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Made In America?

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Will made in America products soon be available at retail stores in the near future? Probably not anytime soon! Why one would ask, because although retailers are asked daily by potential customers for American made products and here I will quote a sleeping bag buyer at a major internet retailer “show me what is not made in China”. The American consumer would ideally like to have product made in the USA if possible but the retailer will not forcefully ask their suppliers for American made products. Of course the American companies if asked respond that the price would be too high, so the retailers go along with them. To this I say nonsense.

Three or four years ago I would receive about once a month an e mail from a factory in China soliciting me to either make my bags or sell me those that they make. Obviously I never engaged them either way. For the past three years I have been inundated with solicitations from Chinese factories for a myriad of products. Sleeping bags is where it started but it can be jewelry hand bags, shoes, injection molded products, stamped metal products, freight forwarders, chemicals, etc, etc, etc. In my opinion the Chinese are hurting far more than we are told in the media. Otherwise why would they solicit a small company like mine? Other activities going on there are an increase in wages as well as raw materials. When companies first started purchasing production in China they were shipping the raw materials there, then they started producing the materials there to cut out freight costs. Now those materials are getting more expensive, so we are seeing some parody. The end result is a product sold here that is equal in price if it were made here. As a matter of fact I can produce better quality sleeping bags with American made components than can be made in China. If you review the sleeping bag section of my web site you will find some models that are significantly less expensive than they were a year ago, why because some of the raw materials that are available to me which are all first quality and made in America are quite in expensive.

I have offered to supply sleeping bags to some of these retailers who would get the benefit of what I can do all to no avail. This is the same attitude that I dealt with when I first started making my sleeping bags. Therefore, I will be building a line of high quality bags that will serve the 20 degree and up temperature range and retailing from approximately $50.00 to $100.00. In order to do this the bags will have to be quilted. They will contain Climashield continuous filament fiberfill which is what I use to make Lamilite. I will also use the #10 YKK molded tooth zippers; but they will not have the break-a-way feature. These are the same zippers I have used for 25 years. The stuff sacks will be standard not compression models and there will not be a pillow. The compression stuff sack and pillow can be purchase separately. These bags will come with a one year guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship, but they will not have the life time guarantee. They will be as launder able as any Wiggy product. I will also offer some bags that utilize the highest quality chopped staple fiber also for bags that fall into the same price range. We currently use this fiber in our Slumber Bag. The consumer will finally have a choice between an American made product made with materials made in America versus what is currently available in retail stores throughout the country that get their bags from companies that chose to buy bags made in China.

A few years ago houses were being built in Florida with sheet rock made in China. The houses were condemned because of the toxic fumes that emanated from the sheet rock. Many people had to abandon their homes at a loss as well. A friend of mine Douglas Hoschek wrote a book “POLAR POLLUTION’ where he exposes how the textile industry particularly what were USA manufacturers such as Columbia Sportswear, Nike, The North Face (and probably most of the other companies owned by VF Corporation who own TNF) who went to China to get their products produced using materials that are dyed and finished in a manner that the EPA wouldn’t allow in the USA. In effect you do not know what chemicals leach out of the fabrics used in manufacturing of sleeping bags in China. Remember you are laying in one of those bags for 6 to 8 hours breathing the fumes that maybe coming out of the materials. If, that is not reason enough to look for an American made product I don’t know what is.  

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