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Erroneous Information

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I do not know about other industries other than the outdoor industry so I wonder if people with knowledge in other industries experience seeing, reading the many talk forums pertaining to that industry and also see, read erroneous information.


People who are I expect legitimate ask questions about one product or another and someone else chimes in with an answer; offering advice etc. then a second and a third and so on. When it comes to the outdoor industry the greater majority of the information offered in these forums is erroneous, unfortunately.

It has been some 30 years since “waterproof-breathable” (wb) fabric was introduced to the market place initially for rain wear and as a shell fabric for use in the manufacture of down sleeping bags. Try and buy a down sleeping bag made with a wb shell today. If you can find one it is 1980 or so vintage. People found out very quickly the combination of materials did not work. However, people are trying to make the wb work in rain wear and bivi bags. Virtually everybody using these items discovers in short order that the wb material does not allow the moisture from the inside out. But, they try to compensate in some manner, again to no avail. I read recently about hunters (hunter oriented web site) who used bivi bags. The initiator of the discussion complained that he had condensation between the top of the sleeping bag and the inside of the bivi bag that had frosted (18 degrees) and was asking what he did wrong. About 10 responses said they had the same experience but they offered some remedies possibly. Obviously he as they did nothing wrong; the product just didn’t work as advertised.

I make two bivi bags; one is waterproof and you will have condensation in it, no question about it. The other the Single Person Bivi Shelter will not for all intents and purposes. Why because the initial top layer of the bivi is a layer of insulation that is “vapor permeable” and the second layer which is exposed to the atmosphere is a water proof layer. Condensation will appear between the two layers and that is just the way it is. The outer layer is waterproof fabric so it keeps the rain out. This is physics and physical properties do not change. Here is a situation that the marketers of the wb material have claimed the impossible and they have said so, so often now they believe it.

I read also on the same hunting web forum about a fellow who wants a -20 degree sleeping bag for his boys. I believe they are less than 10 years of age. He is being told to go to REI or Campmor or get a custom bag Feathered Friends or maybe even Western Mountaineering. The reality is these companies do not have -20 degree bags that perform for adults, how then one can expect they will have one for a 10 year old.. One poster said the kids have more body heat than adults; he is a jack ass. In reality kids that young do not have much muscle mass so their heat making capability is significantly less than that of an adult male. If the original poster were to listen to this guy his boys would probably freeze to death. If he posed the question to me I would ask a lot of questions; such as where will you be hunting, sea level or in the Rocky Mountains? Do you have good ground pads, will you be in a tent. What type of clothing do you have for these kids? If it is the sea level location I would recommend the Ultima Thule or the Super Light FTRSS. If it is in the mountains then the bag would definitely be the system.

I have been selling the Super Light FTRSS to the boy scouts in the state of Alaska for about 12 years and have yet to hear of one scout not sleeping. If you are warm you sleep, if you are cold you do not; there are no cold sleepers; just cold people who can’t sleep because they are cold. I read constantly about cold sleepers but when I question someone who tells me they are one I ask if in fact they actually slept and the answer is always no. Ultimately I would strongly recommend he go with the system. Maybe he will call.

Wicking underwear is another of the products that the fabric makers have hyped so much they actually believe the synthetic materials they produce wick moisture. This is another bogus claim coming from those who will profit from the sale either of the material or finished product; to the unsuspecting public. I commented on one web site the explanation of wicking or wicking action. One of the other posters told me the person I was having the discussion with is an aerospace engineer so my delving into physics was something I should consider because this guy is an aerospace engineer. I discovered the aerospace engineer has a web site where he reviews products; raw materials and finished product. He endeavored to write about the continuous filament fiber product trade named Climashield. He should stick with aerospace engineering.

The synthetic fabric producers who claim wick-ability of their fabric know it will not wick which is the ability of material to absorb moisture which moves from the source your body to the atmosphere if possible. What they do is load the fiber up with something like silicone so some of the moisture while still in a vapor state slides through the spaces between the yarns that comprise the fabric. The movement of what ever vapor there is through these spaces is not wicking but vapor permeability. However, the greater bulk of the moisture produced about 80 percent or more is trapped between the inside of the fabric and your skin surface. The aerospace engineer in my opinion is simply being arbitrary for the sake of.

Actually you don’t want your first layer to wick anyway, you don’t want it to trap the moisture at all, hence wear fishnets and the problem is solved. All moisture exits through the holes of the fishnets and where it goes is of no concern since it can no longer touch your skin surface which is the problem with close knit first layer underwear regardless if it is natural or synthetic fiber composition.

These discussions come and go and the amount of factual information that one can glean from these forums is marginal at best. When someone does post a truly factual response they are beaten down. Truth does not appear to be wanted by posters on internet forums. If it were to be recognized a substantial number of posters would not have there presence on the forum. They present themselves as modest know it all’s, not wanting to sound absolute about the subject, but just enough to make some think they do know. I may be wrong but I believe they like having anonymity.  

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