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a wonderful year end testimonial

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It is that time of year when people I guess throughout most of the world wish one and other new year’s wishes. I ask those who offer them to me to ask me in a year if it was a good year. This year as it ends I am confident that the new year of 2018 will be a good year because of the number of letters that I have received thus far this winter applauding the performance of many of the products that I manufacture. To follow is one of the letters I received today. I am always very grateful to receive letters like this. Many thanks to Lane for his commentary.

Jerry, I've been meaning to write. Feel free to use any part of this.

We can tell its winter because the Wiggy's comforter is on the bed.

When I found myself shuffling around the house on cold mornings with Lamilite socks in my slippers, I figured it was time to take your advice and order some booties. My timing was good. My wife had to pretty much live downstairs in a recliner for a while after major surgery. I slipped the booties onto her feet and she loved them. Later, we took a comforter and booties to her mother, who has diabetes, poor circulation, and has difficulty staying warm. She loved the booties instantly. After we got home, she called us twice to say how great the comforter is. But the product that has me excited is the zippered Ducksback jacket.

I'm a lifelong resident of the North Cascades, on the wet western side. Where I live, it very seldom gets down to zero, but 80 inches of annual precip results in a lot of weather that ranges from just above freezing to just below, and back again. This is truly the land of Wet & Cold. I've made most of the mistakes. I tried my first down bag in 1970. I was impressed - until I got one wet. When Gore-Tex came along, I bit hook, line and sinker. I had a North Face Gore-Tex rain parka, and I got wet. I bought an Early Winters Gore-Tex tent, and found out it needed as much ventilation as coated nylon or plastic. I bought a Marmot Gore-Tex shell goose down bag, and ended up giving it away. I learned that Gore-Tex boots mean wet feet. Fortunately, other foolish friends tried the space blanket sleeping bag experiment and the vinyl sleeping bag cover, haha. I wondered why Gore-Tex never got sued, and then I got to thinking. It's nothing new; we saw semi-permeable membranes in 1960's science class. I finally realized that the claim to pass water vapor and air but not liquid water is likely actually true on a very, very tiny scale, but in the real world the stuff might as well be overpriced Saran Wrap. Live and learn.

On a recent typical rainy December day, I divided my time between crawling under the house and working in a ditch outside. I never gave a thought to comfort, because I stayed comfortable, even when cutting an overhead water line got the half open front of my Ducksback jacket wet. Afterward, I realized I was a mess. I just tossed the jacket into the washer, and it came out clean. A few days later, no rain but temps in the 20's. I was comfortable in the jacket, even used the hood briefly when the wind came up. Jerry, I contrast this light comfortable jacket with the heavy, bulky quilted FR canvas gear I wear at work, topped by my FR raincoat, and it's amazing (that stuff also overheats me the moment I step indoors). I think with the Ducksback zippered jacket you've created the ideal garment for the land of Cold Rain. When I look at how it works, I wonder if, apart from the heavy weight, the old timers were on the right track when they used oil or wax to treat fabric like linen or canvas. Ducksback is much more comfortable than any sort of plastic or membrane.

I'll be ordering my wife a Ducksback jacket before long. I have a hunch that the Lamilite jacket liner (one of your lowest priced and most versatile products) under the zippered jacket would make it suitable for seriously cold temperatures, which we see only rarely. I'm still learning about the fishnet underwear, and am so impressed that I plan to buy more of that, too.

I hope you had a great Christmas, and have a really Great 2018!

Lane Dexter

Marblemount, Washington.

For those of you who do not know the history of the Patagonia Company, it was started in 1973. They were selling t-shirts and shorts as I recall; I exhibited at an outdoor sports show in 1976 when I was owner of Olam next to them. Over the years of their existence they expanded their product line to eventually sell insulated jackets. What follows is a copy of an e-mail I received yesterday (I get them daily) showing their latest rendition of insulated jackets with the bold statement “Patagonia synthetic insulation”. If they were Pinocchio their noses would be at least two feet long or longer. This company does not now, never has and I suspect in the future will still not have anyone in their employ with knowledge of insulation, unless of course they read all of what I have thus far published since 1996.

Patagonia Synthetic
For decades, we’ve been working to make insulation better and to do less harm in the process. We love synthetic insulation for its warm-when-wet, quick-to-dry properties, and offer a range of options specializing in everything from recycled content to maximum warmth to lightweight packability to high-exertion performance.

Considering that the company is now 44 years old they could have been “working” on synthetic fiber insulation for 30 years or 3 decades. That is a very long time to have not come up with a synthetic insulation that works. After all they have had continuous filament fiber available since 1968 to experiment with. The reality is that they are lying. But, there are those who are gullible and the number of gullible people must be significant since so many buy the products they sell that are made in Asia. The idea of giving back is rampant in the outdoor industry, so I say if you want to give back to the largest market in the world the U.S.A. open factories in the U.S.A. so people here can make a living and be able to buy the products they are making. That is what Henty Ford did pay his workers so they could but the cars they were making.

Of course the gullible who buy these garments will find out in short order on a cold day they do not keep you warm.


  • Revolutionary PlumaFill insulation replicates the structure of down in a continuous synthetic insulation material, offering the warmth and packability of down but with the warm-when-wet performance of synthetic insulation
  • Innovative quilting construction complements the insulation by stabilizing and maximizing the loft of the PlumaFill strands with minimal stitching

This polyester fiberfill is not continuous filament because in appearance it cannot be made so it replicates a down cluster. The say minimal quilt stitching, I guess they are showing the picture of this garment to blind people. You would be hard pressed to find more areas to quilt. It is also quilted to stabilize the fiber so it doesn’t break apart in laundering. Calling it a micro puff is very real observation, since you would need a microscope to see the puff. They do not offer any temperature range for its use. But, I know the temperature range it will perform in; Key West in July!

They had 3 or 4 additional garments but they were all quilted with marvelous renditions of the same chopped staple fiberfill and all garments were quilted with these quite small quilt patterns that have incredible insulating capabilities. GARMENTS FOR THE GULLIBLE should be the way they market these jackets.

But I have no complaints with what they are doing because so many of their customers have been so disappointed with the garments that they the ex-customers are finding Wiggy’s, so it can’t be all bad what they are doing.

Does Patagonia get letters like I do? No and neither do their comrades in arms who make pretty much the identical garments for “cold” weather? You name the company and add them to the sentence.

I do not know at the moment if I’ll have an additional letter this year, SO HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL.

Wiggy and Cookie.

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When it comes to extreme cold weather gear, Wiggy's has you covered.

Check out all our products from sleeping bags & shelters to footwear & clothing. Our uniquely developed continuous filament fiber called Lamilite insulation is what sets Wiggy brand insulated products apart. What is Lamilite and why does it perform better than all other forms of insulation? Click here to keep reading & find out more »

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