A Collection of Thoughts on Survival, by Sven

There is a number of thoughts and observations I’ve had that seemed worth passing on to SurvivalBlog readers, but most of them weren’t long enough to merit full articles. Hopefully, everyone can find at least one thing here that they hadn’t considered yet.

Wool Blankets

Wool blankets are heavier than down or synthetic sleeping bags but are lifetimes more durable and fire resistant. You should have both wool blankets for when weight is not a concern and regular sleeping bags for fast, light trips.

Knives– Serrated or Not

Knives with serrations require special tools to sharpen. Consider using only knives without serrations while in the field so that you need only one stone.

Sharpening Stone

A sharpening stone is a must for your kit/BOB. Knives and axes that are in use will dull quickly, which can make them unusable in precision applications. So, you’ll need to stone to keep them sharp.

Stick to Common Firearms Rounds

There are many different firearms cartridges available– some old, some new. Instead of debating what the absolute best cartridges are, stick to common rounds, as these are what are most likely to be available in the long run if there was a restriction on ammo. Some of the more obscure rounds may be tempting for various reasons, but you may run up against logistical problems. For instance, I think the Swedish 6.5×55 is the perfect deer round. But how much luck do you think I would have finding that round when all the stores close? It’s difficult enough to find now. I suspect there may be many ad hoc survival groups that form after a SHTF event. We used to call these organic groups “tribes” or “communities.” Consider the advantages of being able to share ammo with others if needed.

Water Proof Containers

Water proof containers are an underappreciated modern technology. If you’re outside for any length of time, everything will get wet eventually. Tupperware, garbage bags, and small plastic bags can go far towards keeping matches, sleeping bags, your Bible, changes of socks, et cetera dry, when not in use. A favorite item of mine is the clear one-gallon storage bag that can be tied at the top. I find Ziploc bags too prone too coming open when stuffed in a backpack.

Soap, Dry Wool Socks, and Sturdy Wool Clothes Protect From Dangers

It’s exciting to prepare for dangers like marauding biker gangs, but there are plenty of things that are just as likely to get you that are anything but action movie material. These are things like diarrhea, trench foot, and hypothermia. Soap, dry wool socks and sturdy wool clothes may save your life every bit as much as your trusty 1911 or Glock.

Firearms and Preps

If you have far more than the basic battery of firearms, while the other crucial areas of your preps lack, you may want to reevaluate how you are using your resources. If your basic firearms needs are met, and you’re squared away in other areas of preps, consider using the extra money to buy duplicates of the firearms you already have, extra ammunition (no such thing), or training courses.

Convenient MREs

MREs can be handy. They come in water-proof packaging, have a shelf life as long as a human’s, are packed with calories, and contain their own apparatus for heating. But they’re also expensive and extremely heavy while on foot. Consider carefully where MREs figure into your total nutrition plan.

Implicit Survival Group

A survival group can be implicit rather than explicit. Be friends with serious, capable people, and strive to be a serious, capable person yourself.

People Skills = Survival Skills

People skills are survival skills. Like all survival skills, now is the best time to practice. If you’re a difficult person to get along with right now, how much more will people dislike you under the extreme pressures of survival situations?

Surviving the Boredom

Don’t underestimate the boredom that can set it in, especially during the winter months, even with the all consuming business of survival taking up most of your time. Have plenty of family-friendly books on hand that are good for reading out loud. Simple games and musical instruments would be nice morale boosters, too.

Light Gear That Works Well Wet But Is Bright and Susceptible to Damage

REI, North Face, Patagonia, et cetera make some of the lightest gear around that still works well even when wet. Unfortunately, this type of outdoors gear is very susceptible to damage during work or when traveling off trail through thick brush. Also, it is often made only in very bright colors, which is not ideal for the prepper who wants to lay low.

Cotton Kills

While we’re on the subject of clothing: no cotton for extended outdoor trips ever, or “cotton kills” as some outdoors men say. It will get wet and give you hypothermia. Desert and southern climes might be the exception.

Military Surplus Clothing

Your mileage may vary with military surplus clothing. It is usually made very durably and in camo or earth tones. However, it can be very heavy and sometimes cotton based. It can be had inexpensively at many thrift stores though, so keep some around. I’m a huge fan of wool because it is durable and warm even after absorbing lots of water. Best of all, European military surplus wool shirts, coats, and pants are widely available and of high quality. Just make sure you have some good long underwear to go with it. Wool is itchy.

