On Oiled Silk

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SierraStrider
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On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:45 am

There's a maxim among ultralight hikers that if you're trying to lighten your kit, start with the heaviest thing and go from there.

The heaviest thing in my kit that isn't specifically listed or implied as something Strider carried is my tarp. 6 lbs of waxed canvas...good lord, it's a bear. But what's to be done? Shelter is essential in the wild. Leave it at home, and that's inevitably when an unseasonable thunderstorm brews up out of nowhere in the middle of the night and the local news runs a story along the lines of "Local Man in Game of Thrones Costume Dies of Authentic Medieval Hypothermia, Corpse Defiled by Weasels, Details After the Traffic".

If only there was a cloth, attested in Middle earth (and preferably Eriador), that could be waterproofed like oilskin but was lightweight like nylon. Preferably something with real-world historical antecedents.

Something like...oiled silk.

When the idea struck me, I wasn't sure if it had ever existed, and researching it is surprisingly difficult. From what I can tell, its history is rather recent in the West--this book from the 1840s discusses it and shows a rather fine hood and mantle pattern.

This mentions it as,

Thin silk saturated with boiled oil, semi-transparent and waterproof. It is much used in tailoring and dressmaking to prevent perspiration from passing through, as at the armpits of garments and the lining of men's hats and ladies' bonnets.


I have no idea where this description originates, but the idea of using it to keep moisture in is a truly horrific twist. One assumes the "boiled oil" in question is linseed oil, though that's conjecture.

In Camping and Woodcraft (1906), Horace Kephart refers several times to waterproofed silk tents, "sheltercloths", and even provision bags. However, at one point he refers specifically to the fabric of a tent as 'balloon silk', which to my understanding may have meant a very fine silk-like weave of cotton, rather than actual silk. This throws into question whether the 'silk' he referred to in other instances was animal or vegetable in origin.

I can't find any mentions before the nineteenth century in Europe, though China (as one would expect) developed such things as well--this page says they used tung oil, though during which time-period is unspecified. This page says the Chinese had oiled-silk umbrellas "over 1,000 years ago".

All that said, if one has waterproofing oils and one has silk, the combination of the two seems intuitive. So...who had silk?

Two persons we know of actually possessed it: Bilbo (at the beginning of Fellowship) had an embroidered waistcoat, and Elrond (at the end of The Hobbit) gave Bilbo a red silk handkerchief to replace the articles he lost over the course of his journey with the dwarves.

Gandalf also mentions silks alongside linens at the end of Return in a way that implies both are cloths of surpassing fineness.

All other mentions of silk in the books reference the "silky" nature of the hithlain cloth and rope of the Galadhrim, or the spider silk spun by Shelob.

So, did the Dunedain have access to silk, and if they did, would they use it for tarps?

I think the question of access is one of conjecture. The origins of silk in the Shire and Rivendell are unknown. The nature of the Shire as an analogue of pastoral England makes me think it's imported, though I could envision the Noldor of Rivendell producing it domestically. It is very clearly viewed as a luxury good, though its use in handkerchiefs implies that it wasn't so rare that it couldn't be put to utilitarian purposes...albeit by the very wealthy. (Is Elrond wealthy? He obviously commands a lot of resources, but I've always sort of viewed the elves--in Rivendell and Lothlorien, at least--as operating on a sort of Star Trek post-scarcity communist system.)

The fact that Gandalf mentions it alongside linen, extolling the fineness of both, may imply something or nothing. Linen is elsewhere mentioned as being used for bedding in Rivendell, as an analogy for the suppleness of mithril chain...and as one of the contents of Sam's pack, and serving as a bandage for Gimli's head. Clearly linen comes in various grades. The same is likely true of silk, but almost certainly to a lesser degree.

