warmest fur?
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Amy Bithiah
(plantedbystreams) - F
warmest fur? on 01/11/2012 10:34:11 MST Print View

Which of these furs is warmest when used for winter clothing (gloves, hats, etc)?

--possum fur
--muskox wool (qiviut)
--arctic fox fur
--beaver fur
--otter fur


(Other possible factors to consider: waterproofness, windproofness, weight...)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: warmest fur? on 01/11/2012 11:02:32 MST Print View

I've heard Sea Otter fur has the most hairs per square inch. We see them a lot up here and it certainly works for them in 30F to 40F degree sea water. But I don't believe there's a legal harvest of most fur-bearing sea mammals in the USA except for some Natives harvesting seals on ?Saint Lawrence Island? maybe or more likely on one of the Pribilof's.

What I see dog mushers use is beaver fur for mitts and hats. I've got some sheared beaver if you want a sample. Sheared so it's still soft and dense but not nearly as long as unsheared. PM me and I'll send you a swatch of it in a envelope. My first name's inital my last name, the at sign, my state, a period, net

And of course fox, wolf or coyote for parka ruffs because your breath doesn't freeze onto it. Tunnel hoods are GREAT in wicked cold. I didn't know about that until I moved to Alaska. It cuts the wind past your face quite well. Neoprene facemasks are more versatile for most people, but they redirect my breath and my glasses fog up. Tunnel hoods don't do that and canine fur on the ruff would be ideal, although mine do okay with synthetic. The ruff is functional - it cuts the wind inside the tunnel hood by dampening its energy. Otherwise, you get eddies of wind swirling around inside.

Muskox is fine and soft but SO expensive and I don't see any performance advantage over, heck, acrylic.

Amundsen felt that one of the reasons he succeeded while Scott died in Antarcticia what that he used fur, Scott didn't. (Also, Amundsen's dogs could eat dog meat and did. Scott's ponies needed feed.)

We don't get a lot of possums up here (i.e. none) so I can't help on that one.

For weight and performance, synthetics have fur beat nowadays, IMO, except maybe for canine fur on a ruff - it still outperforms synthetics. Not sure if you can still get dog fur from China - there was legislation proposed about that, but that would be the cheapest option.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor)

Locale: Northwest US
Fur on 01/11/2012 19:25:19 MST Print View

A couple of the furs that you mention are often spun into yarn. They are shed by the animals and collected from the ground in the spring (qiviut, arctic fox). Beaver, possum, and otter furs are only available from the hides of killed animals, as far as I know. Do you want a hat or gloves made of a skin (beaver, etc.) or knitted from fur yarns? These two options will have very different properties. Possum skin mittens will be windproof, nearly waterproof, and warmer but heavier than knitted possum fur mittens.

I study pathogen transmission in sea otter populations. If the feds become aware that you own even a small piece of sea otter fur (and you aren't a university), their reaction will be severe. So, I would rule that one out. It isn't the warmest option, anyway, and it is only waterproof when attached to a living otter that secretes sebacious oils and grooms compulsively.

I don't want to debate ethics (I don't think the fur issue is ethically clear-cut anyway), but I'm curious about your interest in fur. Why fur instead of down? Or synthetics?

Brush-tailed possum fur has hollow hairs and is very warm. It is also affordable. Caribou fur is very warm and a bit cheaper than qiviut. Like qiviut, it is shed onto the ground by the animals in the spring and collected and spun into yarn.

Edited by ckrusor on 01/11/2012 19:35:08 MST.

Addison Page
(Nihilist_Voyager) - F

Locale: Down the Rabbit Hole!
Woooo!!! on 01/11/2012 20:48:15 MST Print View

Time to go opossum huntin!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fuzzay wuzzay wuz a .... on 01/11/2012 21:00:12 MST Print View

Addison Page
(Nihilist_Voyager) - F

Locale: Down the Rabbit Hole!
Polar Bear Down!! on 01/11/2012 21:05:14 MST Print View

Now where can I get me some of that?? I probably gotta hunt down my own darn Polar Bear...

(Not, as soon as I get in the area, I think the Polar Bear will start hunting me!)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: fuzzay wuzzay wuz a .... on 01/11/2012 21:54:28 MST Print View

You can buy qivit wool (from Alaskan musk oxen). It has to be near the top of that graph.

--B.G.--

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Weight on 01/11/2012 22:00:01 MST Print View

If I have a bear skin coat how does that work with the whole "skin out weight?" Do I just count the fur as skin out?

