|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.