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#158620 - 12/16/08 09:08 PM Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $?
Still_Alive Offline
Finally, I am a
Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Utah
Hello all, after spending hours and hours here benefiting from your collective wisdom, I find the need to create a new post.

I am assembling emergency kits for family/friends, and I am putting either a fleece blanket or a wool blanket in the kits. I know that fleece isn't as windproof as wool, but I will include a small tarp and instructions on how to make a good shelter. I'm finding wool blend blankets from $10-$15 and fleece blankets from $4, and I'm thinking I might use fleece to save money.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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#158623 - 12/16/08 09:34 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: Still_Alive]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4915
Loc: SOCAL
I use either depending on application both in blankets and outerwear. I do believe wool is worth the extra bucks, particularly in applications that involve open flame or cold & damp. Wool won't ignite or melt like poly, and it continues to provide insulation when wet.

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#158630 - 12/16/08 10:00 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: ]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4915
Loc: SOCAL
Ditto. Bought a couple of the surplus wool Italian Officers blankets that were available a couple years ago. Found out why they all appeared unused. Not even in the same class as a Pendleton.

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#158634 - 12/16/08 10:24 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: Still_Alive]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I would say yes, if you can manage the weight and bulk with the rest of your kit.

Wool works better when wet, doesn't absorb as much water, and doesn't melt.
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#158638 - 12/16/08 10:29 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: ironraven]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Wool will not melt near a fire.If there are plans for fire in the kit...go with wool.
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#158642 - 12/16/08 10:37 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: oldsoldier]
GarlyDog Offline
˘┐˘
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
I would get both. But, if you have to select one, go with wool.

Also, I found a good trick to make wool blankets more usable.
Wash it using a full bottle of hair conditioner. It makes the blanket softer. You will need to let it air dry so it doesn't shrink.

I have tried this trick with surplus wool Italian Officers blankets with success.
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#158652 - 12/16/08 11:32 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: GarlyDog]
ducktapeguy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
The answer is, it depends on the application. I've become a big fan of merino wool and wool clothes, but it's not a one size fits all applications. There are advantages and disadvantages.

In this case, I think I'm probably gonna have to disagree and say go for the fleece for a couple of reasons. One, the wool blend blankets you find for $15 probably aren't very good quality, and are most likely blended with low quality synthetics, so any advantage wool would have had is probably gone. Second, wool is heavy, and the cheap blankets are scratchy, so they're not very comfortable. A lot of people just don't like the feel of wool, whereas most people like the softness of fleece. If you're giving them to friends and family, they probably won't be able to appreciate the difference between a wool blanket or fleece anyway, all they're going to know is that one is nice and soft, and the other is scratchy and uncomfortable (plus they smell funny sometimes).

Also, while wool might be warm when wet, it can take days to dry out on it's own. Wool will actually absorb up to 30% of it's weight in water before it feels damp, so that could be good or bad depdending on how you look at it. A fleece blanket doesn't absorb the moisture, you can wring out almost all the water and the rest will dry from body heat. Actually, it's kinda funny when people mention the fact that synthetics or wool being warm when wet. Don't be misled into thinking they're very comfortable when wet. It's still miserable to be wearing wet clothes, you just won't die as quickly.

One advantage of wool that's been mentioned is that it doesn't melt. So if there's a chance that you'll be using it near fire, then that's something you'll have to consider.

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#158653 - 12/16/08 11:38 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: ducktapeguy]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
The biggest flaw for me in an outdoor situation with Fleece is that while it is soft, light weight and keeps you warm, its also doesn't block the wind at all. I might be warmer than not having it but the wind chill is not abated.

Wool blankets have their +/- but is superior in very way for survival verse fleece the common fleece blanket.
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#158655 - 12/16/08 11:51 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extra $? [Re: comms]
ducktapeguy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
Superior in every way is a pretty bold statment.

It depends on the type of fleece, and the type of wool. The new windblocker fleeces have a laminate layer that blocks wind. And some wool weaves don't block wind at all. Either way, it would be better to use a shell with either choice and use the blankets for insulation. The OP did mention he'd be including tarps as wind protection.

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#158657 - 12/16/08 11:59 PM Re: Wool vs. Fleece blanket-is wool worth the extr [Re: ducktapeguy]
yeti Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 203
Loc: somewhere out there...
+1 ducktapeguy

I have a nostalgic feeling for wool but my comments below won't seem like it. But even good quality wool has its limitations. That said, good quality fleece (like a polarplus 300 or synchilla, or similar can not be had for $4 a blanket. Anyway, both are bulky and the weight of wool is a minus. The weight of wet wool is a bigger minus. Good quality fleece is bulky, but the weight is nothing like wool...ESPECIALLY after a soaking. You're right...wet wool is miserable. Wet fleece can be dried quickly by wringing out, spinning out excess water over the head, and further dried quickly by other means...even body heat. Though I do differ slightly...wet fleece...even when you don't dry it thoroughly is not nearly as miserable as wet wool.

I do have a fondness for wool though. I just can't shake it. Go figure.


Edited by yeti (12/17/08 12:01 AM)
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