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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.

Anyone have a recommendation on wool pants? My BOB is stocked with full changes of everything (wool socks, shirts, small clothes, outerwear, etc) but no pants. I've looked at the Army Surplus and found some foreign surplus ones which may or may not work, and some Woolrich ones online which seem to be out of production. I'd like something less dress pant and more like the 5.11 Tactical pant.

So I'm looking for recommendations on wool pants so I can finish out my year-round all-wool preps. All suggestions welcome.

Thanks.
 

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Biologist
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I ordered a pair of US made wool surplus pants a few months ago off ebay, they seem to be high quality and wear well. That being said I'd also look into eastern European wool pants. After all, they deal with much colder weather!
 

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Gun Luvin Hippie
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My wool pants are only good for staying warm while lounging, stationary work or getting wet in. They never last long while bush whacking, working under the house and so on. If it was my BOB I'd go with other more durable pants and rely on quality long johns in place of wool pants. If you find a good deal on wool pants buy them. I've never regretted buying any of mine.

Hemp
 

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semper paratus
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i love wool, it works really well as socks and blankets, but i think it makes horrible clothing only because there are much lighter and more comfortable alternatives. i like wearing military pants because of the rip-stop stitching and its light, i wear waterproof goretex shells over thermals during the winter. i would definately suggest a similar set up. wool is itchy, hotter than holy hell in the summer and not waterproof.
 

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Tough Chick
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Before you decide not to go with a more modern fabric, why not do a little research online about what the soldiers of the American Revolution and Civil War thought about it? I think you might find that fabric technology has come a long way and it might be time to reconsider your back to basics ideas.
 

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Renaissance Man
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wool is itchy, hotter than holy hell in the summer and not waterproof.
You're doing it wrong.

Merino wool is not itchy.

Lightweight wool is not hotter than holy hell.

Wool is not waterproof, but it does shed water well. And when it gets wet it's still fairly warm.

If you live in extreme cold climates, if your woolies get wet you can take them off and hang them up outside for a short while. Give 'em a couple shakes and when all the ice falls off they're dry.

Wool is great stuff. Some of the new fabrics perform very well too. But they stink to high heaven after 15 minutes of sweaty activity, and they tend to pill where ever there's abrasion or contact with pointy vegetation.

Az
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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i love wool, it works really well as socks and blankets, but i think it makes horrible clothing only because there are much lighter and more comfortable alternatives.
:eek:



... i like wearing military pants because of the rip-stop stitching and its light, i wear waterproof goretex shells over thermals during the winter.
That is not going to work in cold weather.



... i would definately suggest a similar set up. wool is itchy, hotter than holy hell in the summer and not waterproof.
You are clearly not in the same universe I live in.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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I have wool felt pants, maybe 6 pairs. Most of them are green. Different brand names, I get them at a Mil Surplus store.

I also have some woven wool slacks and cargo-pocket pants that all came from different European armies. Mostly I like the felt, it is softer.

If your wool itches you bought the wrong kind.



Let me say a bit about dressing in winter.

Here one rarely needs more then two layers. If you went up North you might need a third layer, but so long as you stay out of the Arctic Circle, you really do not need a third layer so long as your wearing wool. If you refuse to wear wool, than of course you will pay for it and need to put on additional layers.

I did a lot of snow-shoeing / winter camping as a teen in Yosemite Park. I have been at sea in the Northern reaches of both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific, I have walked on Arctic ice-pack. During all of this I have tried most of the 'new' technologies as each of them has came out onto the market. I have not experienced any of which that were as versatile or as long lasting as silk and wool.

I have been a member of the 'layering your clothes' choir for a few decades. I do agree with the layering, if you are going to see temps low enough to justify it. I have found that I simply do not need all of the layers that I used to need when wearing the petroleum-based high-tech hollow-core synthetic fabrics.

