In survival situations you need to use anything and everything to survive. Whether you are foraging for food or looking for materials to build a shelter, anything that you have and that you can find in your surroundings may be very useful. With good survival skills you can survive long time in wilderness – you can actually live your whole life in the forest if required. But, what do you do about clothing? Now, not unless you have some ingenious way of making proper clothing from raw materials (leaves, barks etc.) with the most basic of tools (sticks, rocks etc.), you may need to start thinking about putting together a survival gear pack – that includes all essential clothes. Many preppers just forget clothes, don’t do that, get them ready and packed!
Clothing is essential because it shields our bodies from the elements and helps trap body heat. In fact you are most likely to die in wilderness when harsh weather conditions strike, if you do not wear clothing that gives your essential protection against either heat or cold, and rain.
Different survival situations call for different kinds of clothing. Heavy jackets, coats, boots, and gloves are not effective types of clothing if you are in a desert. But, if you are stuck somewhere in the middle of winter, some of them may be very effective. You need to adapt your survival clothing to local environment and most likely weather conditions.
So, if you are planning on going into a wild and uninhabited place, prepare accordingly. If you are going to a hot, humid place, avoid packing things like overcoats, thick socks; basically, any type of clothing that is not suitable for hot weather. Same thing if you are going to a cold place.
Consider also what part of your body you want to cover when choosing survival clothing. Major areas that you cannot afford to disregard include your face, torso, hands, legs, feet, neck and head. Some of these areas are more sensitive than others; therefore, consider each area separately.
Wear layered clothes
Employ the layer technique, which offers protection against any kind of climate. Layering clothing is an effective way of creating insulation. It is also a smart way of dealing with climates especially those with temperatures that fluctuate quickly within a day. If you have full set of layered clothing, you can actually survive almost in any kind of weather.
When layering, separate the clothing into different layers. This is because each layer has its own function. Remember, the good thing about layering clothing is that you can take them off whenever you need to.
Generally, there are three different layers:
- The base layer (innermost layer) – helps regulate moisture. The base layer keeps you dry.
- The middle layer (insulating layer) – protects you from hypothermia by trapping your body heat.
- The outer layer (shell layer) – protects you against the elements.
Perfect materials for survival clothes
When choosing survival clothing, consider the material as well. Clothing materials vary, but the most common ones are cotton, wool, denim, leather and silk. You have heard of the saying that cotton kills. Well, what actually this means is that cotton clothing loses its ability to keep the skin dry once it gets wet. Cotton is hydrophilic, so cotton garments are great for warm or hot weather, but they become dump if exposed to water or humidity.
A good material capable of keeping moisture out is polyester. It is a strong, durable fabric that is hydrophobic. It is also resistant to mildew, abrasion, shrinking, stretching and wrinkling. Polyester shirts would be a better choice because they wick away moisture. Polyester coats are also a great choice if you are in a cold and wet environment because they will keep you dry and warm.
Another great fabric that does not absorb moisture is nylon. It is an extremely resilient fabric that is lustrous, durable and abrasion resistant. Nylon garments are great for outer wear because of their water-resistant property and heat retention capability.
Wool is another common fabric, which is used to make warm clothing. It does absorb some moisture, but it remains warmer than most materials, even when it is wet. Wool garments are great for cold freezing temperatures, because even though they get a bit dumb or wet, they can still keep you warm.
Many clothes are made of mixed material, that include for example cotton and polyester. Mixed materials are quite good for survival clothes.
So, when you are putting together your survival clothing, pay close attention to the fabric.
- Ask yourself if the fabric is appropriate for the weather that you are going to be dealing with. Otherwise, picking the wrong garments can drastically reduce your chances of surviving.
- Avoid garments that are not durable and comfortable. Garments that are not able to provide protection. Garments that have poor insulation and any clothing that is too restrictive.
- You should also think about fire. How easily fabric burns? Nylon for example might be perfect for protecting against wind and water, but it’s horrible material to wear if you are handling fire – and in most survival situations in wilderness you will need to at least start a fire for cooking purposes.
- Think about how easily clothing / material can be repaired? You might need to use same clothes long time, and material needs to be easy to repair with basic sewing needle and thread. Make sure that your bug out bag includes also those!
Basic military jacket is a perfect for almost all kind of survival situations. It is durable, there is usually enough pockets, it keeps you warm and provides some protection for scratches.
Of course you should adopt your main jacket corresponding to the most likely weather conditions. For cold & winter you will need a padded jacket. Consider down filled jacket as down jackets are really warm but material also breathes moisture away.
Your survival jacket should be a bit larger than your normal size. It makes it easier to use it as a part of layered clothing. Furthermore, you don’t want to find out that the jacket shrinks when it gets wet, and doesn’t fit to you anymore. So, better to have a bit too large than a bit too small jacket.
