How To Make An Awesome Shirt From A Wool Blanket

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How To Make An Awesome Shirt From A Wool Blanket Have you ever heard anyone say invest in wool? Well I would, It’s getting more and more expensive and it has so much potential when SHTF. Wool is just fantastic… There are several kinds of blends of wool you need to watch out for! There …

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Protect your head with a wool hat | WeatherWool Boonie Hat review

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If I’m outdoors, chances are I’m wearing wool. The WeatherWool Boonie™ is a hat to consider for cool, wet weather.

by Leon Pantenburg

I was sent this hat to review, and I will send it back after completing field testing. At the time of publication, WeatherWool™ has no sponsorship relationship with Survivalcommonsense.com.

Us follicle-challenged males who go outdoors become hat lovers. That’s my situation. I’m not completely bald – to my surprise – but with my DNA, a shiny head is inevitable.

The Boonie is based on a classic hat pattern.

The Boonie is based on a classic hat pattern.

So any time I go outside, I’m wearing some sort of head covering. In the fall and early winter that will probably mean a wool hat. I have a collection.

My most-used outdoor hat is a hunter orange Bailey. I got it in 1991 after starting hunting backcountry elk and deer in Idaho. That hat has been all over, and protected my head from rain, sleet, snow, hail and sun. It’s been folded, crumpled up in a tent, stepped on, wadded up and suffered serious use and abuse.

But I wore it in October on an Oregon deer hunt, and despite my wife’s persistent, ongoing campaign, have no plans to get rid of it.

A good wool hat is an investment for the outdoorsperson. My favorite style is a wide-brimmed hat, with a 2-1/2 to 4-inch brim. The 4-inch is best for rainy weather – it protects my glasses, and the back will drip off or hit the middle of my back on my rain gear. The shorter brim is great for urban settings, or when bow hunting in swampy, deciduous forests.

So the 100 percent wool Weatherwool Boonie Hat™ has potential.

Why Wool?

There are a lot of reasons for wearing wool clothing. (Here’s several.) But in a nutshell:

  • Wool is very fire resistant. Polypropylene and other synthetics will melt when a spark from the campfire hits them.
  • Wool is warm when wet, breathes well and insulates as well or better than just about anything.
  • Wool can be an organic, renewable and sustainable material with a tiny carbon footprint. Synthetics and plastics use petroleum.
  • Wool sweaters and pants can be cheap and they are easily available – check out your local surplus store for bargains. Look for wool sweaters at thrift stores and garage sales.
  • Wool garments seldom need cleaning, and when they do, a simple hand wash with mild soap will generally do the job.

Here’s the good stuff about the WeatherWool Boonie:

Design: The Boonie is made completely of  FullWeight Fabric.

I wore the Boonie to walk my dog one night when it was windy and in the low 20s. It kept my head warm  enough, but my ears got cold. Obviously, those conditions required a full-blown arctic quality head covering. The Boonie should be great in cool fall and spring weather.

Style: The Boonie hat has a shapeless, floppy brim, and many people, including some of our hardcore, elite military personnel, like it.

I don’t.

As my wife and daughter will verify, I don’t give a rip about what outdoor clothing looks like, as long as it does its job. (I have an ongoing struggle with my wife as she seeks to find and get rid of perfectly good outdoor clothing, just because it shows a little wear.)

Gilligan wore a Boonie style hat.

Gilligan wore a Boonie style hat.

Me wearing the Boonie.

But the floppy, Boonie style hat looks sloppy to me, and I look like a dork wearing one. After all, Gilligan wore a boonie with a 2-inch brim. I don’t like how the short, floppy brim can funnel water down my neck.

And Jed Clampett wore a floppy wide-brim hat, designed to make him look like a hillbilly.

Now, I’m OK with that hillbilly look.  (Actually, Jed is one of my role models, and I admire his survival skills, wisdom and business acumen. Great time for a “Deliverance” joke…)

Jed Clampett wore a wider floppy brim hat.

Jed Clampett wore a wider floppy brim hat.

But I want a stiffer brim on that outdoor hat that will shed moisture and protect my head from the sun and rain. If I were investing in a hat, I would make sure it had a stiff brim. If necessary, the Boonie brim can be starched to make it stiffer.

Tall crown: The Boonie has a taller crown, designed to help keep your ears warm. It is possible to wear the hat a high on your head. Then, if necessary, it can be pulled down to cover the tops of your ears to keep them warm. The idea is hat the brim can also be pulled down along the sides to provide more protection.

That technique will work in cooler temperatures, but the Boonie is not a winter hat for cold weather.

Color: The Boonie comes in four different colors to blend in with various scenarios. I like the cammo pattern. It isn’t too radical, and it fits in well in urban situations. Get a solid black color if you are anticipating blending into an urban setting.

Quality: This is evident from looking at the tightness of the cloth weave, quality stitching, and overall design. Weather Wool makes quality products.

Made in the U.S.A: All WeatherWool products are made in the United States of American wool. Everybody in the wool production, manufacturing, sales and distribution chain makes a living wage, pays local, state and federal taxes, and contributes to their community. Buy American!

My orange wool hunting hat has faded over the years, but still does the job.

My orange wool hunting hat has faded over the years, but still does the job.

Do you need a WeatherWool Boonie?

Everyone needs some sort of head covering outdoors. There is tremendous heat loss through the head, and some sort of insulation on the head is needed to keep a person from getting sunstroke or overheated in hot sun.

IMHO, the popular baseball cap style is a miserable choice for protection from the elements. The rain or snow will drip down your neck, the brim is generally inadequate to block the sun or rain, and in general, the design is ineffective for hard use.

In hot weather, a baseball cap doesn’t shade your neck and cheeks, and sunburn is a given.

To me, that rules out that style of hat.

