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lets endanger the troops

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A customer of mine who does business as a supplier to the government [GSA contractor] sent to me the following solicitation so I could offer my products that meet the requirements.

This is what they want for the sleeping bag: If you could let me know what your specs are I will attach those to my quote.

  • 1.DESCRIPTION OF REQUIREMENT: Items shall meet or exceed the salient characteristics provided below:
  • 2.001: Artic Sleeping Bag (Brand Name or Equivalent: Bison GWS Expedition or Mountain Hardwear Phantom gore tex)
  • 2.1.1.Description and capabilities: Heavy duty sleeping bag for extreme winter conditions
  • 2.1.2.Specifications/ Salient Characteristics:
  • for -40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • length: 72”
  • packed weight NTE 5lbs
  • be made of wind-resistant fabric
  • shall have full collar
  • insulation (for water-resistant purposes)

Having read the requirement I was dismayed but not surprised to see what the individual SEAL who handles the purchasing has chosen to get. I was further told these bags are slated to be issued to SEAL TEAMS 2 AND 6 for deployment into the arctic. [if not noted at the top they do not know the correct spelling of artic; arctic].

I looked at the mountain Hardwear phantom and noted the coldest rated one was for 0 degrees, maybe I missed something. Anyway, it incorporates goretex for added moisture accumulation, while they claim breathability which doesn’t happen. Retail price is $760.00 or so which means maybe $50.00 to $60.00 less to the military from the GSA contractor if it is the bag taken.

The second bag noted is from western mountaineering. They claim -40 degrees and also some goretex is used. To this day I have yet to see any down bag that was rated to -40 and higher that actually performed for two nights let-a-lone for an entire winter season.

The reality is these bags are potentially body bags. Each day they are used moisture will get into the down and be absorbed. That action will start the reduction of loft which means less heat retention. It further means the greater the retention or accumulation of ice. Basically, you would be building an icebox around yourself.

What is very appalling to me is the very fact that the company getting the contract is oblivious to the reality of what they are going to provide the SEALS. If they had knowledge of the sleeping bags when asked for either of the brands shown they would know these bags are not acceptable for the requirement. But they do not know nor do the have any interest in finding out if a bag is available. They are only interested in the sale.

I’ve seen activities like this before, its like a fix. The supplier has 90 days to deliver from the date of the purchase. That being the case it is impossible to make 133 of these bags in 90 days. Unless of course if they went to China, it could be accomplished. But that would be against the BERRY AMENDMENT, MADE IN AMERICA LAW. Or in the case of wester mountaineering, they could have started making them here with shells made in China and all they would have to do is blow in the down. I consider this activity a sham.

This is not the first time I have seen such shenanigans but one that affects me will never happen again. I told the company that contacted me not to bother me if the see a solicitation naming either of these companies ever again. Kok and I have discussed the situation and decided we have plenty of consumer sales that we do not need these military orders. However, I do admit that it bothers me these young men are not given my bag because in arctic conditions there is nothing even close to being comparable and unless someone copies me completely there will not be a comparable sleeping bag until such time as that.

Below is a resent email.

Great Customer Service

I bought my sleep system over 5 years ago. When I got it, I just looked at it quickly and put it in my closet. I used my light bag several times but never the heavy bag or bivi . Well, the other day I took it all out and realized they had sent me the wrong bivi. I called and told them the situation and that I didn’t have my receipt after all these years. He told me not to worry and to send it bag and he would make it right.
I sent it back and within 10 days I had a new one . This is outstanding customer service! They could have easily told me it was too late or with no receipt they couldn’t help me.
I’m glad to see a company that stands by their word and actually cares that their customers are happy. They are 5 stars!

– Chris from NY

When I receive letters like this as well as the mountain of letters, I have received over the years that gives me the incentive to keep Wiggy’s performing at as high a level as is possible. I will add that I have had numerous members of the military contact me telling me that their issue “Wiggy bag save their ass more than once”.

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