Hunting Clothing

Medium to high-end hunting clothing may be the ideal for preppers. It is often constructed sturdily enough for walks through thick growth while being light, waterproof, and of camouflaged coloring.

Basic Hand Tools

Many construction and repair jobs can be completed with a few basic hand tools. Garage sales and pawnshops can are great places to scoop up assorted screwdrivers, pliers, sockets, et cetera. Often, older tools are of higher quality.

Chain Saw

Try using a hand crosscut saw (which you should have, of course), and you’ll quickly appreciate the chain saw. The chainsaw is one of the handiest power tools for the prepper, and you should have two of a reliable model. As JWR has said before, “Extra two cycle oil may be like gold when SHTF.”


An ALICE frame can be a wonderful tool for turning your back into a pickup truck. Bulky and oddly shaped loads can be ratchet strapped to one of these handy military surplus packs.

Sleeping Comfortably in Sleeping Bag

Sleeping in the rough comfortably on a cold night is a simple formula: More cold = more insulation needed to sleep. How “cold” or “hot” a given person sleeps depends on age, sex, and fitness level. My rule is that I add 20°F to whatever the manufacture rates a sleeping bag for. So a -20F bag is a 0F bag to me; a 0F bag is a 20F bag, et cetera.

Insulating Yourself From The Ground

Insulating yourself from the ground is just as important as insulating yourself from the air. Sleeping pads aren’t to cushion you; they’re to keep your body from conducting heat into the ground.

Delorme Atlas & Gazetter

While you’ll definitely want large scale, complete, up-to-date topo maps for your immediate operating area, having a Delorme Atlas & Gazetter for your state is a must. This will provide you with topo maps for your whole state, albeit in smaller scale and with less detail. If you live near a state line or in a small state, get the atlases for nearby states as well.

Keep Knowledge Up To Date

Keep all of your knowledge up to date. The fields of first aid, survival, fitness, et cetera are ever developing through new discoveries.


If you plan to keep tobacco for barter and personal use, tinned pipe tobacco has an almost infinite shelf life if unopened. Most other packaged tobacco products will start to go stale quickly, especially without specialized storage.

Test Your Equipment

Equipment that is still in its package, never tested, is equipment that you cannot count on. How many times have you opened something new from the store, only to find that it was defective or that you needed parts, accessories, or batteries to make it work?

Extra Tool Handles

You may have axes, shovels, and other handy hand tools, but do you have extra handles for them? That ax won’t fell a tree with a broken handle. Perhaps you could make your own, but is that an experiment you want to try in the midst of a long survival situation? Do you have access to suitable hardwoods, like hickory or ash for new handles? Stocking some extra handles for your essential hand tools is a fine idea.

Peace Time Workout Routine

Don’t blow off the peace time workout routine, even if you’re a man who works with your hands. You need extra exercise to keep yourself in limber condition and fit for when the SHTF.

Properly Behaving Children

Misbehaving children could put everyone at risk. Teach your children discretion and obedience before the SHTF. You’ll need your children to be members of the team when the time comes.

Practice Safety Now

The word “safety” makes many people roll their eyes. But if your survival group has 10 adults and just one of those folks is crippled or killed or even temporarily disabled, you’ve just lost 10% of your group. Things that aren’t a big deal now may be deadly serious without the benefit of an emergency room and antibiotics. Practice safety while doing tasks on the homestead and while using firearms.

Layer Preps for Short and Long-Term Emergencies

Layer your preps to account for changing situations and equipment failures. For instance, I keep canned food for short-term emergencies, MREs for when cooking is not possible, and bulk wheat, rice, and other dry foods for long-term emergencies.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. I’ve had good luck with the U.S. BDU pants in our warm humid locale. Thick enough for the cold, yet durable enough for long term use. As stated above, easy to find in used clothing – flea markets if the budget is tight.

    If budget is more discretionary, check out the Duluth fire hose jeans. Comfortable and wear very well, at least in our experience.