I must say, if I were a ranger and had access to silk, through my contacts among the elves, dwarven traders passing through the Shire and Bree, or otherwise...a waterproof tarp would be my first priority. It could be worn as a poncho or over-cloak, used as a tent (though certainly not a groundcloth like canvas is) and could keep anything wrapped in it dry when not being worn. It would take more weight off of the kit than any other single change I can think of, and serves arguably the most indispensable role in that kit.

Another interesting note regarding grommets:

While looking through mentions of silken shelters in Kepharts' book, I noticed that he had some interesting things to say about grommets. The two-piece, hardware-store-style grommets are obviously quite modern and not suitable for a really authentic kit. The alternative is the (comparatively delicate) embroidered grommet, or other tie-outs.

Kephart also warns against two-part grommets, but not because of 'authenticity'--rather because he views them as inferior on terms of strength to a steel ring stitched to the surface of the cloth. This seems like a very good, period-appropriate technique which, while likely as labor-intensive as the embroidered grommet, may be superior in strength to modern grommets.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Udwin » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:17 pm

Oiled silk...fascinating! And very tempting to someone who is also interested in weather protection methods without using heavy cotton oilskin. Hmmm.

Re: grommets, you may find a compromise between embroidery and a steel ring with the Soviet solution--a leather ring sewn on either side of the shelter material makes a very strong but nonmetallic grommet. I'll see if I can find my raincape and put up a picture as an example.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Iodo » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:50 am

Cool research :P does this refer to something made from raw silk? because in the picture of the rain coats it looks slightly transparent and more refined
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:10 pm

Iodo wrote:In the picture of the rain coats it looks slightly transparent and more refined


I haven't been able to find any pictures of oiled silk garments. The 'evolution of the waterproof jacket' page has a picture of two Aleutian gentlemen in transparent coats, but those are whale intestine.

That said, the oiled silk is apparently fairly transparent.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Iodo » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:54 pm

Raw silk would probably take to the linseed oil process better than refined silk, it's also easier to justify the existence of in middle earth

that said, my raw silk tunic is as thick as a thin linen, lighter yes, but in an oilskin tarp most of the weight comes from the linseed oil rather than the fabric so would a raw silk oilskin be any lighter than one made from a thinner linen? a refined silk oilskin, if that's possible, would probably come out like rougher version of a modern tent fabric, it's a fascinating idea
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:16 pm

Iodo wrote:a refined silk oilskin, if that's possible, would probably come out like rougher version of a modern tent fabric, it's a fascinating idea


Interesting. The raw silk yardage I'm looking at seems to run about 5oz/yd, whereas a fairly sturdy charmeuse is only half that.

I think 90% of the benefit would come from a more refined silk; the raw silk is, as you point out, likely as heavy as a light linen. The roughness of the cloth would also hold far more oil than a smoother weave, and its weight would consequently increase by a greater factor once treated. I also suspect that a smoother, tighter weave would shed water better; the waterproofing agent might be enough to prevent the water from actually soaking in to a coarse cloth, but with a smooth cloth it would seem more likely to 'sheet' off as opposed to clinging to the surface.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Iodo » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:44 pm

I don't know where to start with trying to find out if there was refined silk in middle earth, Tolkien doesn't describe it as anything other than just silk but as far as I can tell the process of refining silk is an old one, but reserved for the very rich
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Elleth » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:10 pm

Certainly we do see silk in Middle-earth, though admittedly generally small quantities and in the hands of fairly well to do people (and arguably the Galadhrim, though we don't know if that's silk as we know it).

However, here I think we're approaching the topic generally from the classic reenactor perspective - "I want a thing, how can I justify it?" rather than "what did the people we're reenacting actually do?"

