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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Second Half - Clothing

This is the second half of the blog about clothing. You will find videos/podcasts, instructions, and other information about the subject for this week.


How to Hand Wash Clothes

How to Do Laundry : How to Wash Clothes Without a Washer

Hand Sewing Essentials - Intro 1 of 27


How to Blend In
International Business Machines (IBM) has/had a unique philosophy about uniforms for their service personal. They believed a tech should blend in with the office, so a technician would show up for a service call in coat and tie with a brief case.

The briefcase held all the tech's tools. The tech would remove his coat and work on the machine. Once the technician was finished working, the tech would put his coat back on and leave. Unless someone saw the tech working on a machine, they would think he was a mid-level worker for the office.

In Britain, the road workers, delivery drivers, police and many others wear bright neon green vests or jackets. These bright vest are everywhere. Many people don't notice them anymore.

How many delivery drivers or tradesman do you see every day? What did they look like?

What about all the white pick-up trucks and vans you see all day long?

How Not to Blend In
Sometimes you are going to want to stand out. You can do this several ways.

The first way is to move. The human eye reacts to movement. Even if a dark object is on a dark background. If the object moves, you will see it move.

Be bright. No, I don't mean smart; I mean like flashing light bright. Use shiny objects to flash light in the direction of your rescuers, airplanes flying over, or towards inhabited areas.

The military signal mirrors, with the grid, are great. If you don't have one that's ok, you can use any shiny surface like a polished metal candy container lid or plain mirror.

Another method is to be bigger than you really are. Wave a blanket, the bigger and brighter the better. Spread out pieces of wreckage if you have it. I keep a couple of orange space blankets handy just for this reason.

The last method is to contrast. If you are on green grass, you need to be wearing red, blue, orange, pink, and ex cetera. If you are on a pink/orange background you need to be wearing brown, black, blue, and ex ceretra.

Washing Clothing during an Emergency
I have heard of a few ways of washing your clothes during an emergency. One method is to buy a clean, brand-new toilet plunger and a new or used clean 5-gallon bucket with lid.

A hole is cut in the middle of the lid and the plunger's handle is placed through the hole.

The clothes, water, and detergent are placed in the bucket. The plunger is moved up and down.

Do this for a few minutes.

Take out the soapy clothes, ring out, dump the soapy water from the bucket on your garden. Put clothes and clear clean water in the bucket and move the plunger up and down to rinse.

Another method involves a rocking chair and a five-gallon bucket.

Basically, you mount a plastic bucket on the two rockers in the back of the rocking chair. Fill the bucket just like you did in the above method then sit and rock back and forth for a few minutes. Once you think the clothes are clean, remove them from the bucket, and do the same as the above method.

Other Information:

United States' Military Clothing Issue
According to one of my brothers, the United States' military issues 4 sets (shirt and pants) of camouflage uniforms. These uniforms are worn during combat, conducting maintenance on equipment, and many other activities. I even see soldiers wearing their camouflage uniform in the airport when I travel.

The US military also issues every solider two jackets, two pairs of boots, and about seven pairs of socks, underwear, and t-shirts. Plus, they receive an annual clothing allowance to replace damaged and worn unifrom items.

Most people know these facts.

What most people don't realize is that the soldier's shirt last longer then their pants.

I have noticed the same thing at my work. As the guys and gals go about their jobs, the legs of the pants get beat up. Walking through sticker bushes, kneeling down, even walking from place to place in high top boots takes it toll on pants, but shirts stay in good shape.

So what does this have to do with emergency preparedness?

If you are stocking clothing, you need to store more pants then shirts.

Military Surplus Clothing
Depending on your threat analysis, will depend on the color of the military surplus clothing you will buy. I normally avoid the camouflage military clothing. I stick with the green pants, shirts, coats, and other items. Green works in my area of the world. If you live in the desert or urban areas, you may want to focus on the browns.

Now the British Special Air Service, The SAS, have a compromise. They wear green pants and shirts, but wear a loose fitting camouflage pullover or jacket that is about mid-thigh in length.

Foreign Military Surplus Clothing
If you lift weights, the foreign military shirts and coats, except the British military, may be too small in the arms and shoulders. I have heard, the foreign militarise don't put a great emphasise on upper body physical strength like the US military.

Current US Military Clothing
I have heard that the ACUs are delicate. Plus, to me, they don't blend in anywhere.

