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Old 12-09-2009, 11:41 PM
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Default How warm do wool blankets keep you?



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Hey, i was wondering how warm wool blankets can keep you. How to they compare against your average sleeping bag (say, a midsize one from walmart or target). Are there different thicknesses of wool blankets? In 30 degree weather would i be fine or need to wear all my clothes? I want a wool blanket for the multi purpose uses, but i am concerned about their effectiveness. They have been used by the military for years though.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:02 AM
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After my success with wool winter gear, I bought two wool blankets. My wife and I have slept perfectly comfortable under them with our windows wide open in 19 degree weather.

There were heavier wool king sized blankets, but I opted for two lighter queen sized ones (she steals covers). If those kept us warm, I imagine a heavier wool wool work even better.

One thing I've noticed about wool, though - It takes some time to warm up. It's not like my synthetic polyester fill blankets or fleece. It doesn't warm up as soon as you put it on. You've gotta sit in it for a second.

If you're thinking about going camping with a wool blanket, wool isn't that great for ground insulation, but there is an appreciable difference between the cold ground and the cold ground with a wool blanket underneat you. In order to sleep comfortably in that 20 degree weather, I would've had to put some further insulation underneath, like branches, leaves, etcetera.

Also, the USGI wool blanket is nice, but most items marketed "wool," it turns out, is a mixture of synthetics and wool. Make sure you get 65 percent or higher. I have a 35/65 mix that cost me $7.99 that doesn't work worth a ****. They are now, literally, winter drape supplements in our house for the cold nights. I think the USGI is 70 percent if I remember correctly, but I haven't been able to find a heavy USGI wool blanket anywhere. I bought one like you did, then I bought those queen sized wool blankets.

Learn from my mistake, those queen wool blankets are WAY heavier than the USGI one, and those queen blankets are supposedly lighter weight than the king sized wool blanket offered.

Real wool blankets are expensive as hell, but, in my opinion, WELL worth it. There is a HUGE preformance difference between the USGI and the other I bought. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the company, if you want it, lemme know and I'll go look it up.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:16 AM
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If I were to choose between an average sleeping bag or sleeping under a sheet with two thick wool blankets on top, I would choose the wool option every time.
Wool blankets certainly do come in different thicknesses.
That man gave you good advice about searching for a wool blanket with a high percentage of wool in it. A good place to shop for military surplus wool blankets from around the world is sportsmansguide.com.
They often tell you what percentage of wool is in the wool blend blanket. They will tell you how big the blanket is. So you'll know if it's big enough that you can fold it over lengthwise and still have it cover you well. You may find those military surplus wool blankets to be reasonable in price or even cheaper than you thought.
As for the thing about whether or not you'll need to sleep under it with your clothes on or not, most people seem to be in one of two camps on that issue. Some think they are warmer with clothes on, and others believe in having clothes off. I believe in having clothes off and letting body heat warm that space beneath the sheet and blankets. That works well for me.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:16 PM
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get yourself an italian wool blanket they are supposed to be the warmest and can be had for around $20 and sportsmansguide. com was having a sale for 4 of them for $60. i've got one that i haven't really gotten a chance to try out yet and i want to get some more and make a longhunter's shirt out of one or two.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:38 PM
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We got those SG Italian surplus blankets- and they are AWESOME! They are heavy, thick wool, and large. Very warm. Heck of a deal- in fact we want to get another set of them when they re advertised again. Best deal anywhere. You look at the prices for nice contemporary new ones, and they want like $75.00 for a new one.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:22 PM
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Check the Sportsmans Guide for the Italian ones. I just got the four pack. They are very nice! The only issue is the moth ball smell. I will air them out and they will be fine!

www.sportsmansguide.com

item number:

