storm this May. The peak in the background is Foraker (17,000 ft.). At this camp and at high camp (17,200 ft.) temperatures at night almost always dropped to -40¼ F, with a good deal of moisture in the tent. The size of the bag (XL XW) let me sleep in all my clothes, something you have to do at those temps. (You also sleep in clothes in case your tent blows away.) The black fabric absorbs heat and dried quickly.

Thanks for the great bag!Auden Schendler

"I've always under-rated the Ultima Thule - I rate it at -20 F. As you can see, it does perform at much colder temperatures."

"The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else."

Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)-The State

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Corporate Office & Factory

To place an order, please contact our corporate office & factory at:

Wiggy’s Inc.
PO Box 2124
Grand Junction, CO 81502

Store Location

2482 Industrial Blvd  •  Grand Junction, CO
(970) 241-6465

+1 (866) 411-6465 f:  (970) 241•5921 e:  

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