Do you need a wool hat? Well, it is interesting that some companies famous for their synthetic outerwear that now recommend and sell wool base layers. And despite all the research and technology, many military forces in colder climates stick with wool winter wear.

Here’s my take: One size doesn’t fit all in anything outdoor-related.  A hat I don’t care for may please you. And the hat that doesn’t meet my requirements may be just what you’re looking for.

If you’re considering a quality wool hat, take a look at the WeatherWool Boonie. It retails for $115.00, postpaid. The Boonie may becomes your go-to cool weather hat.

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Surviving Iceland: My #1 Survival Concern

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surviving iceland

When my family spent 2 weeks in Iceland this past fall, surviving cold weather was my top concern. Coming from Arizona and now Texas, I tend to go overboard when it comes to preparing for cold weather and packing for this trip was no exception. I knew that our first and most important prep was our bodies — packing the right type of shoes and clothing to keep us warm from the skin out.

Start with your skin

No matter what the temperature and weather conditions are, get ready at the skin, or base, layer. My favorite base layer is made of silk — my ancient “silkies” from REI. They’ve been in my dresser drawer for about 30 years and still get the job done. Silk is an excellent fabric for a base layer and when used as long underwear, they’re comfy. I like the fact that the next layer of clothing glides over the silk fabric. The one downside to silk is that it’s best for moderately cold temperatures, as I learned in Iceland. There, I layered my silkies with fleece lined tights and kept pretty warm.

If you opt for a different fabric, consider synthetic fibers or Merino wool. Of the 2, I greatly prefer wool. As I learned with my wool socks, you can wear them again and again and again without much worry about body odor, a feature you won’t find with synthetic fibers or silk. However, Merino wool can be very expensive. I bought my Merino base layer top on clearance at REI, and even then, it was about $50. If you tend to get and stay cold or spend a lot of time in cold weather, it would be a worthy purchase.

Caps, scarves, jackets, and longjohns!

One final consideration with this base layer, or layers, depending on the weather, is your own tendency to be cold or on the hot side. My poor daughter had a tougher time in the chilly Iceland outdoors than I did because she is pretty much permanently cold! In her case, a heavyweight base layer would be best. Just read the labels and look for the words “heavyweight” or a “midweight”, if you’d like something slightly lighter.

I mentioned fleece lined tights and these are a wonder! From the moment I put them on, I knew my world was permanently rocked. Not only did they feel great, but I could wear them under jeans, my silkies, ski pants, or anything else. They even look good worn with a skirt, and, if worn as leggings, they’re suitable for cool weather just about anywhere. No need to hoard them for Arctic blasts!

Not all brands are the same, so try one brand first before buying additional pairs. We started with an and actually prefer those to the Muk-luk brand we purchased later.

Your feet are next

If your base layers are keeping your body warm, socks and shoes are the next most important consideration. If you were to splurge on any one thing for cold weather survival, it would be socks and shoes. You can trudge an awful long way if your feet are warm and comfortable, and you can pick up good quality coats and jackets at second hand stores, but that isn’t nearly so easy when it comes to shoes.

surviving icelandI highly recommend getting waterproof boots, even if you aren’t anticipating being in wet weather. If you buy a great pair of boots or heavy walking shoes, they’ll last for years, if not decades. You never know what weather conditions you’ll encounter in that time, so you might as well plan for protection from wet weather.

When I bought my most recent pair of boots, I knew I was making an investment. I went to 2 different stores, tried on maybe half a dozen different pairs and settled on a pair of KEENs. I love them. Now that I’m back in civilization and far from fjords and glaciers, I still wear them every chance I get. I paid right around $165 for them and expect them to last until I die. Seriously. My daughter’s Vasque boots are as beloved to her.

Shopping for these boots, I asked the salesperson to point out which boots were waterproof and we based our decisions on those. You’ll also need to decide if you want low or high tops. I wanted a little more ankle support, so I went with high tops.

If you already have boots but they aren’t waterproof, pack a tube of multi-purpose Shoe Goo, or spray them with a waterproofing spray. I recommend keeping these in your emergency kit or glove box, since you’ll most likely encounter wet conditions away from home.

Add 2 or 3 pairs of wool blend socks, and you’re set. Personally, that’s my first and only choice. They are soft and cushy, incredibly comfortable, and I can wear them for days without them stinking. That’s pretty remarkable. Smartwool is an excellent brand, but on the expensive side, and as you’re shopping for them, you’ll find some pretty cute vintage designs. Wool blends usually include some spandex, a little nylon, but steer away from blends that include cotton.

Now for the rest of you

If your feed are solidly shod in wool socks and comfortable, waterproof boots, you are well on your way to comfortably endurng chilly, winter weather. Now it’s time for layers of clothing.

Around my house, jeans are #1 for every single season. Right now as I type this, I’m wearing jeans and without looking, I’ll be at least one other family member is, too. For cold weather, though, we had to change our tune. My husband and daughter packed one pair of jeans and wore them with base layers, Propper longjohns for him, but most of the time was spent wearing lighter, quick-dry pants.

surviving icelandThose lightweight pants over our base layers did very well for this particular autumn trip, and on the coldest days and nights, we wore 2 base layers each! The lighter weight pants allowed for freer movement. Since we weren’t in full winter weather yet, we didn’t need anything heavier, but if we did, I’d opt for wool pants and a pair of waterproof pants. Iceland has thousands of waterfalls around the entire island and hiking to them can be a wet adventure. Another popular activity is glacier hiking which, again, brings the opportunity to be cold and wet!

Those wool pants should be maybe one size bigger to allow for some shrinkage as well as the layers you may wear underneath. Here’s some more excellent advice for choosing cold-weather pants.

Surviving Iceland from the waist up!

