HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 2, No. 1, Winter 1983

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 2 No. 1, Winter 1983

Thatch Blanket, Mat, and Clothing
Tom Brown Jr.

So now you have your shelter built, the fire going, food in the storage pit, and water in the stream, and you're tired of crawling into a bed of leaves every night. Not that they don't keep you warm, but they get a little uncomfortable rolling down the back of your neck, and you don't like having to fluff them every night. Oh!, the delights of owning a blanket during a survival situation, you might say. Then make one!

A very viable survival blanket or mat can be made quite easily out of grasses or ferns - a blanket that is comfortable, will keep you warm even when wet, and is easy to transport.

Grasses and reeds are two of the best materials to use for making these blankets because they are easily bundled together and contain many dead air spaces in their hollow stems to trap and hold heat. You don't have to spend much time weaving them together, like you would have to do with cordage clothing.

To make a thatch blanket or mat, simply make a long bundle of grasses and tie the ends so that they do not come unwrapped. They should look like long cigars, tapered at both ends. Mtake yourself a number of these bundles and lay them out side by side the length you want your blanket to be. Now sew them all together just as the illustration shows. [illustration missing in the original magazine]

What you have now is a blanket or mat that can be rolled up and carried with you; used for a shelter siding; used as a vest once arm holes are put in; used as a warm seat; or used for any other number of things for which a blanket or mat can be used.

What most of my students do is to make one for the bottom of their leaf hut and one to throw over the top of them, thus eliminating the need to have leaves or debris inside their hut. I do not, however, suggest that you attempt to make one of these blankets until your other basic needs are taken care of in a survival situation. It takes about two hours to make a 6' x 4' blanket. At first, you can't afford the time.

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The Tracker magazine:   Vol 1 No. 1  •  Vol 1 No. 2  •  Vol 1 No. 3  •  Vol 1 No. 4  •  Vol 2 No. 1
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