Spare Parts and Maintenance Items
You will need spare shoe laces, polish for you leather boots and shoes. Thread, needles, scissors, buttons, zippers, snaps, velcro, and other items to repair your clothes. Don't forget the washing detergent to wash your clothes. You will also need to dry them. The low tech solution is to have a clothes line.


How to Hand Wash Clothes:

Electricity Free Clothes Washing

James Washer

Pedal-Powered Clothes Washer

Wash Day Blues

Tips on Laundering Flood-Soiled Fabrics

Week Nine - Clothing


Insure everyone has a coat, hat, and gloves warm enough for this winter.

Blog Post:

Clothing is very important. It protects us from the extremes of this planet and outerspace. Yes, outerspace.

Think about the effort that the various space programs take to protect an astronaut, cosmonaut, or taikonaut. Extreme cold, heat, and the almost absolute vacuum of space.

Lucky for you, you are only preparing for an emergency on this planet, but that is still a big challenge.

Depending on where you live will depend on the clothing you will need for your emergency preparations. The Pacific Northwest will require an entirely different set of clothing preparations then in the American Southwest. This also goes for the urban, suburban, or rural resident.

Let's look at some of the similarities for all of these locations.

A hat

Everybody needs a hat. I suggest a wide brim hat that has a brim about 3 inches wide all the way around the hat. The full brim will protect your ears, neck and face from the sun's harsh rays. The hat will also reduce the amount of body heat escaping from you in the cold.

If it is really cold, you will need a second hat.

A US military pile cap, a close fitting cap with flaps that cover the ears; a wool watch cap/beanie; or a towel wrapper around your head will help retain some of your body heat.

A scarf

Yes, a scarf even for the desert. In the winter/cold areas of the the world, you will want a wool scarf. Make sure, the scarf is long enough to wrap around your face to protect your face from the wind. If you/a family member is allergic to wool, acrylic scarves work pretty well. You also might want to check out merino wool items. I hear they don't get scratchy like regular wool.

Back to the scarf for the desert. This scarf should be long enough to warp around your head to protect your neck, face, and eyes from the intense sunlight found in the desert. The Bedouins call them kufiyya; theirs are made out of wool. I suggest a cotton one; additionally, a cotton scarf can hold an ice cube at the base of your neck to help keep you cool in the summer.

A shirt

You will want a long sleeve shirt. The long sleeves will protect you from various dangers such as sun, wind, and biting insects. Depending on the climate, you can layer the shirt with a t-shirt under the shirt and a sweater over the shirt.

Most people will tell you to avoid using cotton in your emergency preparedness preparations. I agree, for the most part. Cotton is a poor fabric for survival. Cotton will hold moisture, doesn't dry fast, and it doesn't retain your body heat as well as wool and the synthetic fabrics, like polypropylene, when wet. If you can avoid getting wet, say when you are indoors, cotton makes an inexpensive clothing fabric.

I own a few cotton sweaters that I wear during the winter to keep the chill off while in the house. I even wear a cotton sweater when I travel around town in the winter. But I keep a wool or performance fabric, such as thermax, shirt handy if I go out into the wild for more than a few minutes.

Long pants

You need long pants not shorts. Just like long sleeves, long pants protect you from the sun and flying stuff if you use a chainsaw or string trimmer.

Now don't get me wrong, shorts are cool, (Yes, the pun was intended.) but you are trying to prevent injuries during an emergency. Just like shirts, wool in the winter and cotton in the summer is OK, but avoid getting the cotton items wet.

Undies or no undies that is the question

From my understanding, undergarments where originally intended to reduce the need to wash your outer clothing. Our sweat and body oils would soil the underwear instead of the outer cloths. The outer clothes could be worn many times before needing to be cleaned. I do this when I am working outside in the summer. I will wear the same jeans and t-shirt for 3 to 5 days before washing them.


I wear wool socks with my boots all year long. I will add a polypro (polypropylene) or nylon sock liner in the winter to keep my feet warm.

During the summer, I wear sandals. You can also wear sandals in the cold, if you wear socks or other insulating material around your feet.


You will need gloves for every climate. Warm ones for winter/the cold, tough ones for when you work in the garden or heavy labor, and specialty gloves for those specialty tasks such as welding, painting, or operating on someone.


