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Wool sleeping bag for desert use
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
HB point blanket. on 09/24/2013 22:01:59 MDT Print View

I would love to own one of these:

crazy expensive.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/24/2013 22:06:35 MDT Print View

I spend a lot of time in the deserts CA, NV, and UT, rarely use a shelter when backpacking in these areas, and I have never torn a sleeping bag. I don't understand your durability concerns.

If there's any place where a down bag really shines, it's windy, dry, sub-freezing high desert winters.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Desert Camping on 09/24/2013 22:59:54 MDT Print View

"Dave Ganci, author of Desert Hiking says Wool blankets work fine in the desert."

Gear has changed a lot in 30 years.

You seem dead set on your project. Remember to have fun. I too have camped in the US deserts. Never torn my bag either.

Think of the grit embedded in the blankets. Maybe a rug beater attachment for you trekking poles.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/25/2013 10:49:43 MDT Print View

OK, now I get it: you weren't actually looking for advice or input from people with more experience in desert backpacking, and you weren't concerned with backpacking gear weight issues, despite this being BPL. You just have this idea for a MYOG wool sleeping bag (for your own reasons that have little to do with the bag's degree of appropriateness for desert environments)...

I think this thread should have been posted in the MYOG section. Then people's answers would have been more "on point" for what you really wanted.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
bug out bag on 09/25/2013 11:51:42 MDT Print View

"I confess that my wife and i have "bugout" bags in case of some future difficult times, and yes, i'm definitely putting a couple of wool, alpaca, and/or blend blankets in there along side some very light weight quilts, but that's for a very different purpose than a typical hiking/backpacking trip."

I made fleece lined "quillos" ( rectangular quilts with a insulated pocket at the bottom for your feet and to stuff the quilt itself into ) for our bug out bags. Synthetic insulation, nylon top and fleece inside. The nylon is heavy stuff from a fabric store and the fill is also from a quilt store.
Heavy and bulky by BPL standards but generously sized, nice and warm and even if the synthetic fill looses some loft over time they will still be warm.
At the top I sewed on a generous amount of mosquito netting with ribbons to keep it rolled when not needed.
The weight is about 2-1/2 pounds and they have already seen quite a bit of use.

Uh, sorry about the thread drift, but heavier gear sometimes does have a place.

Yeah, this thread probably should be in the MYOG section...

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/25/2013 14:59:31 MDT Print View

"Franco, you misunderstand the point about Mallory"
No, you failed to understand your own comments...
The Mallory example does not work because he used 7 different layers (wool and silk) CLIMBING not sleeping, besides I am convinced that him and Irvine died of exposure.
Again his sleeping bag was made with Eider down, the warmest down you can get. So of course different temps but very different day to night layers too.

At 45f I can, and do ,hike around with just a 190 Merino T, can't stand around camp with just that at 65f and would need to be 75f to sleep with just that.

BTW, those wool mummy shaped army bags are about 3.5 lbs targeted for 45-55f temps if sleeping fully clothed.

What we are trying to tell you is that you can do those temps for half the weight and without using your day clothes with synthetic and even less weight and bulk with down.
And since you also missed understanding the content of your own video link too, that guy just showed how to roll and unroll his new blanked , he did not demonstrate or prove that it works in your or any temp.
Build a lean-to and an all night fire and that blanket will work because that is what those survivalist/bushcrafters do.
(yes the lean-to and fire are small details as in oh BTW....)

Edited by Franco on 09/25/2013 16:00:39 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: bug out bag on 09/25/2013 20:39:49 MDT Print View

Hi Robert,

Yeah, i would imagine that would be fairly durable. Speaking of fleece, i recently contacted (again) OuterBounds which makes the polypro fleece. Asked them if they sell fabric by the yard. They said they don't have any in inventory, and would have to make a minimum roll of 50 to 60 yards at 7.89 a yd. Would love to try the stuff, but not at that price.

Re: synthetic insulation, i personally wouldn't use anything except Apex as a primary. Everything else, just isn't durable enough, and fleece by itself isn't that warm for the weight.

just Justin Whitson
Re: RE: Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/25/2013 20:42:32 MDT Print View

Valerie etc,

Perhaps i'm missing something, but i think Scott DID post this in the myog section, unless it got moved recently to same and was originally somewhere else...???

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Wool Sleeping Bag for desert use on 09/25/2013 22:10:04 MDT Print View

I know they are crazy expensive, I just wanted to tell you about them as an example of the warmest per weight wool you can find.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
"I'll point out that Mallory died using wool on Everest." on 09/25/2013 22:19:59 MDT Print View

"I'll point out that Mallory died using wool on Everest."

