> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Tip of the Week: Blanket Roll

Pages

8/2/12

Tip of the Week: Blanket Roll

Throughout history, a blanket roll was a pretty common way to carry basic sleeping gear and a few extra items. Soldiers, explorers, mountain men and frontiersmen of many eras carried 'em. They show up quite often in historical photos like the one on the right, of a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. The bedroll not only frees up room in his pack and distributes weight across his body, but it allows him to ditch the pack if needed and still have basic covering/shelter and whatever else he has tucked inside.

In the old days, the blanket would typically be made from wool. Pendleton wool blankets have been made for over 500 years-- were a common trade item with the Injuns/Native Americans and a common piece of kit on the frontier. Wool has been used for a long time and it still works today.

Of course, you can use just about any thick blanket, tarp or poncho to roll up a blanket roll. If you're without a pack, need to supplement a smaller pack or want the "drop and go" ability, a blanket roll is a good trick to have in mind.

There's no one right way to do a blanket roll, though the basic idea remains the same--spread your blanket out, put your stuff on one end, roll the blanket it up, and then tie the ends off and tie them together. In the picture below, I'm using an old surplus USGI poncho.


You'll want to avoid putting anything hard inside the area that will go over your shoulder, and you may want to fold your blanket lengthwise in order to simplify the rolling. I've put a basic survival kit in here--mora, slingshot and ammo, paracord, stakes, headlamp, contractor bag and so on. Historically, they'd often put a change of clothes and a poncho or gum blanket in their roll, which would carry quite easily.


Here it is rolled up and tied off. I used about a 12-foot piece of paracord, so the excess is wrapped around the ends. There are different ways to tie it up--I've seen 'em tied like a pork loin, too. To some experimenting.

It's surprisingly comfortable to carry and holds gear securely. Getting to your gear takes a bit of fiddling, but its a good trick to have in your arsenal.

Thanks to Randy Church for some historical expertise on this post.

11 comments :

  1. This and the snap sack are pretty cool methods, certainly one way to keep it simple. I'd probably want to keep the poncho on the inside to help prevent holes from becoming formed more quickly.

    Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point - thorns and what not could tear up the poncho. If you had a blanket or cloth, that would serve better as an exterior.

      Delete
  2. Very interesting post. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. UGLY ROOSTER

    Fantastic idea. New to me. I shall make one. This is highly practical and eliminates redundancy. Sort of like a bucket made from ice. Yup, you put water in it. That isn't nearly as useful as the blanket roll, but the premise is the same.

    Way to go A-Wolf!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dave Cantebury has another version of this if you check out his YouTube Channel or write the following into the YouTube search bar "Building a Discount Bushcraft Kit Part 7 (The Blanket Pack)"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brother Alex, you used the pic with my good side!!!
    Military surplus wool blankets tied with two old leather belts might be fairly economical....and the belts also would come in handy...good post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have been considering making my own sack using a 6X9 camo pattern plastic tarp that is sewn in half length ways. I would then add a blanket before rolling up (& whatever else goes inside). the drawback right now is the price to have the tarp professionally double-stiched ($30). This bag would eliminate the need to carry a tent while backpacking MOST of the time. If bad weather did occur during my hikes the extra length would allow me to pull up the bag over my head for leak protection. This bag could also be used in a sitting posistion and on warm nights just layed out on the ground. I will have one in my gear before long as the weight of even a light tent gets heavy at times. Keep the info coming. Peace, Shadowfaxhound

    ReplyDelete
  7. And IT WORKs!! A haversack bedroll & waterproof, canteen, hudsons bay ax, fire starter, some jerky or pemmican a man can go a long way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, less is more. I enjoy the trip more when I don't have all the "Stuff" I usually take on a backpacking trip and I am also able to move much faster and tear-down is a breeze. I love taking my Haversack (DIY Home made) and my wool blanket bedroll and my axe and Hudson bay knife and little else. It makes me slow down and think things through. It also builds my skills too!

      Delete
  8. I just returned from the newest Batman movie, and noticed that Bruce Wayne employed the blanket roll technique at one point. I immediately thought of this post of course lol

    ReplyDelete
  9. One of the old military shelter halfs makes a very good outer covering and is somewhat H2O proof.
    It can be used for many things besides.

    ReplyDelete