Arctic Oven 12 Extreme and Wiggy's Bag review.
Here are a few of my thoughts on our new Arctic Oven 12 Extreme with Vestibule, floor saver, footprint and "The Packer" stove w/5" pipe. We picked up the tent about a week ago and seam sealed it. Seam sealing an AO12 in our house was a task and a half with not being able to set it up. I had fired off the stove three times outside the tent, each time getting it as hot as I could. This cleaned off all the oil and burned almost all the galvanizing from the pipe (all except the top pipe which is outside the tent). Yesterday I set up the tent, solo. It was not to bad and the next time will be much easier. I am only 5'8" and fastening the peak to the spider was a stretch, literally. Outside air temp, approx. 10 degrees. I got my stove installed and fired it off with some split birch started with a little cardboard. It performed as advertised and proceeded to get toasty hot inside. I didn't even get to the real wood only my kindling. My two boys stripped down to their long underwear and then no shirts at all. I was able to fit four of the military style cots inside. The floor is 12'4" with tapered walls and my cots are 6'6" so I had to put one on each wall of the tent to get them all in. They are very heavy cots (approx. 20# ea.) and with them not fitting very well I may replace as budgets allow. I went ahead and spent the night out there using a single Duralog to warm it up while I went and got my pad and sleeping bag. I used the Duralog on recommendation from a very reliable source. The Duralog did a fine job of heating the AO up quickly. Outside air temp was -8 when I went out to go to sleep. I could just see my breath as I crawled into my bag, but the temp inside the tent was rising quickly.
Now to the Wiggy's bag.
We learned a lesson on our last family overnight winter outing. We rented a State Parks cabin on Redshirt Lk. The stove had a hole burned through the back of it. So it was either full hot or burned out nothing in between. The only way to meter the heat was to slowly add SMALL pieced of wood or open the cabin door. Outside air temp -20. This was Dec 23, 2010. Everyone was happy when we went to bed, but come morning my boys where cold. Sleeping bags where not adequate for sleeping without heat. So with the acquisition of the AO we decided to upgrade sleeping bags. I have never heard a bad word about Wiggy's bag and have several friends who use them. We opted to get the Ultima Tule with overbag. Giving us flexibility and temp rating down to -60. I ordered them in regular length but wide width, two with left zip and two with right zip. I slept out in my AO last night solo. I used a right zip bag with the overbag installed (zipped in). The bag is warm and I am very glad I ordered them in wide. One thing I didn't like was the zipper baffle is not large enough to completely cover the ZIPPERS (three of them) when the overbag is zipped in. This causes cool to cold spots along one side of your body. If I had used the core bag alone, or had the core separated from the overbag, zipping each separately, the baffle would have been more that large enough. The lack of a neck baffle requires the hood to be snugged up pretty tight to keep cold air out.
All in all I slept well. We are doing a full family test this Friday night. My wife's review will be forthcoming. As well I will be separating the core from the overbag and trying that configuration.
Does anybody know how to rotate my pictures back to normal?
thanks for the review. how long does a duralog last? does it burn colder than regular wood or what is the reason?
To edit pictures on your computer, right-click the file, edit, find the rotate menu and save.
I am not sure if you can rotate the loaded pictures on the site.
The reason for the Duralog is ease. One match and there is heat. No paper, tinder, kindling or wood to split. The intent is to get enough heat to get into your bag, Then use another one, in the morning, to get out of the bag. A musher friend used this technique while on The Serum Run, but only 1/2 a Duralog each time. If I was staying anywhere for more than a day I would cut my own wood for sure, who wants to carry a bunch of Duralogs. But as stated earlier I was testing things out. Real wood was much hotter. How long does a Duralog last? I have no idea, I fell asleep within minutes of me getting into my bag.
The pics are fine on my computer. They rotated un-commanded when I imported them to the forum.
Rotate them with most any program before you post. I prefer Microsoft Office Picture Manager but almost anything you can view your pictures on your computer with has a capability to rotate, then save them.
That's what is so strange, on my computer the pics are oriented correctly. I posted in the "forum tips" and Brian said that after they post there is no way to edit pictures.
