Letter Re: Sewing to Repurpose Items for SHTF

In her recent article on repurposing material by sewing, Penny Pincher said: “The Army poncho liner is nothing more than a thin quilt with a head hole in the middle.  It’s camo lightweight nylon with thin polyfil for batting, a few strings at the corners, and bound on the edges.  You could make something similar.  If you didn’t mind the extra weight, you could use some thin wool, maybe in two layers, and sandwich that between nylon to make it ride smoother.”

I made something similar last spring, but with nylon on only one side. I like carrying a wool blanket rather than a sleeping bag when motorcycle camping. Heavy wool blankets get very hot — in part due to the nap of the wool directly against the skin. So I took an old olive drab blanket (washing it first to shrink as much as possible) and sewed a similarly sized piece of dark brown thin nylon to one side of it. After “quilting” the two pieces together by simply running it through the sewing machine a few times in both directions, I bound the four edges with canvas left over from an old couch, tan khaki in color. Now I have an extremely durable blanket/quilt (in woodland camo colors) that doesn’t get unbearably hot in the summer, but which can be reversed to make the most of wool’s insulative properties when required.

Because I started out with the largest surplus blanket I could find and pre-shrunk it, and because nylon and wool are both water repellent, I was able to sleep soundly with only my blanket in a solid drizzle while camping this winter in Mississippi. And the whole thing rolls up to about the diameter of a surplus closed-cell foam pad, and it’s only about half the length of those pads. So far it’s been used for motorcycle camping, as a ground pad for rifle practice, as my bedding while at the station where I’m an EMT, and as an occasional play tent for my toddler. Very durable, only been washed once, and looks brand new. – J.D.C. in Mississippi

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