The last similarity is the need for sandals, shoes, and boots. I suggest getting the best footwear you can afford. If all transportation stops, similar to 9/11/01 in New York, you may have to walk home.

I get my emergency clothing from discount stores, charity stores, department stores, military surplus stores, and specialty stores.

I buy my cotton undergarments and cotton socks, colored t-shirts, and inexpensive boots at discount stores. At department stores, I get my jeans and collared shirts.

I visit charity stores every once in awhile. I buy my used clothes in the "earth tones," green, brown, and black.

Military surplus stores provide a lot of my emergency preparedness clothing. Most surplus foreign military clothing is wool or cotton. The United States military surplus has polypro long johns, gortex jackets, and other more modern fabrics. Former military clothing seems to be more rugged; plus it is in the earth tone colors.

At specialty stores, I buy my expensive boots/shoes, welding gloves, safety glasses, and other hard to find items.

Before I go on, I would like to write about the levels of clothing technology in the US military.

In the 1940s-1950s, the US military used wool and cotton in their field gear/clothing. An example is the arctic parka. It had a cotton shell, a wool liner, and an animal fur hood. This level of technology has its limitation, but all of the gear still works. Be careful, some of this equipment is becoming collectible, so prices are increasing.

In the 1960s - 1970s, the US military was changing to synthetic material for their liners for their clothing. The shells such as field jackets and field pants were still made out of cotton, but the liners would be nylon with a polyester core.

From the 1980s onward, the US military had embraced the synthetic fabrics. Rain jackets are now made out of gortex. Uniforms are a combination of nylon and cotton, and liners are polypropylene. You still see wool and cotton, but it is slowly disappearing.

So what do these last three paragraphs have to do with emergency preparedness? They have to deal with technology levels and how to stretch your limited dollars.

Yes, gortex is great, but you may not be able to afford it. So you buy nylon rain jackets. Can't afford polypro long johns, buy military surplus wool long johns. If you can't afford surplus wool long johns, save your money and buy them. The cotton long johns will not protect you from the cold if they get wet.

Need more rugged inexpensive coats with liners, buy surplus foreign military coats. Need more leather boots, buy used military boots.

So, how much clothing do you need? You will have to decide.

I have 7 uniforms for work, one clean uniform for each day of the week and a spare at work and home. When I say uniform, I mean an actual uniform. For some people, such as office workers, your uniform may be a tie, button down shirt, dress pants, and underwear.

I have 3 coats with liners for everyone in the family. A nice coat for everyday wear and two coats that are surplus foreign military. The two coats are split between the family cars. As we add cars, we will purchase more coats for emergency boxes stored in the truck of each car. (More about that in a few weeks).

I keep many, many pairs of socks on hand. There is nothing like having cold wet feet and changing into a clean pair of dry socks.

In footwear, we have three pairs of work shoes/boots, a few pairs of sandals, and surplus military boots in storage.

From looking at third-world countries and other disasters, I believe that clothing will be available, but comfortable and properly fitting footwear will be in short supply. Don't forget a spare pair of arch supports if you need arch support and shoe laces too.

This is a lot of clothing and footwear. To save money, we buy clothes when they are on sale. I also search the military surplus stores/sites for bargains on boots and surplus clothing. For gloves, hats, and scarfs, we buy at the end of the season when these items are deeply discounted.

I also stock spare clothing for expected guests. I mentioned this in a previous post. The ladies are asked to send gently used bras. The clothing goes in metal drums for secure storage. We had a mouse problem that is the reason for the metal drums.

In my research, I have found two differing opinions on storing bedding, blankets, and clothing. The United States military throws their clothing in a pile. They say this method prevents wear spots that would develop, if the clothing was folded.

Others say that folding allows more items to be placed in the same amount of space when compared to unfolded items. These folks also say the wear spots only develop, if the item is repeatedly folded. You decide, and ...

I'll see you next week!


NASA - Human Body in a Vacuum

Survival Clothing for Outdoor Emergencies:

Survival Topics - The Three Layer System

Jon's Exmoor Bushcraft Blog - Layering Clothing for Comfort and Survival, Part One

Jon's Exmoor Bushcraft Blog - Layering Clothing for Comfort and Survival, Part Two

Jon's Exmoor Bushcraft Blog - Layering Clothing for Comfort and Survival, Part Three

Jon's Exmoor Bushcraft Blog - Layering Clothing for Comfort and Survival, Part Four

Survival Clothing for Outdoor Emegencies

Stealth Survival - Boots, Bandanas, and Boxers

LL Bean - Paddling Tips-Dressing for the Outdoors

Ancestors of Science - Inupiat Clothing and Arctic Winter Survival

Wildwood Survival - Hats

Survival Hat with Flaps

OSHA Guide - Cold Stress

Discovery Online - The Skinny on Smelly Sports Clothing

rescue foil

Winter Travel

Here is an excellent article to prepare for the harsh winter weather while traveling.

