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All Sellers Of Sleeping Bags Except One Lie And All Sellers Of Insulation For Sleeping Bags Or Outerwear Except One Lie!

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I have been a seller of insulations since May 1961 when I took my first job in the textile business. The company I worked for sold a nylon batting which was competing with the cotton waste used at the time for insulation in outerwear. We did not sell polyester fiberfill which was sold by quilters to the manufacturers also to compete with the cotton waste. By 1965 polyester fiberfill had not only replaced the cotton waste but also the nylon batting. Since then polyester has reigned supreme.

From 1965 until about 1972 I was the prime supplier of polyester fiberfill to the skiwear industry as well as general outerwear manufacturers. I learned not only all about fiberfills but also about how best to use it in manufacturing and how the fiberfill performed as insulation. I have seen just about every product that has been put on the market since I started in the business. There was DuPont first with Dacron 88, and eventually Hollofill, Quallofil and a product trade named Sontique. Then Eastman Chemical entered the market place with Kodel and following them was Celanese with Fortrel and eventually Polarguard. All of these companies have since left the business. Any company that advertises the use of Hollofill is not referring to the original DuPont product. The Polarguard or continuous filament fiber which is what is the best of the lot which is still in use today; that is continuous filament fiber today known as either Lamilite or Climashield which is the core of Lamilite. However in the 1970’s 3-M Corp. decided to enter the market place with a melt blown polypropylene fiberfill product called Thinsulate. Initially it was 100 percent polypropylene but they quickly discovered that it flattened out very quickly so they replaced 40 percent of the polypropylene with polyester fiber and then in the late 1980’s they added Thinsulate LiteLoft to their line to sell to sleeping bag manufacturers, made entirely of polyester. They entered the market place with people running the division that had no knowledge of insulation so their products failed. They do sell a version of Thinsulate to the glove and boot industry buy I am constantly told that my hands or feet are cold. I am not surprised. In the meantime an Italian company entered the market place with a product called Thermore. There were still other products being marketed by non-producers but marketing companies of different constructions of fiberfill products such as needle punched fiberfill, also a failure. And finally as a result of the U.S.Army’s Natick Laboratories who were looking for a synthetic alternative to down, they put out I believe two solicitations that were awarded to Albany International. I did not know of these solicitations until they were over and done with. Had I known I would have asked why they were looking for what they already had in use for almost all of their outerwear, some arctic gear may still have used down, and all of their sleeping bags; polyester fiberfill since the mid 1960’s. So we had a synthetic alternative to down being used all over the world but someone at Natick thought what they had could be improved upon. They did have the best product ever made also being used for military products, continuous filament fiberfill. The end result of this activity was Primaloft. Was it different from what was already being used, not particularly? The only difference was their use of a finer weight or denier of fiber. The basic fiber weight used from inception was a 6 denier, why because it worked better in the machines that formed the webs and also testing by the chemical companies said it was the best weight for fiberfill batting purposes. Today I use a 5.5 denier hollow fiber as it has demonstrated to be the best as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, the Primaloft is made with much finer denier fiber possibly as low as one denier, who knows. DuPont testing in the early 1980’s demonstrated that any weight below 2.75 denier was not a benefit but less efficient. Air will stick to any surface for a distance of 1/8th inch. So the theory is if you break up air into smaller increments the movement of the air (still air is the actual insulation and stagnant air heats up) the material doing the break up if thinner will be more efficient. This is simply not true. The finer the fiber the closer the fibers are to each other the less trapped air. This was obvious with Thinsulate which was initially made with even finer fiber that was polypropylene, 3-M called them micro fibers. If they were so good why did they blend polyester fiber with the polypropylene, to increase the loft by separating the micro fibers? However, it did not work, this product to the best of my knowledge is no longer sold, I could be wrong since they at 3-M like to give out advertising dollars, so they get a sucker once in a while. Primaloft also went after the sleeping bag market only to fail as 3-M did with their Liteloft as I knew they would. The primaloft did hang around as a supplier to the military for the military’s Generation 7 or 7 layer clothing system. The Primaloft has been replaced with Climashield. It took several years for I believe Natick to receive enough complaints from the field about being cold to wake up and make the change. If they didn’t receive complaints why would they change, the Primaloft is simply not a good product for use as insulation. Now they are trying to make and market a continuous filament fiberfill. They started in 2009 I believe and so far any companies that have tried it have found out it is simply not a good product. Another successful failure of a form of insulation offered for sleeping bags and clothing in my opinion, I trust you agree.

So there you have it that all of the marketers of fiberfill for insulation purposes to manufacturers so far in my opinion lie about the ability of the fiberfill products to perform in sleeping bags primarily, that is except one; Harvest Consumer Products the producer of Climashield. They do laboratory testing but that is only to confirm the information they get from actual users of products that contain their insulation Climashield. They also have information that dates back to the early 1970’s when the first generation of continuous filament fiber was put on the market trade named Polar Guard. Regardless of the name Polar Guard, Climashield or Lamilite the basic material silicone treated continuous filament fiber has simply not failed to perform in the field. So, when Climashield or Lamilite is advertised as the best most reliable synthetic fiberfill for insulation purposes it is simply not a lie or misleading in any manner.