Looking back, it’s funny that I never tired of gearing up every morning for cold weather. I naturally like chilly days, but growing up in the Southwest and most days wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops, you might think all the layering would grow tiresome, but it didn’t. It was just a part of our day, getting ready to enjoy something new in the gorgeous Iceland countryside.

surviving icelandPrior to our trip, my final investment piece was a water-resistant softshell jacket lined with a very thin fleece. Made by Marmot, it has numerous features that helped me adapt to wet weather and super chilly nights. It even has an inner band that snaps around my hips to prevent cold air from traveling up through the bottom of the jacket. Bright raspberry red insured that I couldn’t get lost from my family, at least not easily!

A softshell jacket is breathable, wick sweat away from your skin, and are comfortable in all kinds of temperatures. My son’s Marmot jacket was pricey but it built to last, even with growth spurts. The fact that it was a bright tomato red helped identify his location on so many occasions. He was entranced with being outside in a gorgeous environment and tended to wander away, down the sides of cliffs, up mountainsides, enjoying some solitude.

surviving iceland

As far as other layers went, we wore combinations of t-shirts (both long sleeve and short sleeve), wool tops, and anything else we happened to have. I knew that our base layers, socks, boots, and jackets would do most of the work in keeping us warm, so we were more casual with our shirts.

Finishing off our daily ensembles were warm gloves, knitted caps and scarves. As a souvenir, I purchased an Icelandic wool scarf and wore it constantly. I was amazed by how warm it kept my neck. This is that exact scarf! Caps kept our heads warm — a necessity, and was the final piece of clothing I put on every day. Since we were sleeping in a camper van, I often went to sleep at night with it on my head! Here’s a pick of the inside of that van. GoCampers was the company we selected, and they were terrific to work with.

surviving iceland

If you can stay warm in Iceland…

…you can stay warm anywhere! If we ever really want a cold weather challenge, we’ll head over there during the winter where icy winds are powerful enough to knock cars off the roads! In fact, on our first night in our camper van, the winds howled so loudly that I was convinced we were in the middle of a hurricane.

surviving icelandThe payoff for all this cold weather preparation? Incomparable beauty. Again and again and again we commented to each other how no photograph could ever capture the beauty that we discovered every mile along the way. On 3 special occasions, we were treated to the indescribable experience of the Northern Lights, once from our airplane flying in to Keflavik. Yes, we got to see endless miles of the lights. What a great memory.

surviving iceland

Life is about making memories with the people you love, and what made this trip so special was not only the beauty and being with family, but the fact that we were equipped and prepared to fully ENJOY the experience and not huddled in front of a tiny space heater!

On to the next adventure…

Prepping Guide for Winter Survival

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Even the most prepared of families can fall on hard times when winter comes. Depending on where you live in the world, winter can mean extreme cold temperatures, harsh winter storms, and complete lack of food resources. This can add up to life-threatening situations, which is why prepping for winter should be at the top of everyone’s list. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind for making the most of winter survival.

Warmth

This is possibly the most important factor in preparing for the winter. The cold can totally incapacitate, and even kill a person, in a matter of a few hours. Preventing yourself from exposure to the cold is the first step in winter survival. Cold can make a person’s immune system more vulnerable to pathogens, so keeping warm enough will keep you healthy.

Make sure that you and your family have the right kind of winter clothing. The best possible option combines both price and utility, and wool fits the bill for both of those categories. Wool is an incredible material all around. Naturally resistant to bacterial growth, it can be worn consecutively for days, even weeks, at a time and will not be hazardous to your health or hygiene. It is the most effective fiber at keeping skin warm, especially when acting as a base layer.

To stay warm – have multiple layers available. Wool base layers, followed by a clothing layer, then a core warmer (like a vest), and an outer sweater. A jacket on top of that, along with a hat, gloves, and warm socks, and any human can stay warm in even the harshest cold weather. Additionally, warming packets can be added to pockets, gloves, and socks. Clothing should fit well to prevent heat loss. If you live around rain and/or snow, then a waterproof layer is a must. None of the warmest clothing will work if you can’t keep it from getting wet. And wet + cold is a recipe for serious trouble. Stay warm and dry!

Additional Heat

Most likely, if you live in a place with deep, dark winters, clothing won’t cut it by itself. You will need a way to generate heat to stay warm, especially in the night when temperatures drop to their lowest. Look into purchasing a gas stove, along with extra gas containers. A generator is a basic prepping piece of equipment, and can also be used to power heating devices like space heaters.

The other option is to have a good old-fashioned wood fire. The problem with this is that you might not always have dry wood to burn, and it can also attract attention if you are trying to keep a low profile.

Food and Water

Without these two items you will be hurting in no time, so it is important to ensure that you and your family have clean water to drink, and enough food to eat. Water is more of an immediate need, so make sure that you have several options for gathering it. If you live near a stream or river, have multiple filters to use in case one breaks or is lost. Mechanical filters with ceramic filters work the best, and are very price-effective. Have a way to contain water – purchase several jugs that you can store enough water in for a few weeks at least.

Canned food keeps the longest and can be kept for years on end. Make sure that the cans are not dented, which can be a sign of botulism. Have a diverse set of canned foods, from beans to vegetables to canned meats. This way your nutrition will not falter and you will be in the best possible state of health to tackle other survival concerns.

Be sure to stock up on some treats here and there, as this is the best way to boost moral. Candies, chocolate, vape juices can all provide something to create a good mood in the dark and cold of the winter.

Prepping for the winter is a serious task and should take a lot of forethought on your part to make sure you have everything you could possibly need. You know best what your winter conditions are like where you live, so think about possible circumstances that might arise and what you can do to mitigate winter threats. With adequate prepping, you can survive winter in relative comfort and stability.

The post Prepping Guide for Winter Survival appeared first on American Preppers Network.

How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

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How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

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When choosing insulating materials for your home or building, the options are more numerous than they first appear.

