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Posted by Longbow on May 01 2006
To answer your question: Synthetic. Now, which one?
The Wiggy’s line of bags is the way to go for all the reasons (considerations) mentioned above … and then some. When I first moved to Alaska I realized the need to re-evaluate my gear and needs. When comes to particular gear, “almost” is not good enough; there are some exceptions but sleeping bags is not one of them. I am not the expert, but I sure learned a lot from those that are – so for what it’s worth here is some more to consider:
Fill. Like the others, I (highly) recommend staying away from down. Although you will, on average, pick up a pound in weight for a synthetic bag over a down bag (in the same comfort rating) but once down is wet, it will stay that way until you have the time and place to dry it properly (read: Home). And I don’t know anyone who would tell you that, over time, down will migrate (clump). And what Taylor has provided concerning “continuous filament fiber” v. “chopped” I have heard the same from others equally knowledgeable. Wiggy’s uses “LAMILITE” and are so confident that the GUARANTEE is for THE LIFE OF THE BAG – it’s been a few years since I did my research but at that time I found NO other company’s offering that in an affordable bag. I can tell you, as others have, Hollofill and Primaloft do lose their loft over time. Get a Wiggy’s bag wet, and it will still keep you warm; and I mean “warm” not “not as cold” (I have even heard folks say that they got into their Wiggy’s bag with wet clothes and woke up dry.
Comfort rating. If you want and purchase a 0-degree bag, then the bag should perform to that degree WITHOUT adding linings, long underwear, wooly socks. Shoot, any bag will be true to their rating if you wear enough clothes (and your not saving any weight by bringing extra clothes to sleep in). Granted, some folks sleep “colder” or “warmer” depending on their respective metabolism, but the bags itself should hold close to its advertised rating. Many people own two bags, and again this is where I agree with Taylor. The “Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System (FTRSS) allows me to adapt to the season and / or environment. I learned the value of this from the military, years ago, from guys known for staying long periods in the most inhospitable environments – talk about an endorsement (not from me, but from them) from serious folks with little options (they were not out for a 5-day fly in, or could call the air-service for early pick-up or sleeping in their “backyard”).
Fit. It has to, what other piece of serious gear do you have that was / has not been fitted to you – sleeping bags are no different. The Wiggy’s shop does having a “fitting table” and you will be fitted. It should be an industry standard – not a convenience or something that “impresses” folks.
Affordability. Wiggy’s bags are worth twice – if not more - what they are selling for but that being said, if you opt for a different brand of bag – shop around. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true to a large extent, but I can also show you to a local store that tack an exceptionally high mark-up to “their” products.
Care. There is no easier care then Wiggy’s bag. Bags of equal price I would not even consider throwing into the washer / drier – despite the manufacturers recommendation … unless, like Wiggy’s, it came with a lifetime guarantee.
Ad ons. I have never needed or considered an inside pocket, there is only one thing I need inside my bag – Me. The rest is outside the bag where I will be used I can get to it easily but, to each - his own.
I could go on and on about the Wiggy’s bags, I can’t say that for many other “brands”. For more detailed information on the Wiggy’s bags, go to http://www.huntinghardinalaska.com/ or give mark a call in his shop.
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