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#127376 - 03/15/08 01:57 AM So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?"
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" OK, somewhat provocative question, but seriously Jerry in his newsletters goes on and on about his Lamilite insulation.

If you have personally used a Wiggy's bag:
1. What was the bag's temperature rating?
2. Did it measure up to that rating?
3. Have you slept in a wet Wiggy's bag and did it still keep you warm?
4. If you've used a Wiggy's bag over 5 years old, is it still measuring up to it's temperature rating?

The one thing that I can't get past is the weight of a Wiggy's bag. They seem to be about double what my warmer* down bags weigh. My down bags meet their temperature rating and last well so there's not really much advantage to Lamilite except that Lamilite appears to work well when wet (which IS a big advantage). I guess that's the trade off: Down is 1/3 to 1/2 the weight than a Wiggy's bag for a given temperature rating, but if it gets wet, you're screwed.

1. A Wiggy's Desert +40F bag (40oz) weighs 2.11 times more than my warmer Western Mountaineering Summerlite +32F bag (19oz).
2. A Wiggy's Ultralight +20F bag (56oz) weighs 1.81 times more than my warmer Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 +15F bag (31oz).
Adventures In Stoving

#127381 - 03/15/08 03:21 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
I am always amused when somebody boasts their Mountaingoat LTD MK IV dayglo fuschia, 5th generation Go Texas( rolls up into a ball you can fit into the pocket of the other clothing you didn't bring because of wieght) has lasted 5 years. Invariably these garments have ben used at best a few dozen times while my Filson one tonne wool cruiser jacket is pushing 30 years of near daily use. I bought my first Wiggy on the advise of the late Chris Janowskie, who did in fact submerge a bag into water and climb inside. Chris lived in Alaska. I never figured out what all the fuss was over an ounce here and there in my gear. If it gets to heavy I just reduce the bottles of Champagne in my BOB. There is a grainy, black and white photo of Klondikers climbing the Chilkoot Trail.I've climbed that pass, in wonder at people who lugged the required TONNES of food and supplies to the top.I bet they would have loved a Wiggies. Can they wear out? Of course they will, eventually. But by the time one does, most of Jerry's detractors have gone out of business.

Edited by Chris Kavanaugh (03/15/08 03:24 AM)

#127382 - 03/15/08 03:27 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Hmm. Not quite the direct response to my questions that I had hoped for, but thank you.

By the way, my dad's old down bag ca. late 50's/early 60's is still going strong. Dad used it pretty dang regular, particularly after he retired. He and now I have gotten about 45+ years out of it. Meets my criteria for longevity. smile
Adventures In Stoving

#127392 - 03/15/08 05:10 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Hikin_Jim]
miner Offline

Registered: 09/05/03
Posts: 75
Loc: Layton, Utah
I've never slept in one but I've followed several threads on these bags on 2 hunting sites (Kifaru and 24hourcampfire in the backpack hunting area). I was needing a bag and was going to purchase a Wiggy but I watched Jerry act like such an [censored] on those sites that he was banished from both of them.

In general, they tend to be regarded as good synthetic bags that are heavy for their temperature rating. Those who love them really love them. Those that don't seem to have more of an issue with Jerry than with the bags.

I ended up with a Big Agnes down bag and I really like it. I understand that the Western Mountaineering bags are probably one of the best bags going right now. Of course if you get a down bag wet, you are pretty much screwed.

If you really want to get a feel for the passion about this issue, at least among backpack hunters, visit the 24hourcampfire site. The current thread on Wiggys bags has over 400 posts and a lot of it is somewhat nasty. Search either site as they tend to have Wiggys threads erupt every so often (and I use the word erupt on purpose).

#127422 - 03/15/08 04:47 PM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Chris, I don't mean to hijack this thread but thanks to your post, I got some fun reading about the Klondike Gold Rush history. It's fascinating.