A visit to the hardware store will yield only a few options: foam board, fiberglass rolls, and perhaps spray foam. These materials, although widely available, contain many synthetic chemicals that you may not want to have in your home or around your family.

If you’re attempting to construct your building with all-natural materials, these conventional options may seem disheartening. But don’t lose hope! There are several eco-friendly, chemical-free alternatives for insulating your home that will be effective and safe for both you and your family.

The first option we’ll explore is sheep’s wool. Sheep live in some of the harshest and coldest climates in the world. They thrive there because they have a thick coat of wool that has natural properties to retain heat, even when damp. You’ll often find native sheep living high in the mountains, where it is extremely wet and cold, and yet they’re perfectly content.

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How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

Image source: Pixabay.com

For the same reasons that sheep’s wool does a great job protecting sheep from weather conditions, a roll of wool insulation will do wonders to insulate your home. When wool fibers are compressed down into a roll of insulation, the crimped nature of the fibers creates millions of tiny air pockets, which provides great insulation, keeping warmth in the winter and out in the summer. In addition, wool has a tremendous amount of breathability, as it absorbs and releases moisture in the air. When wool absorbs moisture, it actually generates heat, preventing condensation in cavities by keeping the temperature above the dew point. This property creates a natural buffering effect, using relative humidity to stabilize the building temperature.

Old denim and cotton clothes also can be a great alternative to conventional insulation. Many cotton insulation rolls made today are constructed from recycled blue jeans and other textiles. Some companies even will let you donate your own old denim. Although cotton insulation made from recycled textiles is about twice as expensive as fiberglass insulation, it is incredibly safe to handle, has a longer useful life than fiberglass, and has superior soundproofing qualities. For some homeowners, the knowledge that they aren’t putting potentially harmful chemicals in the walls of their living space is worth the extra cost.

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If you are constructing your home from scratch, using straw bales to construct the walls is a great insulation option. Straw bale homes typically have an R-Value (a measure of materials’ resistance to heat flow; the higher the number, the higher the insulation value) of more than 10. This is comparable to the insulation value of fiberglass. This, in addition to the huge cost savings compared to traditional insulation materials like fiberglass, makes straw bale walls an excellent option when building natural structures.

Straw bale walls can be finished with a wide variety of materials to make them look and feel exactly like a normal home wall. Most people who visit your home will have no idea that the straw bales are there! Straw bales also provide great sound insulation for walls and are very fire resistant when packed tightly and covered with an appropriate skin.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of variety when you visit the insulation aisle of your local hardware store. There are great alternatives – if you just know where to look.

Aryn Young lives in Homer, Alaska, running a small farm and sustainable land clearing operation. 

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Wool Blanket Roll

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I have always been fascinated with how survivalist, campers, hikers etc. were able to tuck their survival gear inside a military style wool blanket and then turn it into a pack that can be carried in multiple ways. I have personally had a wool blanket like the one in the video for a very long time and just used a basic roll to attach it to my pack.

A wool blanket can be used in multiple ways. The most obvious is a way to keep warm by fashioning it into a sleeping bag. It can also be used as a coat/poncho, a back pack, a lean to, an insulated cushioned seat, cordage or even a water filter. (Note: As a water filter that simply means to filter out debris, not diseases or parasites that may lurk in the water.)

In the video posted below, produced by BlackOracle69, he will show us all how to easily roll and tie down a compact pack using only the blanket. The items he rolls into the back are your very basic needs. A tarp shelter, a cooking pot and fire starter, some dry socks, a bandana, a light, para-cord, and a hammock. He shows the placement of each item and how to fold a pocket to keep things you might need, such as a fire starter or dry socks, accessible without undoing the blanket.

I hope you enjoy the video and please feel free to leave comments below.

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Number of speakers: 1 (blackoracle69)
Duration: 9 min 28 sec

The post Wool Blanket Roll appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Raw Wool: How To Find And Pick The Best Fleece For Your Off-Grid Needs

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Raw Wool: How To Find And Pick The Best Fleece For Your Off-Grid Needs

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Spring is one of the best times to start sourcing wool to bring to your homestead. Shepherds will often shear sheep once or twice per year, and most will do it after lambing, to shed the sheep of their warm winter coats. Look for a shepherd near your homestead. The more local the wool, the better suited it will be to your climate. Once you’ve located a shepherd, make inquiries about the fleece.

Breed Matters

Most sheep in North America are not raised specifically for fiber, as it is not a profitable commodity in many markets. Therefore, wool is often considered a byproduct. Farmers raise sheep with dual (meat and wool) or triple (meat, wool, and milk) purposes, so they can sell the other products.

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When considering what breeds of sheep to look for, consider the wool’s eventual purpose. The breed of a sheep will give you a general idea of its fleece characteristics: staple length (the length of the individual locks), micron count (how fine and soft each fiber is), and crimp (how curly the fiber is). The categories below illustrate the different kinds of fleece, and popular breeds.

1. Hair sheep

Hair sheep produce very heavy fiber and hair, which can be used in some rug applications. Breeds: Katahdin, Barbados and Dorper.

2. Specialty sheep

Many of these sheep are double coated, which means they have a heavy guard hair mixed with the wool. The fleece will need to be carded by hand to remove the hair, or both coats can be used to produce a very heavy weight yarn. The undercoat can be very fine, such as with Shetland sheep. Breeds: Scottish Blackface, California Variegated Mutant, Icelandic, Jacob and Shetland.

3. Down sheep

Raw Wool: How To Find And Pick The Best Fleece For Your Off-Grid Needs

Image source: Wikipedia

These sheep have fleece with short staples that can range from fine to medium weight. They are difficult to felt and harder to spin, but they make excellent batting and insulation. Breeds: Dorset, Hampshire, North Country Cheviot, Southdown and Suffolk.

