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The year was 1970 and I was pursuing selling the laminated Polar Guard now known as Lamilite. My primary target was the sleeping bag industry. I found a small manufacturer of down sleeping bags in NYC where i lived. I sat down with him and we made the very first Lamilite sleeping bag that I used on my boat until I sold the boat in 1976. the bag hangs in the showroom. The factory used the number 10 YKK molded tooth zipper, so that is what is on the bag.

In 1975 I opened my first sleeping bag company, Olam, and started making sleeping bags. I did not use the #10 molded tooth zipper because it was pricy so I went with the lesser costly #5 coil zipper. At the same time all of the existing companies were using the #10 molded tooth zipper. It took about 6 months of being in business to find out why.

The #5 coil zipper is manufactured on a continuous roll. When someone orders 65 inch zippers they cut the length needed from the roll and put on the metal starters at the bottom of the zipper and metal stops at the top and of course they then put the sliders [2] on. Before I continue, I will tell you that when you order a 65 inch #10 molded tooth zipper the zipper tape is placed in a machine that molds the teeth, bottom starter and top stop at one time on it, and then the sliders are put on the zipper.

Back to the #5 coil zipper and what I started learning about them. The lesson came when I started getting returns because the metal starters at the bottom of the bag started falling off. The second problem was the coils separating in the middle of the bag. The customer would unzip the bag and run the two sliders off and then re-zip the zipper thinking they were repairing the problem. The reality is that once this opening problem happens it continues to happen. I suspect the metal starters coming off happen as a result of the unzipping and rezipping over and over again. The third problem my partner who ran Marmot told me the sliders on these coil zippers frays the yarns that hold the coil to the zipper tape.

YKK paid for many bags that were returned for #5 coil zipper problems so we changed to #10 molded tooth zippers like the rest of the industry and our problems ended. YKK told me back then [1976] that they would know longer sell the #5 coil zipper for sleeping bag use. Talk is cheap.

I have looked at the components that ALL the “no sleep sleeping bag” makers list as their zipper; #5 coil zipper; it is used on not only the least costly bags they make but also the most expensive down bags they sell.

I find it hard to believe all these companies that sell bags up to $1200.00 use this zipper that is unacceptable for use in a sleeping bag.

Why did they change from the #10 molded tooth zippers to the #5 coil zippers? I asked my YKK representative that question and he answered, “it is lighter in weight”. I had some of the #8 coil zippers that a customer supplied to me for the freedom shelters and I weighed versus the #10 molded tooth zipper and the weight difference was maybe one ounce. The #5 coil zipper is probably one ounce lighter.

The mantra for these guys is how light they can make a bag, not how well it will perform and last.

I cannot imagine that these companies are not getting back their products that have these #5 coil zippers.

The more I learn about the products sold as sleeping bags the more pride I take in knowing that the “sleeping bags” we make at Wiggy’s outperform every other brand that makes “no sleep sleeping bags”. My motto is and will always be “SIMPLY THE BEST”.

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