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Survival Clothing

(Modified from the U.S. Army Survival Manual)

You can use many materials for clothing and insulation. Both man-made materials, such as parachutes, and natural materials, such as skins and plant materials, are available and offer significant protection.

Animal Skins

The selection of animal skins in a survival situation will most often be limited to what you manage to trap or hunt. However, if there is an abundance of wildlife, select the hides of larger animals with heavier coats and large fat content. Do not use the skins of infected or diseased animals if at all possible. Since they live in the wild, animals are carriers of pests such as ticks, lice, and fleas. Because of these pests, use water to thoroughly clean any skin obtained from any animal. If water is not available, at least shake out the skin thoroughly. As with rawhide, lay out the skin, and remove all fat and meat. Dry the skin completely. Use the hind quarter joint areas to make shoes and mittens or socks. Wear the hide with the fur to the inside for its insulating factor.

Plant Fibers

Several plants are sources of insulation from cold, and so can be used in making or modifying survival clothing. Cattail is a marshland plant found along lakes, ponds, and the backwaters of rivers. The fuzz on the tops of the stalks forms dead air spaces and makes a good down-like insulation when placed between two pieces of material. Milkweed has pollen like seeds that act as good insulation.

 Steve's Notes: Just stuffing your light jacket full of dried grass can effectively make it into a winter coat. Even better (less itchy) if you have another jacket (like your raincoat), so you can put the grass or leaves between the two. Usually it will be more efficient to look for ways to modify what you already have than to try to make survival clothing.

Back to Survival Tools.

Related page: Staying Warm.

Back to the Wilderness Survival Guide.



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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Survival Clothing