Now on my little farm, we do not really see much cold weather at all. The coldest we have seen here has only been -25 at night, during those coldest parts of winter on the coldest days will warm up to -10.

Wearing silk underwear, wool socks, wool shirt, wool pants, wool cap, wool mittens, and brazing goggles; I am fine working outside nearly all winter long.



Your results may vary, you might live and work in much colder regions than where I am homesteading. People living closer to the Arctic Circle may need to put on a sweater or even a parka when outside, things that in this region we simply do not need to do because it simply does not get that cold.

In this area: wool socks, silk underwear, wool shirt, wool pants, wool mittens, wool cap are all I need most days doing chores outside [feeding livestock, plowing driveways, tapping maple trees, shoeshowing, etc]

When it dips to into minus numbers, I may add a sweater or light shell to break the wind.

At -5 to -10, if I have to sit in a parking lot for 6 hours tending a Farmer's Market veggie stand then it helps to add a 'layer': long johns underneath and maybe a sweater and scarf. But most of the winter it is just not cold enough to justify layering in this area. [note no heavy coat is needed]

At -20 then I may do long johns, sweater, scarf and a heavy jacket.

Fortunately we are not too far North, so it just does not get cold enough to justify layering very often.

I do understand if you are going to be in the severe cold you may need to layer. We only get one-week of that usually each winter.




As a side-issue which I feel is closely related: silk and wool are sustainable.

Silk and wool require no petroleum to produce.

Silk and wool are both fabrics that you or I can make without a chem lab.

In my experience silk and wool both last longer than hollow-core synthetics last. They are more durable. They keep you warmer. And you can make them yourself.

Living in Maine we are seeing a growing trend of small land-owners who have sheep, 5 head to 100 head, producing fiber for a small but growing movement. Home-based businesses making clothing using sustainable methods.

If you find a wool that is not comfortable against your skin it is a cheap, coarse, grade of wool, and should have never been used for clothing. Someone was cutting corners when manufacturing.

:)
 

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17 Oaks Ranch Tx
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Now on my little farm, we do not really see much cold weather at all. The coldest we have seen here has only been -25 at night, during those coldest parts of winter on the coldest days will warm up to -10.

Wearing silk underwear, wool socks, wool shirt, wool pants, wool cap, wool mittens, and brazing goggles; I am fine working outside nearly all winter long.



Your results may vary, you might live and work in much colder regions than where I am homesteading. People living closer to the Arctic Circle may need to put on a sweater or even a parka when outside, things that in this region we simply do not need to do because it simply does not get that cold.

In this area: wool socks, silk underwear, wool shirt, wool pants, wool mittens, wool cap are all I need most days doing chores outside [feeding livestock, plowing driveways, tapping maple trees, shoeshowing, etc]

When it dips to into minus numbers, I may add a sweater or light shell to break the wind.

At -5 to -10, if I have to sit in a parking lot for 6 hours tending a Farmer's Market veggie stand then it helps to add a 'layer': long johns underneath and maybe a sweater and scarf. But most of the winter it is just not cold enough to justify layering in this area. [note no heavy coat is needed]

At -20 then I may do long johns, sweater, scarf and a heavy jacket.

:)
When I was on the DMZ in Korea and we did our Sat am ruck march, where we would do 15 miles, 3 hr, off road. In the winter with temps well below freezing (teens - 20's) we wore only our fatigues, no long underwear or layers other than our T shirts. We did wear gloves with wool liners. By the time we were less than half way thru the march our fatigues were sweat soaked and frozen, our shirts unbuttoned and opened to allow cool air to the upper torso.

Our winter rucks hit the scale at 82 lbs contents and ruck, then helmets, weapon, 2 canteens of water, butt pack and other LBE, uniform etc added another 25+ lbs.

Point being if you are going to spend the day outside, doing work, resting, etc, then you will really need to layer up in order to to keep from overheating and or getting chilled.