4. Long wool

These breeds have long staples and are excellent for spinning; most will felt. They range in softness from medium to fine. Breeds: Cotswold, Border Leicester, Romney, Lincoln, Targhee, Columbia and Corriedale.

5. Fine wool

Sheep with fine wool will have the softest fiber; these will also be the most expensive fleeces. Excellent for garments and felting. Breeds: Cormo, Merino, Rambouillet and Polwarth

Selecting a Fleece

Pay your local farmer or shepherd a visit.  If the wool is still on the sheep, determine if there is a lot of dirt or vegetable matter (VM) in the wool. Most dirt can be removed with gentle scouring before you use the wool, but examine the fleece to ensure it isn’t full of VM, heavy soiling or impurities like dye. There does come a point where a fleece is not worth the trouble to wash. VM is worse than dirt, because it will have to be carded out. Some sheep wear coats to protect the fleece from too much VM, but this adds to the cost of production. Ask the shepherd about the wool and how it’s been used in the past, and whether the sheep have had a good year. Healthy, happy sheep produce better wool with no breaks in the staple; stress causes the wool to weaken while growing. If you like the look of the wool and the price, find out when the farm is shearing.  If you can help on shearing day, you will often get first pick of the fleeces, sometimes get a lower price, and usually make a friend.

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When buying shorn fleece, look for it to be “skirted,” which means the bottom edges and rump area have been removed. This portion of the fleece is too dirty to be worth the effort needed to scour it. Look for “second cuts,” short pieces of fleece that indicate the shearer passed over an area more than once and didn’t cut the full length of fiber. These become waste during carding. Lastly, test the strength of the fiber by gently snapping a staple between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. If you snap the fiber and hear a crackling sound, there may be a break in the fleece. Most shepherds know how to price their wool so it will be competitive. Pay top dollar only for very fine, very clean fleeces with strong fibers and even staple length.

With all of this information, you should be able to find wool to suit your needs; don’t be afraid to talk to a local spinning group or wool cooperative if you’re having trouble. When you find a good shepherd in your area, see if you can help out at lambing time or shearing, or even to sheep-sit while the shepherd is on vacation. A shepherd is a great friend to have, because you’ll find yourself quickly with enough wool for all the needs of your homestead.

What advice would you add on looking for wool? Share your tips in the section below:

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7 Urban Shelters to Keep You Safe

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7 Urban Shelters to Keep You Safe (Plus an Unconventional 8th)

The idea of urban shelters may seem far-fetched to some. After all, cities are no place to wander around once disaster strikes. Theory says you either bug into your apartment and wait for the whole thing to be over or you bug out before everyone else.

Theory and practice, however, don’t always match. Keep in mind you may not be at home when it happens and, more importantly, that you may not be able to get home. Whatever the case, I suggest you put some thought into what you’d do if your apartment building became unavailable and you’d be unable to bug out.

#1. A Space Blanket

Can this be considered a shelter? Definitely. Anything that can keep you warm can. Obviously, this won’t protect you from rain or snow very well but, still, it’s a good thing to have inside your get home bag or even your everyday carry. Your purse or laptop bag surely has enough room for one. It’s small (when packed) and lightweight. (a smaller, purse size emergency blanket.)

 

#2. Cardboard Boxes

Sure, there’s also the possibility of you finding a large cardboard to fit in, but the most likely scenario is that you’ll need to assemble several of them together. You’re gonna need a few tools to do it, such as a knife and duct tape. If you live in the city, chances are you won’t have a fixed-blade survival knife on you but you might have a pocket knife.

To make sure your shelter lasts well if it rains, you may want to add an outer layer of plastics (such as trash bags). Another thing you can do is use your emergency blanket we just talked about to insulate your cardboard shelter.

This is by far the best article on urban cardboard shelters you can find.

#3. A Dumpster

Yeah, I can sense the smell just by thinking about it too, but you may not have a choice. Careful, though. If you’re too close to the action, angry mobs may want to set your shelter on fire to prove a point to local authorities or law enforcement.

Needless to say, you’ll want to clean it before you use it.

#4. Your Car

Obvious, right? If you have a properly equipped car, you can spend weeks or even months inside and you don’t have to worry about rain, hail and so on. Now, this doesn’t mean your car can withstand any adversity but it’s a lot better than sitting inside a cardboard box.

The biggest when it comes to sleeping in your car is in regards to carbon monoxide intoxication. You may be tempted to leave the engine on to stay warm but this could be fatal if your car has certain flaws. This is even more dangerous if the car inside a garage or some other closed space. There have been cases of people dying like this. Besides, you’d just be wasting fuel you’d otherwise use to get home or to bug out.

Much better to stock up on things that can keep you warm such as:

  • wool blankets (wool is great because it allows your body to breathe, making it better than polyester)
  • hand warmers
  • hats (much of the heat released by the human body goes through the head)
  • tea candles (careful about lighting candles inside your vehicle) or some other type of emergency candle
  • extra clothes

#6. Abandoned Buildings

Yes, there are safety concerns if you go down this route. People might already be inside (you won’t be the first one who’s thought about it), maybe someone will come and surprise you at a later time… you don’t really know what can happen. Still, this could work as long as you do your due diligence.

One of the things you can do today is to walk around your neighborhood and spot any abandoned buildings. If you make a mental note of each, you can check them out every once in a while to see if they’re truly abandoned, maybe even go inside to see what it’s like and spot all the potential exits.

#7. Bivvy Bags

Think of bivvy bags as weird hybrids between tents and sleeping bags. An ultralight bivvy bag, on the other hand, can be added to your get home bag. On the other hand, if you have access to your sleeping bag, you’re either at home or you have your car, in which case you probably won’t have to sleep on the cold, wet streets of your town or city.

 

Final Word

Well, there you have it. 7 great options for urban shelters in case your home is compromised and have no way to go. Speaking of which, there’s also an 8th one: your actual home… even if it’s already been destroyed! Provided the danger is over, nothing should stop you from making shelter inside your own home.

