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The Failed Sleeping Bag

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For the past two years I have written about the desire on the part of the Marines to acquire a new sleeping bag since they have had several years to finally learn the bag they originally had, a bastardization of my two bag system hasn’t performed in the field as planned. The most recent article I wrote; January 2010 also expresses some aspects of their new bags failure to keep the Marine warm. I have recently heard through the grape vine another aspect of the new bags failure. The zipper!

When I first read the solicitation notice for this new bag it stated that one of the properties required was for the Marine to exit the bag in 10 seconds if necessary. Further in the notice was written the type of zipper to be installed in the bag; a number 8 coil zipper that had water repellent characteristics. This means the zipper tape is coated with a surface similar to a urethane coating. The zipper is then installed in the bag with the coil teeth facing inside the bag. The zipper slider is a non-locking type so the slider is supposed to run back down the teeth (coil) easily when pressure is applied. Since the zipper is manufactured by YKK I asked the YKK representatives when they recently visited me about the zipper. They said it was virtually impossible for the slider to freely run back allowing the zipper to open easily.

Aside from the lack of insulation to keep the Marine warm in the conditions the bag was made for now we know he can’t get out easily. I wonder how many of the almost 20,000 that have been produced that have been issued have broken zippers? Both problems must be pretty severe since there is now a delay in the issuing of a solicitation to bid on a large quantity of these bags. That is a good thing, we do not want the government to buy more product that doesn’t work as desired by the adopters of this particular product.

The genius who created this product has yet to make a sleeping bag in the 20 plus years that I know him that has ever worked for the purpose it was intended. Those who adopted his product at Natick Laboratories and all of their predecessors since 1968 when I first started to “try” to work with them also have never made a sleeping bag that has worked; this would be in conjunction with a factory that does make or has the ability to make a sleeping bag. Those who work at Natick today has confirmed to me how well my bag; one they purchased does work for the intended purpose. They purchased one of my Ultima Thule sleeping bags which I conservatively rate for use at -20 degrees F, which the U.S. Navy rates for -35 degrees F; the Natick testing confirmed these ratings.

Now I ask, if one Wiggy bag performs at a temperature below the manufacturer’s recommendation as per their testing at Natick Laboratory that is, doesn’t it make “sense” to pursue the other bags rated for different temperatures from that manufacturer. Maybe just maybe the company in this case Wiggy’s Inc. will have a bag that does meet their needs, such as the Super Light FTRSS which has proven itself since its inception on the market in 1993 to perform as stated by Wiggy’s, from summer time use to -40 degrees F and lower as has been reported. The success of this bag system has been 100 percent, not one failure and of the many thousands sold more than 65 percent has been to the military. Of course the key word here is “sense”, something they at Natick avoid like the plague using “sense” from acquired knowledge that is the knowledge they have now acquired from their own testing.

They will not do that; possibly never will because if they do let us say adopt my bag that means they will have accepted my construction method as well as the fiber weights that I use. The reason for non-acceptance is as simple as there is, it will terminate any further legitimate need to test insulation since the continuous filament fiber that I use is the absolute best raw material for insulation ever produced; man made or grown on an animal.

When I first met Brian Emanuel the sales representative for Harvest Consumer Insulation the manufacturer of Climashield the continuous filament fiber used to make Lamilite I asked if he had children, he said yes and they were under 10 years of age at the time. I then told him when they were my age the continuous filament fiber would still be the best raw material available or in 100 years that statement would also be true. To learn more about Climashield go to their web site www.climashield.com. The weights that I have incorporated for each temperature has proven to work (I have tried other weights but none has worked) at the temperatures I have wanted my bags to perform. The construction method of eliminating the quilting and replacing it with the lamination of the continuous filament fiberfill to the nylon makes it possible to economically manufacture these bags. Of course adopting my manufacturing method would mean those companies who bid on the large government contracts would have the need to get the Climashield which is used by these companies who make the Government Issue bag, only in much lighter weights and of course quilting it would now need to laminate the fiber. I have in the past offered to do just that for any of these companies as well as the rest of the consumer oriented manufacturers such as The North Face, Marmot, Sierra Designs and Mountain Hardwear to name a few. Tragically for them not a one has ever accepted the offer. Mountain Hardwear has demonstrated how much they want to make a Wiggy bag under their own name, they have named their line of synthetic bags “Lamina” why because it is as close as they can come to “Lamilite”. Being copied is the greatest form of flattery. The only problem with their bag is the chopped staple fiberfill product they use. Their temperature rating is erroneous and the fiberfill will collapse and the bags will other wise be useless.

All I can say at this time is that Wiggy’s bags are getting more and more exposure in the military as well as civilian markets at this time. Maybe as I believe one day in the not to distant future all of the other brands will be making Lamilite insulated sleeping bags. And since Lamilite is only made in America their bags will be made here as well.

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