During this Klondike Gold Rush it became apparent that most prospectors were not going to survive the arduous terrain and demanding weather (The Klondike Gold Rush killed many people. 1 million planned to try and find gold. 100,000 actually set out to do so. By the time people reached Dawson City 60,000 people had died. Of the 40,000 at Dawson City only 4,000 found gold) so the Canadian Mounted Police of the time required one ton of gear (enough to supply a prospector for one year)

Here is a suggested list:

150 lb. bacon
400 lb. flour
25 lb. rolled oats
125 lb. beans
10 lb. tea
10 lb. coffee
25 lb. sugar
25 lb. dried potatoes
2 lb. dried onions
15 lb. salt
1 lb. pepper
75 lb. dried fruits
8 lb. baking powder
2 lb. soda
1/2 lb. evaporated vinegar
12 oz. compressed soup
1 can mustard
1 tin matches (for four men)
Stove for four men
Gold pan for each
Set granite buckets
Large bucket
Knife, fork, spoon, cup, and plate
Frying pan
Coffee and teapot
Scythe stone
Two picks and one shovel
One whipsaw
Pack strap
Two axes for four men and one extra handle
Six 8 inch files and two taper files for the party
Draw knife, brace and bits, jack plane, and hammer for party
200 feet three-eights-inch rope
8 lb. of pitch and 5 lb. of oakum for four men
Nails, five lbs. each of 6,8,10 and 12 penny, for four men
Tent, 10 x 12 feet for four men
Canvas for wrapping
Two oil blankets to each boat
5 yards of mosquito netting for each man
3 suits of heavy underwear
1 heavy mackinaw coat
2 pairs heavy machinaw trousers
1 heavy rubber-lined coat
1 doz heavy wool socks
1/2 doz heavy wool mittens
2 heavy overshirts
2 pairs heavy snagproof rubber boots
2 pairs shoes
4 pairs blankets (for two men)
4 towels
2 pairs overalls
1 suit oil clothing
Several changes of summer clothing
Small assortment of medicines


#127423 - 03/15/08 06:25 PM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Hikin_Jim]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1161
Loc: Channeled Scablands
We bought a batch of the "ultralight" bags to use for Pacific
Crest Outward Bound about 10 or 12 years ago. The worked comparably
in warmth, weight, and durability to the 20 degree, $60, slumberjack synthetic bags also used at the time. By the end of the summer with daily use and monthly laundering they had lost roughly 1/3 of their loft and students were getting cold at below freezing temps.

#127446 - 03/16/08 12:45 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Frankie]
AROTC Offline

Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 604
Loc: Manhattan
This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:
"Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane --
Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;
Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core;
Swift as the panther in triumph, fierce as the bear in defeat,
Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat.
Send me the best of your breeding, lend me your chosen ones;
Them will I take to my bosom, them will I call my sons;
Them will I gild with my treasure, them will I glut with my meat;
But the others -- the misfits, the failures -- I trample under my feet.
Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain,
Ye would send me the spawn of your gutters -- Go! take back your spawn again.
--Robert Service, the first stanza of The Law of the Yukon
A gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman where so ever he may find himself.--Good Omens

#127456 - 03/16/08 02:11 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Hi Hikin_Jim

I haven't owned a Wiggy's bag, but they appear to be top quality synthetic sleeping bags similar to other high end bags such as the Snugpak range and the like. The Lamilite insulation claims on the Wiggy's website are very similar to the claims for the performance of the Softie Premier insulation which Snugpak uses, so I guess the claims about it being somewhat unique can be taken with a pinch of salt.

The Western Mountaineering Summerlite seems to be at the top end performance, even for a down bag. Very nice and very expensive and a really nice bit of kit and should last a long time if looked after.

No matter what anyone says 'sleeping in a wet sleeping bag' is not recommended whether it is a synthetic or down. A truely misarable way to spend the night. So some simple precautions are all that are required.

Don't let your down bag get wet.

Don't breathe into your down bag.

Don't attempt to sleep in damp or wet clothing.

