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Sleeping Bag Weights and Temperature Rating

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For as many years as I have been associated with the outdoor industry (starting 1961) when it came to sleeping bags the manufacturers were always striving for the lightest weight and most compactable sleeping bag per temperature rating that they could make. In the early years the insulation material of choice was down. There was good reason to use down; what was available in the synthetic market was only chopped staple polyester fiberfill. The down bag manufacturers discarded any thoughts of using the synthetic because they did not want to compete with the lower priced bag manufactures who did use it. That of course changed in 1968 when the continuous filament fiberfill; Polar Guard was introduced into the market place. Polar Guard was 6 times more expensive than the chopped fiberfill so they gave it a shot. Unfortunately these down bag manufacturers never examined this new fiberfill insulation product to learn how best to use it. The fact that Wiggy’s has over the past 22 years grown to be the largest single producer of quality sleeping bags in the world does not make a difference to these companies. Over the years I have offered to sell each of these companies the Lamilite so they too could make my bag under their label. Why is Wiggy’s the largest of quality sleeping bags (?) because the bags work as advertised.

For several years I have been reading on web sites such as the backpacker web site forum about people getting down or synthetic bags that are supposedly rated for the sake of this article plus 20 degrees F since that is generally the temperature condition most backpackers chose to go out in. The problem these backpackers discover about these bags is the bag rating falls very far short of the mark. Plus 20 becomes plus 35 or 40 degrees F. They report this on the forum and ask what they can do to compensate so they can get to plus 20. Now they get a long list of suggestions, primarily to add a “quilt” liner of one sort or another. It could be as simple as a poncho liner or they can buy material and make their own. Another solution is a fleece liner or a fleece over bag; I did not know this product even existed. The fleece fiber would be a magnet for dirt and debris.

The weight of the original bag maybe 3 pounds and of course the liner is 1 ½ pounds.
Used together you will be warmer to a point, but not to plus 20 degrees. You also have two stuff sacks and you are carrying 4 ½ pounds.

If these backpackers were to buy a Wiggy’s Ultra Light depending upon size the weight varies from 3 ¼ pounds to 4 ¼ pounds. Also, the plus 20 degree rating is conservative. Less weight, accurate rating, plus the other accouterments such as launder-ability and life time guarantee. Some of those who post go ballistic when someone suggests they get a Wiggy’s bag. They readily admit the bags do work to keep you warm but the drawback is their weight. One last aspect of the benefit of owning a Wiggy’s bag is the cost, much less than the other bags available specifically when you take into consideration the other bags need to compensate for their lack of warmth.

The sleeping bags that the forum posters talk of that do not perform as advertised come from the companies that I have tried to sell the Lamilite too.

Someone started a discussion on the backpacker gear forum asking about increasing the warm of their Mountain Hardwear “lamina” + 35 degree bag. They actually believe they can accomplish an increase in the bag’s warmth by adding a silk liner inside or a fleece over bag. As you read some of the suggestions or comments it is a joke. It becomes very apparent that the entire thread is populated by people who have for all intents and purposed no knowledge of the subject. But what else can you expect from the blind leading the blind. The original blind are those employed by the various companies whop sell sleeping bags and the followers are those who have trust in the information published by these companies. These consumers never consider a simple fact; these companies are ALWAYS coming up with a new improved bag each and every year. The only problem is they never come up with a new and improved product because they do not have a clue about insulation and all of the facets as to how the various insulations available to them work. With out the proper knowledge of the components needed to make a product it is virtually impossible to make the product. That said; those who frequent the backpacker web site forum will constantly speak of these problems; unless of course they buy a Wiggy’s bag.

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