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Thread: Wiggy Bags?

  1. #1
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Wiggy Bags?

    Now for an inquiry about the other end of the spectrum from BMW Cocoons. Yes, I know his stuff is way too heavy and bulky for you (us) gram weenies to even consider. But does anybody here have any experience withy Wiggy bags? Maybe from your past lives as ground dwellers and monster load packers? Or have you heard some of your friends who used them comment on them?

    Yes, they are significantly heavier and bulkier than most bags at their rated temp, even other synthetic bags. And not to even mention quilts! But there seem to be a lot of owners out there who swear by them. I have not yet read of anybody being cold in them, anywhere near their temp rating or somewhat lower, no matter what the degree of bag and user wetness, which sometimes included total soaking! (I can't say the same for reviews of- or even my personal experience with- my NF Cat's Meow Endurance, even when dry!) There is something to be said for that kind of security when you are a couple of days hike from the nearest trailhead.

    Another reason I find them so interesting is the lifetime warranty on any aspect of the bag, including loft! Oh, and that he says you can store the bag in a compression stuff sack forever, and wash it endlesly, while still maintaining the lifetime warranty on loft. In fact, he encourages you to wash it frequently to actually increase loft a tad compared to new.

    And why do I find that so interesting and attractive? Because I am the proud owner of a couple of NF synthetic bags. PG 3d and delta. Bags that have seen no more than a couple of weeks total use each during the 5 or so years I have owned them. Bags that have been babied by me, never stuffed for more than 8 hrs at a time, except maybe as long as 16 hours while flying across the country to get to the hiking destination. Always stored hanging from the foot loops, taking up the entire closet. I would say those bags have abot between 1/2 and 3/4 ( at most ) of their original loft. They have NOT, however, lost any of their weight!

    Anyway, has anybody here ever had any experience with old Mr.Wiggy's Lamilite products?

    Bill
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-07-2007 at 21:59.

  2. #2
    heard good things, they supposedly dont lose loft because the insul is not hollow like other synthetic.

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    I led for a wilderness program for four years in ME and we issued -20 Wiggy's bags to the kids for the winter season. They were as abused as they could be on trip and washed/dried in between. They never seemed to change and the instructors that used them seemed to find them effective. The ability to wet those bags out on a trip and still have them be warm was important as the kids were far from careful with their gear, some going so far as wetting them purposely hoping to cut their trip short (these trips were for attitude adjustment not pleasure). The size was the only real downfall, as institutional gear is all big and heavy (durable!), so the challenge everyday was getting everything to fit in the packs of inexperienced and unmotivated packers.

    Incedentally, my first sleeping bag that I bought to go to Philmont in 1989 was also a Wiggy's 20 and I used it for years thereafter camping and as my bedcovers (I didn't like making the bed). I think it is still in my closet...

    Christian

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    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. So it sounds like the positives are: very durable, not effected very much by moisture, and apparently at least matches the rated temp spec for the average Joe? I think we should take into consideration that these positives can not necesarily all be claimed by other synthetic bags which are lighter (sp?) for he same temp spec. For example, my Cat's Meow Endurance 15* at just over 3 lbs. ( Regular Cat's Meow 20*). I don't believe I could be comfortable at 15* in this bag, even in a tent wth plenty of fleece clothing on and a thick thermarest under me. Under the stars, with pads and fleece top/bottom/hat, I was just a bit cold at 27*. And the bag was almost brand new, before it lost some loft. Now there are, as we know, many variables affecting how warm different people in different conditions will sleep. But when I check results fr a lot of these bags from online reviews, BGT and otherwise, I see that a lot of other folks think the temp ratings are pretty optimistic, though some find them accurate. But not with Wiggy, where all or vast majority seem to find them warm at least to rated temp, maybe even when wet and after much use/abuse. From what I have read so far, anyway. Which is a lot. So if I save a tad over a pound for a given temp rating, what have I really gined in the long run? Plus, I have spent more money for gear made in China.

    And the disadvantages ( apparently the only ones) are those already mentioed re: weight/bulk. To bad he doesn't make a quilt with foot box from this Lamilite stuff. That might not be all that heavier than some of the alternatives, especially if he kept the lamilite but use lighter shell materials. He is obviously not concerned with ultralight.

    I plan to talk with Mr. Wiggy this week to clear up exactly what the difference in Polarguard and Lamilite is, though I think I have about figured it out from lots of reading at his web site. Both are continuous sheets of polyester. But I think the Lamilite is denser, siliconized and laminated rather than quilted.

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    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    I found the following over at Whiteblaze, and it is very typical of what I have found on other sites on the web ( also testimonials at Wiggy's web site) from other Wiggy owners. More than one has called it the most breathable bag they have ever used. And I get the feeling it's abilities to maintain warmth when wet would would make any additional weight/expense for a waterproof breathable cover or bivy redundant.

