I received my two new blankets yesterday, so I thought posting pics of them on the blog would be interesting for all those who enjoy this type of thing. I honestly have no idea if these blankets are any good or not, so they’ll need some testing. I don’t think I’ve ever even used a wool blanket before in my life, but I’m very familiar with how warm wool keeps me when I’m wearing a sweater that’s made from it. Wool is awesome and there’s no substitute.
The blankets I bought are of the Ever Ready brand. They’re 80% wool, but I have no idea what else they’re made from. On the ad page, it said the rest is “synthetic material.” I’ll just have to go with that. These are fire retardant as well, which is nice. The only problem with that is the oil smell that comes along with it. I knew that was part of what I was buying before I bought them though, so I wasn’t shocked at this revelation.
As far as the size, these blankets measure in at 66″ x 90″ and they say they’re “similar” to those that are issued by the Army. So no, they’re not genuine Army issue. They just look and feel like it. At $24.99 each, I can’t complain too much.
Okay, I’m attaching the photos I took of one of the blankets below. Let me know what you think. Will these be able to handle a survival situation? A winter camping one? What’s the coldest temperature do you think these will keep me warm? I’m curious about all this.
UPDATE: I wanted to add some to this post. I just received two wool blankets from Harbor Freight and I have to say that they appear to be pretty good. Not that I know what I’m actually looking at, but my first impression is that they seem like decent wool blankets. I’m not quite sure how to test something like this out, so I’ll have to get back to you after I bring these camping with me to let you know how warm they keep me.
I wrote another post that you can read about these Harbor Freight wool blankets, so please feel free to do that. Although I added many photos to that post, I’ll add a few here as well. The more, the better.
Just to recap: These Harbor Freight blankets are slightly thicker than the Ever Ready ones, but the Ever Ready blankets are larger and weigh more (4 pounds compared to 2.8 pounds). It seems as though they’re more dense as well, which may keep me warmer or cooler. I’m not sure yet. The stitching on both blankets seems okay. It’s not very tight or anything, so it may need some attention down the road. Both blankets smell like oil, but the green Ever Ready ones smell worse than the Harbor Freight ones. The Ever Ready ones are also fire retardant, while the Harbor Freight ones are not.
How Do I Get Rid of the Smell in My Brand New Wool Blanket?
Question: All I can say is that this thing stinks. I can’t believe how bad it smells. I bought a brand new wool blanket and it arrived a few days ago. I’ve had it resting on the couch in it’s plastic container and I’ve been sitting here smelling it ever since. It’s not even opened yet. I’ve read that people have washed theirs, hung them on the clothesline for weeks on end, used Febreze on them and a few other things. Random folks have had random results. Mine smells like a mix between gasoline, oil, kerosene and turpentine. I’ve heard that others have had theirs smell like moth balls. I don’t think mine smells like that at all. It actually smells like it was sitting in the back seat of some old Army Jeep for the last 75 years. And the Army Jeep had a gas leak. And the Jeep was upside down. And the gas was leaking on the blanket. What is this stuff anyway? Is it the fire retardant?
I really don’t want to wash this blanket. I’ve seen the mess wool makes of a washing machine and my opinion is that washing causes too much wool to be lost to the washer. I don’t want to give up that much product. Dry clean?
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Answer: I actually just purchased two more wool blankets myself and I managed to get the gas and oil smell out of them pretty nicely by hanging them on the clothesline for a few days. They smell fine now. The trick is to not get them wet after that because for some reason, the wetness brings out the stink again.
I’ve heard that the more these blankets are aired out, the more the smell dissipates. It also depends on what type of fire retardant the company used on your particular blanket. Some smells worse than others. Mine smelled pretty bad, but once the air got to it, within a month things smelled much better.
If nothing seems to work for you, you can bring the blanket to the dry cleaners. That’s supposed to really do the trick. I wonder though, if the odor really is the fire retardant, isn’t removing the smell also removing the retardant? That’s just me thinking out loud.
So yeah, those are your options. Your washing machine, which I don’t recommend. The dry cleaners, which I really don’t think you need. Or the sun and clothesline, which is the best route to take. Just make sure the blanket gets lots of sun on both sides and the inside. Flip it over after a day or two. It’s the sun that eliminates the chemical smell. Let me know what happens.
Are Harbor Freight Wool Blankets Any Good?
I’ve been following a blog post on how to remove the oil smell from new wool blankets and it got me interested in purchasing one or two for myself. It seems like everyone in the bushcraft world is using these blankets nowadays.
Last night, I looked around on Amazon.com for a good blanket and saw many of them in the $50 price range. I saw a few military blankets for $24.99 that I’m interested in and also some that cost well over $100. I don’t know who is buying blankets for over $100. I have read about people spending more than $400 for alpaca wool or something like that, which is just crazy. I’ll stick to my cheap blankets thank you very much.
I was watching a video on Youtube last night when the guy who made the video mentioned that he picked up a few wool blankets from Harbor Freight for about $10 each. The size is 60″ x 80″ and he said that while they weren’t the best blankets in the world, they were cheap and very good for the price.