Over time a synthetic bag will slowly loose its insulation qualities, some at a faster rate than others. With a good down bag I would expect the lifetime to be 2-3 times longer than even the very best synthetic bags. Therefore I think there are many advantages to a down bag even with the initial higher purchase price. But the end user needs be slightly more skillful using a downbag than with a synthetic to ensure they maximise its qualities and guard against is downsides. (no pun intended)

The synthetic bag I own is a Snugpak Special Forces 1, which can incidentally be zipped into a Special Forces 2 and still allows the user keep the quick centre pull zipper operation. This gives a flexible arragement covering a wider range of working temperatures. It also has a re-inforced foot box which is designed to allow the user to keep his or her boots on during the night.


What I do like about the Wiggy's bag range is that they offer a high quality rectangular shaped bag rather than the now standard mummy shape. Its sometimes nice to have the option if bags weight is not critical for use in moderate/cool temperatures.

#127460 - 03/16/08 02:57 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Chris Kavanaugh
I am always amused when somebody boasts their Mountaingoat LTD MK IV dayglo fuschia, 5th generation Go Texas...

Exactly. We should all still be wearing bearskins & racoon hats in the wilds. All this newfangeld gadgetry is worthless and a waste of resources. Anyone who carries less than 50% of their bodyweight on the trail is a moron, disconnected with what's important about the outdoors, and probably displays loose morals. If only we embraced 50-year old technology to the exclusion of modern "advances", everything in the world would be better and the stars would align more precisely.

Oh wait, I'm responding to a Luddite post on the Internet. How ironic: using perhaps the finest example of modern technology to rail against... modern technology.

#127464 - 03/16/08 03:20 AM Re: So, is Wiggy's just plain "wiggy?" [Re: Hikin_Jim]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
I can't answer your questions, because his attitude turned me off long ago. The laddy doth protest too much, methinks. I do know far too much about insulation, though, from many hours of stab-me-in-the-eye-please training.

Lamilite is one of the earlier continuous fibers, much like the original Polarguard, which you can still get in lower-end bags like Slumberjack. Polarguard has moved on to hollow extruded fibers--first Delta and then 3D, which seem to give equal warmth for less weight. None of them bounce back like down, which is why down lasts for decades and synthetics slowly compress under heavy use (or simply being stuffed in a sack and not used). Wiggy's keeps the old tech and prints new advertising.

It's not terrible stuff, but it's heavy. I've made my own views clear on here. To be honest I do own two fiber bags, but I see their use as very limited. I'll take a fiber bag kayaking/canoeing on short trips, or backpacking in the rainiest weeks of spring in the Smokies, when it comes down like it's getting paid. That's about it. I also have one that I've cut in half to use in winter for my dogs, because they never take off their wet clothes before they go to bed. :-] Since I used to work in a gear shop, I picked up all of these for very little money.

If you feel the need to have a synthetic bag, there are other companies that try to keep weight in mind. Sierra Designs is one, and it has been in business for two decades longer than W's and is still going strong.

I don't want to hijack the thread, either, but weight of pack is a real survival issue. As Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia and a proponent of ultralight climbing) says, "If you have bivy gear, you will bivy." His point is that every piece of gear carried limits your range of travel, and there is a tipping point at which you are more likely to stay put rather than walk out. With a light pack, I can walk a lot of miles every day if I have to without jettisoning anything, so I'm closer to the car/cabin/escape from situation with my full kit. If a situation has no escape, then yes, heavier bombproof gear is preferable, but in my location I probably can't walk two days in any direction without hitting a road, so I prefer mobility.

I think that if Wiggy's really was the best, their bags would be carried by most long-distance hikers. Those are pretty much the only folks in modern society who spend months outdoors and cover thousands of miles without a vehicle. They are awfully good at ferreting out the best gear. I've met hundreds on the AT and at get-togethers like Trail Days, and I haven't seen a Wiggy's bag yet that I remember.


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