Gear Review 100% Wool Blankets (Master Listing)

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Brokor, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Keeping it simple: The wool blanket should not be underestimated. In today's society, we see millions of products, each of them offering a reason why you should buy their product. When it comes to providing warmth, the wool blanket is still the greatest solution and it's only made...out of wool. I suggest just about any military surplus 100% wool blanket, but some are better than others. If you want a thicker blanket, go with the Swedish officer's wool or the Bulgarian military wool blanket (my two favorites).

    List of 100% wool blankets (Rated by stars)

    Swedish Officer's Blanket :5s:
    German Military Grey (NVA or striped) Blanket :5s:
    Bulgarian Military (cream) Blanket :5s:
    Italian Officer's Blanket (striped) :4s:
    Israeli Wool Blanket :3s:
    Italian Military (60's-70's) Various :3s:
    Czech Army Issue Blanket :3s:
    US Army Blanket OD Green :3s:
    US Navy Blanket (varies) :3s:
    Swedish "Swiss Sytle" Reproduction Blanket :1s: (not very good)

    There are multiple versions of some of these blankets, be warned! Some are 80/20 blends, some are reproductions, some may be fakes. The list above is based solely on 100% wool blankets. This is not a complete list, just some of the more commonly known blankets. Rating based on thickness, edge sewing, and overall quality of material (not actual retail quality since it varies due to storage).

    Are 80/20 blankets acceptable? Sure. But, it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy 100% wool military surplus blankets, especially the really good ones. They are rising in prices as rarity climbs. The blended wool blankets with other materials are not considered to be as warm or offer the same benefits as 100% wool, but they do offer more durability as a trade-off.


    One link I found that sells an authentic Italian Officer's blanket for a (somewhat) reasonable price ($40): Blanket, Authentic Italian Officer
    You can search Ebay, but I caution you because there is a lot of price gouging. One Swedish Officer's Blanket is currently going for $125 +, and even though I cannot find any online below that price, they were recently selling for about $35-$50. This tells me the market is bare at the moment, and I hope to see more of them selling at a decent price.

    The blankets which are softest and will not cause you to itch as much are the Swedish and German grey wool blankets. The Swedish officers, German, and Bulgarian blankets are the thickest, too. I would say the Italian Officer's is a bit more durable, but not quite as thick as the Bulgarian or Swedish military.

    IMAGES WITH THICKNESS RATING (to clarify): Thinnest - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] - Thickest

    Swedish Officer's - Thickness: [​IMG]

    Bulgarian Military (cream) - Thickness: [​IMG]

    German Grey NVA - Thickness: [​IMG]

    Israeli - Thickness: [​IMG]

    Italian Officers Striped - Thickness: [​IMG]

    US Army Blanket OD Green - Thickness: [​IMG]
    (There are two types of US Mil OD green wool blankets, one is thicker, but offers only a negligible amount of increase, but would be at level 2 thickness rating)

    Non-Military Surplus (100% Wool Blankets):

    link: 100% Wool Blankets (master Listing) | Page 2

    Great Product:
    Link to the Boreal shirt by Empire Wool and Canvas: Boreal Shirt (Empire Wool and Canvas)

    70% - 90% and 100% wool blankets (currently in stock) at the Pathfinder store: 21st Century Longhunter - Blankets - The Pathfinder Store

    Sportsmansguide has wool blankets when stocks are available: -LINK-
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  2. TheEconomist

    TheEconomist Creighton Bluejay

    here's a swede for ya!


    I think I am going to get 2 of the German blankets from the site you provided. They also had an assortment of pants. I love to hike and i usually wear K-mart nylon pants and they are beat up. I also wear my asics sneakers to get around and just take off my shoes and socks when wet terrain comes along. Is there anything you would suggest for footwear and pants?
    duane likes this.
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    No, they have been out of stock for a while. Best luck to find one now for an affordable price is to check locally at Army/Navy shops until they show up again online for a reasonable price.