(Read the entire article here)

Carry-On Essentials

Carry your cell phone charger . There are not many, but there are wall plugs throughout the airport. Being stuck in an airport overnight is bad enough, but when you cannot communicate with loved ones, mere trials become ordeals.

Emergency ID Card : Always carry an emergency card with your name, home address, allergies, and medical conditions, in your carry-on bag. Also, carry phone numbers for family and friends. When stressed, we can forget these numbers.

Carry cash . Small bills are best. Retailers may not accept large bills in an emergency, so be prepared with ones, fives, and tens. Consider what it might cost to eat, buy supplies, or even a magazine, and multiply by two or three days. Don't be caught short.

Carry some food for backup . Cait was stranded for four days and only had two candy bars and a cookie. Carry a few high-calorie bars like those in a 72-hour kit. Some of these bars taste terrible, but others are really good and taste like shortbread cookies. Buy some and have your family test them first. For your travel day, pack a lunch with a sandwich, a few carrot sticks, an apple… if you don't need them, well you were prepared, but if you do need them they will be priceless. Avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty, like chips, beef jerky, and such.

Drinks . With the new flight regulations it is difficult to carry drinks, but as soon as you get through security, if you think there may be any chance your flight will be delayed or canceled, purchase a bottle of water. You can refill these as often as you need at a water fountain. Hard candy and lifesavers help to keep your mouth moist, too.

Vitamins . One of the first things the Red Cross brought in after three days was a baggie with vitamins for each passenger.

Medications . Always carry your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. Add pain relievers, stomach medication, cold relievers — you know the drill. All of these come in various forms so you don't have to worry about liquids at security.

Change of clothing . Include a change of underwear and a clean shirt in your carry-on. It is amazing how much better a change of clothes makes you feel.

Personal hygiene items . Folks in Denver were longing for their toothbrushes. You can get toothpaste, bars of soap, shave cream, deodorant, almost anything, in travel sizes now. All of these will be some of the first things to sell out at the shops, not to mention feminine supplies. Anything you couldn't live without goes in the carry-on. While you are at it, include a washcloth.
Mark your luggage in a unique way . If you are competing with hundreds or thousands of others with look-alike bags, attach a crazy luggage tag, colored duct tape, or a wild sticker to your bag to distinguish it from all the rest.

Insect repellant . Sounds crazy, I know, but I would really rather not be bug bait.

Pack a diversion . If you are traveling with young children, pack books, crayons, paper, or a favorite stuffed animal. In our 72-hour kits we include a small inflatable beach ball and styrofoam airplanes. These are cheap, practically weightless, and could be fun for a long time. If they happen to hit someone nearby they will not injure or make tempers flare. For adults, include a book, magazines, crossword, sudoku, or a travel game.

Mylar survival blanket . If you are lucky enough to get a blanket you will want to use it as a covering and that leaves you sleeping on a filthy floor. Place your mylar blanket on the floor and even though you may still be visited by insects, the surface under you is clean, and the foil side of your blanket will reflect and retain your body heat.*

Travel soft . If you are traveling with two carry-on pieces, put your soft items in one bag, like your backpack, and keep bulky shoes, camera, etc. in the other bag. Now your backpack is ready to be used as a pillow if the need arises. There were no pillows provided to passengers during the Denver airport shutdown.

Moist towelettes . When you are stranded like passengers in Denver, help and supplies can't get in. Restrooms run out of supplies, food courts run out of napkins, and Kleenex — forget it.
These tips also apply to traveling by car, however, you may also want to add the following to your trunk for a road trip:

Glow sticks for light during the nighttime hours for you and to make you more visible to rescuers. I love the 10-inch glow sticks that are sold with a bipod. These are great to use in place of flares, to mark a path, to direct traffic after an accident or during an emergency or to signal rescuers at night. They can be seen for a mile.

