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natural insulation jacket idea
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
natural insulation jacket idea on 11/28/2011 18:34:27 MST Print View

In a lot of survival manuals, they reference stuffing your jacket and pants with natural materials to keep warmer. People have even crawled into giant piles of leaves or pine needles and kept warm.
This gave me an idea, maybe it's silly though. What if someone made a jacket of sorts that was just two empty shells with no insulation and you could stuff it with anything you find for warmth? It would fold down to absolutely nothing and when you needed the warmth, you could just shove in a bunch of grass, leaves, pine needles, cat tail fluff, ect. It might increase the warmth of your sleep gear with very little wieght pentalty.
What do you guys think? Is this a stupid/crazy idea?

Dave Marcus
(Djrez4) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: natural insulation jacket idea on 11/28/2011 18:41:11 MST Print View

Merrell made one a while back. I'm not sure what came of it.

a b
Merrell Gatherer Jacket on 11/28/2011 18:54:05 MST Print View
.Merrell Gatherer.
I think it's a fascinating idea.
Even if it were stuffed with climashield of perhaps pouches of 850 fill down.
The idea being you could remove the insualtion to dry or launder easier.
As for natural materials, that spagum moss up there in Washington and Maine or that Old Mans beard moss everywhere else would be sweet.
Neat idea.
I found a link on BPL too.

Edited by Ice-axe on 11/28/2011 19:00:10 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Merrell Gatherer Jacket on 11/28/2011 19:34:03 MST Print View

Thanks Matt, that is awesome. But it really doesn't need to be 100 bucks, I wish there was something cheaper. (If only I knew how to sew!)

a b
Ron Bell or Ron Moak or Thom Darrah..are u listening? on 11/28/2011 19:43:53 MST Print View

I wonder if there are any people that know how to sew ultrlight gear on this site that would tackle a "gatherer" jacket?
This also brings to mind an inflatable emergency vest made of ir reflective mylar i saw online once.
What about a gatherer style jacket with inflatable cores filled with down or apex similar to a D.A.M. (down filled air mattress).
The garment could be inflated or deflated to suit conditions and the insulation would be impervious to rain.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: Merrell Gatherer Jacket on 11/28/2011 20:35:40 MST Print View

Good idea, but would the material need to be beefed up to take on little twigs and needles vs. a traditional down jacket? Also, would the weight of the jacket increase too much with the addition of zippers needed to add and seal in these natural materials?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Sleeping Quilt? Bed? on 11/28/2011 20:37:58 MST Print View

I was thinking along the lines of taking a couple space blankets and making a sleeping quilt like this. For a jacket here's my problem. An insulated jacket has maybe 3-8 oz of insulation depending on how warm it is. I wonder how long it would be before you get tired of gathering leaves and just carry the jacket as is? On the other hand as a survival item or something you only us occasionally (like the one really cold night on a thru-hike) I could see this being good.
Another way to save weight is to sleep on pine nettles.

Gila Wilderness bed

Here's a bed I made in the Gila wilderness. I actually had a light foam pad but I was tired of sleeping on that on the hard and cold ground. This bed was easy to make with ponderosa pine nettles and it was way more comfortable. Only thing is this won't work with certain kinds of trees. Other trees have much smaller nettles or leaves that break down faster and it would take a long time to rake up enough to be comfortable.

Edit - I think you could make in emergancy jacket pretty easly by stuffing your windshirt with leaves. If You but couple rubber bands around your arms and maybe a cord around your torso you'd create crude baffles to hold the leaves in place somewhat. I don't think I'd normally bother with something like that but again it would be a handy trick if one night turned out to be a lot colder than normal.

