User Review: Wiggy's Super Light
Temperature Rating: 0 F
Price Paid: $179
I've read a lot of comments about Wiggy's bags posted here. To give a bit of backround on my review, I sold Wiggy's bags in Rochester, NY, at the now defunct Tent City. They were a really popular bag when I sold them. This was between 1994 and 1997. In 1994 I bought a Superlite with the desert liner.
The bag has performed for me very well. I used to test the bags we had as displays, and I tested the Superlite before I bought mine. In 5F temperatures (measured with a minimal reading thermometer) using a gore-tex bivy as an overbag, a thermarest standard long as a ground pad, and wearing military weight polypro with a hat, I was comfortable.
I weigh 130lb and I sleep very cold, so I was impressed with the bag.
Of the 40 or so Wiggy's bags I personally sold at Tent City, only one ever came back on a warranty. The person who returned the bag said it was "defective" when it was washed and dried. I saw the return and it looked like the bag was dried in the dryer with heat (a big no-no) with the liner bag attached (another no-no). Jerry did replace that bag.
My bags each had a warranty problem. Both the draw cords for the hood pulled out of the bag where they are sewn to the liner material (bags loaned out to "friends"). I didn't have any problems getting them repaired or returned.
Some people will complain about a few things on Wiggy's bags. One being the zipper size and another being the lack of the draft collar for the Superlight. Zippers are one thing you don't want to ever have to think about when you have a cold weather bag. This is the mind set of the manufacturer. A cold weather bag that doesn't close isn't worth much. My zippers have yet to fail. The sliders haven't worn down and split (which cheaper metal sliders will do) The other nice thing about the bags' zippers is that all the bags are completely mateable. This years 20F bag will mate with my 0F from 1994.
The lack of a draft collar for the Superlight is sort of frustrating. The earlier FTRSS (flexible temperature rated sleeping system) had a liner bag that went inside the heavier bag. This liner bag didn't have a hood and was a functional draft collar on the old 2 bag system. When Wiggy's went to the outer bag, the hood now had double the insulation and the liner bag was a bit roomier for the summer, but you didn't have a pseudo draft collar. The argument from Wiggy as to why there is no draft collar on a Superlight is probably lack of need. The draping characteristics of the bag are good enough to forego the expense of the collar. As a note, the Ultima Thule (-20F rating) does have an elastic cord that draws around the neck area, though it is not a tube of insulation, per se.
I never really missed it. If it was cold enough to draw the cord tight around my face I didn't really need the draft collar around my neck.
The only other complaint I've heard about that I haven't addressed is the lack of loft the bag undergoes over the years. I haven't had any lofting issues with my bags. Washing the bags definitely helps. It also helps to know what the bag's intial loft is from the manufacturer. Double check the catalog. It also helps if you store the bag uncompressed. Leaving the bag in the stuff sack fully compressed for a month or two won't kill your bag, but leaving it fully compressed for a year or two and then expecting it to loft up like new is a bit too much. (Wiggy's claims that an Ultima Thule will loft back to 90% of its original specs from a blister packing under 20 tons of pressure)
I agree with any consumer who has a new bag, clean, and stored uncompressed who doesn't get their advertised loft and who wants their money back. I would like to put this issue in perspective with other sleeping bag manufacturers. I think the Wiggy's bag is a good, no frills, solid performer at the stated temperature rating. You would be hard pressed to get your money back from most (85%) manufacturers if you told them you put your sleeping bag in a top loading washing machine, or to get your zipper or draw cord replaced on the bag five years after you bought it. (few bags carry a lifetime warranty and those that do often will say that the material was not defective it was worn with use, so you still pay for the repair).
So here I'm speaking from 8 years of outdoor retail experience with four years experience selling the product and 9 years experience using the product. I've spoken with Wiggy before while I worked at Tent City. He is a bit much sometimes. Politically we are nothing alike. But from my experience he builds a quality, US made product that hasn't really gone up in price since 1994 when I was selling the bags. He was considerate enough in his business practice to return my phone calls when he could not speak to me personally, and went to great lengths to answer my questions regarding a lot of technical minutia. I have no vested commercial interest in his business. I actually don't know any places that retail his bags anymore. I do have an interest in people buying good equipment at a reasonable price.
The outdoor industry spends a lot of advertising dollars on a lot of miracle improvements that are unnecessary or unquantified. And every year basic camping supplies keep increasing in price. It's a challenge to get good techincal specs on products nowadays that are verifiable. I hope to increase a consumer's confidence in a product I have experience and faith in. Stay warm.