Originally Posted by AKFishOn
Ok so I moved the pics to a new program and lets see what happens.
photo 2.jpgphoto 3.jpg
Looks good now. Attaching them from my desktop is no good but from my picture viewing program is ok.
Will you be using the tent this winter? I pulled the trigger on this tent in november but was too late to be made in time for a hunt so I will get it next fall for sure. You had to put the fourth cot across the doorway? If the stove was shifted slightly to one side could you put two cots side by side on one wall? I was excited when they unveiled this tent this summer since I am trying to replace a 12 x 14 wall tent for winter use. Anxious to get inside one. Also wondering why you went with 5" pipe. 4 has been plenty for me.
Yes I intend to use the tent this winter. We have a trip planned for Spring Break with another family that bought the same tent. I am hoping to use it sooner, but time is the missing ingredient now. The bigger sheet metal stove (the middle sized one at AK Tent) comes with a 5 inch pipe. I thought the AO stove was a little small (it is a 3 inch pipe) for when it is real cold. I also wanted the larger stove so I could put longer pieces of wood in it (less cutting). I will know more after a trip when it is really cold. My buddy in Kenai has the same tent with the smaller stove so we will be able to compare notes. I debated about getting the half barrel (which uses a 4 inch pipe) but decided to save weight. To get 4 of the military style cots in I had to stagger them around the edge, so yes one of them partially blocks the door. The cots I have are 6'6" long. The Roll-A-Cots at AK Tent are 6' and would fit a bit better plus they are much lighter. Offsetting the stove so you could get two cots side by side against one wall would work. It will put the stove rather close, but it is close to the cot against the back wall the way it is now. To bad you are in Glennallen since I have the tent set up in my yard now. I am leaving it up for a few days so the whole family can try it out on Friday night.
Originally Posted by mod elan
Thank you. Keep us posted as you use it. We use the same cots so that is what caught my attention. A partially blocked door wouldn't be bad. I use my own stoves and neck them down to 4" pipe. I will have to talk AKT&T into having one set up the next time I go to town.
I have the AO10 with the small stove from ATT and use a Wiggy's sleep system bag rated at, if I remember right, -45. Tent works great. I've used it more for fall hunting than winter, but its always nice to get inside, dried off and warm. Part of the time we also use the wax logs (duralog) and the wax log grate from ATT. At times we have cut the logs into smaller pieces for better regulated heat. The AO10 is really a two man tent, especially when using cots and I hate to sleep on the ground. Stove always works great unless you forget to pull the little spark arrestor in the top section of pipe out just a little, smokey, smokey inside otherwise.
The Wiggy's bag has always worked pretty well even though I'm glad I never had to sleep in it at -45. I've had trouble with the zipper baffle also. I asked the Wiggy's store guy in Anchorage about it one time and he blamed it on the cot I was sleeping on, said the ground would be a lot warmer. I think the coldest I have slept in it was -10, on a cot with the heaviest therma rest pad I can find and that was bearable, but not super toasty, had to kinda sleep on the zipper. Wish I had bought the wider bag, mummy bags are a challenge for sure.
I have one of the roll-a-cots from ATT and even though it is a great cot with only 4 legs, which makes it easier to level, I don't use it much, it is kinda complicated to set up. Normally we use the standard military type cot from Walmart, smaller and quicker to set up. Also, because the roll-a-cot doesn't have a cross bar on the end it's harder to keep a pillow under your head.
I am a purty big guy and I have the super light (0*) + overbag. I love the bags but don't care for the mating system when it is really cold due to the same complaint. I don't think it is much of an issue for smaller/slimmer guys but I fill the bag pretty good. I just nest the bags when it gets really cold without zipping the inner to the outer and it is fine. With the two mated there is about a 3/4" wide stripe along the zipper where the inner baffle does not fully cover along the zipper leaving only the outer bag. At minus -30 the cold can get in there pretty good. A larger baffle would be really nice on the 0* bag for sure.