    Not to get into another subject, but I can only recommend Danner boots for footwear because of my experience and their quality. But, for hiking, Merrell makes some great hikers, and I enjoy mine. can't go wrong if you stick with durable cotton and canvas, Goretex for inclement weather, and wool for winter. I own several pairs of military wool pants, from Australia to the US. I also own wool "Guide Gear" pants from Sportsmansguide when they still sold them. I think Gander Mountain still sells some great wool hunting pants, too.
    duane and Ganado like this.
  4. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Have several wool blankets in the kits. Wool socks cannot be beat and will keep your feet warmer even when wet. Will stay with my hiking pants/shirts/jackets instead of wool. They get too hot in a hurry. Vasque hikers have done me well. They fit well and have held up a long time. Went through several "K-mart" hikers.
    TheEconomist likes this.
  5. jng2015

    jng2015 Monkey

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I happened to wander into a Pendleton outlet store the other day and found an incredible buy on a (another) wool coat/shirt. My go-to winter gear when not rolling in snow is wool. It's also naturally FR rated so I can wear it on those late night call outs to my substation.

    Nice links. Need to grab a few more blankets.


    To a native Oregonian, there are few company names that inspire as much confidence and pride as Pendleton Woolen Mills. For six generations, the Bishop family has owned and operated a company that consistently produces woolens of incredible beauty and quality.

    From the 1909 purchase of a scouring mill at the railhead along the Oregon Trail in Pendleton, Oregon, through lean years during the Great Depression and the war years when the company produced blankets for the military, to the present time, the Bishop family has produced Indian blankets, robes and shawls which are highly prized by much of the Native American population.

    One of the reasons for the popularity of these products is the care taken by the pattern designers to learn about the native mythologies and design preferences of their customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, spent time with the local natives of northeastern Oregon to develop preferences of color and design (we now call this "market research"). He would then interpret the ideas gleaned from the native peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express pattern ideas in much greater detail and in more vivid coloration's than could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.
    With the success of these first designs, Mr. Rawnsley spent six months in the native Southwest developing ideas for designs which might specifically appeal to the tribes of this region. He returned with hundreds of designs to be interpreted into his weaving processes.

    In pre-Columbus North America, blankets were made from hides or pelts of smaller animals which had been sewn together or woven from wool, feathers, down, bark and cotton and, in some areas, shredded cedar bark. When the Europeans came to this country and bartered with the native peoples, wool blankets had great value in trading and the brighter the better. Most of the earlier trading blankets were plaids and block designs like the traditional Hudson's Bay blankets. Jacquard loomed Pendleton Indian blankets with their brilliant colors and sharp details became very popular after their introduction into what was known as the "Indian trade".
    Car loads of blankets traveled from Pendleton, Oregon to the Southwest tribes to be exchanged for silver jewelry, wool or other items of value. The colorful blankets were integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift giving, pow wows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials (sometimes blankets are packed in a coffin or a coffin is lined with a blanket to keep the loved one warm on his journey).

    The value of the blanket is practical from an economic standpoint. For a time, there were two things acquired by young people for security in case of economic hardship; a Bulova watch for a man and a good blanket for a woman; either one of which could be pawned for a fair amount of money to tide them over to better times. Rarely did the owner not return to reclaim the blanket as soon as possible.

    During the past 25 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills has developed a series of Legendary blankets which are based on the beliefs and traditions of their original and most valued customers.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
    duane and Brokor like this.
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes. I am not sure if it is a Czech mil blanket, but if it is around 5 lbs. as stated in the listing, comes from Arlington, Mass, and is that thick...provided it is 100% wool, I would pick it up. But, Ebay is a risky place...who knows until you have it in hand?

