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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    Wool Purist or Synthetic for your main survival blanket or bag ?

    After watching Dave Canterbury videos, and his pros for 100% wool blankets, I started looking on ebay for a quality wool blanket of my own. I plan on doing some camping in the next month or so at a friend's place up north. So, that, and I really just wanted a high quality wool blanket in my survival kit. After a bit of research, it didn't take me long to figure out what blankets were the creme de la creme and which ones were basically not that great (majority of the military style blankets). After awhile I came across a vintage Polar Star Golden Dawn by JC Penny for well under 100.00, heard they were up there with the British made Hudson Bay blankets everyone raves about being the best you can buy (aside from custom woven ones costing several hundred dollars, that is !). So I'm pretty stoked to see how good these things really are. The one I bought is 70 x 87" and almost 6 lbs, so I know it's gonna be thick and not one of those paper thin ones you see for sale at army surplus stores, with the 70/30 mix that many will tell you (who've actually used them in cold weather) aren't that great. Better than nothing, yes, but certainly not ideal in cold weather.

    That said, I have a friend who firmly believes synthetics are just as good as wool. Doesn't feel wool is all that important anymore. He's not worried about getting his synthetic stuff wet cuz apparently he uses a waterproof outer. Nonetheless, I find myself stubbornly locked into wanting (needing?) this wool one and not depending on a synthetic when so many people who've slept outdoors in cold weather say a high grade wool blanket is best.

    I realize most if not everyone here uses sleeping bags and all that for their camping needs and emergency gear, but I'm wondering if there's anyone here that thinks nothing beats a quality wool blanket over any of the other man made products ? Or do you believe Dave Canterbury's (and those of like mindedness) love of wool blankets is a matter of simplicity over what's truly the best ?

    I'd like to hear people's tried and true experiences for wool or synthetics. What you stick with, wholly depend on, and why it's best for you ?

    .................... I I want your opinion, I'll read it in your entrails

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Vancouver
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    a synthetic or down sleeping bag will be warmer, pack smaller, and be 1/4th the weight.

    I like wool blankets. I sleep with one every night, but they're too heavy to want to carry, and not warm enough unless they're even heavier.
    Go to good will/thrift stores. You'll find a couple for 10 dollars.
    RP#182

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    NY
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    I used to have a few of the milsurp wool blankets, they leave much to be desired. I've used them on fall overnights and froze my ass off. Definitely skip those. I don't have any experience with the thicker wool blankets, but I think they would be to heavy to carry on extended outings.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    Wool is great. It will lose only 20% of it's insulating value when wet but it also weighs a ton. Synthetics like Primaloft are lighter and almost as good. Syns also retain a high insulating % when wet. Here's a link another member posted somewhere else. Maybe build your own.
    http://thru-hiker.com/materials/insulation.php
    The good thing about being lost is that you are someplace you have never been. ~me

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    I love a wool blanket, but I do feel that you can get a warmer nights sleep in a lighter to carry package with synthetic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Newfoundland and Labrador
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArguableLobster View Post
    a synthetic or down sleeping bag will be warmer, pack smaller, and be 1/4th the weight.

    I like wool blankets. I sleep with one every night, but they're too heavy to want to carry, and not warm enough unless they're even heavier.
    Go to good will/thrift stores. You'll find a couple for 10 dollars.

    This^^^

    I'm a big fan of wool too, just too heavy to be all that practical for hiking/backpacking. I've got some really heavy duty high quality llama/alpaca wool blankets I picked up in Peru we take car camping which are much better than any other wool blankets we own.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9ayN1zp8g0&sns=em

    A Hudson's Bay 4 Point is on my shopping list for my next trip back home to Ontario


    RATPACK #37

  • #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Wet Coast of BC Canada
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    I love wool blankets for the simple fact i DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT holes forming in it from campfire sparks.....I can sleep right next to the fire. (i like LONG fires for full body heat)

    however, they take forever to dry when wet, are heavy as hell both dry and wet and are bulky to pack......

    Synthetics insulate when wet, are light to pack, dry fast, BUT PRONE TO HOLES FROM CAMPFIRE SPARKS and melting from sleeping to close to fire...

    perhaps a synthetic blanket/bag, paired with a THIN WOOL blanket OVER TOP........(to prevent sparks from melting holes in the syn bag)
    I'm a Canadian with friends who are Patriots......