I realize most survival and preparedness articles don’t talk about urban scenarios, though the vast majority of the population (around 80%) lives in cities. If you’re looking for more urban tips, you can check an older (yet still valid) article I wrote that has some pretty good tips.

Good luck!

The post 7 Urban Shelters to Keep You Safe appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Stuff that works | Five reasons to get a wool, pullover sweater for wilderness survival

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My wool sweater has kept me warm for going on 30 years. Here’s why I still use it, even when I have access to many other modern materials.

by Leon Pantenburg

Here’s a few instances where my pullover sweater has worked really well:

My red wool sweater has served me well for a couple decades.

My red wool sweater has served me well for almost three decades.

  • The rain beat down on my deer tree stand in a Mississippi swamp. My poncho covered the muzzleloading blackpowder rifle, and my sweater kept me warm.
  • Dawn of opening day of elk season in Idaho; I set out from camp in the frosty morning, and planned on being on the move all day. I wore a base layer, wool sweater, insulated vest and waterproof shell. This combination kept me comfortable all day, even when it started to sleet and rain.
  • Winter steelhead fishing in Oregon can be frigid. A wool sweater can be as important as your waders. Well, almost.
  • In January, I spent an afternoon building snow shelters and igloos in below-freezing temperatures. Most of the time, I wore wool pants, socks, mittens and my sweater. The wool layers allowed me to work hard without breaking a sweat or cooling off too much.
2009 fabrics website story 013

The sweater was well worth the investment.

In all these cases, I used the same sweater I got from Lands End™ in 1987. I bought three the same day, in red, blue and grey. I had just moved from Mississippi to Washington D.C. in January, and the cold and snow were extreme. The sweaters provided the layer between my overcoat, and shirt and tie.

Over the years one of the sweaters went on virtually every day hike, back packing and biking trip.

Some 25 years later, the only one left is the red, and people probably think I have a very limited outdoor wardrobe because I wear it so much. And it in in grave danger, and at great risk of disappearing, every time my wife takes a load of stuff to the thrift store. If she could find, it would already be gone.

But the fact is: The Vikings, Scandinavians, Celts and Northern Europeans got it right. When it comes to staying warm, wool may be the best choice. Irish fishermen relied on thick wool sweater to protect them from the cold North Sea. The Vikings – those fierce warriors, raiders and blood-thirsty pirates – were also avid knitters while on ships and long voyages.

With today’s super fabrics and technology, wool is often overlooked. (Know your fabrics.)

Here’s why you need a wool sweater in your emergency gear:

  • A sweater  is compact, light to carry and a pullover style seals out the wind.
  • Wool is very fire resistant. Polypropylene and other synthetics will melt when a spark from the campfire hits them.
  • Wool is warm when wet, breathes well and insulates as well or better than just about anything.
  • Wool can be an organic, renewable and sustainable material with a tiny carbon footprint. Synthetics and plastics use petroleum.
  • Wool sweaters can be cheap and they are easily available – check out your local surplus store for bargains. Look for wool sweaters at thrift stores and garage sales.
  • They seldom need cleaning, and when they do, a simple hand wash with mild soap will generally be all they need.
  • Quality wool sweaters can last a lifetime – be sure to get one you like!

The only problem might be if you’re allergic to wool, or think the materials is too scratchy. I wear polypropylene long underwear underneath the wool, and that eliminates any itchiness.

Other than that, you’ll find the benefits far overshadow a potential discomfort. Add a wool sweater to your winter survival gear. You’ll like it. I promise.

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The Off-Grid ‘Survival Secret’ To Warm Winter Feet

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The Off-Grid ‘Survival Secret’ To Warm Winter Feet

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In winter, and throughout the year, keeping warm is essential to your work. When you are comfortable from head to toe, you’ll be able to weather conditions longer and get more done.

But in extreme conditions it can be difficult to keep your feet warm. It takes a while for blood to circulate to your toes, and tight laces on shoes and boots only make your circulation worse. Warm socks and lined boots are essential, although they may not be enough in cold, wet weather. The solution: Felted wool insoles guarantee your comfort, protect your feet, and lengthen your working day.

Why Wool?

Wool is a readily available fiber with excellent properties for insulation and next-to-skin wear.  It’s very durable; since each wool fiber is coiled, the fabric made from wool springs back quickly, retaining its shape and making it resist wear. It repels moisture, shedding water and drying quickly.

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Most importantly, it keeps a layer of air next to your skin, insulating you from both heat and cold; heat is retained not in the fabric you wear but in the air trapped by that fabric, which is why airy wool knits are still warming. Each of these properties makes wool an excellent choice for an insole.

How to Make Felt

The Off-Grid ‘Survival Secret’ To Warm Winter Feet

Image source: Pixabay.com

You may have had the experience of washing a wool garment and accidently creating felt. Wool fibers have microscopic rough edges on them, allowing them to hook together like Velcro. Warm water and agitation makes the little hooks open up and the wool easily felts. You can make a sheet of felted wool by matting fibers together and felting using a special tool called a felting needle. An easier method, however, is to put 100 percent wool knit fabric into the washer and dryer. The stitches will mat together and create a piece of felt from which you can cut your insoles.

To create your felt, you will need a piece of knitted wool fabric that is at least twice as wide and as long as your foot. You may knit for felting, if you like. Choose thick 100 percent wool yarn that is not treated to be superwashed, as the superwash treatment is designed to prevent felting.  If you don’t want to knit, your other option is to recycle a wool garment. If you are recycling, then choose a thick woolen and be prepared for unpredictability, unless you know for certain the wool in the garment will felt. Wash the knit in hot water with lots of agitation. If possible, put it in a spin dryer on high heat, as well. When you are finished, it will have shrunken and matted together so that you cannot identify individual stitches. If it isn’t felted enough, wash and dry it a second time.

