Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping?

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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atod
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Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping?

Post by atod » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:30 pm

Hope everyone had an excellent weekend this 4th!

I'm hoping the experts here can comment on proper use of a wool blanket for camping. This past weekend, I camped on a beach and the temperature dropped to about 59 degrees. The camping location was close to shoreline and there was significant moisture on everything. Unfortunately, I only had a cheap hypoallergenic blanket and that ended up disintegrating during the night. I have suspicions that a wool blanket would have been most appropriate for such a camping scenario and provided added usefulness around the beach campfire. I'm confused about selecting an appropriate blanket and techniques using it.

Is a sleeping pad necessary or can a large blanket be wrapped around instead? What technique do folks use to sleep? I.e. quilt or wrap? Also, any suggested sizes for one person and then a couple?

Appreciate any insight you folks may have.

Thanks

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Woods Walker
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Re: Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:46 pm

atod wrote:Hope everyone had an excellent weekend this 4th!

I'm hoping the experts here can comment on proper use of a wool blanket for camping. This past weekend, I camped on a beach and the temperature dropped to about 59 degrees. The camping location was close to shoreline and there was significant moisture on everything. Unfortunately, I only had a cheap hypoallergenic blanket and that ended up disintegrating during the night. I have suspicions that a wool blanket would have been most appropriate for such a camping scenario and provided added usefulness around the beach campfire. I'm confused about selecting an appropriate blanket and techniques using it.

Is a sleeping pad necessary or can a large blanket be wrapped around instead? What technique do folks use to sleep? I.e. quilt or wrap? Also, any suggested sizes for one person and then a couple?

Appreciate any insight you folks may have.

Thanks
It's usually a mistake not to have a sleeping pad so my advice is to pack one. I don't really use wool blankets so maybe those who do will key in on that part.
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procyon
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Re: Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping

Post by procyon » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:35 am

Woods Walker wrote:It's usually a mistake not to have a sleeping pad so my advice is to pack one.
You always want something between you and the ground if you have the option.
Even if it is just plastic sheet with leaves/grass piled underneath.

As for how big the blanket should be, that pretty much depends on how big you are.
The blanket my 11 y/o daughter uses won't work for 6' tall 245# me.
And mine won't work for my 6' 4" 350# buddy.

As a simple rule of thumb when I grab a blanket to take for a summer camp out, it has to be as long as I am tall.
And as wide as my arms are long. Smaller than that and I am probably going to have issues.
But I am not terribly big (6', 245#, 34" waist). If you have a bit more padding around the middle, you will want a wider blanket.

Lay the blanket out on your ground cover with one corner down toward the bottom. Sit on the blanket.
Put your feet about 10-12" back from the bottom corner and fold it over your feet, then wrap the rest around you when you lay down.
That way you have some insulation between you and the ground with some overlapping layers between you and the air which you can adjust to how warm you want to be.

Now, two people in a single blanket wouldn't be my idea of a good way to sleep.
Heck, my wife isn't really interested in sharing the blankets on our bed. No way it is going to work out in a camping situation...
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TacAir
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Re: Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping

Post by TacAir » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:39 am

See the photos here - viewtopic.php?f=14&t=78700&hilit=poncho+liner

If you've never used a wool blanket by itself, esp with any air movement, you'll soon find it isn't all that warm. You should cover it with something. In the linked post above - i use a square of polypro for my patrol bag, it will also work to trap air in wool, allowing the wool to be a 'better' insulator. A ground cloth of some kind is always a good idea to block ground moisture...

Just like a wool shirt is much warmer under even a thin nylon shell or windbreaker, so is a wool blanket.

A USGI milspec blanket is usually 66 X 90 inches- or about the size of a USGI poncho. Just like that was planned, eh?
Medical wool blankets (marked with a Caduceus) are usually larger. If you can find one, they are worth the extra freight.

I've used these blankets one of two ways.
1) Fold the blanket side to side (in half lengthways). Using large safety pins, pin the 'bottom' (striped end in the image) and about 2/3 up the open side. This gives you a kind of a sleeping bag. This goes on top of the ground insulating pad, and you put something (poncho, polypro square or your jacket) on top of the blanket.
Remember - The current issue (USGI) insulating pad is 23 x 72 x 3/8 - more or less. Your 'sleeping bag' will be 33 X 90. Putting your clothes under the blanket will add to the insulation and give you warmer duds to don n the morning...

2) Fold the blanket top to bottom (striped end to striped end) in this case, pin all the way around. If you sleep on your side, this allows you to have a double layer of wool on top. I pull the blanket up, then rock back and forth a bit to ensure the blanket is tucked in. You'll need to curl up a bit.

3) If your GF can't keep you warm under a single blanket, time to keep looking ( ; > )

Commercial sleep pads can be had in widths over 27 inches, so that part at least offers a choice.

Good luck, HTH.
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Re: Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping

Post by tony d tiger » Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:10 am

30 years ago I had a poncho liner stitched to an O.D.Green wool Army blanket. I still use it as an insulating layer inside the tent when winter camping. As to the conditions outlines in the original post, a poncho liner and bivy sack would suffice.
Tony D

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modustollens
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Re: Wool Blankets: correct use and sizing for summer camping

Post by modustollens » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:43 am

You will loose more heat to the ground than the air. I would recommend getting an insulated pad as WW already suggested. You may find that you won't even need something as heavy as wool.

A pad, like a thermarest, has the added advantage of giving a soft place to sleep.

I think my thermarest is lighter than any of my wool blankets too.

I don't usually use a sleeping bag in summer. A lot of nights I just have the thermarest with a light woobie. For 59, or 15C, I would bring some merino underwear to sleep in if I was cold. This strategy is far lighter and easier to pack than any of my wool blankets or sleeping bags.

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