(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
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.
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