(More on that in this thread)

In this case, we have a bit of evidence we can infer from:

The cold increased as darkness came on. Peering out from the edge of the dell they could see nothing but a grey land now vanishing quickly into shadow. The sky above had cleared again and was slowly filled with twinkling stars. Frodo and his companions huddled round the fire, wrapped in every garment and blanket they possessed; but Strider was content with a single cloak, and sat a little apart, drawing thoughtfully at his pipe.
FOTR, Book I, Chapter 11 - A Knife in the Dark


While granted that's referring to temperature rather than rain and it's always possible Aragorn has a silken oilcloth tucked away in his gear, I'm not inclined to guess that way. (And if ANYONE carried such a thing, it would be the far-travelling Strider)

Further, we're not talking about a scene written by a modern soft-living literary writer, but from a man who certainly spent his share of nights in the trenches of France with nothing but a woolen greatcoat and a steel hat to keep the rain off.

I suspect then that Aragorn and the rest of the northern Rangers generally didn't carry oilcloth of any variety, instead making use of natural shelter, "one blanket tricks*" and each other's warmth - all staples from frontier times to now.

(The term "One blanket tricks" comes as far as I know from Mark Baker, who as much as anyone could be said to have invented our hobby, albeit from a colonial American approach. He goes on at length about known improvisations for the humble woolen blanket (or cloak, for us). Most (all?) have long sense entered the broader bushcrafty consciousness and are all over youTube now, but his original compilation is in Volume Two of "A Pilgrim's Journey" if you want to track it down.)
EDIT: I misremembered the location of this information. It is in Vol 4 of Mark Baker's "Long Hunter Series" of videos, NOT in his books.
Presently available as of 2019 at: http://www.americanpioneervideo.com/info.html
EDIT Two: He does in fact have a "One Blanket Tricks" an article in A Pilgrim's Journey, Vol 1, p.188 (Originally printed Muzzleloader Magazine Mar/Apr 1992)
(This article is more a series of anecdotes however, and the video has better how-to. )


ALL THAT SAID -

There's ALSO no end of documentary evidence of real life frontiersmen and soldiers having all kinds of diseases we think of as extinct or "old people's problems" at staggeringly young ages. Living like they did even for a few years absolutely devastates the human body. (As Eric has recently reminded us)

"I catched the rheumatism, a lying' in the snow."

Maybe (probably) the Dunedain are hardier than us, certainly they just accepted some things as unavoidable that we as hobbyists absolutely should take the trivial pains to prevent.

Authenticity isn't worth dying over - I absolutely think especially in rainy country having a potentially life-saving piece of gear on hand is just good sense. And if it can be made to have an "old timey" feel while functioning almost as well - why not?

... but I personally doubt silken shelters were used in any noticeable way in Middle-earth, other than perhaps items of luxury in such places as the far east, the Numenorean kingdoms at their height, etc.
(edit -
At least by the kingdoms of men. I'd say the elven cloaks would be the same general space as a silken shelter - but that's a royal favor at a time of existential war, and not at all a thing I think likely to be in the possession of any human in Eriador at the end of the Third Age. )
Last edited by Elleth on Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:31 pm

Elleth wrote:Certainly we do see silk in Middle-earth, though admittedly generally small quantities and in the hands of fairly well to do people (and arguably the Galadhrim, though we don't know if that's silk as we know it).


Do we not? I was under the impression that the cloth of the Galadhrim was unambiguously vegetable in origin--either made from the bast of the mallorn trees or possibly from the stalks of the lembas corn. It was 'silky' in texture but not silk.



However, here I think we're approaching the topic generally from the classic reenactor perspective - "I want a thing, how can I justify it?" rather than "what did the people we're reenacting actually do?"


Not...*necessarily* so. In this case I was coming at it from the direction of "here's a problem that needs solving, how could it be solved with materials available in-context?"

...Which is better, but still not perfect. Sure, one who knew of both oilcloth and silk could make this logical connection, just as I did, but would they? Did they? This is a harder question for us than it is for pure historical reenactors, since the details of the artifacts in Middle earth are decidedly sketchier and more confusing than they are from many if not most timeperiods in real human history.

So we have less guidance, which is frustrating, but more freedom for creativity, which is kind of great--but kind of hard not to abuse.

