Tom Brown Jr.
You are out walking on a beautiful day and
suddenly a cold wind comes up and temperatures begin to drop drastically. You
only have a light shirt and jeans on and the cold is beginning to make you
shiver. The walk home is quite a distance away and you are concerned about your
You can get warmed up quickly if you utilize
some of the natural vegetation in the area as insulation. By stuffing your
clothing and footwear with insulating plants you will increase even the lightest
of shirts to a warm winter coat. Stuff your pants and shirt with any light
fluffy fiber you can find in the area. You're not out to win a fashion or
comfort contest so don't be afraid of what it looks like or how it feels.
Cattail down, thistle down, dead leaves, dead grasses, even bark fibers will do
well. What you are trying to do is cut down on the wind passing through your
clothing and make dead air space to warm you up. By tying off the bottom of
your pants and the sleeves of your shirt you will be better able to hold in your
If you are ever caught in the city under these
conditions, simply get a copy of the local paper and put it inside your shirt
and around your body. Just look at all the drifters in the city parks, for you
will frequently find them sleeping under a blanket of newspaper. Even cardboard
will work well when used as a back and breast plate.
The secret of insulation is dead air space that
your body can easily warm up. If the dead air space can be maintained even when
wet, then what you found is a great all around insulator. Experiment a little.
Tom Brown Jr.
Don't throw out those old shirts! Cut the
sleeves off and sew the two shirts together to form a double vest. Leave an
opening near the neck so that you can stuff the space between the shirts with
cattail down, then sew up the top. What you made is an excellent survival vest
for no money at all. In the spring, dump out the old stuffing, wash the vest,
then next fall, replace the stuffing.
From The Tracker magazine, February 1982,
published by the Tracker School.
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