    Now I have had the displeasure of spending a 24* night in a very damp 3 or 4 lb. synthetic bag which had lost a lot of its loft before getting wet. Wearing wet synthetic clothing and longjohns. It was NOT warm when wet. I shivered all night, but lived. I probably would have been much worse off if my wet bag and clothing had been down. Plus the next freezing night it would have still been wet, most likely. But most of these Wiggy reviews or testimonials I read, these people write about actually being soaking wet and more than adequately warm. One really interesting story was by a guy and his son whose plane flipped over one morning, on take off from an Alaska lake, submerging all camping gear and occupants. They were fortunately rescued before nightfall. But they were quite hypothermic by the time they got to shore. They had managed to get their submerged and soaked wiggy bags out of the plane. The guys son was becoming incoherent and stumbling around from the cold. They layed down in the mud/wet grass as the sleet and rain was coming down in heavy winds. They were amazed to realize that, after an hour or less, they were actually warm. Sorry I don't have that link.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...iggy#post48452

    BeaverTrapper said:
    Clearly, the average backpacker can choose their campsite, and has some control over their situation. In the military, this is not always the case. You'll find Wiggys bags to be heavier and bulkier than most; but they are built to endure conditions that most are not.

    My Wiggy bags breathe better than any bag I've ever used. I often sleep under the stars without so much as a tarp for overhead protection. I have woken up with the dew so heavy that my bag looked like somebody pissed all over it, and I have been warm and dry. It's the only bag I know of that I would crawl into wearing soaking wet clothes, and know that I will wake up the next morning dry. Wiggy also attaches a small thermometer to the zipper pull of his bags, so that during the night you can check the temp and compare it with how warm you really are. I know of no other manufacturer that does that.

    In summation, I don't claim that Wiggys is the best bag out there; just the best bag for the money when very wet conditions are expected.
    ...............
    When I sleep in a bag, I get all the way down inside the bag. My head does not poke out - I am completely inside the bag. The Wiggy bag is long enough to allow me to do this (I'm 6'1). The moisture permeability of his bag/insulation is so great that I can exhale warm air inside the bag, and the vapor will pass completely through the bag, without wetting the insulation or condensing inside the bag. On a cold night, I can hold the bag to my mouth and breathe out, and watch the vapor condense in the air on the other side of the bag.

    My question is, would a down bag allow me to get allow the way down inside it, and breathe through the bag? Or would this cause a "wet spot" at that area?

    It is this ability to pass vapor that allows me to hunker down completely, and the ability to put moist, damp clothes inside the bag with me knowing that when I wake up I will be dry, and my wet clothes will have dried - that keeps me a Wiggy devotee; even if it means hauling an extra pound.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-08-2007 at 15:12.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Ask Just Jeff - I think he has used one or more issued by the AF. He seemed to indicate once that they worked well as insulation, but indeed were heavier than the competition. Just my interpretation of what I think he wrote.

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    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    ....

    And the disadvantages ( apparently the only ones) are those already mentioed re: weight/bulk. To bad he doesn't make a quilt with foot box from this Lamilite stuff. That might not be all that heavier than some of the alternatives, especially if he kept the lamilite but use lighter shell materials. He is obviously not concerned with ultralight.

    ...
    Check out his web site for specials - he currently has his poncho liner on sale for $17.00. You could easily add a foot box to get a summer quilt or maybe a 3 season quilt depending on how warm/cold you sleep.

    Heck, you'll pay a lot more than that for a poncho liner with crappy fiberfill.

    I checked the weight and it is within 3 oz of even the lightest ones.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    That's right - they're heavy and bulky, built to last, and I've never been cold in it. (Caveat - I haven't tested it to rated temps but I'm sure I've been close.) I have the 0* SuperLite and the 35* Overbag, that zip together for a -40*F set...I've never been that cold, though. The bivy is non-breathable and the one time I used it I woke up clammy, but warm. I don't use it anymore...if it gets to that I'll just wrap the poncho around me.

    Anyway, if you can handle the weight it's been a great set for me so far. I've stuffed the heck out of it and haven't noticed any change in loft, though I haven't measured it. Wiggy ships the bags for pilot survival kits vacuum packed and says they'll loft like new when opened.

    He also sells his fire-retardant wicking underwear to our troops for pennies over his cost...just so they have the best gear. (Troops can't wear synthetic underwear/t-shirts like UnderArmour b/c it melts to the skin in fire.) He gets an "A" in my book.

    He's VERY confident in his insulation...and not shy about saying so. Be prepared to spend some time on the phone if you call.

    2 FYIs - He says the bag/overbag/bivy set he sells was the precursor of the Army's junk the issue now. They took the idea and had another company (SnugPac?) make it for them...and everyone hated it. Folks in AFG said it didn't perform to anywhere near its required temp.

    Also, I used his bag for my Zippered SPE set...I can use the SPE with a 35F overbag, or take the 0F bag, or put them together for the -40F. It needs a bit of adjustment, but I like the concept for trips that are cold enough for me to use my pad.
    http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeGearSPEZipper.html
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  9. #9
    Senior Member TeeDee's Avatar
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    Just Jeff - on those Wiggy's bags, does the zipper open the bag completely, i.e., does the zipper unzip all the way down around the foot end?

    Do you have the regular or long/wide version?

    Do you know the dimensions of your bag all zipped up?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    The zipper goes almost to the feet, but there's still a small footbox that doesn't unzip...so you can't get the bag completely flat when you unzip it.

    I have the regular version.

    I don't know the dimensions. I just know that the overbag is bigger, b/c it's designed to fit over the 0F bag w/o compressing it. So if you want a big roomy bag, the overbag is it. I'm on the road again but I might be able to measure it when I get back home...depending on how quickly they send me away again!
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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