Yes, they had silk, and the consensus of this forum seems to be that oilcloth is fair game (more on that later), but would they have oiled silk? The Chinese had it. And yet...the vikings had eider duvets. The Breelanders had geese. Would a down quilt, of the type I take backpacking but made of historical materials, be defensible? It absolutely feels like cheating. To go even further, if one has eiderdown and a cloth that can retain it, a down coat seems as natural a progression as oiled silk, yet this 'intuitive' leap wasn't made until the year before The Hobbit was published in our universe.

It's a difficult balance to strike.


Further, we're not talking about a scene written by a modern soft-living literary writer, but from a man who certainly spent his share of nights in the trenches of France with nothing but a woolen greatcoat and a steel hat to keep the rain off.


His understanding of what hard-living feels like is undeniable, but at the same time, the front lines of a twentieth-century battlefield have very different challenges, amenities, and goals than light, fast, solo wilderness travel. Unlike in the wild, in the trenches one would have comrades and medical professionals to keep an eye out for and treat things like hypothermia (or you just died of it--that happened more than a little). One would be supplied with food and gear on a day-to-day basis by a vast logistical network. One would have artificial shelter to return to after a watch, and the ability there to change into dry clothes and dry one's wet garments to some extent.

I'm not sure to what extent, from personal experience or historical study, he understood the specific challenges and dangers someone in Aragorn's line of work would face. That wouldn't be necessary write an amazing and compelling book--such gaps are quite forgivable in the context of the larger narrative--but such gaps need to be resolved for those of us who wish to venture unsupported into wild territory--to emulate Aragorn's deeds, however hazy his methods may be.

We normally plaster over those gaps with historical precedent, but there are major limitations to that strategy. The medieval world lacks a good analogue for rangers. Pilgrims were lightly-equipped pedestrians, but they relied on the charity of others more than their own skills. Travelling soldiers had logistical supply lines and tended to travel in large groups. To be 'abroad without patronage' as a lone person was quite often a crime. Hardy woodsmen undoubtedly existed, but my understanding is that they tended to operate in a small area around their home or village, returning to their home or an established camp location at night, and not having to worry about searching orcs (or social and ecological considerations) compelling them to Leave No Trace. Which brings us to...

I suspect then that Aragorn and the rest of the northern Rangers generally didn't carry oilcloth of any variety, instead making use of natural shelter, "one blanket tricks*" and each other's warmth - all staples from frontier times to now [...] Maybe (probably) the Dunedain are hardier than us.


This is a discrepancy I've noticed between the books and most folks' kit here on the forum. You're right that oilcloth, or even untreated tarps, are conspicuously absent from the source material. Perhaps their omission was an oversight on the author's part. Perhaps Numenorians need rain gear as much as Legolas needs snowshoes, both being to varying degrees super-human.

Either way, I don't consider it an option. To venture very far at all into the wild without shelter is folly. Relying on finding natural shelter is too risky; making it, too destructive. I usually have no others with whom to share warmth (other than my goats, but...it's a bleak emergency indeed that finds me cuddling a goat all night), and one-blanket tricks are suited only to fair weather. Use of a tarp is, to my mind, unavoidable. Since I'm going to be departing from the source material one way or another, the question is whether to emulate the lighter burden the rangers bore (in their case by eschewing a tarp, in our case, by carrying a very light one) or do we emulate the imperfect historical analogues we have by carrying a heavy tarp?

I think silken oilcloth may be the compromise that makes the most sense to me.

All of which is just a long-winded way of explaining my thoughts on your statement:

Authenticity isn't worth dying over - I absolutely think especially in rainy country having a potentially life-saving piece of gear on hand is just good sense. And if it can be made to have an "old timey" feel while functioning almost as well - why not?