Creating the Insoles

Once you have your felt, making insoles is simple. Stand on the fabric and outline your foot with chalk or marker, leaving a wider edge on your instep. You can also outline the bottom of the boots you want to line, or remove the existing insole and trace that for the best fit. Cut along your outline, taking care that the felt doesn’t snag on your scissors; very sharp scissors work best. When it is cut, you are ready to place them in your boots.

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Try on the boots with the insole and feel if it is a good fit. Don’t rush this part; a comfortable and secure fit is key. If the insoles need trimming, remove them and cut a very small piece off of the edge, less than a quarter of an inch. Continue to adjust until the insoles fit snugly without bunching. When they are comfortable, you can wear them to warm your feet and keep them dry.

Wear and Care

Wash your wool insoles when necessary to clean sweat and dirt from them and make them last longer. To wash, soak them in warm water with soap, rather than detergent. Move it gently in the water so as not to cause fraying or additional felting. Don’t wring it out, but squeeze excess water out by hand and lay flat to dry. They will dry quickly in a well-ventilated area.

After you have enjoyed your wool insoles for several months, you may notice areas of wear. You can felt more wool directly on areas of wear using a felting needle. If the damage is quite bad, it might be more comfortable to make new insoles.  Don’t be discouraged by wearing out wool insoles; keeping your feet warm saves far more time and energy than what is required to make new ones. If you’re very hard on your feet, make several pairs of insoles at once to reduce the repeated work.

With a bit of work, you will have insulating insoles protecting your feet from the cold ground and providing you with cushioning while you work. The difference in your comfort and resilience to the cold will be noticeable immediately, and that’s pretty valuable – especially given how little goes into creating the insoles. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked. Enjoy!

Have you ever made felted wool insoles? What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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#AskPaulKirtley Episode 17: Tyvek, Wool Blankets, Bivvy Condensation, Ridge Lines and Wilderness Licences

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In this episode of #AskPaulKirtley I answer questions on various considerations with respect to shelter and sleeping arrangements, bivvybag condensation, wool blankets (again), Tyvek as a material for beds and tents, setting up tarp ridge lines and the important question of whether or not there should be such a thing as a wilderness licence? What […]

This first appeared on Paul Kirtley’s Blog. If you like my content, CLICK HERE to get 20 free videos today.

Top 10 Items to Stockpile For Emergencies (Video & Transcript)

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Video By Sno Multimedia
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network 

Number of speakers: 1 (Manny Edwards)
Duration: 12 min 22 sec  

Top 10 Items to Stockpile For Emergencies

Manny: “Hello, it’s the Sno Man again and I’ve been very busy with the Jack Phoenix Project, but I wanted to take a break and tell you the top ten items you need to stock pile RIGHT NOW. Now whether you think there is gonna be some kind of economic melt down or not, see the thing is, nature doesn’t care who is in control of the government. So Sandy came along. We are 11 days past Sandy as we do this and there are still people without food, water and electricity. So you need to be ready for a circumstance like that and I’m gonna tell you what you can do TODAY to be ready for tomorrow.”

“Okay the number one thing you have to have in an emergency is water and non perishable food. Make sure you’ve got that ready okay? This means you are gonna stock up on containers with water that you can drink in am emergency. So, gallon size is fine. You can buy the big 5 gallon jugs of water, but in addition to actually storing water, you also need to have a filter system. I like this one. This is the Sport Berky Bottle. Go to the blog. I’ve got links to it and you can check it out. Find out everything you need to know. You can even save by buying 3 of them if there is more than one in the family. So you need to buy one of these because that has a  filter in it. Because you can be walking outside and find water in a ditch and you can fill this thing up and it filters through this and you can drink it as long as it’s not contaminated with pesticides or gasoline or some such things. So like I am pretty confidant that the water supply where I am is good. I can go to a pond or creek and I am good to go. I can also take a five gallon bucket and take it up to the pond and Berky makes a larger system that you can fill the water and you can filter several gallons a day. Not just a little bottle you carry with you but a supply of water for the house that is filtered as you go.”

“Food. You need canned food like this. We’ve got salmon, we’ve got beans, we’ve got tuna. Those items are important because you can eat this even if you can’t cook. So if you don’t have gas, or electricity, no means to cook, you can still eat stuff that is pretty tasty. Now, you can, can stuff yourself. This is beef stew that we canned. It is so simply. It is just meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, salt and water. Dry goods is a good way to go, but you have to have water and you have to have the means to cook it. So if you have those means use your dry goods. Add a little beef broth for flavoring. Keep salt on hand as well. So number one, food and water.”

“Flash lights and spare batteries. These run on ordinary double A batteries. I recommend for emergencies something that you can easily replace the batteries. So weird batteries that are hard to find might not be top choice for your emergency stock. Candles and matches. You gotta have these. Have a bunch of these. Have a lot of matches. And alternate ways of lighting things. So I also have a lighter and a striker. Here is what’s good about a candle. One flame in a room will light over an entire room just enough to keep you from tripping over things. So you can see where your going.You might not be able to read unless your sitting right by the candle. But ya know, your whole existence is not gonna be reading. One candle will burn a long time. Especially this thing.”

“Clothes and blankets. Not just whatever clothes ya got. I mean everyone has spare clothes right. But you need to have clothes in a specific place that is protected from the elements. So if a flood comes through you still got a place where you’ve got dry clothes. So, I keep mine in my new bug out bag. This is the Eberlestock. I got this for the Jack Phoenix project. Eberlestock was nice enough to send us one for product placement. I’ll talk about that in another video. Okay, the main thing we are talking about here is clothes. Let me show you what I’ve got. This is a dry compression sack that I got from Outdoor Research. I keep my clothes in this. I’ve got wool socks, wool hat, gloves, spare pants, underwear, a scarf. That kind of thing. So just pick what you need based on your climate or whatever you’re preparing for. And then put it in one of these dry compression sacks. Go to the blog and I’ll have a link for this specific item. You also need blankets. Go to good will on half off day and buy a bunch of wool blankets . Wool is good because it will keep you warm even if its damp. So these people out there are suffering after Sandy. They’re wet, cold, it’s a miserable climate in the winter. If you’ve got wool it will keep you warm even if its damp.”