Windbreaker protects against windy weather
Windbreaker style jacket is a perfect part of layered survival clothing. It is usually lightweight, and fits on a very small space. It is very effective as it protects against wind and even against small rain. It is easy to put on and take off. Windbreaker makes a perfect pair with hoodie. However, windbreakers are usually made of nylon, which burns very easily. So, be carefully when handling fire.
Hoodie – perfect for all weather conditions
Hoodies are perfect fit for any survival clothing. They cloud be used in warm and cold weather conditions. They fit for indoor as well as outdoor use, and are perfect part of layered clothing.
You need just a shirt, hoodie, and jacket. Jacket could be windbreaker style jacket or heavier winter jacket depending on temperature. Actual hood is also very handy as it helps keep your head warm when required.
There are zippered hoodies and over the shoulder hoodies, both are fine for survival use. The only negative aspect about hoodies we have found is that pockets are usually open – without zippers, which makes pockets almost useless for carrying items, but at least you can keep your hands warm in pockets!
Vest is perfect for carrying tolls & items
Consider including vest in your survival clothing pack. Vests are perfect fit for layered clothing. You should choose vest that has a lot of pockets as those can be used to store and carry easily all kind of small survival tools and other items.
There are many kind of vests for sale. Some are intended just for carrying items (such as so called hunting and reporter/photographer vests), some are giving also a bit of protecting against wind, and body warmers / winter vests help keep you really warm.
There are also bullet proof vests, that will protect you against bullets. There are quite nice and thin, but still very effective bullet proof vest that you can wear under your jacket. Those are also good for every day use, as these days you never know when some one starts shooting or attacks with knife. Most bullet proof vests protects also against sharp items, such as survival knives, machetes and other blades.
Don’t forget water proof clothes
It is always much easier to stay dry wearing waterproof clothes than try to get wet clothes dried. It takes always time, and wearing wet clothes increases risk of becoming ill. Therefore, remember to include also some waterproof clothes in your bug out bag. Those could become very essential to keep you dry & warm for example if heavy storm hits the area.
Rain suit, coverall or even rain poncho will help a lot when it is raining hard. Rain clothes are also easy to use as a layered clothing, usually they are of course the outer layer keeping everything under dry.
When choosing waterproof clothes, pay attention to the material and thickness. Are those really waterproof or just water resistant? Consider if you will need real waterproof rain wear or if water resistant jacket and pants are good enough. At least make sure your bug out pack includes either water resistant windbreaker or poncho.
You need also survival gloves
You need also survival gloves. That might sound quite clear when it’s could, but those will be very useful in survival situations also at summer. Good survival gloves protects your hands and gives better grip for tools etc., so be sure to include also a pair of gloves in your bug out bag.
Footwear for survival situations
Just like the way you cannot go to the office wearing sandals, you cannot hike in high heels or wear flip flops in freezing weather. You need footwear that offers your feet ample protection from injury and the elements. Boots for example are great for hiking or walking in the wild because they are durable, water-resistant, abrasion-resistant and are not vulnerable to wear and tear.
Footwear is also part of survival and wearing the wrong footwear can significantly decrease your chances of survival. Therefore, make sure that your footwear choice is appropriate for the particular environment.
In addition, avoid wearing shoes that are too tight, otherwise, there will be blisters and swollen feet to deal with. Wear shoes that can provide you with proper protection from the elements and lastly, choose shoes that are durable, abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, comfortable, and are resilient to wear and tear.
Survival shoes and clothing are just some of the essential items that should be part of your survival gear. Other items that you should throw in include matches, a knife, compass, bandana, gloves, and anything other item that you feel would be useful, as long as it is lightweight and portable.
Of course you will need also spare underwear such as shirts and pants. Women shouldn’t forget bras. Furthermore it is important to have a pair or two spare socks.
The importance of survival clothing cannot be emphasized enough. Many people choose their clothes based on fashion and style. This is all well and good and there is nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest fashion trends, but in a survival situation, this could literally mean life or death. So it is important to have the right kind of clothing for the right conditions.
Another consideration is the fabrics the survival clothing is made from. There are two main categories of fabrics: man-made fabrics and natural fabrics. Man-made fabrics include nylon, polyester and rayon just to name a few. Natural fabrics on the other hand are fibers got from plants or animals and they include silk, wool and cotton. Knowing the different types of fabrics, their weaknesses and strengths can help you make good survival clothing choices.
Make sure that your bug out pack includes full set of layered clothing!
Share you thoughts, questions & comments about perfect survival clothing below! Do you utilize layered clothing? What’s your favorite material for survival clothes such as jacket and pants? Do you have full set of gear packed and ready? If you like this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends.