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.
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
Pedal-Powered Clothes Washer
Wash Day Blues
Tips on Laundering Flood-Soiled Fabrics