Wool Blankets: A Military Surplus & Survival Gear Must Have

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  • By Amer Hatoum
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Wool Blankets: A Military Surplus & Survival Gear Must Have

Wool Blankets

Since the Revolutionary War the US has heavily utilized wool in military uniforms and gear. Wool has proven to be a worthwhile fabric for more than 200 years. Today there are over 50 different items that will contain wool for the military. Ranging from dress uniforms to cold weather gear to blankets. Wool made blankets and socks are not only a trusted item by the military but also a great item for survival purposes. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of using wool blankets for survival and outdoor purposes. 



Wool blankets became a pouplar item of use in the 14th century. By 1700 it had become a standard and essential item for the British to export. In America, these blankets were a sought out item from Native Americans who oftentimes traded for them in return for their fur. The reason for their desire to obtain these blankets was the recognition in their ability to transform into hooded coats which served as a critical piece of clothing to survive the harsh winters. 

Military Use

The reason the American military gravitated towards wool fabric was the extreme warmth and water resistant capabilities.  The blankets themselves retain body heat extremely well and resulted in soldiers tolerating the colder temperatures more easily. The wool blanket served many soldiers successfully through the Vietnam War. Acting as a durable source for moisture wicking material and warmth. Military Surplus GI wool blankets continue to be a trusted source amongst households, campers, survivalists, hunters and more. 

Survival Purposes

Typically gear good enough for the military is definitely good enough for survival purposes. Wool blankets are no different, they are a great item to have in situations of emergency. The higher the wool count (90% or 100%) the better, but even blended blankets still provide many great perks when looking to survive the outdoors. Two reasons why wool blankets are sought after is for their ability to regulate temperature and their ability to remain water and fire resistant. 

Wool regulates body temperature, like it does for it's source, sheep. The natural keratin in it's makeup and various fibers act as insulators that trap air or when used, body heat. Beyond the warmth, naturally wool is a highly absorbent material that can soak up to 20% of it's total weight before affecting it's user. The high nitrogen content within it, means higher oxygen levels are required to actually catch on fire and burn. 

Understanding these great benefits, open an array of uses for a military wool blanket. Beyond utilizing as a blanket, it can be turned into a sleeping bag by folding in half and mounting it's ends. The waterproof capabilities are a great added perk when it comes to  being comfortable in the outdoors. Thanks to it's waterproof capabilities, wool blankets can easily be turned into a reliable poncho or coat. The outstanding abilities can help prevent the risk of hypothermia when faced with brutally cold climates. Another creative adaptation is turning it into a traveling pack by laying flat and folding in a half with your gear rolled up inside. When tied with straps, you now have a moisture wicking pack or waterproof backpack cover. In addition to uses mentioned above, a temporary shelter and firewood protector are also two great uses for military surplus wool blankets. 

Final Thoughts

As a store that specializes in military surplus and survival gear, GI wool blankets are great item to have at the house or in a bugout bag. We have proudly worked with several organizations who have purchased wool blankets from us to send over to Ukraine and aide the soldiers there who are faced with cold climates. The insulation, protective layering, waterproof and fire resistant abilities make this military surplus item a must have for any survivalists, camper or outdoor enthusiast. 


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