To wrap up--

... but I personally doubt silken shelters were used in any noticeable way in Middle-earth, other than perhaps items of luxury in such places as the far east, the Numenorean kingdoms at their height, etc.
(edit -
At least by the kingdoms of men. I'd say the elven cloaks would be the same general space as a silken shelter - but that's a royal favor at a time of existential war, and not at all a thing I think likely to be in the possession of any human in Eriador at the end of the Third Age.)


I think this is a well-justified position. I wouldn't be shocked if elves in Rivendell or elsewhere had silk tents (assuming they do produce it themselves, which is hardly a given), but the Dunedain? If their chief does, he doesn't show it, and if he doesn't, it's hard to imagine it being a piece of standard-issue kit for the rest of them. I could honestly see the Ithilien Rangers carrying it--they're more or less a special-forces unit outfitted by a major player in international trade. But all of that is more "it's not impossible" rather than "it's probable".

As I've been thinking about a persona beyond just "Dress up like Strider and try to hike 135 miles really fast", this sort of idea has played into it. I'm not the kind of person who looks at what everyone else is doing and thinks 'good enough'. Rather, I'm the kind of person who spends way too much time and money trying to make something better and 90% of the time coming up with something that works almost as well as what everybody else went with in the first place. That's a characteristic I think my persona would share--he's the kind of guy who would spend a year's savings on silk handkerchiefs and try to make a shelter cloth out of them, if the option presented itself.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Iodo » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:25 pm

SierraStrider wrote: That's a characteristic I think my persona would share--he's the kind of guy who would spend a year's savings on silk handkerchiefs and try to make a shelter cloth out of them, if the option presented itself.

It sounds like the persona you've just created is an inventor :mrgreen:
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Elleth » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:45 pm

SierraStrider wrote:...I was under the impression that the cloth of the Galadhrim was unambiguously vegetable in origin--either made from the bast of the mallorn trees or possibly from the stalks of the lembas corn. It was 'silky' in texture but not silk.


I don't recall if we ever find out exactly what it is. But I think you're right that we can reasonably certain it wasn't silk as we know it.


SierraStrider wrote:Not...*necessarily* so. In this case I was coming at it from the direction of "here's a problem that needs solving, how could it be solved with materials available in-context?"


Quite fair! :)


... Which is better, but still not perfect. Sure, one who knew of both oilcloth and silk could make this logical connection, just as I did, but would they? Did they? ... a down coat seems as natural a progression as oiled silk, yet this 'intuitive' leap wasn't made until the year before The Hobbit was published in our universe.


Strongly agreed!

On the one hand, it's easy to be overeager because things we're intimately familiar seem they must have been obvious in retrospect, and we need to restrain that "they woulda if they coulda" reenactorism. On the other,I've been constantly surprised by seeing things far earlier than I'd thought - your folding pan most recently!

I think generally "stick to what's 'onscreen'" is a good rule of thumb, but the Professor himself was not half so persnickety as we I think. :)

This is a discrepancy I've noticed between the books and most folks' kit here on the forum. You're right that oilcloth, or even untreated tarps, are conspicuously absent from the source material. Perhaps their omission was an oversight on the author's part. Perhaps Numenorians need rain gear as much as Legolas needs snowshoes, both being to varying degrees super-human.


I have been rethinking the period-appropriateness of oilcloth in our domain - I think it was Taurinor some time back who mentioned that oilcloth shows up surprisingly late in currently known documented sources. If memory serves, waxed cloth ("cerecloth") shows up in our period however.

My current supposition is that IF oilcloth is as late his source implies, that the constraint in earlier periods likely wasn't one of knowledge but economics: how much linseed oil can one get out of a year's crop of flax seeds? Were there more important uses for that oil in earlier periods? Was there some processing step invented in the early modern period that made linseed oil easier / cheaper to produce?

Or did they have oilcloth all along and we just haven't found a reference yet? I have no idea.