    1. I like the Duluth Trading Company’s Firehose cargo pants. Heavy as heck when you pull them out of the package, but surprisingly comfortable to wear. I know “cotton kills,” but in the hot humid southland, I can’t wear the so-called moisture wicking fabrics. In order for them to be hydrophobic, the outside air must be significantly drier than your body surface to allow the moisture to evaporate. Usually doesn’t happen here. YMMV.

      1. I guess I am an idiot…because here in central Texas, I couldn’t figure out why all those wicking fabrics didn’t work very well…you just caused that light in my brain to illuminate…thanks

  2. Appreciated Sven’s article.
    Disagree with the concept that MRE’s will last a lifetime. Under normal conditions, 5 years. In the back of a hot Jeep at 120 degrees, perhaps a year. SOLAS approved bars will last 5 years in any condition, ie. Mayday, or Mainstay, or Datrex.

      1. Rv:
        Nasty, heavy trash, C-Rations are! However the due keep you fed, an d calorie count up witch is was they were partially designed for. As far as MRE’s being heavy?, are you kidding me? Let me know how it feels to do a 30 mile hump with 15 of them in your pack then come talk to us about heavy combat rations. I would rather have 15 MRE’s in my pack than C-Rats anytime. Semper Fi! Uurraahh!

  3. Using a chainsaw will advertise your location to others, and your availability of fuel, to people for miles in all directions.

    Use hand saws as much as possible. Less noise, no fuel requirement, and way less “come and get it” advertising to undesirable elements within sound range.


  4. I like wool and it’s hard to argue with it’s durability and effectiveness. However do not overlook fleece for clothing and even blankets. It is better than wool for moving moisture away from your body. It is warmer than wool pound for pound. It is generally cheaper and easier to find on sale. It is so popular that you are more likely to find the really useful clothing items in fleece than wool. It layers well without the weight of wool. The good news; right now winter fleece clothing is going on sale in most stores

    1. Try quilted moving blankets. Just as warm and a lot more durable. As to cotton anything. Even in the North it’s good for 8 months a year and heat build up is almost as much a concern as cold.

  5. I have considered the chainsaw’s noise also, but there is nothing stealthy about harvesting wood: trees falling, the solid thwack of the ax, limbing the trunks, even hauling the logs makes noise. If things have really gotten western you need others to act as spotters while some people cut wood so you might as well get it done as quickly as possible. The other thing that concerns me more than the sound is the smell of a fire. You can’t hide that, and a light breeze will carry the smell of your warm home for miles.
    Personally, I try to start each winter with at least two winters’ worth of firewood (and 5 years’ worth of propane) so if things do fall apart I am not pressured to take chances being away from the homestead.

    1. YIKES! for 5 years of propane at my present burn rate I’d have to buy 4 more 1000 gal tanks just for storage! Five 1000 gal tanks would really make me a target! I keep three years or so of firewood on hand at all times. It’s an on going never ending chore even with a chainsaw. It would be a full time job with a cross cut saw. I and my wife are too old to cut that much wood by hand so I’ll go down shooting over my chainsaw noise…. Got 2 big Stihl Farm Boss saws at the moment and will be buying a small “limber” with a 10″ bar as well as one of those chainsaws on a pole in the next couple months. Got a good 3 point mounted splitter as well. Splitting wood by hand is as much work as cutting by hand. I split all mine by hand up until a couple years ago and blew out my shoulder, getting old sucks.
      Wool…I used to do hard core 18th century living history for many years. I have slept with a Whitney blanket with a linseed treated canvas cover in -13 temps on the ground. I found that a good sized heated rock at your feet makes that situation bearable. Of course you only get to sleep a couple hours at a time until it’s time to switch your cold rock out for one that’s been heating by the fire. Rock temps are critical…too hot and you’ll know it in short order! Wool clothes are great. Wear like iron and will keep you warm when you’re wet. I have found there are modern materials that are just as good.

  6. I have to disagree with fleece in the respect that it is dangerous near a fire.Stick with wool in the colder months and cotton in the hot months. You can’t bribe me with long shelf life of MRE’s, there are so many better options !!! I don’t want to be constipated from a MRE ever, period. Where I come from the temperature gets in the upper 90’s in the summer and 20 degrees below zero in the winter. The temperature swings means that you keep track and rotate your food to keep it edible before it is ruined by heat or repeated freezing. I am dedicating this coming new year to getting back into shape and staying in shape ! Sorry, rambling.

