The versatile wool blanket
Text & Photo Anton Kalland
At its most simple and yet versatile, the wool blanket brings out the best properties of wool outdoors. Ever since humans domesticated sheep 8000 years ago, the wool blanket has retained its shape up to this day. The super-functional properties of wool woven into a square shape makes it the ultimate piece of equipment for adventure.
1. The wool blanket can be worn while resting. During a lunch break or sitting by the campfire you can wrap the blanket around your shoulders, and if you pull your knees up towards your belly underneath the blanket you can also make use of the heat released from the big arteries in your thigh muscles. You can sit on the edge of the blanket to protect yourself from the cold seeping up from the ground.
2. When sleeping in a tent in below zero temperatures, you can spread a wool blanket on top of your sleeping bag to prevent moisture from getting caught in its insulation. Some of the moisture that leaves your body when you sleep will be caught by the blanket so that you can shake of the crystals the next morning. There is no way to remove frozen moisture from the insulation of a sleeping bag in outdoor conditions. After a night in the tent, you can easily remove the frost inside the tent with the wool blanket.
3. By placing a wool blanket on top of your sleeping pad, you will be better insulated from the cold in the ground. Contrary to the down of the sleeping bag, wool does not lose its insulating properties when compressed. Sleeping pads filled with air often make a squeaky noise against the synthetic fabrics of the sleeping bag, whereas wool reduces noise.
4. Wool protects you from sparks. When sitting by the campfire you are often wearing hiking clothes made from synthetic materials and sparks will burn holes in them. You can avoid sparks by selecting the right type of firewood, for instance by avoiding spruce branches and logs. By wrapping yourself in a wool blanket, you are protected from sparks as wool is less sensitive to them.
5. You can use the wool blanket as a makeshift for carrying things. At the campsite you often have to move things around. You can place the equipment on the blanket and wrap them into a bundle to carry over your shoulder.
6. Keep a wool blanket in the boot of your car, along with other first aid and repairing tools, as a safety measure in winter. Wrapping yourself in a wool blanket reduces the risk of hypothermia if you are in an accident. Or you can wait more comfortably for the tow truck to arrive.