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Backpacker Magazine

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BACKPACKER MAGAZINE, A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT

The December 2002 issue of Backpacker has an article “Zero to Sixty in Two Bags or Less!” It is about a two sleeping-bag system, like the Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System that I produce. However, Wiggy’s system, the first produced, is not mentioned. I guess I should be honored that at least six companies have attempted to copy me, and Backpacker has seen fit to write about them.

Historically, I made the first two-bag system with my first company, Olam Outdoor Sports Products, in the late ‘70s. It consisted of adding a liner to any of the mummy bags, however, they did not attach to each other. For a few years I also did the same thing at Wiggy’s. The change to a two-bag system where the bags are joined occurred in early 1993. I made the FTRSS for the Marine Corps in March of 1993.

In February 1993 a Marine Corps captain attended the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. He worked in the materials command section, which examined sleeping bags and the various materials used in their manufacture. I also attended the show, but not as an exhibitor. At the time I had been involved with the captain’s boss, who was the officer who requested the Desert Bag. It was a success, and so they were always interested in working with me. It should also be noted that no other sleeping bag company cared to work with our military at the time, and I believe that is still the case.

I had occasion to call the captain in March and he told me he had spoken to all of the exhibitors about making a two-bag system that would perform from summertime conditions to –20 degrees. He further told me that not one of the companies he queried had any interest. I asked why he hadn’t come to me, and he said that I wasn’t at the show and he let it slide. I told him that I would work on the project, and four days later I told him I had it finished, gave him the price, and he ordered twelve, sight unseen.

During 1993 I supplied the Marine Corps with about 1,000 bag systems. I received a call during that year from a Sr. Chief based in San Diego, with the Navy Seals. I told him of the work I was doing with the Marines, and he told me that –20 degrees was not adequate for him, he needed –40 degrees. I substituted the Super Light for the Ultra Light in the system and we had a – 40 degree system. The Seals bought so many of them that they requested a national stock number to eliminate having to go out on bid. That was in 1995. Suddenly, I started getting calls from the Air Force-- not all members of the Air Force are pilots it was for their ground forces.
And finally I started getting calls from Army Special Forces Units.

Eventually the Army’s Natick Labs, working with a sewing contractor, bastardized my system to reduce the price. In doing so, they also reduced the bag’s performance capability and its durability. This is what is issued to the grunts and they are not pleased. Many of them spend their own money with me for my system.
According to Michael Lanza, the writer of the article, all of the bags were rated to zero, weighted less than 5 pounds and cost under $600.00. What I don’t believe is that they worked at that temperature.
What Lanza should know is that my Antarctic FTRSS, which is rated to –80 degrees, or as cold as it can get on the planet, costs $484.00. Also, my Super Light FTRSS is the single largest-selling sleep system in the world, as it is the largest-selling product for Wiggy’s. He should also know that Wiggy’s is the largest producer of quality sleeping bags in the United States, a fact that I am very proud of.


MORE CLOTHING FOLLY IN THE MILITARY

Malden Mills has been given a contract worth 12.4 million dollars for the development of their fleece fabric, which will contain electronic sensors. The fabric will be worn against the skin. The fabric will have sensors that will monitor respiration, pulse rate, skin temperature and blood pressure. Discrete antennas to medics behind the line of battle will transmit all of this information.

According to the CEO Aaron Feuerstein, “Our soldiers will continue to experience improved safety, comfort and effectiveness as a result of wearing garments made of Polartec fabrics. Nonsense.First, Polartec is “fleece” and fleece is fleece. It has been around for 60 plus years, and it is almost impossible to tell the difference between Malden fleece and any other mill’s fleece when they are the same weight and made of the same fiber. When you wear a fleece garment against your skin, as these garments will be, all of your perspiration is definitely going to be trapped against your skin surface. That, of course, will cause you to chill. Some improvement.
In the final analysis the only thing that will be accomplished is the stalling of Malden Mill’s demise. At this writing they are in Chapter 11 reorganization. By getting a 12.4 million-dollar contract the courts will grant the reorganization plan. The end result of their work in this area will be a failure. They should join the party I wrote about a few months ago probably taking place at MIT. You may recall that MIT received 50 million dollars to develop a came lion uniform.
Another thing to consider is that Malden is moving product to China to be more competitive. So, there will not be any benefit for workers here in the America.  


"America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to "the common good," but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's  industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages,  and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole  country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step  of the way."

--Ayn Rand

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ANTIMICROBIALS

ANTIMICROBIALS “Regulatory Considerations: U.S. regulatory laws consider any product used to control microbes a pesticide. The active ingredient in any antimicrobial must be registered with the EPA and be approved by the FDA. Whenever an antimicrobial claim is made for a product, it must be registered with the EPA for a specific use.”The above comment was the last paragraph [...]

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Insulation Manufacturers

INSULATIONI have been in the business of selling insulating materials to outerwearmanufacturers since 1961. I still do sell my Lamilite insulation toseveral companies around the world. In these 40 years I have seen everyform of insulation that the fiber companies have come up with and all ofthe variety of materials called insulation made by companies [...]

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