    1. Dangerous! No. It can and will get small burns from sparks and it can get even worse if you stick your clothes or clothed parts of your body into the fire. But I assume you wouldn’t do that. I wear fleece exclusively and camp all the time (the joy of retirement) and have zero problems with it.
      I can buy a good Columbia fleece jackets and sweaters for 70% off since I live close to a factory outlet store. That means I can have half a dozen good quality fleece clothing items for what one good wool item would cost. But it gets better; I can find fleece clothing choice that are simply not made in wool. The reason is simple 95% of outdoor cold weather gear is now made from fleece rather than wool. I also live near a Pendleton outlet but I find their prices, even on sale, to be too high. So be careful around the campfire and step up to fleece.

  7. I love wool and so have all the moths that have been in my life, destroying my wool blankets, rugs, sweaters, suits, coats, and all things wool.
    Yep, fleece has its drawbacks, but in the end, all my fleece is still here, while all the wool in my life has been trashed. I have had this happen 3 – 4 times in my life. I have a cedar chest, moth balls, keep the stuff clean. In a serious situation, I will have fleece, because wool has no guarantee for me.

    1. I wonder if the breathable cotton “mite barrier/ bed bug barrier” pillow encasements sold at National Allergy would keep the wool safe from the moths. They are made in the USA and range from regular pillow size to full body pillow size.

  8. And my fleece had never shrunk in the wash. Sadly my custom wool shirts and hats were ruined forever by careless washing. That said, I love wool shirts and underwear. But it’s too fragile.

  9. I’ve never lived in a climate where it was cold enough to use wool. The thought of wool draws up feelings of scratchy itchy skin in the heat of summer, which, here, is at least a humid 100*. I prefer cotton.

    1. You may prefer it but there is ample reason for the phrase “cotton kills”. Cotton absorbs many times its weight in water and then cools your core temperature. It can also cause serious chafing.

      Look for good merino wool from vendors like Ibex, Ice Breaker, Patagonia, Bridgedale, etc and you will be surprised how comfortable and wearable it is. I live in the stuff and never have an “itchy” moment.

  10. For cutting down trees get a two man cross cut saw that is as long as needed to cut down the wood needed (6 feet?). Years ago my brother and I as teenagers were not allowed to use Dad’s chainsaw. We cut a quarter cord of wood on land not our own without our Mom hearing what we did. A hand saw only makes a soft ripping noise that requires no hearing protection, a chainsaw is way too loud and requires gas, two-cycle oil, and bar oil.
    MRE have a three year shelf life at 80 degrees and six months at 100 degrees. Search “Operational Rations of the DOD” or go to https://www.army.mil/e2/c/downloads/306070.pdf to read the information from the DOD group that develops rations.

  11. An article a few days ago mentioned the Speedy Sharp tool. This tool is far superior for sharpening almost anything in the bush and in my experience it beats any other type of sharpening device for ease of use & portability (disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the makers of this tool in any way).

    I absolutely hate lugging around chainsaws and all the other stuff you need to run them. They are simply not practical for trail work and camping unless you are harvesting a lot of larger trees of around 3 inches diameter or larger. I have a cheap folding camp saw that cost less than $10 that literally rips through smaller trees with a fraction of the effort and other issues that come with using a chain saw. They are very light and portable. The cheap ones look and feel flimsy but mine has lasted me for 5 years with proper use and care for a mere $10. I rarely ever use my axe either since I find carrying the camp saw and my bush knife more than meet my needs for firewood. The combination of those 2 items weigh much less than a small bush axe and I’m always amazed at how much firewood I can gather with such simple items with the least amount of effort.

  12. I saw a 5 gallon water container that mounts to an ALICE frame. My sherpa/M60 gunner will be overjoyed to know that I’ve solved the problem of how to carry that much water.

  13. I noted with interest your comments about gear.

    We just recently moved to Western Oregon from Southern CA and so I’m starting to acquire more coldweather/rain gear.

    Any suggestions for a good coat that will last?

    1. In the last two places I’ve lived, I have seen a significant increase of acceptability of camouflage shirts/jackets, and military style backpacks. Camo pants are still fringe element domain.

