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Wool Blanket Resurgence?
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(Trooper) - F
Wool Blanket Resurgence? on 11/18/2009 21:13:38 MST Print View

I was once a Trooper in a northern State on the midnight shift. Temperatures in the winter easily dropped into the single digits on the Fahrenheit scale. A coat hinders movement and prevents access to one's pistol, so I tried to find lightweight base layers to obviate the need for a coat.

This is when I started wearing two or three Merino Wool shirts under my vest. Our uniform shirts were a wool/acrylic blend, but heavy on the former. Occasionally, the wool "commando sweater" would be added. I was able to withstand about 20 minutes in the sub-freezing weather with this set-up. I did not overheat indoors at lunch nor the occasional wrestling matches with drunks and fugitives.

Now that I'm getting into ultralight backpacking, I am surprised to see how coveted Merino is. I always thought wool was an "old school" material and synthetics were the popular choice. I suppose biomimicry just isn't good enough sometimes.

So, with the popularity of Merino base layers, will the wool blanket get a modern re-design and a second life? Is it crazy to carry a wool blanket in an ultralight system today? I can't imagine the price tag on a full sized Merino blanket though...

Edited by Trooper on 11/18/2009 21:15:01 MST.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Wool Blanket Resurgence? on 11/18/2009 21:17:04 MST Print View

Just watched a video on wrapping up a wool blanket.

I often bring a thin wool serape with me camping. Great multi use item!

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(Trooper) - F
Re: Wool Blanket Resurgence? on 11/18/2009 23:51:24 MST Print View

Looks interesting, but I doubt it is very durable:

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Wool Blanket Resurgence? on 11/19/2009 00:50:11 MST Print View

"Is it crazy to carry a wool blanket in an ultralight system today?"

They're like 5lbs so you decide.

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(Trooper) - F
Re: Re: Wool Blanket Resurgence? on 11/19/2009 08:31:55 MST Print View

"Is it crazy to carry a wool blanket in an ultralight system today?"

"They're like 5lbs so you decide."

I don't know about the warmth to weight ratio, but I think that pretty much answers it!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Wool Blanket Resurgence - As A Great Kilt? on 11/19/2009 10:18:14 MST Print View


Have you thought about using a "Great Kilt"?

Wear it during the day and wrap up in it at night. The Great Kilt is the one that is very large and when unwrapped would be about as big as a good size blanket.

Several years ago a few other folks and I were playing with this idea. I made a Great Kilt out of some nice lightweight "Night Watch Plaid" material and even learned how to wear it. It would keep me warm enough but only down to the mid- 50's.

With a heavier wool material or wool and something else blended with it, it should be possible to get to a much lower temperature. The question would be "How much lower"?

With a Great Kilt you would be wearing the weight instead of carrying the weight in a pack.

Edited by bfornshell on 11/19/2009 10:18:52 MST.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
Re: Wool Blanket Resurgence on 11/19/2009 10:37:17 MST Print View

I've spent a few nights without a sleeping bag, using a wool blanket and I was really cold. It was a long time ago, so I don't recall the temps, but every time I've done it I woke up cold and shivering. Admittedly I didn't use that cool wrapping technique, and at least one time I was outside of a shelter, nestled in some rocks with no fire (I had loaned my bag to a girlfriend, around 3:00 a.m. I got a lesson on how to fit 2 people into a mummy bag by using it as a blanket)

I was ecstatic the first night I slept in a real sleeping bag: actually warm while camping. Plus for the weight you could have a pretty substantial sleeping bag.

That video was hilarious, I have an Australian Shepard, much like the one in the video, and he does the same thing, always walking over to inspect when you lay on the ground, and then laying next to you