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Kmassaro
01-16-2003, 12:20 PM
Some time ago, I promised to report on Wiggy's jackets for the board. On my way to California over Christmas, I picked up one of the "sweaters" and last week finally got the Antarctic Parka. Take my comments with a filter, as I don't get too cold outdoors if I am moving, but I can get cold sitting.

Both have a nylon shell. The parka is 3 lbs, the sweater about 1 lb, more like a baseball jacket. Good YKK #10 zippers, and warm. Stop the wind well, but a little noisy. I'll overcome that with a cotton camo shirt over them. Feels like down. The little sweater is enough for me in a windy snowstorm, at least the one I was in while walking the dog in Utah.

The insulation is amazing. You can soak it and squeeze the water right out. And you can compress the heck out of it, without problems. I'm going to use the little one for bowhunting, as it will fit in the Spike Camp nicely. The parka will be for my rifle hunt, where I set at "Sniper Point" and wait for the elk to walk by on their escape routes. The sun doesn't hit my spot until about 10 am, and a good warm jacket is a must. (As well as a Pocket Rocket for hot coffee while on stand, a real delight on a cold morning.)

All in all, they are well made, and appear to be well worth the money, especially if you get to Grand Junction and buy them at the factory store for 40% off. For the lightweight hunter, the sweater under something like the REI one jacket may well be ideal. (The one jacket is quiet...)

I also bought a dogbed, in part to keep my dog from damaging the leather backseat. The loft stays up, and the dog likes it.

More info will follow if we ever get cold weather in Colorado. I'm sure I'll go out and soak it soon, whether it's on purpose or not will be another question.

MikeM
01-16-2003, 05:06 PM
Kevin - thanks for updating us, and relating the clothes to bow hunting too. I had checked with Wiggleys about the sweater but couldn't get any feel for how quiet it was. Just out of curiosity how cold are you expecting the artic jacket to handle and how will you ventilate while hiking in?

Kevin
01-16-2003, 06:41 PM
Last winter, I hunted elk near Burns in December. When I returned to my Jeep at 10 am, the digital thermometer on the headliner read -12 degrees f. So, I have to figure about -20f on the low side when I set out looking for them.

Like Patrick's packs, an outside layer of quiet material covers a multitude of sins.

Levi
01-16-2003, 08:52 PM
Kevin, thanks for the report on your new coat. I just purchased a Wiggy's sleeping bag and hope to try it out this weekend. Will also be trying out for the first time the new tipi and stove I just got from Patrick. One quick question...what is a Pocket Rocket? Sounds like a small stove?? Where would I find the website for it. Thanks!
Levi

Kevin
01-16-2003, 09:25 PM
The Pocket Rocket is a 3 oz stove from MSR. You can get it at REI. Works beautifully on a gas cartridge. I keep one in the daypack for hot coffee and a warm lunch at midday. Whitegas stinks, and inevitably leaks.

Nevada Dan
01-16-2003, 09:27 PM
Levi, I hope kevin doesn't mind me jumping in. Here's the "Pocket Rocket" .I'm sure he's got some comments on it.

http://www.backcountrystore.com/images/products/normal/CAS0098.gif

Kevin
01-16-2003, 09:27 PM
Also, please let us know what you think about the bag.

Kevin
01-16-2003, 09:29 PM
Wow, Dan. Great! More proof of my little note to beginning hunters or beginning mountain hunters. Pose a problem and watch folks solve it.
Spectacular fun. And BTW, liked your pics about Nevada hunting.

Levi
01-20-2003, 03:27 PM
Kevin and Nevada Dan, thanks for filling me in on the Pocket Rocket. For the past two seasons I've been using a similar stove from MSR called the Rapid Fire. My scale shows its 14 oz., which is quite a bit more than the pocket rocket. Been happy with the MSR so far, but will keep my eyes open for a pocket rocket.

Kevin, you asked how I liked the new Wiggys bag. I called them today to get their address to send it back to them. Here's why...my wife and I took out the tent and stove from Patrick this past weekend along with our new sleeping bags for the first time. The weather here has been gorgeous so I didn't think twice about only taking 20 degree bags. Especially since we had the stove in the tipi as a backup. We enjoyed the stove immensely, but as you all know the fire only stays going for an hour or so after the final "stoke of the night". We went to bed around 10, and I woke up at 12 freezing! I put on more clothes and stoked up the stove again. This kept me good until about 3 when I woke up again cold. Toughed it out this time until about 7am when I finally had to get up and moving around.