AkJeff - Stumbled upon this thread and have a couple things to add:
Once the bags are mated, you have two full-length draft tubes which overlap (shingle) inside the bag to cover the zipper with 2 inches to spare. Make sure you have the Overbag (lighter bag) on the outside as you state that it is on the inside. You should be reading the Wiggy label from the outside with them mated and zipped.
DOUBLE your sleeping pad on a cot in the winter, especially at these temperatures we have been having. DOUBLE them. NO single Thermarest pad is enough, especially on a cot as they are filled with air and you also have air circulating under the cots. Truthfully, the ground is warmer. In winter temps, what is under the sleeper is more important than what is above the sleeper.
Do not mate the bags side-by-side at cold temperatures as you will have no way of completely closing the hood(s) when they are mated at the shoulder.
You've got plenty of bag, that's for sure, but at true cold temperatures there are measures that must be paid attention to that will make the difference between "alright" and "cozy".
After our second night, testing our new gear, we made a couple discoveries about our Wiggy's bags. Since we purchased two LEFT zip and two RIGHT zip bags we were able to make side by side comparisons, which we verified by reading the website more thoroughly. The left zip bags have TWO zipper baffles, one on each side of the zipper. This must be for when a right and a left are mated together. This second baffle closes the gap more when zipped into the overbag. It is still possible, while tossing and turning, to get a leg up against the four or five inches of combined zipper width. My seven year old did this at about five am and complained of his side being cold. I did as stated above and zipped each of his bags separately and in less than five minutes he was warm and back asleep. I went ahead and did the same to my bag and was very warm the rest of the night . I also discovered the "shock corded draw string" near the chest. This helps to solve the problem of cold air coming into the body area from the hood area. I am very impressed with the bags overall. They are very warm and wick away moisture very well. As stated early in other posts the mating of the core and overbag has room for improvement, but I think using a LEFT zip bag may make this less of an issue. I don't think that a cot makes the zipper area colder. It probably reduces the bag's overall effectiveness, with all the cold air beneath the bag. Even on the ground the zipper is still on the side, exposed to the air. I guess I will have to try sleeping on the ground next time we go out (spring break on Denali Hwy).
Originally Posted by Marc Taylor
I used the bags, as delivered, with the overbag on the outside. I'm not sure one could even zip it together backwards, unless the whole thing was inside out. I should have stated the "the core bag zipped in". As I stated earlier, I am impressed and happy with the bags, they are warm. Just posting some of my observations.
From the Wiggy's website:
Wiggy's Sleeping Bags: General Information
All Wiggy's sleeping bags are filled with Lamilite insulation and have contoured hood sections. The draft tube is oversized. All left zip bags are made with a double draft tube. All like style bags are zipper mateable. The Antarctic and Ultima Thule models have a shock cord / draw cord six inches below the top of the chest section, which eliminates the need for a draft collar.
Based on the several observations... this is precisely why these kinds of bags do not end up as predominant great choices for extreme cold exposure on expeditions. You'll find that the majority of military and civilian 'sleep-systems' are in reality compromises and therefore just not the best designs, components or materials in way below zero temperatures. Notice that none work too well stand alone or ya find yourself somewhat messing around. What you are experiencing is diminishing returns on addition upon addition to gain extra comfort range. This is not the efficient approach to cranking up restful satisfaction... plus it adds hassle, extra bulk, and weight.
If you really seek an extreme world-class winter Bag... It will be around $800-$1000. The fill will be of the highest lofting and quality Goose-down in 850+ USA laboratory certified power-fill. It will have refined features and specified for the harshest sub-zero survival environments like blocking baffles, interlocking draft tubes, fully contoured 360 degree collaring, and contoured hood with breathing tunnel. Outer fabric will be down-proof, snow-proof, wind-proof, spill-proof and very weather/water resistant. Zippers will be much better protected and cold-proofed. Fit/bag shape will also be very suitable to polar extremes. You could save a $100+ or so going to very good high end bags that use most of the above features/materials but use 800+ USA laboratory certified power-fill. Warmest Ratings will run -40 to -60 F!