      Low cost Generation 1 Army BDU patterned waterproof jackts become a solid option. Never buy used. Through a lot of hard use, I found these durable, and more than got my money out of my original. My second was a DX for my original, and was never used, so remains in the inventory in near-new condition.

  14. Many people prepare for a SHTF scenario of the collapse of society but the most logical SHTF scenario to hit most people would be the aftermath of a tornado, hurricane or major earthquake. In this SHTF scenario the sound of a chainsaw clearing downed trees means help is on the way.

  15. We have found well made sturdy clothes at garage sales and some thrift stores, also as mentioned, the outdoor type stores will be putting on sales to get rid of winter stuff soon. Look for coupons in flyers that come with the newspaper. You can get some amazing deals if you’re wise about it.

  16. Okay, tell me if I’m wrong or just crazy, but I have always heard that sharpening serrated blades is easy – you just sharpen them from the back side of the blade.
    Yes? No?

  17. Good merino wool works very well in the desert as well. It allows breathing while preventing sun burn. And, good wool (not boiled or treated to death) can be worn for many days before getting funky as it contains natural antibacterial properties.

  18. I tend to go with people who work for a living. While wool and fleece has value for a hunter out in the woods or for soldiers on patrol, cotten clothing that is easy to wash seems to work well for many farmers who are within walking distance to their house.

    Synthetic fleece has many good points but I also note the British country approach to using clothing that is SUSTAINABLE — wool sweaters, waxed oilskins, etc. Although the Wellies are Oil Industry rubber — but easy to wash off if you are working in a muddy farmyard. As opposed to leather boots.

    People who survive TEOTWAWKI will be farmers. To those who think they will survive as roaming nomad warriors , I can only say “Grow Up”.

  19. Someone stupidly got rid of nearly all his BDUs when the Army phased to the ACU pattern. Then he started getting prepared, and didn’t have those highly serviceable unis laying around….

    My tip for the day. The venerable Army M-51 Parka. Waaaaay under-rated. You can still find new ones out there. I’ve inspected the new-fangled Airforce parka, and the new(er?) Army Parka, and still think for the right price point, that the old M-51 is better value, and supports layering better. Super serviceable in cold/snowy climates.

  20. If you’re looking for a tough and waterproof coat try a waxed cotton [oilcloth] product. The British and Australians have been using them for hundreds of years, and I can also testify to how tough and warm they can be. They’re a little heavier than some materials, but I have four that have been through every kind of condition in east Tennessee mtns.and they just keep going.You can just add wax when needed.

  21. I have two blankets made out of horse’s hair. My Grammie would use them as sleigh blankets in Canada when she was a little girl. They are extremely warm but itchy for sure.

  22. First of all .. thanks for a great collection of thoughts. Helped me remember a few things I had heard and some that I want to learn more about.

    On amo and hunting. Where I live in Alaska sound travels well and far. A loud conversation can be heard at quite a distance. My daughter, brother, and I are becoming proficient with a bow. I am considering finding a crossbow ( not currently legal for hunting here) for my dad the grandpa of the place. A clean shot is deadly and silent. Arrows can be made at home and can be retrieved often times after a missed shot.

    On wool. I keep a small flock of sheep. They provide us with meat and wool. That wool has so many uses and clothing is only one. There are many fine manufactured fibers out there – but for rural Alaskan living ( think 9 months in the freezer) wool can’t be beat

  23. Definitely need a good water resistant paper map – I take my Delorme maps to big box office stores – make color copies, then get a few of the pages laminated, punch a hole in the corner and put several several together with a key ring.

    The gps devices are to ubiquitous and make it too easy to become dependent on them – next time you travel someplace new – try using a road map, will be good practice and get you familiar with the places along the way – you’ll be pleased to find many interesting places not shown on the gps.

    Interestingly, long ago, in our high school state history class (yes, isn’t that funny, asking kids to know the history of their state), we had a week or so of classroom training on how to read a map and assignments to map out routes and calculate mileage, amounts of fuel needed, and what alternative routes if the passes were closed – one of many things learned then versus now, and certainly helped me with dead reckoning flight planning chores when flying low and slow.

    1. An interesting choice for waterproof maps is to have your map of choice printed on a bandanna that is twice the size of a normal bandanna. Worked on D-day for the airborne. A bandanna that size has many uses.