In all fairness I realize a 20 degree bag isn't what you would call mountaineering grade. However, we had water laying in the tipi that didn't freeze so I am pretty sure the temperature never got below 32 degrees. I am fairly warm blooded, and was pretty disapointed to say the least. I was very excited about the bag. Especially liked the part that it could be washed as many times as possible without hurting it. Thought this would be beneficial in a floorless tipi. From all I hear and read, Wiggys is a good company building excellent equipment. Maybe this bag just didn't fit my heating system.

The good news...
I am happy to report though that my wife stayed very warm in her new North Face bag. She purchased the new bag on sale for less than $100 and it performed great. It is their "Cat Walk" design and uses Polarguard as insulation. Weighs less than 3 pounds in the ladies version. This bag too is rated at 20 above.

So will be searching the past board posts for another bag. Any input from the members would be greatly appreciated. Trying to keep the bag under 4 pounds, and would prefer to stay away from down(though not totally out of the picture). Would like the bag to at least be rated to a true 20 degrees. Thanks in advance!

Levi

Ken
01-21-2003, 08:49 AM
Levi- I've got the Northface Darkstar, it might bea little heavier than you would like but I've slept out on a covered deck down to 15 with only boxers and a tee-shirt. I was on a 3/4 length 1" thermarest pad. Inside of a unheated tent down to 20 is a piece of cake. Maybe you could just trade yours in for Wiggys Ultima -20, Thats about the same price/weight of mine.

Kmassaro
01-21-2003, 09:17 AM
I would not use a 20 degree bag in Colorado in October, so I am not surprised that a 20 degree bag would not work in January in Montana. My spot gets darn cold in hunting season,and I use a 0 degree bag. In November/December, my -30 bag comes out and I need it. (-12 at 10 am in Dec 2001) Apparently some are heartier souls than I. I've never used a Wiggys bag so can't comment on whether they are any good or not from experience, but the coats are excellent.

01-21-2003, 11:16 AM
Thats too bad about the +20 Wiggys bag bad experience. I own four of their products, including the -20 ultima thule bag from Wiggys and I'm very impressed. I learned about these bags from several serious distance mushers, including one from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. I've used mine half a dozen times and I can't imagine a situation where it wouldn't perform adequately. Most times its been too hot for Cascades winter (~20 deg). These are also the bags used by Northern Outward Bound programs, because these bags are tough as nails.

Happy Trails

shu
01-21-2003, 11:55 AM
Levi--

I am sorry (and a bit surprised) to hear about your troubles with the Wiggy.

As you probably know there are many factors which affect how warm we sleep. Dehydration, exhaustion, alcohol, altitude, hunger, nicotine, etc. all make it harder to maintain body temperature. An oversized bag will take more energy to heat and will not be as efficient. And no bag works properly without a good sleeping pad to insulate from the ground. With this in mind, I would hesitate to judge the Wiggy on a sample of one.

I have had a Wiggy Ultra Light for a few years now and am more impressed with it every time I use it. I have slept comfortably on several occasions when the temperature dropped below the rated 20 degrees. I also had a cold night last fall (our thermometer read low twenties) after a very long day packing an elk off the mountain followed by a couple celebratory drinks. Alcohol with exhaustion and I was up several times to stoke the fire when normally I would have slept soundly.

While I like the Wiggy's for a number of reasons (wide bags, comfortable drape, machine washability, modest price, heavy duty construction), what really sets it apart from other synthetic bags is that they are guaranteed not to lose their loft. While I have not had the bag long enough to really test this, it still looks as good as the day I bought it. If it starts to look like my old TNF bag I can always ship it back.

My Cat's Meow is well made and worked very well the first couple years I had it but is now used as a summer bag. The insulation has degraded to the point that I estimate its current rating at about 35 degrees. I also have a -15 bag that is good to around zero. I won't buy another bag unless its down or a Wiggy.

Because of this, I really can't recommend another synthetic bag. Mountain Hardwear makes very good gear and I have heard a lot of good things about Big Agnes. But their insulation will break down with use. If you are worried about the bag getting wet and don't mind replacing every 5-10 years, get synthetic. Otherwise, get a down bag. Down is initially expensive but very durable and sleeps the best.

Just my thoughts.