When they found Mallory's body, it was discovered he had a broken ankle.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/25/2013 22:39:26 MDT Print View

In the Alice the avarage minimum temp in Sept is 41f so I would need more than one blanket right now.
However it is up from the 38f in July...
BTW, I know that on the world map the Alice looks close to Melbourne but it is 1,400 miles away by car so I will give that test trip a miss for now.

Edited by Franco on 09/25/2013 22:42:57 MDT.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
wool blanket on 09/25/2013 23:31:21 MDT Print View

Playing with wool is fun. I understand the attraction. I've slept out in the open with an army surplus wool/synthetic blend blanket, wore all my clothes and spent the entire night rubbing my feet together trying to stay warm at 40F. Come to think of it I believe I also had one of those synthetic army poncho liners in there as well. I can laugh about it now but it sucked at the time. It also weighs I believe 4 1/2 lbs. Certainly this kind of outdoor blanket is tough and will last a long time. They're also fun because you can wrap up in it before you go to bed too. But there's no doubt they have a horrible warmth to weight ratio compared to any kind of modern insulation.

This guy has a nice video where he compares different blankets and gives a realistic comfort rating for each: here

Edited by theronr on 09/25/2013 23:34:52 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/26/2013 02:52:31 MDT Print View

keep in mind that nobody here is telling you that it (using a wool blanket/mummy bag at 55f +/-) cannot be done , it just isn't efficient.
The whole point of this forum is to make hiking easier not to prove a point.
That is of course apart from the XUL lunatic fringe .

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: "Wool sleeping bag for desert use" on 09/26/2013 09:49:50 MDT Print View


I apologize for forgetting that this was posted in MYOG. I guess with so much discussion of historical practices (not that there's anything wrong with that), I forgot!

But I think you have been quite defensive/insulting, and particularly unfair to my second posting. It contained no "rage" whatsoever; rather it had a flat affect, but expressed a mild frustration with the fact that, although you were ostensibly asking those with desert experience for advice, you did not seem particularly interested in their feedback (which was universally negative to the wool bag idea).

Perhaps you shouldn't criticize others so quickly when your tone has been less than perfect:

"I entitled this thread "Wool Sleeping Bag for Desert Use" and most of the thread is arguing about the pro's and con's of wool on Mount Everest. Hilarious!"

Jake S
Pendleton Yakima on 09/27/2013 08:35:42 MDT Print View

The Pendleton Yakima is the brand of blanket recommended by B.O.S.S.

It's actually 14% cotton, which may seem like sacrilege to some here, but I think it'd be hard to say it doesn't work.

That said, it's not light.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/27/2013 09:51:16 MDT Print View

I actually think the wool bag would be better for the humid Southeastern-type environment -- you're right, nylon is a sweat-fest in those conditions!

And making gear that we want to make, just for fun, is what this is all about...

I like the idea of a super-thin (150 wt) merino sleeping bag (or quilt) liner, but I would never have the courage to work with that fabric (I hate sewing stretchy fabrics, and this would be both delicate/flimsy and stretchy - ugh!).

Finally, you might try eBay to get a gently used Hudson Bay blanket for your project -- I'm pretty sure you could get something big enough for your project, and those blankets are really superb.

Looking forward to seeing photos when you've got it done.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Wool sleeping bag for desert use on 09/28/2013 16:38:18 MDT Print View


I look forward to seeing the results of your project.

Whether it is successful or not, you will get immense satisfaction from seeing it through.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
wool bag on 09/28/2013 17:08:14 MDT Print View

I used a wool and polyester sleeping bag liner that weighed about 10 ounces for several winter seasons in Joshua Tree. Sort of a luxury/gear saver item, it kept my down bag clean, didn't have the odor synthetics do, and felt great to sleep in when the wind was howling or I went to bed wet.

My dad used the army wool sleeping bags in Korea in the MASH style tents. He said even with 6 of them layered up he slept cold.
When they finally got some of the greasy discarded down bags from the front lines, they finally and gratefully slept warm.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: What thread should be used when you sew wool? on 10/05/2013 15:06:35 MDT Print View

It depends on the thickness of the wool fabric. If it's as thick as a Hudson's Bay-type blanket, then you should probably get a "heavy duty" thread. If it's about as thick as denim (or a men's wool suit fabric) stick with an "all purpose" thread (Coats or Gutterman would be fine).

The stitch length should be set longer (i.e., fewer stitches per inch).

Hope that helps...

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: What thread should be used when you sew wool? on 10/05/2013 21:00:36 MDT Print View

Very much agree with Valerie's excellence advice. Would also add, at the very least double stitch, and maybe throw in a zig zag type stitch as well.