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Yes, they’re scratchy and sometimes stinky. And yes, they might be found in the bargain bin at the Army surplus store. But a wool blanket is far from the antiquated bed covering. Wool is comprised of hollow fibers, just like the latest synthetic cold weather gear. Hollow fibers mean warmth—even if the material gets wet. Our remote ancestors discovered this property, and much of the cold weather garb of historic Europe was made from wool. It can be a little heavy, much heavier in fact than the modern synthetic counterpart. But it can also be versatile and affordable. These are just ten of the many survival uses for the classic wool blanket.
1. Sleeping bag
Frontiersmen, and plenty of other folks, folded wool blankets in half and pinned them together at one end to create a likeness of the rectangular sleeping bag. And the trick still works today.
Sometimes blankets were worn like cloaks, but the “match coat” was a blanket that was trussed up more like a coat than a cloak. Fold the blanket in half and drape it over your shoulders like a shawl or over your head like a poncho. Use a large safety pin to fasten it at your throat and tie the rest of the blanket around your torso with a cord. This effectively gives you a wool coat with two sleeves.
Similar to the match coat, the wool blanket can give you some protection during the rain. Cover your head with it and pin it under the chin, making it look like a cross between a poncho and a cloak. You don’t have to play Dungeons and Dragons while wearing something like this (but it helps).
Roll your gear up into a blanket that’s folded in half. Tie it up with ropes and attach belts to act as shoulder straps. Now you have a blanket at night and a backpack by day.
5. Water filter
I know, just about everything can be a water filter. So it shouldn’t shock you to add the wool blanket to the list. Use a corner of the blanket and pour your water through it. This won’t make the water drinkable, but it will strain out the chunks that would interfere with chemical disinfection and clog up your real water filter.
A quick shanty can be made to block the wind and maximize the heat of a fire by stringing the blanket up between two trees (or other supports) and anchoring it to the ground in the back.
Lost your pants in a freak hunting accident? Hey, it happens. Fold your blanket in half on the long axis. Then wrap it around your waist and fasten it in place with a rope. Even though it’s a bit breezy underneath, it’s still surprisingly warm – as the Welsh, Scots and Irish have always known.
8. Insulated seat
Fold a blanket into a small chunk and sit down. It’s warm and comfortable.
9. Signal panel
If your blanket has a contrasting color from the surrounding environment, then you can hang it up like a flag to create an emergency signal panel.
10. Emergency cordage
If you really needed to, you could cut strips of the blanket from the edges, twist them to add strength, and use them for cordage material. This could also be the terminal use for an entire blanket.
Hope you had fun with this post. Leave us a comment to share different ideas about wool or wool blankets.