  24. Excellent short tips!
    RE: warm clothing –
    I have found Merino wool to be exceptional for hot and cold/wet weather. Unlike coarser wools, Merino wool does not itch. When I hike I wear Merino t-shirts so that when I stop for lunch I do not get chilled as I do with a wet cotton t-shirt. I wear Merino boxer shorts year round for all activities and casual. They do not stink like the synthetics and do not feel clammy like cotton briefs. And of course I wear Merino socks for all activities as well, from ankle length for running shoes, lightweight crew dress socks, and medium and heavy hiking socks. I think Merino is most important as a base layer for maximum moisture and heat control: t-shirt, boxers, socks. I do have casual collar shirts and a sweater in Merino, but heavier coats are regular wool, fleece or synthetic fill. I’ve worn Merino as base and top shirt in 100F very comfortably where changing out a sweaty cotton shirt and briefs was not practical. I wear it when running or long day hikes, at the office, or doing manual work.

    You do not need to machine dry Merino wool items, so no shrinkage. I wash all my Merino items along with colored cotton clothes, then just hang overnight on a drying rack. It dries very fast. For socks I like Smartwool and Darn Tough. For briefs I like Ibex Woolies. For shirts and sweaters I like Ibex, Ice Breaker or Smartwool. All have held up to frequent wear and washings.

  25. i sell military gear BECAUSE it’s very good at keeping you warm and dry. polypro and polartec are 2 very good names. nowadays, the medium weight “Waffles” are the preferred longjohns, if you are working in very cold temps. i spend a lot of time NOT Moving outside, so i like the older brown polypro’s, i think they call them(fleece-lined). the best goretex jackets they now call parkas are very good at keeping you dry, and warm too if you layer underneath…the good parka is the older one with a liner to seal out the cold, with a drawstring….love the pockets, as you can put your hands in there at the right angle, and yet stuff doesn’t fall out of them. i sell them for 60 bucks at gunshows….and a used one works very well, as long as it’s in good shape still. oh, and the armpits unzip if it gets too warm….just like the fleece the army uses does. or just get a field jacket liner, they work too…..oh, and i do like my xxxl field jacket with it’s giant pockets…i wear it to the movies, with first-aid, knife, multi-tool, paracord, beanie, gloves, and scarf….it all fits so i got my throw-on bugout coat at a moments notice, and i can hide anything under it….with room left for a couple bottles of water. google(Duckduckgo, actually) ECWCS, or extreme cold weather clothing system to see how it all works in the army….you can learn a lot there, even if you don’t go with military clothes. the combat boots are also VERY good, and made in narrow to wide and extra wide sizes…..they even have winter boots with liners for arctic type temps, fort lewis, i think they’re called(black).

  26. i like the marshmellow coat, urban grey for the army too…like wearin’ a sleeping bag….it’s the outermost layer the army uses, i believe.
    also on MRE”s, they will last MANY years past 5, if properly stored.
    also, put a couple 4×6 or 6×8 blocks of wood 3 feet long in your vehicle, for crossing obstacles when you got to travel the dirt roads…..and don’t forget a small piece of chain to CONNECT Your car to a tow strap in case you get stuck.

  27. I wore a pair of cotton cargo shorts and a cotton tee shirt on a hike a couple of years ago here in Georgia and within 30 minutes they soaked up – and held – what felt like 15 pounds of sweat. Additional weight, and chafing to add to the misery. While I could wring them out at the end of the day they still didn’t dry out over night. Now I wear synthetics and while they get damp they don’t hold the moisture the same, and they dry out quick.

    I’m switching to Merino tees – they don’t stink the way the synthetic shirts do after a day of hiking in the Georgia heat. I may experiment with Merino shorts if I can find some at a reasonable price.

  28. I vaporized a fleece jacket once by sitting too close to our glass front fireplace. My wife yelled at me—“You’re on fire” as the smell of burning petroleum hit me. Luckily the fleece was the outer layer and the other 3 layers I was wearing protected me. I still have that grey fleece jacket, but it has a 12 inch round hole in the back. I plan on sewing some more fleece to cover the hole since the rest of it is ok.

  29. This is a question about surplus wool blankets. I bought 3 of them and they have a chemical smell. It is likely a preservative or a pest deterrent. What is the best way to clean them without damaging the blankets?
    Thank you

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