I just took a look at Harbor Freight’s website and found the blankets in question. They’re 80% wool, so that’s comparable with the ones I found on Amazon for around $25. I just bought two of the ones from Harbor Freight.
My question is, what can I expect when I receive them? I’m slightly nervous because of the low cost, but then again, if they end up turning out okay, I will have just hit a home run. This is like the little wool blanket secret no one knows about.
Have you ever purchased a Harbor Freight wool blanket? If so, what did you think about it?
Ever Ready Wool Blanket For Bushcraft & Camping
Well, I received my Ever Ready wool blankets yesterday and boy am I excited. I never thought I’d feel this way about blankets, but that’s probably because I have never been involved with camping, bushcraft and the outdoors like I am now. Spring is right around the corner and once the snow melts off completely, I’ll be spending a lot more time back on my land (video here). I’ve got tons of little nooks to camp out in and I’m enjoying my exploration. I know I’ve mentioned this somewhere on this blog already, but I’ll mention it again. I’ve only owned these ten additional acres for a few months now and for all of those months, the ground has been covered with snow. I’m looking forward to seeing what the actual earth looks like. I’m sure it needs a lot of cleaning up. I’ll have to find some people out there who want to camp so they can scavenge for wood.
Anyway, I ordered two Ever Ready First Aid Olive Drab Green Wool Blankets from Amazon.com earlier this week. I bought them for $24.99 each and received them in the mail yesterday. Once I had them, I opened them right up, only to be greeted by a wicked oil smell. I was actually expecting this because that seems to be one of things people mention the most when writing reviews. I didn’t mind though because I knew that with a little airing out, they’d be fine.
I wanted to write this post to introduce you to the blankets. Good photos of these things are very difficult to find, so I just went out into my garage to take some close-ups. I think I did a pretty good job. What I wanted to show the most in the photos was the thickness of the wood as well as how it’s woven. How dense it is, if you will.
Down below, I’ll run through the photos I took and I’ll try to explain what’s going on before or after each picture, the best I can.
This first photo is of the plastic wrap the wool blankets came in. I bought two and this was only one. The plastic is completely sealed.
And this is the label sticker that was on the plastic wrap.
Notice how the label says it’s only 80% wool. There’s some infighting out there in the bushcraft community about whether this is okay or not. Some say it’s imperative to have a 100% wool blanket and some say it’s not important because with the lower wool content, you’re able to wash the blankets more. I honestly bought these blankets because of the low price and I’m not planning on washing them ever. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle of this battle.
This is when I opened the plastic wrap a bit more and began peeling the blanket back. It’s fairly heavy at four pounds. It’s also 66″ x 90″ in case I didn’t mention that. In later photos, you’ll see that the wool itself is kind of thin, but at the weight it is, I think that the denseness makes up for that.
They say this blanket is Army issue, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. I also don’t know how to find out it it’s true either.
I believe I’m pinching a part of the blanket that’s four layers thick. For survival scenarios, the lighter the blanket, the better, as long as it keeps you warm enough. I hear that wool still keeps you warm when it’s wet. I don’t want to test that out.
Okay, let’s get into some of the stitching. From what I saw, the stitching of these Ever Ready Army wool blankets wasn’t anything special. I hope they hold up, but I would have much rather have seen something tighter and more reinforced. Here’s a close-up photo of what I’m talking about.
For my final photo, I’d like to show you how thick (or thin) these blankets are. I’m curious if a thin blanket like this will actually keep me warm when it’s freezing outside. The last time I went winter camping, the temperature dropped to 4° Fahrenheit. I don’t expect these to keep me warm in those kinds of temperatures, but to be able to add this to the mix of blankets would be nice.
There you have it, a nice up-close view of the Ever Ready 80% wool blanket. Please let me know if you have any experience with this brand or another blanket like it. I’m curious about your opinion. Thanks for reading!
How to Roll a Wool Blanket
I’ve been reading through Dave Canterbury’s book called Bushcraft 101 and have made it to the section on how to roll a wool blanket up so you can keep all your stuff inside of it as well as carry it on your back. I’ve never actually thought of anyone doing this, but the idea definitely has merit. If you’re sleeping outdoors without a tent or if you don’t have a rucksack, you can easily roll all of your belongings inside of the wool blanket and then use some paracord to tie the blanket up and then loop it over your shoulders.
Okay, so there are a few different ways that you can do this and each has its own benefit. I’ll talk about some of them here. If you’re using a tarp, Dave advises that you place the tarp down on the ground and fold it into thirds, lengthwise. Place your first wool blanket on top of the tarp and fold that so it’s the same width as the tarp. Then, if you’re using a second wool blanket, do the same thing. At the end of all this, you’ll have a group of blankets and a tarp that measures somewhere about two foot by eight foot.