    RIP John McAleese : TRIBUTE TO A FALLEN SOLDIER

    ALWAYS REMEMBER A FALLEN SOLDIER - SAS IN OMAN 40 - 1 (LINK)[B][I]

  • #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Calgary Alberta, Canada
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    Ive wanted an hbc blanket for years but they are too pricy to bring camping. Ill echo what the others have said and go with synthetic. Check out kifaru or hill people gear as they both make excellent blanket things

    sent from Samsung Galaxy Note 2
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    RP#673

  • #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,318
    Heavy wool blanket has been more effective and comfortable than my 40* syn bag. Do I want it for backpacking ? Not really. Do I want it in my BOB, hell yeah!

    Wool will never be overtaken by synthetics by purists. For the reason it works so well, wet or dry and is fire resistant.

    Synthetics won't be replaced by wool for light weight conscience backpackers. They don't need the gear to last for many seasons. They accept that with weight cut will also cut durability. Money spent or life span of the gear is not an issue. The wool blankets are cost effective , durable and last for generations without loosing its ability to keep you warm.

    It is a ,"what's is best for this situation" , question. For me it would be get the wool first, and if money and trip dictated for a syn bag then go for it.
    RPr#3540

    Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.

  • #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman5 View Post
    I love wool blankets for the simple fact i DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT holes forming in it from campfire sparks.....I can sleep right next to the fire. (i like LONG fires for full body heat)

    however, they take forever to dry when wet, are heavy as hell both dry and wet and are bulky to pack......

    Synthetics insulate when wet, are light to pack, dry fast, BUT PRONE TO HOLES FROM CAMPFIRE SPARKS and melting from sleeping to close to fire...

    perhaps a synthetic blanket/bag, paired with a THIN WOOL blanket OVER TOP........(to prevent sparks from melting holes in the syn bag)
    Do you need to sleep so close to the fire or are you one of those people that would bathe in a pit of hot coals if you could.
    The good thing about being lost is that you are someplace you have never been. ~me

  • #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    1,318
    Quote Originally Posted by MountainMistWanderer View Post
    Do you need to sleep so close to the fire or are you one of those people that would bathe in a pit of hot coals if you could.
    Small fire = small heat = get close
    RPr#3540

    Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.

  • #12
    brandon Guest
    I used mine the other night. I put it on like a poncho/cloak then got in my sleeping bag. Most of you guys from up north could have probably slept in shorts and a t shirt LOL.

  • #13
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    Apr 2011
    Location
    AB, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feed The Fire View Post
    Heavy wool blanket has been more effective and comfortable than my 40* syn bag. Do I want it for backpacking ? Not really. Do I want it in my BOB, hell yeah!

    Wool will never be overtaken by synthetics by purists. For the reason it works so well, wet or dry and is fire resistant.

    Synthetics won't be replaced by wool for light weight conscience backpackers. They don't need the gear to last for many seasons. They accept that with weight cut will also cut durability. Money spent or life span of the gear is not an issue. The wool blankets are cost effective , durable and last for generations without loosing its ability to keep you warm.

    It is a ,"what's is best for this situation" , question. For me it would be get the wool first, and if money and trip dictated for a syn bag then go for it.
    Well said.

    .................... I I want your opinion, I'll read it in your entrails

  • #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Vancouver
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    939
    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman5 View Post
    I love wool blankets for the simple fact i DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT holes forming in it from campfire sparks.....I can sleep right next to the fire. (i like LONG fires for full body heat)

    however, they take forever to dry when wet, are heavy as hell both dry and wet and are bulky to pack......

    Synthetics insulate when wet, are light to pack, dry fast, BUT PRONE TO HOLES FROM CAMPFIRE SPARKS and melting from sleeping to close to fire...

    perhaps a synthetic blanket/bag, paired with a THIN WOOL blanket OVER TOP........(to prevent sparks from melting holes in the syn bag)
    There are some tarps that have a fire resistant coating on them for this. Some are sold on bushcraftusa
    RP#182

  • #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    NE Kansas
    Posts
    1,682
    In the truck I have the oilskin and wool bedroll i used for many years when I was doing historical reenactment -- 2 wool blankets and a mexican acrylic one rolled up in a 6x8 oilskin tarp (the acrylic was less itchy then the wool) -- tarp laid flat, first blanket folded in half longwise as a ground pad, acrylic blanket on top of second blanket all folded into a taco with me in the middle -- everything wrapped in the oilskin with the end folded under. I slept good in this down into the teens.

    do I want to pack it on my back everywhere -- nope.
    but it was good bedding.
    and for the record -- the gray navy issue blankets are thinner than the OD army issue ones - but they seem to be a tighter weave and therefore warmer. Even when it's 90 out, the guts of a ship are not much warmer than the water it's floating in.
    Erik
    there are 2 reasons I've lived this long...

    a) I heal really quick.
    b) I learn even faster where pain and/or blood is involved...

    AKA 1066vik RP #434 BH #57

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