Other Insulating Uses
Tom Brown Jr.
Cattail down can be used to make any number of
survival clothing that is inexpensive and works very well. But let's consider
the many other things you can do with the insulation found around the landscape.
Old leaves can be bundled up in newspaper or
old sheets and used as a stuffer around the drafty areas of the house. A tube
made from an old sheet can be stuffed with cattail down and placed as a pillow
along the bottom edge of a doorway or larger pillows can be made to be used
around the house to sit on or as warm foot cushions. Remember that all these
insulators are not fire resistant and will combust.
Friends of mine, when adding an addition to
their house could not finish it before winter set in and were left with a huge
open wall. Putting plastic on the outside of the house, then on the inside, they
had created a dead airspace, but this was less than adequate. I suggested that
they stuff the air space with dried leaves and grasses. Not only did the wall
make a great insulator, but also created a gorgeous mosaic pattern of grass and
leaves. They hated to knock it down in the spring.
House slippers can also be fashioned out of old
socks and some cattail down. By sewing the socks together into a double sock
pattern, stuffing them with down from cattail or thistle, and sewing a piece of
old denim to the sole, you will have a good warm pair of house slippers that you
can use again next year. Simply empty out the filler, wash the slippers, and
replace the down next season.
By taking two old and well worn blankets and
sewing them together you can make an excellent sleeping roll that is lightweight
and will keep you warm no matter how cold it gets. When you sew the two
together, leave an opening in one end so that it can be easily stuffed with
fiber during a survival outing.
As you get into the camp area stuff the
blankets with leaves, cattail down, thistle down, or bark fibers, then roll the
blanket around you. The colder it gets, the more stuffing you can put into it.
When you break camp, dump out the blankets and
roll them up into a light ball on your back. This type of blanket sleeping bag
will take care of you in style without having to carry in a big conventional
From The Tracker magazine, February 1982,
published by the Tracker School.
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