Sometimes people include the tarp on top of the blankets and roll it so it’s inside the wool. I’ve read that experienced bushcrafters advise always keeping the tarp on the outside in case it rains or things get wet somehow. The tarp will shield the wool and the contents within. If you’re not using a tarp, you don’t have much choice here, but keep this in mind.
Once you have the tarp and blankets laid out like this, place the items that you won’t be using while you’re hiking (dry socks, pants, fire kit, water bottle, hatchet, first aid kit, fatwood, rope, stakes, candles, etc…) right on top of the top blanket, towards the side you’ll begin rolling. Also, fold a 12 foot piece of rope in half and place that across the top portion of the blanket, so that can be rolled up as well. The folded side will create a loop that’s sticking out and the other side will be the two ends of the rope. Then, roll the tarp and blanket combination up so it squeezes all of the contained contents.
Once you have your bedroll, slide the to loose ends of the rope through the loop and tie them off. That will keep the roll tight, so it doesn’t come undone. Then, you can use some cordage to tie down the rest of the roll and to create sort of like back pack straps. I’ll include a video of a great way to tie this bedroll up so you can easily carry it down below.
An alternative method for rolling your gear up inside of this bedroll is to fold your largest blanket in thirds, but before you fold the last third in, place your gear down on the two layers you’ve already got. Then, fold the final third in so it lays on top of your gear. Then, roll everything up.
I think this is a fairly creative method for carrying not only your tarp and blankets, but your gear as well, right on your back. It’s as efficient as all heck and I’m going to have to give this a shot my next time out in the woods.
Here’s that video. Be sure to let me know what you think of this method as well as your own. Thanks!
The Verdict on the Harbor Freight Wool Blankets is In
I received my two wool blankets from Harbor Freight yesterday in the mail. I really had no idea what to expect when ordering them because they were only $10.99 per piece. It was difficult to believe that they’d be any good, considering Iv’e seen other wool blankets selling for hundreds of dollars. As a matter of fact, I recently purchased two other Army style wool blankets for $24.99 each and I thought that was a steal. How good could the Harbor Freight blankets be? I mean, really. For such a low price, they couldn’t be very good at all. Or could they be?
I have this nagging feeling in my mind that is telling me that once upon a year, wool blankets that were used in the Army, for survival or for camping were as inexpensive at they could get. No one really thought of them very much and it wasn’t until the internet came along and popularized them did they start selling for an average of $50 each. I honestly don’t think they’re worth that much and I think the cost to make these blankets is pennies on the dollar. Something tells me we’re getting hoodwinked and that’s why I wanted to test out the cheapest wool blankets I could find. The Harbor Freight ones.
Okay, the blankets I purchased initially measure 66″ x 90″. These new blankets measure 60″ x 80″, so they’re somewhat smaller. The first blankets are also fire retardant and these aren’t. Those two things right there may explain the price difference. I’ll tell you though, the first ones stunk like oil and these do too, just not as bad. I’m hoping that if I hang them on the clothesline for a while, they’ll air out and that small will disappear. As I’ve said before, I’m not planning on washing any wool blanket ever because the washer will remove too much material. That’s the material I paid for, so I’d like it to stay where it is.
When I received the first wool blankets, I was struck by how thin they were. They’re four pound blankets though, so I chalked that up to them being dense. These new blankets weigh in at 2.8 pounds, so while they are somewhat thicker and more bulky in appearance, they’re less dense. I’m sure that will make a difference in their heat keeping abilities. Since I haven’t tested out either yet, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Let’s take a look at some photos of these new Harbor Freight blankets. I can tell you that I was very impressed by them when I first opened the box they were shipped in. For only $10.99 each, even if I had to buy three of them to snuggle up in to stay warm, I still wouldn’t be spending a lot of money. Heck, I could buy 10 of these blankets and still not pay as much as I would for one of those more expensive ones. That’s actually not a bad idea. If I were to go camping with my truck somewhere or in a camper, I may just do that. You can never have too many wool blankets.
This first photo is of the Haul Master wool blanket tag. All the specs are given on it. The blanket is made out of 80% wool and a few other things.
Here’s a photo of the wool blanket itself. On the website, it states the brand as being Western Safety, but in person and right on the blanket, it states the brand is Haul Master. Strange, but I’m sure all these blankets are the same thing.
This is a much more close up view of the fibers this blanket are made up of. Does it look like 80% wool? We’ll never know if it really is.
And this is a view of the thickness of the blanket. Not bad, for what I’m used to.
Now let’s take a look at the seams. The first photo is of the corner seam and the second photo is of the edge seams. Nothing to write home about here. The threading is satisfactory.
As I was taking these photos, I placed the folded blanket on my knee. Here’s a shot of that. Sort of like a bird’s eye view.
And these final two shots are of the new Harbor Freight blankets sitting on top of the Ever Ready wool blankets.
They look warm, don’t they? I can’t wait to try these out camping. I’m sure I’ll love them.
What are your experiences with wool blankets? Do you have a favorite type or brand? Have you ever tried alpaca wool? I hear that’s pretty awesome. Let me know. Thanks for reading!