Ismail Faruqi
(ismailfaruqi) - F
Re: Polar Bear Down!! on 01/12/2012 04:08:40 MST Print View

>> Now where can I get me some of that?? I probably gotta hunt down my own darn Polar Bear...

>> (Not, as soon as I get in the area, I think the Polar Bear will start hunting me!)

I'd suggest you equip yourself with REI gears as eric said they will replace them even if you fed them to bears... :D

Edited by ismailfaruqi on 01/12/2012 04:09:15 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 10:17:00 MST Print View

IMO if you want fur you have two choices to be ethical:
Hunt it legally and skin it - then use it.
Or buy old fur and re-purpose it. There is quite the trade of old fur. I inherited a lot of furs from my Grandmother's estate - my Grandfather and her ran in social circles in the 50's and 60's where all the ladies had fur coats and whatnot. I have had no qualms about hacking them up (it isn't like I am going to wear them! She was barely 5 feet tall!) Old fur if well take care of is very nice to use. And frankly, the animal is already DEAD.

Although I do warn about going to used fur sales....there can be some rather creepy furs sold. If you have never seen a jacket made from a gorilla it is so disturbing. Some things should never have been made into clothing.

And PS: fur of ANY animal does require an upkeep. Once off the animal it isn't making the oils anymore for water proofness. Treat it gently and always remember that the animal gave its life for this. Fur deserves our respect.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 11:46:02 MST Print View

I was looking at Eric's Fur warmth grid. North American Buffalo is missing ? Most of the midwest Native Americans, mountain men used Buffalo coats,blankets and because of the warmth factor. Or maybe because the pelt/fur was so big you could make a almost seamless coat or blanket?
Terry

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 12:03:59 MST Print View

Despite what Sarah wrote...

Qiviut wool is harvested from musk oxen, and they naturally shed some of this wool each summer. No animals are harmed, and all that. There is a place in Alaska that harvests this wool and sells it. It is not cheap.

--B.G.--

Edited by --B.G.-- on 01/12/2012 12:56:01 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 12:30:41 MST Print View

A similar material is yak wool. Yaks are pretty gnarly animals that are native to the Tibetan Plateau where it is cold. Their wool is combed off, spun, and made into wool-like garments. I have a yak wool hat that is very warm, but it is not the finest and softest wool.

--B.G.--

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 12:58:38 MST Print View

Re: Buffalo

There are some in Alaska but I see Natives and dog mushers using beaver, canine, and caribou and occasionally some wolverine, nto buffalo. And no one uses moose, even though everyone and their brother hunts them, calls us up when they got one and then expect us to gush over their moose steak which is usually pretty tough chewing.

I suspect they were used a lot 150 years ago because of their size and availability as the buffalo herds were hunted. On a wagon, you wouldn't mind the weight and you'd like the large size. For BPing, maybe not so much.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 13:44:07 MST Print View

Bob.....when one says fur it means the skin is still attached. Wool is a different material. You can make wool out of dog hair even......it is all in spinning. The two shouldn't be lumped together.

Personally when the end of the world comes I am going to start wearing squirrel pelts, sewn together. (Bad joke, this one comes from my magnetic personalty to have squirrels bug the be-doodles out of me when backpacking)

Deborah Marh
(Debby) - F
Re: Polar Bear Down!! on 01/12/2012 15:06:00 MST Print View

LOL!!
You can't shoot to a polar bear... maybe you can try with bow and arrows
or you can trap him with the net of your tent!
My brother caught a fox in this way!We laughed for weeks!

Edited by Debby on 01/13/2012 14:54:52 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Buffalo on 01/12/2012 15:53:38 MST Print View

I looked at a buffalo robe at the Bent's Old Fort historical site. I'd guess a good reason for not using it in coats would be its heavy and bulky. When I pulled up the side the leather part must have been a quarter inch thick. I'm sure it made great moccisons back in the day. One of the re-enactors showed me how you could fold the robe over on itself and lay on top for a very nice matress.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
graph on 01/12/2012 18:13:49 MST Print View

note the trend line in the graph ...

in general it seems that the "warmest" fur is simply a matter of thickness ... the thicker it is, the more air it traps

its air that insulates, not fur ... note where cotton is on the trendline as well ...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: warmest fur? on 01/12/2012 18:26:37 MST Print View

"Bob.....when one says fur it means the skin is still attached. Wool is a different material. "

The original poster had asked specifically, though.

--B.G.--

Stephan Doyle
(StephanCal)
Re: graph on 01/12/2012 22:27:34 MST Print View

Like Eric pointed out, only half or so beat cotton per loft. I wonder if there's a similar chart out there for weight.