Our garrison wear was a 100% heavy wool shirt that we wore over our fatigue shirt. Our combat pants were also 100% wool that were worn over fatigue pants. Again its the layering thing that is important and wool really seems to do the job better than anything.

Wool I guess has some disadvantages such as weight and weight when it gets wet, but wool will KEEP you warm when its wet unlike some other fabrics...
 

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semper paratus
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You're doing it wrong.

Merino wool is not itchy.

Lightweight wool is not hotter than holy hell.

Wool is not waterproof, but it does shed water well. And when it gets wet it's still fairly warm.

If you live in extreme cold climates, if your woolies get wet you can take them off and hang them up outside for a short while. Give 'em a couple shakes and when all the ice falls off they're dry.

Wool is great stuff. Some of the new fabrics perform very well too. But they stink to high heaven after 15 minutes of sweaty activity, and they tend to pill where ever there's abrasion or contact with pointy vegetation.

Az
but then why not just wear something waterproof and save the trouble altogether?
 

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semper paratus
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If you never experience cool temps, then your right. You dont need anything more than a waterproof outer shell.
i experience the same temperatures you describe, i also said with thermals underneath in my first post.
you have talked up wool quite a bit, i may pick up a pair of wool pants and test them out on my next winter rendezvous. if nothing else im set back a few bucks. thanks for the insight.
i have said i like wool blankets, i keep one in my car, one in the house and one with my sleeping bag
 

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17 Oaks Ranch Tx
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You're doing it wrong.

Merino wool is not itchy.


Az
I WISH that were 100% true, but its not, I have tried the Merino and even the Viyella (blend of wool and cotton) and they still cause me to itch....no doubt that is just me and my sensitive skin.

About the only woolI can wear and have it not drive me nuts is Cashmere wool...
 

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Renaissance Man
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but then why not just wear something waterproof and save the trouble altogether?
I'm not sure I understand. Yes, I have a waterproof outer layer for heavy rain or snow. But I use it regardless of what I'm wearing underneath. Synthetic or wool.

Az
 

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17 Oaks Ranch Tx
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I'm not sure I understand. Yes, I have a waterproof outer layer for heavy rain or snow. But I use it regardless of what I'm wearing underneath. Synthetic or wool.

Az
NO, never have, I moved from Dallas to Scottsdale, AZ (on a whim) when we sold our company and had a non-compete clause (not within 150 miles), spent 6 years in the Sonoran desert, then finally decided to retire retire for the LAST time on our place here outside of San Antonio.

So its either been too hot and in my case, when I look in my closet and I look at my expected life span, I have a hard time justifying anything to wear other than a new pair of Cowboy boots, hat every once in a while and a new implement for my John Deere:D::thumb:

I have a closet full of Orvis, Cabela's, LLBean, Bass Pro and some Willis and Geiger (sure MISS them, talk about good stuff!!!!). I have some 100% COTTON shirts that are WATERPROOF, yea and its not from trick spray on stuff either. Its the way they weave the shirts and there is only one mill that still does it. Not cheap, but sure are nice. I had a long coat made out of it, but wife sold it, then she got around $750 for it and I had had it for over 30 years.

I keep telling my wife 'I ain't gonna live long enough to wear that out':eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the input, folks. I'm in the mountains in Colorado, and a few degrees below zero is the norm in winter time (we usually have at least a few winter weather warnings telling us not to go outside with any exposed skin). So, yes, wool is about the only thing I'm considering for a cold weather BOB.

I've got a few full sets of smartwool ( + other wool items) and I'm just missing pants. If anyone has a review and/or pics they can share of wool pants I'd be much appreciative.

I'm thinking Woolrich Malone or something similar......
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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... I'm thinking Woolrich Malone or something similar......
I think those go at about 80% wool. I would not go with anything less than that.

Avoid synthetics and anything made from petroleum. Cotton is fine for summer, but a disaster in the winter. Natural fiber silk is fantastic for anything against your skin.

:)
 
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