    Also, here's a link to a Czech army 100% wool blanket under $40:
  8. jng2015

    jng2015 Monkey

    Thanks. I guess what I' m really asking is "Is the more expensive Czech blanket worth it? If the blankets are equivalent, I will go with the cheaper German one."
  9. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    Funny way back when some feel good group got a bunch of surplus gi blankets and gave them to the homeless(bums). Then they found out they had been store with formaldehyde. They tried to get them back and the homeless would not give them up. Bums (sorry I mean the homeless) are the ultimate survivalists.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Quite apart from its usefulness for warmth as sleeping gear, a woolen blanket is good protection against radiant heat and ember attack from wild fire (within reasonable limits), can be used to make an improvised stretcher, improvised poncho, and old unserviceable blankets can be deconstructed to make putties, pouches, clothing, caps, mittens, booties, etc etc....the things that a woolen blanket can be used for are limited by your own imagination.

    100% woollen blankets, albeit possibly not milspec quality may be obtained quite cheaply via thrift and charity shops.
  11. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I can't find any wool products that don't make me want to crawl out of my skin! Thought it might be cheap products; but have spent too much money to find that it all seems to make me itch. :( Have any links to super-soft, Tracy-rrific woolen products?
  12. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    Wool makes a lot of people itch, find a cheap fleece blanket and sew it on one side so there is no skin contact, a sheet will also work.
  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Also itch with wool. Silk long johns cures it, with thin cotton or other socks. Back in the day, wool military gloves turned my hands into red meat with hives.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Proprietary Wool Blankets (non military surplus)

    Here are some really excellent 100% wool blanket alternatives to add to the master list:

    Condon's (above) -tough to find, might only be able to find used. Very good blanket thickness.

    Alpaca wool (above) -not too difficult to locate, average pricing, sub $100 range.

    Hudson Bay (above) -A very high quality English wool blanket, costing several hundred dollars each. Easy to locate, still produced.
    condons wool.JPG alpaca wool.JPG hudson bay2.JPG
  15. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I believe the Swedish Officer's Wool blanket (my personal favorite) is quite soft and the wool fleece is very nice and thick (no Tracy itchies). The German grey wool is pretty soft, too. There are some nice wool blankets out there that are soft and not itch-provoking, but stay clear of the US Army green wool if you don't like the itch factor. Hudson Bay's are pretty nice from what I know, but very expensive.
  16. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Have a few stored in the BO containers w/moth balls. My favorite blanket is a commercial heavy thick thing of ample size for my 6'2" frame. Not wool and remains soft, fluffy, and very warm.
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I think it quite cute and touching: grown men talking about their favourite woolly blankeys! It must be a kind of a Linus Van Pelt kind of thing.... ;)
    Ganado likes this.
  18. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    This from a(grown) man who has stated he would dress in an extinct bird feather boa, kangaroo scrotum jock strap, whalebone corset, and Elton John specs with a riding crop. Although he still has refused posting pics so far.b::
    CheroKiya, Ganado and chelloveck like this.
  19. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Slightly OT but this is to those who cannot wear wool.

    My Father is very wool averse - if he even gets around someone with a wool coat, he begins to itch.

    A couple years ago, I purchased him a couple pairs of Smartwool socks and took them out of the packaging and had Mom stick them in his sock drawer. She may have stitched 'It's not' over the word Smart - dunno. It's Not Smartwool

    Anyway, he put them on his feet a few days later and didn't say anything about them. A few weeks later he asked her to get more of those great socks, whatever they were. She picked him up a bundle and now it's all he wears summer and winter. His feet don't stink anymore (they were room clearing terrible all his life), he doesn't get those dry cracks in between his toes and hasn't had any other of his normal foot problems since switching to smartwools.

    They cost an arm and a leg but then you only need one although it's more difficult to don with only one hand... ;)

    I'm still not sure if he's wearing a wool blended garment but at this point, don't think he'd care. Typing this with a set of smartwool long underwear on under my jeans. Good stuff.
  20. ExHelot

    ExHelot Monkey

    I have two army and three navy, wool blankets and I love them. I keep a couple on my bed all winter. My wife hates the feel of wool so puts them over and under flannel It gets down to about 35 degrees in the bedroom sometimes (We don't heat at night and keep the door closed) so she tolerates them. I like my winter clothes to be wool too. It's heavier than modern wonder-fiber, but I still prefer it. My old Mackinac hunting suit used to keep me toasty and still does.
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