Work gloves to change a tire or put on chains.

Snow chains .

Sand or kitty litter to help with traction if your car spins out in the snow.

A small shovel to build a snow cave or dig out a car.

Waterproof matches or lighter.

A metal container to melt snow.

A mirror or extra mylar blanket to signal rescuers.

An umbrella . Instant shelter. Eric, from Vale, Arizona, tells us that Ray Jardine, in his book Beyond Backpacking, says an umbrella is one of the most useful tools in his arsenal for long distance hiking. It allows him to keep hiking when unfavorable weather has other hikers holed up for the duration. He goes on to say that when hiking in the desert in summer, covering his umbrella with a space blanket allows him to hike in the daytime when it would otherwise be infeasible. It places the entire body in the shade, which no hat can do. Consider these possibilities for umbrella and mylar blankets in summer.

Safety vests to be worn so you can be more easily seen by rescuers or while near the roadway (bright orange vests, cheap ones). You will all be safer if you need to leave the car, and each passenger wears one. These can also be attached to your car as a distress signal.

Cell phone charger for the car.

Small candle . If placed on the dash this will help keep the air in the car above freezing. Don't go to sleep and leave it lit. You can also run your car engine for 10 minutes every hour to warm the car and charge the phone. Make sure before running the engine that the tail pipe is not blocked. Also, leave a window, which faces away from the wind, open very slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wool blanket .

Knit cap and mittens .
Most of your body heat is lost through your head, so the cap is important. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Remember wool or manmade fibers are better in cold/wet weather than cotton.

Body warmers , the instant heat type. Make sure when purchasing these that you buy the ones rated for 20 hours, not 20 minutes. These are small and easy to stash in your auto emergency kit.

A whistle can be heard much further away than the human voice. I would have at least 2 in the car. If one member of your party needs to leave to look for help you can signal each other every few minutes and help guide them back to the car. It is not wise for anyone to leave alone, and go further away than “whistle distance.” It is just too easy to become disoriented and lost.
Flashlight with extra batteries and an extra bulb.*

A portable radio is great to hear news and weather reports without draining your car battery. Make sure you have both AM and FM bands. Look for the ones that are also a flashlight and siren. Handcranked power is also good.

Tool kit. How sad to be stranded for lack of a screwdriver or wrench.

Tow rope . Some people who could help pull you out of the ditch are not equipped with a rope. Think of how smart you will look, when you say “I've got one!”

Maps . Do you pay attention to where you are when traveling? If you don't know where you are, how will you find where you want to go?

Compass . A Scout would know what to do with it.

Roll of TP . Essential.

Fire extinguisher . What good is your emergency gear if it's burning up with the car? More than once, we've seen cars fully ablaze at the side of the highway, and not from a traffic accident. Gasoline + heat + leaking fuel line = fire.

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Equipment Review: Stanley 1.1 QT Vacuum Bottle (Thermos)

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Few things have been around as long as the Stanley Classic Stainless Steel Vacuum Bottle,in fact a variation of this bottle has been around for over 90 years. That right there should tell you something about this product, it is extremely popular and it works. Several companies have had the right to manufacture this particular design of vacuum bottle, the latest being PMI.

The design is strange as it is an inner and out bottle separated by a vacuum and the bottle is insulated with ground charcoal dust. It is basically the same design from 90 years ago because it works.

Anyone who has any issues with this not keeping beverages hot or cold is either not following the instructions or has a defective bottle (which could happen if the vacuum were somehow compromised). The directions are simple: before filling the bottle with a HOT beverage fill it with boiling water and let it sit for 30 minutes or so, this will prevent the bottle from becoming a heat sink when you pour in your HOT beverage (which would make it get cold very quickly). If you want to place a cold beverage in it I would stick in in the freezer till it is completely cold before filling.

When the directions are followed I have easily had this keep a beverage HOT for 8-12 hours and still be WARM as long as 16 hours later. Follow the directions and you will be able to duplicate my experience with the product.

I have 2 of these and have had my oldest one for about 5 years or so, I just recently picked up the second one because the wife and I do long cars trips and coffee is not an option for us to go without.

I can recommend anyone who needs a beverage container to pick up one of these timeless classics, you can even get some vintage ones on eBay for a reasonable price if you spend some time doing some research. Go out an get your Stanley Classic Stainless Steel Vacuum Bottletoday!

...that is all.