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Wiggy's Antarctic Sleeping Bag

Wiggy's Antarctic Sleeping Bag
Selection
Pros
Cons
Resources
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Field Notes

Wiggy's Antarctic Sleeping Bag

The Antarctic Bag is rated to -60 degrees F.  The long large version weights 7 lbs, which I have, and sells for $320 retail.  For $144 you can add an outer bag that can be used alone in warmer weather or over the Antarctic to add an addition 20 degrees of warm. The Wiggy's Antarctic is perhaps the coldest rated bag on the market and far from the most expensive.

Jerry Wigutow (Wiggy) has been producing highly functional cold weather gear for years.  His products are made with Lamilite insulation, which is a single spun hydrophobic insulation. His bags are guaranteed to maintain their  loft even after being vacuum packed for years.  You can even buy bags vacuum packed for survival kits, which is how they have been used for year as aircraft survival bags.  The insulation is laminated to the lining and shell to create a seamless bag (no baffling seams, not cold spots). 

Wiggy makes bags from -60 to +40, clothing, shelters, aircraft covers and more. Many of their products are in use by military and government agencies.  Their web site offers extensive information on the products, materials and lessons in the mechanics of insulations.   Visit them at   www.wiggys.com

 

 

 

Wiggybag2.jpg (56163 bytes)

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Wiggy was kind enough to provide his products at a discount for the Serum Run in support of Col. Vaughan and the mission of the Serum Run.  Thank You Wiggy!!

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Selection

I wanted a bag rated to at least -40f.  I consider a good sleeping bag an essential survival tool, and I want it to function if damp or wet, so no feathers or cotton.  (If you fall through the ice or get injured, your best bet for survival may be to crawl in your sleeping bag and lay on the trail until someone comes along to help.) Since I will be traveling by  snowmobile, weight and compressibility were not primary factors, however  I wanted the bag to compress to a decent size package, with reasonable weight. 

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Pros

Life time guarantee: If the bag develops cold spots or loses it's loft or anything else, just sent it back and it will be taken care of.  
Readily wicks away moisture and retains insulation value.
Can be used even if wet
Machine washable: Wiggy encourages washing the bag to avoid build up of body oils and grime that may decease the performance of any sleeping bags. 
Can be compressed and stored for long periods without lose of loft
No baffling seams
Reasonable price:  $320 for a -60 degree bag is cheap when compared to most other bags.  
Coldest rated bag on the market.

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Cons

I haven't found any real negative aspects to the bag for my purposes!    The only con is that when it's -20F it's real hard to think about crawling out of the nice warm bag.  

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Field Notes

So far I have used the bag several times with temperatures in the 10-25 degree range, and have never been cold in it.  To warm at times maybe, but never cold. 
First thing you notice is that it regains it's loft after being pulled from the compression bag and left to lay.  
The lining is cold when you crawl in but warms quickly.
I was amused when I felt like the lining was hugging my body contours but found  a hug amount of room when I brought my elbow up to shoulder level.  I think 2 could fit in the bag in an emergency.    The bag is made to stay close to your body, but easily expands as you move. (Wiggy talks about the advantage of this feature of Lamilite on his web site.)
Sleeping in temperatures from +10F to +20F, I found the bag to be almost to warm.  I did wake up one night soaked in sweat. I unzipped the bag to vent off some moisture and  fully expected to wake up cold a short time later.  Instead I woke up about an hour later warm and dry snuggled under my bag using it as a quilt.   I was sleeping on a Wiggy's insulated pad and a layer of fleece for insulation from underneath. 

On the Serum Run shake down run I slept in my truck camper on 4" of foam and an old heavy rectangular bag under me, then zipped up in my Wiggy.  Again I found it almost to warm.  The first night I started out in a light polypro top and bottom, but found the polypro to be retaining more moisture than the bag.  I peeled off the long johns and never felt damp again.   

The lack of baffling seams makes the bag smooth and soft.  The laminated insulation stays in place yet is softly flexible and elastic.
The hood configuration takes a little getting use to if you are accustom to the typical mummy bag hood.  The back of the bag lays flat in an arch above your head.  The front of the bag is more or less a straight line across your neck.  A single drawstring controls both the upper edge of the arch and the straight front of the bag.  You tighten the string to shrink the arch forward over you head.  the front tightens in to reduce the width of the bottom of the opening.  
On the 2002 Serum Run the bag worked wonderfully for cold weather camping.  My guess is that we had night time  temperatures as low as -20F to -30F, and I was warm and comfortable sleeping in a tent.  It was way to warm to crawl into when we spent nights in school gyms and community centers, but it made a great additional sleeping pad / quilt on those occasions.  

It is now 2004, and I have used my Wiggy Bag many times, and it continues to be my 1st choice for cold weather camping!  While the coldest temperatures I've used the bag in has been about -25F to -30F, I can safely say that I trust it to keep me warm to at least -35F.  (As Wiggy explains on his web site, the temperature rating is more of a guide than a fact.  Sleeping comfort and warmth vary from person to person.  While some may be toast warm at -60F others may not be as comfortable in the same bag at -15F.  For me, sleeping in the bag at -10F to -20F is perfect!  I stay nice and warm, but don't generate any perspiration.  At -25F and colder, I find I am more comfortable with a layer of polypro underwear on. 

For 2005 I plan to add Wiggy's FTRSS over bag.   It is basically an over bag for any of Wiggy's bags.  The FTRSS bag can be used alone for temperatures of +35 and greater.  It can also be mated to the Arctic Bag to create a double bag.  Or it can be used as an outer bag, adding about 20 degrees more warmth to the inner bag.  When doubled with the Arctic bag the temperature rating is more like -80F, which I'm sure would keep me comfortably warm in the coldest temperatures I may encounter.  All for only $144 Retail!

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Resources

The -60 degree Antarctic bag retails for $320.  You can add an outer bag that adds another 20 degrees of warmth for $144.  Wiggy makes bags from -60 to +40, all are great for damp conditions.  He also makes some impressive small tents and shelters, and aircraft covers.  All of Wiggy's products are available from Wiggy's and are available their website. 

www.wiggys.com

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