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bugout kit

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Survival Kit Items for U.S. Air Force

Product Description

The kit as a whole consists of six components:

A poncho that can be worn or converted to a sleeping bag

A pant that closes on each side with hook and loop

An insulated head cover

Boot covers that go to the knee

Mittens that go above the elbow

A carry bag to hold all of the components

All of the components are insulated with our 6 oz. Lamilite which is used in our over bags and sweaters. The exterior fabric is nylon with the Multicam camouflage pattern.  Like all of the Wiggy products these items are guaranteed never to lose their loft. The reason the Air Force choses Lamilite is because for over 20 years they have never had a Lamilite product go flat after breaking it out of the blister packing.

Sometime back probably about 1992 or so I started working with the U.S. Air Force on vacuum packed survival sleeping bags that were to be placed in fighter jets located in the Alaskan command. The way it worked was they would try several bags in the field; that is the survival instructors, and once they had a bag that performed for them, we vacuum packed it. Initially they told me the vacuum packed size I had to meet. I told them that was like putting the horse behind the cart. I said let us get a bag that works and then see the size. Fortunately, I prevailed; of course, they had no choice. Until me they were buying down bags that never worked for the temperatures, they needed the bags to perform at, and of course once vacuum packed, they lost immediately about 20 percent of their ability to re-loft and over time they lost all ability to re-loft, whereas the Lamilite NEVER loses its ability to re-loft. As a result of my efforts and the performance capability of the Lamilite, I became their sole source of supply.

In the late nineties the survival instructors from Elmendorf AFB again came to me for a snow suit that could convert to a sleeping bag. This product was vacuum packed as part of the survival kit issued to all personnel that were flying on transports. This was an easy product for me to make since I had made it years before.

In April of 2010 one of the survival instructors that I had worked with on these projects in Alaska who had retired was now hired by the Air Force to develop a new survival system for the B-52 aircraft. He told me it had not been updated since the inception of the aircraft being put into service 60 years ago. To make a long story short, I worked on the project for two years and when we finished, we had a system that worked. He had the survival instructors located at Elmendorf test these items for two winters. What the temperatures actually were I never asked. However, it is Alaska so we know it was cold, and I suspect -20º or lower. You see, these survival instructors take the pilots into the field and train them in winter survival and how to use all of the items that are placed in the survival kit that will be with them if they ever have to eject. The survival instructors take their job very seriously because the life of each and every pilot is far more valuable than the aircraft. When I had General Chuck Yeager visit and tour Wiggy’s he emphasized that point about the pilot being more valuable than the aircraft in no uncertain terms. In any event, the vacuum packed configuration is two pouches which you can see on the web site the way it fits in the ejection seat as well as all of the components.

So, if you are interested in what I believe is the best possible bug out bag or survival bag combination here it is. One of the things I have enjoyed about working with the Air Force on these projects is that they do not use machines like the copper manikin that the Marines or Army uses, they use real live people. And it is from real live people that you get the best feedback.


The following is a published article about the Air Force going with Wiggy's. It is a testament of how efficient the kit is.

Arctic Survival Kit for Air Force F-35 Pilots Surprises Developers During Way-Below-Zero Trial

20 Nov 2019
Stars and Stripes | By James Bolinger

A cold-weather survival kit under development at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was designed to keep F-35A Lightning II pilots alive at -40°.

Thanks to a thermometer glitch, the kit surprised its testers Nov. 5 by keeping subjects reasonably warm for six hours in temperatures that dropped below minus 65, said Tech. Sgt. Garrett Wright, operations noncommissioned officer for the Arctic Survival School, 66th Training Squadron, Detachment 1.

One of the four test subjects, Lt. Col. James Christensen, a pilot and commander of the 356th Fighter Squadron at Eielson, reviewed the kit in an email Wednesday to Stars and Stripes.

"This would enable pilots to survive for hours while awaiting rescue," he wrote. "However, I was never really warm or comfortable in that environment with this gear. I still had cold legs, feet and face, and the hands were a problem throughout the test. It will keep you alive, but not comfortable. Don't touch anything metal at that temperature!"

Related: F-35 Still Falling Short on Combat Readiness, Official Says

The test was successful, but the Air Force has yet to decide whether to include the new survival kit on board the stealth fighters when they arrive at the reactivated 356th in 2020.

Airmen at the Eielson survival school created the kit after the Air Force discovered the equipment in older fighters like the F-16 Fighting Falcon would not fit underneath the F-35A's ejection seat, Wright said by phone Wednesday. He began working on the project 1½ half years ago.

"I quickly realized that it was about two-thirds the size of the kit used for aircraft like the F-16," he said. "The sleeping bag would not fit under the ejection seat, so we needed something else that would fit and allow pilots to survive."

The sleeping bag was the major struggle for the team because, according to Wright, the best bags are filled with down, which do not retain their insulation properties very well after they have been vacuum sealed.

The team opted for a system by Wiggy Industries of Grand Junction, Colorado, which incorporates a synthetic insulating fiber called Lamilite into a poncho and pants that can be converted into a sleeping bag. According to the company website, Lamilite does not lose its ability to "re-loft" even after being vacuum packed.

The new kit also includes a raft that can be used as a shelter, wool mittens, six hand warmers that last 12 hours each, flares, a survival beacon, a space blanket and a Leatherman multitool, Wright said. The kit also includes a short saw and redesigned shovel that would fit the cramped space. The saw and shovel are used to build snow shelters.

"The system we tested has a lot of individual components to put on," Christensen said in his email. "It was difficult with my cold hands to get all of the gear on in a timely manner, but after everything was on, the system provided excellent protection.

"By using all of the pilot cold weather clothing, plus the survival system and the one-man life raft, I could build a cocoon of warm air surrounding my body," he said.

The squadron commander recalled the chilling details of the survival test, which took place in test chambers at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Any piece of exposed skin began to ache immediately," Christensen wrote in his email. "Within 30 seconds, the fingers would feel pain and within 90 seconds they would go numb. I would have to stop working to warm them up again. I was careful to protect the nose and cheeks from exposure as well."

The system was designed for temperatures around minus 40, but a fluke at the test facility brought the temperature below minus 65, Wright said.

About five hours into the test, while taking digital temperature readings and checking on the test subjects, Wright said he felt something was off and asked the facility staff for a mercury thermometer.

His digital thermometer indicated minus 40 in the colder chamber, but after five minutes the mercury thermometer dropped below minus 65. He said the team knew for sure the kit would function beyond its intended parameters.

I was pleased to see Wiggy’s mentioned in the article. Two errors, the company is Wiggy’s Inc. not Wiggy Industries. The other error is that down is NOT the best insulator; Lamilite is.

If you have read to this point you are probably wanting to know the price: $900.00 for the complete kit. Allow 8 weeks for delivery.

Wiggy's Signature

Our Locations  +  Contact

Corporate Office & Factory

To place an order, please contact our corporate office & factory at:

Wiggy’s Inc.
PO Box 2124
Grand Junction, CO 81502

Store Location

2482 Industrial Blvd  •  Grand Junction, CO
(970) 241-6465

+1 (866) 411-6465 f:  (970) 241•5921 e:  

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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