Edited by Cameron on 11/28/2011 20:40:17 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Merrell Gatherer Jacket on 11/28/2011 21:59:40 MST Print View

Bryce, those are all very good questions and would definitley make or break it for the super weight conscious. I don't have those answers though. Besides weight, the small space it takes up could make it better for an emergency or edc type thing.
Another thing to consider is the insulation falling or shifting around. You might need to compartmentalize it. For this reason, I don't think it would work as well for a top quilt or bag. With a jacket under the quilt, even if it's shifted around a bit, the quilt above you would help to equalize out the warmth and make cold spots less of a problem.
I personally wouldn't mind the extra effort of stuffing it. I like to get crafty and often build natural shelters and such. So the extra work of insulation beds, debris huts, and general improv stuff is fun for me. But that's just me personally.
The ability to and the practicality of stuffing it would highly depend on your environment.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Gatherer on 11/28/2011 22:02:03 MST Print View

Cool thread. I'm amazed to see Merrell actually made such a thing.

It seems that something like this would really only work for a cold weather jacket. Most jackets for 2-season use only have 1.5-3oz of down in them, and if you wanted to use natural materials instead then you'd gain a lot of jacket weight due to the extra zips and more durable fabric so you'd likely not save much weight. My ex-light vest only has 1.4oz of down in it.

The other downside is that if a rain storm caught you by surprise you might have to fill your jacket with sopping wet leaves or go without.

For winter use this might work, as the amount of insulation weight saved would be significant and you wouldn't really have to worry about rain soaking all the natural insulation.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gatherer on 11/28/2011 22:43:56 MST Print View

The problem with winter use is all the materials might become inaccessible because of snow.

Alpo Kuusisto
(akuusist) - F
Re: Gatherer on 12/01/2011 14:04:14 MST Print View

The solution with winter use is all the material that's accessible (snow) is good insulator.

You just need to wear enough traditional clothing next to skin to reach a freezing temperature inside the jacket. Remember to put a tap on the hem so you can drink your excess heat.

No, I honestly like the idea, and especially Casey Cardwell's take on it in OR -08 thread. I have a feeling we might see more homeless people on this decade and hope that backpacking community could help with all the knowledge it has. But this is now off topic.

Edited by akuusist on 12/01/2011 14:24:45 MST.

Webster Jorgensen
(WebsterJ) - F

Locale: Kansas City
Awesome on 12/01/2011 14:23:23 MST Print View

1. Hike
2. Shoot a goose
3. Stuff your jacket
4. Eat the goose
5. Repeat

Ultralight goose hunting is born.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: natural insulation jacket idea on 12/01/2011 15:47:17 MST Print View

If the gatherer shirt weight less than 6 oz and acted as your wind shirt, it would bit a viable idea. Windshirt 99% of the time, option to warm yourself up that 1% when your other insulating garments aren't cutting it. Or as a survival windshirt for day hikes just in case you have to bivy one cold night...

Still if you're in any of these situations, standard clothing could just be stuffed with moss and such to provide the insulation. A little less comfortable but still effective for survival purposes. If you're using this technique any more than rarely you aren't effectively planning for the expected weather conditions and you should probably just buy a light insulated jacket for dedicated use anyway.

Darcy McCallum
(farfetchfilm) - F
Vegan insulation on 12/05/2011 00:29:24 MST Print View

I saw an episode of invention nation where people were using mushrooms as housing insulation, though you might have to torchblow/cook em, have to look that up considering I just found about this gatherer jackets, sounds more fun that truly practical, but you never know, and for an urban packer like me an option is always newspaper, or how about amuminium foil, the ultimate multi user.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. on 12/12/2011 22:56:00 MST Print View

While at UC Berkeley, I'd host a lot of events for the Hiking Club. A Dutch grad student would bicycle over in the afternoon, stay late, and have to pedal home. He'd have an over-sized windbreaker but nothing warm on. He'd ask an old newspaper and crumple up 20 sheets and stuff them into his windbreaker, held in by the waist band of the windbreaker. I've used that trick a few times since.

So, yes, it works. I'd lean towards something that you had with you - your groundcloth, your tent, your extra socks, etc, as being more insulative (and something you have to carry anyway) than the sticks, pine needles and rotting leaves you might find on the way.

Why not use your tent during the day? Your groundcloth, your dirty socks? Okay, lots of reasons not to, but they don't apply to you lot.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: natural insulation jacket idea on 12/13/2011 17:28:02 MST Print View

Hmm. I could use cedar boughs and kill my body odor at the same time, perhaps.