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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Wool undercovers and overcovers for hammock

    I've been thinking about making a merino wool undercover/overcover. I'm not sure what it weighs per oz., but I could lanolinize merino wool and increase its waterproofing capabilities. I'm sure merino wool isn't cheap, but my field experiments with wool army blankets leads me to believe wool is a viable undercover/overcover against blowing rain and snow. It's not cuben fiber, but I'll bet merino wool beats cuben fiber on price. Ya gots to keep your down UQ/TQ dry!

    Ripstop nylon might be lighter and more waterproof as overcover/undercover, but wool provides more insulative properties and more value in a survival situation. I could also multipurpose both undercover and overcover as daytime poncho.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    Why merino wool? Is it lighter or have better thermal properties than less expensive wools?

    I love merino wool for my clothes. I own a few shirts and bicycle shorts/pants made of merino. I think it is great but for something like a cover, I would probably use a cheaper wool, since it wouldn't be touching my skin. That is unless merino has some properties that would make it better for packing or heat retention.

  3. #3
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I kind of posted this before knowing more about wool. Having researched a bit more, I think any lightweight wool fabric would do for an overcover/undercover. Merino was the lightest wool I was aware of, up till a couple of hours ago. I read something on another forum where any suit-quality wool would be lightweight enough for general backpacking purposes.

    Wool is a super fabric, but I personally believe that wool lanolinized is a wonder fabric. Give your outdoor wool a wash in lanolin, and you'll have something that can repel Hurricane Katrina.

    It just seems that wool ought to play a part in my winter insulation. You can't use wool for a tarp, and down is much lighter weight for insulation. However, for weatherizing your hammock/TQ/UQ combo, I'm considering lightweight wool. There are blends, too, with polyester or nylon.

    Maybe I'm being contrarian, but I think wool is a very valuable fabric in winter. I'm not talking about ultralight backpacking. I'm just talking about survival, and staying warm.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Your post is totally lost on me, out of respect - sil nylon is the close to near waterproofer and support. It has nothing to do with warmth. Warmth comes from you, its all about trapping air and hugging it close to your bod. The Thicker the fleece or Wool the better it works, now here is the little understood part. The thinner the fiber and more robust it is, the better it is to trap the heat or the cooling against the skin.... Polartec - is lighter thinner and more dense than wool at 300 weight - which is why it is used in the military for Afghanistan.... Nothing against wool but I am making a comparison from a rotary phone ( Wool ) and a smart phone ( Polartec Fleese) some things are just that outdated, says the Old Owl.
    There was an Old Man with a owl,
    Who continued to bother and howl;
    He sat on a rail, And imbibed bitter ale,
    Which refreshed that Old Man and his owl
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Oh by the way nothing still compares to down and it's compressability - the feathers are hollow and the tech has not even come close.

    several companies are trying.
    There was an Old Man with a owl,
    Who continued to bother and howl;
    He sat on a rail, And imbibed bitter ale,
    Which refreshed that Old Man and his owl
    .WOO

  6. #6
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    You really think wool is rotary phone? Is it that outdated? Are the synthetic insulations that much superior?

    I'm just thinking about overcovers/undercovers right now, and I see some utility in wool for these applications.

    Down and wool are two different things. Down is the lightest insulation I know of, but you would never consider down as a weather shield, an overcover or undercover, because down is not waterproof. What I am arguing is that wool might work as an overcover/undercover.
    Last edited by SilvrSurfr; 12-05-2011 at 00:35.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rug's Avatar
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    There are a couple of things here that bear discussion.

    Insulation is defined as an ability to resist/impede thermal differentials. The very best insulator is a vacuum. The next best thing is still air. If you can stop the movement of air you can slow the thermal changes.

    As we know from vapour barriers there is more to the equation. To be precise you need to allow gradual insulation to avoid condensation.

    Wool is awesome material that does not get enough love IMHO. The amount of 'dead air space' that it can trap is miniscule compared to down. While that does not disqualify it I do think that it limits its applications as far as under-quilts go. Inorder to make-up the lack of dead-air space, you need more of it. I think we can all agree that a 10pound wool quilt, would keep you very toasty. however most people do not want to haul 10 pounds worth of quilt.

    Wool has a few major benefits that we can make use of without bringing a wheel-barrow out on the trail.
    -getting wet does not diminish it's ability to keep us warm
    -compressing it does not greatly affect it's ability to keep us warm
    -it is very good at blocking the wind (for a given thickness)
    -it is very good at minimizing body-odor buildup
    -it is very good at drawing sweat away from your body

    I think a very good compromise in the weight/warmth cost:benefit arguement would be a 3-season blanket. Placed between the layers of a double-layer hammock you get all of the benefits that wool has to offer, without needing an ultra-thick, ultra-heavy 'UQ'.

    I would also LOVE to have a woolen based poncho, for all the reasons posted above. that way it could also do double-duty in my hammock at night therefore allowing me to save weight elsewhere.

    What a thought, using wool to save weight!
    Last edited by Rug; 12-05-2011 at 02:03.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member RedBeardHanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rug View Post
    There are a couple of things here that bear discussion.

    Insulation is defined as an ability to resist/impede thermal differentials. The very best insulator is a vacuum. The next best thing is still air. If you can stop the movement of air you can slow the thermal changes.

    As we know from vapour barriers there is more to the equation. To be precise you need to allow gradual insulation to avoid condensation.

    Wool is awesome material that does not get enough love IMHO. The amount of 'dead air space' that it can trap is miniscule compared to down. While that does not disqualify it I do think that it limits its applications as far as under-quilts go. Inorder to make-up the lack of dead-air space, you need more of it. I think we can all agree that a 10pound wool quilt, would keep you very toasty. however most people do not want to haul 10 pounds worth of quilt.

    Wool has a few major benefits that we can make use of without bringing a wheel-barrow out on the trail.
    -getting wet does not diminish it's ability to keep us warm
    -compressing it does not greatly affect it's ability to keep us warm
    -it is very good at blocking the wind (for a given thickness)
    -it is very good at minimizing body-odor buildup
    -it is very good at drawing sweat away from your body

    I think a very good compromise in the weight/warmth cost:benefit arguement would be a 3-season blanket. Placed between the layers of a double-layer hammock you get all of the benefits that wool has to offer, without needing an ultra-thick, ultra-heavy 'UQ'.

    I would also LOVE to have a woolen based poncho, for all the reasons posted above. that way it could also do double-duty in my hammock at night therefore allowing me to save weight elsewhere.

    What a thought, using wool to save weight!
    +1
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  9. #9

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    Wool where it makes sense and takes advantage of it's strengths, base layers make the most sense to me for a survival senario. For shedding moisture and blocking wind, I'm thinking sil/nylon makes more sense for it's weight, size & quick dry capability.

    I really though I understood wool until I got a set of stretchy merino wool arm warmers (cycling), lots of opportunities to use them as my only layer in windy, wet, cold conditions allowed me to appreciate how wool performs. It also keeps me from overheating under the rain shell when I finally put it on by pulling perspiration away from my skin.

    David

  10. #10
    dejoha's Avatar
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    I'm think this is an interesting idea. I wonder if a lightweight wool would be thick enough to cut the wind. And if the thickness/weight is too great if it would drag down too much? To take the most advantage of wool, I think I'd want it closer to my skin. Mac has some great cotton-based covers that are reported to be great in the cold and wind. Heavy, yes, but more for survival as you say.

    Would wool be an option? I guess you'll have to make one and give it a test run!

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