Now for sleeping bags! There is no need for me to mention the name of one brand. Considering that almost every sleeping bag offered through retail stores today if synthetic has a chopped staple fiberfill as its insulation. Ever hear the expression “time will tell” well time has already told us that chopped staple fiberfill used in sleeping bags regardless what the quality of the fiber is or manufacturing method has shown over and over and over again to fail. Even the down bags manufacturers I add to that list, originally not one of the well-known brands of years past that decided to offer a synthetic bag would ever consider using chopped staple fiberfill batting. They chose Polar Guard. Today all of the companies that get their down bags made in China that also sell synthetic bags have them filled with chopped staple fiberfill. Even our military forced in my opinion their primary contractor to accept continuous filament fiberfill as the insulation to be used for all sleeping bags purchased by the government since 1996. I like to take credit for that change. Albany International who made and marketed the Primaloft then tried everything they could to get their product accepted, but that was not meant to be. Before I continue I want to state that the Climashield continuous filament fiber as I use it has two significant characteristic not found in any other fiberfill product; 1- when a sleeping bag is vacuum packed under about 20 tons of pressure and left that way for years, when the blister packaging is broken and the sleeping bag released the loft of the bag returns to almost normal quickly and full normal thickness after about two hours and 2- water does not have any negative effect on the fiber. All you have to do is read the volume of letters, e mails that I have received over the years and posted on my web site in testimonials about how well my bags work if they get wet. As for vacuum packing, there was a company Exploration Products located in Spokane Washington years ago that did supply the Air Force with some down bags vacuum packed. They told me, when I told them about my bags coming back that they tried vacuum packing every known fiberfill at the time and nothing would respond and did not believe me until I said I’ll send the vacuum packer (I at that time did not do the vacuum packing) a bag and you tell them what to do. Four days later they received my Ultima Thule bag vacuum packed to a 12 x 12 x 3 inch brick. When they opened it they could not believe it was coming back. I said “I told you so”. They then sold a number of my bags vacuum packed to the Air Force and non-military customers.

Every synthetic sleeping bag offered today is made in China I believe except Wiggy’s. None of the companies except one uses the Climashield all the rest use chopped staple fiberfill. The primary reason for this I believe is the fact that the Climashield is made in the U.S.A. and not in China. Chopped staple fiberfill is made in China. The American companies that pay the Chinese to make bags for them do not want to ship the Climashield to China. So these American companies in my opinion just take a guess at temperature capabilities, they actually have no idea what temperatures the bags will perform in. There are also some European companies that ship their sleeping bags into the U.S.A. also using chopped staple fiberfill as insulations and again in my opinion they too have no idea what temperatures the bags will perform in. These European companies also do not want to import the Climashield. As a manufacturer of sleeping bags I receive calls or e mails all the time from people who were disappointed with their purchase of these Chinese made sleeping bags. Sometimes they can get their money back and most of the time no. Wiggy’s becomes the recipient of these people buying a new Wiggy’s bag. So I consider Wiggy’s as the only sleeping bag manufacturer who does not lie about the performance capability of its sleeping bags. In addition I guarantee it will perform or you can get your money back. Returns for lack of performance are unheard of. Actually I under rate the sleeping bags temperature ratings.

Just a note about sleeping bags; I do not believe they are temperature rated properly either. It should also be noted that down bags absorb and retain moisture each and every day they are used. Why mountaineers use them I will never understand because every mountaineer I have ever spoken with has told me that in sub-freezing conditions the moisture in the down freezes. Therefore in my opinion they are sleeping in an ice box so the down bags become even less useable.

Please note that over the years I offered to sell the Lamilite to all of these companies or told them I would private label sleeping bags for them. Every company has turned me down.

I have stated many times that buying any other so called sleeping bag is a waste of money and I believe that more than ever since all but one company selling sleeping bags in the U.S.A. are filled with chopped staple fiberfill.


Lies are told to the military about sleeping bag capabilities.

The military also is their own worst enemy in this case. They want the most compactable sleeping bag they can get for every temperature range there is. In addition, they want the bag to be as light as possible. Since the individuals who do the requesting see bags listed in consumer catalogs or existing catalogs of GSA contract holders, they believe what they read and then ask contracting to get what they want. These young soldiers doing the requesting have no knowledge of how to make a sleeping bag that will actually perform. Contracting puts out solicitations with all of the details as to temperature rating, weight and compact size. When one of the GSA contract holders sends me the information, I shake my head and many times they even specify a manufacturer. How about a bag that has a weight of 3 ½ pounds for 0 degrees and fits into a compression stuff sack that will reduce its volume to a size almost as small as a soft bag. Of course when you take the bag out of the stuff sack it is as limp as a wet noodle with zero relofting. If you were to use this bag right out of the factory it would not keep you warm at 0 degrees unless, of course, you are in a heated house while the temperature outside is 0 degrees. So the bag they have purchased will not work below 40 degrees.

Now there are some GSA contract holders that make deals with sewing factories to produce bags that they the GSA contract holders think up. I guess they have learned from Natick how to do that. They now offer their version of this bag for a lower price. So they now get the order. Unfortunately the soldier is now told the bag being issued to him is rated for the conditions he is being sent into. When the soldier finds out about the bag he was given, there is only one thing for him to do: get on the internet and order a sleeping bag from Wiggy’s. This scenario has repeated itself hundreds of times, especially by soldiers who have been deployed to Afghanistan. Also, I have received dozens of calls from parents of deployed soldiers spending their money to get a sleeping bag for their son that works. A number of these parents are ex-military and also used my bags.

The problem a seller faces with contracting — offering them a product that is a little heavier and does not compress quite as much but does actually work at the requested temperature — is convincing them that the other product will not work. However, the contracting officer only knows what has been asked for, so that is what they will buy. Even if they find out it is not doing the job, they don’t care.

It is quite unfortunate that we have companies in the U.S.A. populated by former military personnel who do not care about those currently serving that will, just to make a buck, to put it as blunt as possible, supply product that just doesn’t do the job. Those who own these GSA suppliers do not have any employees that have knowledge of insulations which are available, or how the insulation performs. They may contact some of the companies that offer fiberfill products and get a snow job. The end result is a clear situation of the blind leading the blind, and once again the recipient of this incompetence is a very unhappy soldier.

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