WX2-86812 New 4 - Pk. Italian Mil. - issue Blanket, Gray
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:36 PM
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I think i will settle for the italian ones, for 20-30 degree weather do you think i should bring 1 or 2 of them?
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:41 PM
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buy two of them, keep in mind the key thing about wool is its ability to insulate and keep you warm even when wet.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:00 PM
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We have one on our bed, it's been around -09 at night and I wake up to warm. We do have conforter over it but I's guess the wool blanket would be enough as we end up kicking both off. Sleeping outside on the ground I'm not sure I would want to depend on it unless I had something underneath me also with a more padded insultation dry layer.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:55 PM
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A good quality sleepimg bag is far "warmer" than a wool blanket. Theres a reason no military issues wool blankets to its troops in winter fighting. You also won't see to many assaults on Everest with people dragging blankets along.
They are better than cotton.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:02 PM
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We have wool blankets in our emergency supplies in our vehicles, but our bed has flannel sheets, one comforter, and a sleeping bag on it...I'm a wuss.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:19 AM
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Especially in cold weather, I think having some kind of cot is really nice. It gets you up off that cold ground. You may want to get some kind of material to lay on the cot for you to sleep on so you have something more than the thin layer of the cot material under you. Still, cots are nice. There are some that are made from simple metal tube frames with fabic stretched out there and I believe they are not all that expensive.
If you are out camping and it is in the 30s or 20s, you'll likely have a coat or jacket with you. I just wanted to say that if you take that coat and lay it so that it gives you even more warmth around your shoulders, you may appreciate that. For some people, there is just something about keeping the shoulders warm... It gives them a much more restful sleep.
I have slept in borrowed, inexpensive sleeping bags and never worried about the temperature rating for the sleeping bag because I was ready to add to it with wool blankets on top, my sheepskin coat on top of that, and maybe even another coat. Sometimes Jed Clampett would have been proud... It has worked for me and some friends of mine. We've not seen anything wrong with that.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:06 AM
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I just ordered a handful for my survival school. Wool is awesome, however can be itchy sometimes. I usually sleep with my thermals on for this reason. I also wear wool socks for the reason that mentioned before...they insulate even when wet.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:14 PM
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Wool is a great material, but I would never use it instead of a sleeping bag. I suppose it depends on the type of camping you're doing, but the performance to weight [and volume] ratio is pretty crappy by comparison to down or even synthetic. Like insulation in your home, it's the dead air space that keeps you warm, down creates a crazy amount of loft or air space. Not to mention, the shape of a sleeping bag is designed to keep you warm. For example, I have a 0F/-18C bag that weighs a little over two pounds and compresses to the size of a basketball. It would take a lot of wool to keep you warm to those temps, which equals a lot weight and volume.

While the military used to use a lot of these natural fibre products, in the past 15-20 years, they've begun to take cues from the outdoor industry, a smart move b/c the outdoor industry used to be eons ahead of military tech. Now we're seeing a lot of cross-pollination between military and the outdoor industry. Cutting-edge companies like Arc'teryx now have military offshoots that make gear for the military using their proprietary technology and the military's spec. So, just b/c the military used something in the past doesn't mean it's the best choice. When you have to carry it, light is always right. I have a friend who used to insist on using old military gear; his pack, a heavy cotton canvas deal with leather straps, was well made, but extremely heavy and ridiculously uncomfortable.

Last edited by Redpoint; 12-11-2009 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:47 PM
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When I was with scouts, we always carried one each that had been modded to have a drawcord up one side.
Then when sitting by a fire, we'd drape the blanket over our backs and draw the cord tight around our shoulders.
Worked great for staying warm and I've still got mine.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:06 PM
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These can be great suppliments to a winter or emergency car kit. Although they are not wool as what the OP started this thread with and would be dicey as a stand alone in deep freezing weather but they will keep you somewhat warm, are abusable, very well made, roll up very nicely into a Molle II/Alice Buttpack and CHEAP.....

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/CAMP145-1.html

I have a half dozen of these and are also included in each of our BoB's...light, compactable and again, cheap and will LAST...
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Tettnanger View Post
Check the Sportsmans Guide for the Italian ones. I just got the four pack. They are very nice! The only issue is the moth ball smell. I will air them out and they will be fine!

www.sportsmansguide.com

item number:

WX2-86812 New 4 - Pk. Italian Mil. - issue Blanket, Gray
thank you for that site!!!! its awesomeeeeeeee
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:10 PM
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This is all Hollywood hipe.. thinking it will keep you warm (A wool Blanket). I once forgot a sleeping bag to play tuff and froze my butt off at 6000 feet in Eastern Washington for 4 days and 3 nights, thinking I would be like John Wayne or Clint by cowboy camping, never again! Get the appropriate gear to keep you warm for the climate and weather you may encounter.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
This is all Hollywood hipe.. thinking it will keep you warm (A wool Blanket). I once forgot a sleeping bag to play tuff and froze my butt off at 6000 feet in Eastern Washington for 4 days and 3 nights, thinking I would be like John Wayne or Clint by cowboy camping, never again! Get the appropriate gear to keep you warm for the climate and weather you may encounter.
Survival is about knowledge and endurance. You froze your ass off because of what you don't know or were unwilling to do. A wool blanket would make an incredible bed if you insulated it underneath and on top. They really do make the pile of foiliage you're lying on top of a lot softer. They're a lot more comfortable than lying under a pile of leaves, that's for sure.

Last edited by twyggy; 12-13-2009 at 02:47 AM..
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:02 AM
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I might carry a lighter sleeping bag and a wool blanket. I can use the wool blanket for extra warmth, and still have the blanket for other stuff like laying it on the ground or as a windbreak.
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