Moving toward synthetics... you'll never truly or realistically see a synthetic bag rating any lower than -30 to -40. These rarely live up to these 'lofty' ratings even when brand spankin' new, when perfectly dry, under best of conditions at -30 or -40, with a warm body dressed suitably going in. Loft will deteriorate with use or packing/storage habits on premium lofting warmest and fastest drying of synthetic fibers. These bags will however include the same features (other than fill) as top-rated polar and mountaineering extreme bags.
I must add... camping in way bellow zero Alaska winter 'without' the AO Tent's temp significantly warmer to hot,hot,hot at bed-side level will result in a cold cot night out no matter what bag you use.... otherwise you are better off using suitable padding on the ground.
Brian, have you slept in a wiggys bag in -30 temps? I have and it was well suited to the job. I also use my glacier hunter in the low teens and actually put all my wet clothes in it with me. I wake up warm with mostly dry gear, try that w/ your down bags.
Marc, I plan on picking up a 0* left zip short bag this year for the wife. I will drag my sleep system in and show you what is going on. As stated I have been comfy to very cold temps with the inner bag just nested inside the overbag and not actually zipping the two together as a "sleep system".
Been given them free to test and try since early 90's... Other renowned, routine, expeditionary professionals at frigid altitude extremes to harshest of polar conditions say same as what I outlined in my post. Empirical testing has shown the same to be true of what I related. I would never buy one! I see nothing to exclusive or special over any other reasonable quality mid-priced sleeping bags. I have never found one of these bags living up to comfort ratings!!! This is due part to design, shape, components, insulation, and fabrics. While there are some attributes like you say climbing in wet or fast drying... When you add up all - this is my case in point in far sub zero... not if the bag is good or bad.
Originally Posted by LuJon
If you'll recall Norman Vaughn's Antarctic "Dream Big and dare to fail." To achieve that Norman with expeditions leaders were all to well aware after testing the bags you refer to here in Alaska. Despite freely being given to them... because they failed to meet the comfort ranges and exposure risks, a thank you but no thanks was the verdict, and the expedition turned to exactly the types of sleeping bags I posted about.
For sub-zero extremes... Bags like those from Feathered Friends are superior... and a discussion not worthy of anything along the lines of something misread into, misrepresented, or arguments made in defense of what you are apparently using (and are satisfied with) for comparison. Do I have to ask if you've slept in some deep freeze to convince you one way or the other? Simple answer is no. Here I'd say, buy into what you will and use what hopefully works for you in whatever conditions ya find yourself out in.
While you may be fine... meaning somewhere between a comfort and extreme (read as survivable) rating out to -30 in your brand of synthetic or sleep system --- that's all fine. Nevertheless and make no mistake --- the bags I clearly defined in my descriptive post are far superior. They are expensive, yet people should take note that there is a real difference in high-end products at extremes.
very good thread. i have the AO10 and used it at about -30 to -40 up here in the arctic in february and i tried the wifes brand new wiggys antarctic bag with overbag rated to -80 i believe...the warmest bag wiggys had. I liked the bag but disliked the lack of nice corded draft collar. i was almost more comfortable with a cold weather military bag that had a collar in it. I didnt really notice any more cold coming through the zipper side as was said they kind of layer. Nice bag a little hard to pack but hey when your comfort is directly related to your wifes its worth the 8 or so pounds. as for the duraflame logs they worked great cut in half in the ao stove (the little one) i found them hard to light with just a match at the temps i was at so i had to keep a 1 lb propane bottle in my coat for a while to warm it up and put the torch tip to it. Thats the easiest way to light them in my opinion. With the duraflame logs you have to watch the pipe and damper as with soot up like crazy after two days and about 6 duraflame logs later my pipe was about 50% full of soot..kind of a fire danger. Wood was not really an option as i was in tundra with a lot of iced over willow that burns terribly and the duralogs last a lot longer. i have cots that are about 14lbs a piece but i was using an alaska guide pad from cabelas that is around 2 in thick i think and i put a moving blanket under that and hardly any cold from underneath.
As usual, Brian you have the bottom line so well defined. I'd love to see your minimalist mountain hunter gear list! I noticed you posted on the snugpak tent...are you that much of a fan now?
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
Sorry for the hiijack, Wiggy's and AO make nice stuff.