View Full Version : wool blankets

05-24-2007, 18:43
I'm prepairing for a trip to far off Yosemite(1st time), a general car camping high school group maybe with a escape to the backcountry for a night or so...I'm wondering if I should rely totally on an east german surplus blanket and then do without a sleeping bag. Is this wise? I sleep with it everynight and have slept in the yard with it in maryland's spring with no complaints, and I prefer the feel and breathablity of wool to the bag. I'm just timid.
then should I get a summer weight blanket, or will wool in general ( not the heaviest blanket, but is a tighter weave, a factor in isulation) keep cool enough throughout the night? I am the most ignorant yet aspirant beginner; does anyone have any experience with wool on the trail? thanks.
p.s. this is my first post.

05-24-2007, 19:21
I, too, like the feel and warmth of a wool blanket when weight is not an issue. One way to get a little more warmth out of a blanket is to fold it the long way and sew up the foot end and about half to three-quarters of the way along one side with a simple whip stitch. This creates a nice pocket to slip into with less potential for cold air getting in around your feet. If you do need a little more warmth just get an inexpensive fleece bag to stick inside or make a sheet liner. You can also check at a fabric store for "blanket pins." These look like big safety pins and you can pin your blanket instead of sewing. Have a good trip.

05-24-2007, 19:29

You did not say when you will be going, or how high (altitude) you will be. I would use it only after I tested it at home during similar or colder conditions before your trip. Another consideration is the weight.

Personally, I'd use a down quilt.

Good luck to U.


05-24-2007, 21:43

I, too, appreciate wool. It seems to have some, perhaps chemical, affinity with our bodies which fleece doesnít have. It also has better retained warmth when wet than down filled containers. On the other side, dry wool canít match dry down for warmth or weight, and wool takes much longer to dry than fleece. I don't think I would rely on one wool blanket. It could work just fine or it could become dangerously cold.

The weather in Yosemite is entirely different than the weather in Maryland. Trying out something for warmth in one climate may have no bearing upon the conditions you actually encounter in another climate. What works adequately in one climate may be a miserable failure in another. You need to find out what weather you can reasonably expect to encounter, AND what extreme weather is possible, before you make your decisions.

Iím not sure Iím familiar with east german surplus blankets. I have some new West German surplus blankets which are great but they are HEAVY. Since youíre planning this as a car camping trip weight probably wontí be much of a factor, but things may work out that weight does become important.

I would consider renting a sleeping bag rated below the lowest temperature youíre likely to encounter. If you have the time to experiment, use a rented bag where you live to determine whether the bag's temperature rating seems suitable. You may find you become uncomfortable well above or well below the rated temperature, then you can adjust accordingly using BAGS FROM THAT MANUFACTURER.

I have been experimenting with what is called a ďlap rugĒ from either Ireland or Scotland. A ďlap rugĒ is basically a small size wool blanket, with a weight much heavier than a standard weight U.S. military surplus blanket, yet not nearly as heavy as a West German surplus blanket. I wear it as a scarf, windbreaker, or substitute sweater or vest. At night I use it to augment my sleeping bag.

For warm summer nights I rely on a surplus poncho liner which Iíve sewn, much as suggested by Idaho Dave (Post #2), above. I laid it out, folded it over once lengthwise, then sewed a boxed foot and a few inches up the open side.

Take one extra item for warmth that you donít think youíll need. You can augment your sleeping bag with that and/or everything else.

Youíll do fine. Enjoy your trip.