“Okay you need a stove. A stove is gonna provide heat and a means to cook. Now, what kind of stove you use is entirely up to you. Propane, Coleman fuel or whatever. Where I live, if I lose power I can cook in a fire place or outside. So I like to use something I can use with wood. This thing is really good. This is a solo camp stove and Jack Phoenix did a video on this on the Doomsday Survival Skills. So I’ll post a link to that, to the blog or you can click here on you tube. So this is the solo stove, check it out. The point about this sort of stove like a Coleman fuel or propane stove, you gotta be able to cook food now and then. At least for moral. You need an alternate source of heat. That could be a space heater, kerosene heater, a little propane heater. Who knows, but depending on where you live you might have a fire place or a wood stove. That’s a great way to keep warm so that is what we use out here.”

 

“Another very important item to have is something you can barter. So that would be liquor, coffee and cigarettes. Even if you don’t drink liquor or coffee or you don’t smoke. Those are valuable commodities when you have a disaster like Sandy or whatever. So this is brandy, but you can get the cheap stuff man. Ever-clear is fine and you can use that as a disinfectant and you can use it for tinctures and things like that if your into that. Get your vitamins right. So, get liquor, coffee. Man you don’t know how valuable coffee can be for bartering until you need it. And cigarettes. I don’t even have any. I have a pipe and pipe tobacco. I don’t have cigarettes. Any combination of these items is good.”

“You need guns and ammo. Okay. 22 rifle is good. A 45 caliber, semi-automatic hand gun is a good choice and you need ammo. You need a medical kit Okay. You can buy these online and then doctor em up. So I’ve added a suture kit and some other stuff. Listen. If you have prescription medications you have to take, go to your doctor and tell him you need to stock up a months supply extra or whatever. I dunno. So you can have some in emergencies. Even if you’re not taking medications regularly you might want to have something for severe pain injuries, broken bones or anything that is going to be controlled. Like antibiotics, would be a very good choice to stock up on. Just go tell your doctor what you want it for. Go to the blog and I’ll have a list of items I think you should get prescriptions for. If that doctor won’t do it for ya find a doc in the family or a friend or neighbor and  make him your doctor and develop a relationship with him so he knows you’re not going to abuse it and will write you a prescription. It’s very important to have medication in an emergency.”

“You need to have a basic tool kit that belongs with your emergency gear. This is gonna be separate from the tools you have in your drawer or car or whatever because you never know where those are gonna be. You need an emergency tool kit that stays there until the emergency. Here is a few basic items, definitely add to it. A Swiss army knife. A regular survival knife. This is an Morakniv. It’s is only 11 bucks on amazon if you buy 2 of em. Screwdrivers, hammer, pry bar, duct tape and glue. Alright. Basic items in the kit. One other thing not here. Rope. Get rope, string, any kind of twine. I’ve got plenty of it, but its just not here.”

“Alright so that’s ten right? I’m gonna go ahead and give you a few more bonus items that you could add to your stock. I mean there is no reason to ever stop right? I mean unless you run out of room or get bored with it. These ten items that I’ve told you, I mean you could substitute what ever. It’s going to depend on your circumstances. Gonna vary based on your climate, whether you live in the city, the country, or the suburbs. It’s entirely up to you. Those items I think are very important to have.”

“Here’s a few bonus items. Toiletries. Very good for moral. You need tooth paste, tooth brush, floss and shampoo. Toilet paper. Man I can not tell you how valuable toilet paper is going to be when you don’t have it. Another thing you ought to have in case you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands. Be sure you have some books to kill the time, some old magazines. The bible. I mean you can read that thing for your whole life and still not get everything out of it that’s in it.  So, that’s a good one to have. Whatever. It’s just whatever you’d be interested in.  A survival handbook is good to have in a situation like this. So while we are on the topic of books. I mean there could come a time where you decide it’s time to bail. Alright you’re living in the city and FEMA is just not bringing the food and water and it’s freezing and you’ve got to get out of dodge. So how you gonna do that? I recommend this hand book. The survival hand book from DK. If you’ve got to get out of dodge then you gotta have this book in your supplies and read up before you go. Maybe take it with ya.”

“Alright one more really important item to have in your emergency supplies. Storage bags okay. If your wondering around the town and find some canned goods in the street or in an ally. Do you want to carry them around like this so everyone sees what you got or do you want to put them in a garbage sack or grocery bag and haul em back? The thing about this is you don’t have to have a back pack with you at all times. You might not have a back pack with you alright? But this, you can stuff all this in one pocket and then have a container if you need it. Also, these little zipper bags are good for, ya know, if you pick up batteries or find some nails or screws or anything like that that you wanna carry around. Put it in the zippy bag. Here is something else that’s useful, just these little sandwich bags. Have a bunch of little containers like this. Garbage bag, grocery bags, sandwich bags, zipper bags.”

“Okay listen, there is a lot of stuff our there that your going to need. If you think of anything else that people ought to have in their top ten list of items to stock pile, put it in the blog or comment on you tube. That helps everybody and be sure and check out the blog because I have a lot more info there about what to stock pile in an emergency with a links to articles and videos I’ve done on the topic. I hope you enjoyed the show and I will see you next time.”

 

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The post Top 10 Items to Stockpile For Emergencies (Video & Transcript) appeared first on American Preppers Network.