Regardless, I think we can safely say that while the Dunedain are likely hardier than ourselves, they're quite certainly mortal and can die of exposure.
So clearly they do *something*

I'm curious about your statement that "one blanket tricks" being only suitable for fair weather?
Are you saying that you want more shelter than a single blanket or cloak can provide in dire conditions? (strongly agreed)
Or that one can't effectively keep the cold rain off with just a blanket/cloak?

To the latter - I have never actually tried using a wool cover in a downpour.
I've read of it being done, but never tried it myself.

I'm sure we'll have a nice cold October soak sometime in the next month or so - when it happens I'll drag a cloak out there, toss it over a branch and see how it holds up.

I *suspect* it will keep off the water just fine unless there's a contact/drip point in the surface... but get soaked and need all kinds of wringing out to get packable again.

Suspecting's not knowing though, so... onward. :)
(Another variable is the weave density and the amount of lanolin in the wool, but that's something for another day)


Regardless, I think we're very much on the same page regarding practicalities at any rate. :)
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:09 pm

Elleth wrote:I have been rethinking the period-appropriateness of oilcloth in our domain - I think it was Taurinor some time back who mentioned that oilcloth shows up surprisingly late in currently known documented sources. If memory serves, waxed cloth ("cerecloth") shows up in our period however.


Interesting. The line between "waxed" and "oiled" cloth seems pretty blurry to me, though; the commercial dressing I've always used for my oilskin coats is a mixture of mineral oil, unspecified waxes, vitamin E oil and lanolin, according to the manufacturer. I supposed boiled linseed oil has been favored since it sort of "sets up", but if I (as this purported historical source) were starting with waxed cloth and wondering how to improve it, the addition of some kind of oil seems absolutely obvious.

Frankly, given the choice I thin I'd prefer a wax-based solution over BLO. It'd be worth cutting some scraps and testing flammability, though.



I'm curious about your statement that "one blanket tricks" being only suitable for fair weather?
Are you saying that you want more shelter than a single blanket or cloak can provide in dire conditions? (strongly agreed)
Or that one can't effectively keep the cold rain off with just a blanket/cloak?

To the latter - I have never actually tried using a wool cover in a downpour.
I've read of it being done, but never tried it myself.

I'm sure we'll have a nice cold October soak sometime in the next month or so - when it happens I'll drag a cloak out there, toss it over a branch and see how it holds up.

I *suspect* it will keep off the water just fine unless there's a contact/drip point in the surface... but get soaked and need all kinds of wringing out to get packable again.


I think a wool tarp would be better than nothing. However, it seems to me that if one wanted a "tarp" (cloth with an air-gap between it and the sleeper with no contact points to drip or run water through) AND a "blanket" (cloth in direct contact with the sleeper for the purpose of insulation), you'd need a MUCH bigger blanket than mine to do all that with a single piece. I often wish my blanket were a bit bigger just for the "blanket" half of that task.

So, for a cloak? Sure. Good, heavy wool takes a good while to soak through and keeps the wearer pretty well insulated even when wet--but if I could keep my wool dry I'd vastly prefer it, especially if it's going to be in contact with my body, and to my mind that means a separate tarp, of non-wool if at all possible.
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Iodo » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:17 pm

Elleth wrote:To the latter - I have never actually tried using a wool cover in a downpour.
I've read of it being done, but never tried it myself.

I'm sure we'll have a nice cold October soak sometime in the next month or so - when it happens I'll drag a cloak out there, toss it over a branch and see how it holds up.

I *suspect* it will keep off the water just fine unless there's a contact/drip point in the surface... but get soaked and need all kinds of wringing out to get packable again.

I tried it with this: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4142

in Scotland on a day when the rain was set in to last, I left the cloak in a forest tied up with a dry cloth underneath so I could see if anything had come through, and in eight hours nothing did, but it was wet both sides so like you suspect, if there were any contact points water would have come through and if it had been windy (it wasn't so I don't know) i think movement would have flicked water off the back and I'd have come back to a wet cloth

even so, I'd be reluctant to do this because soaked through it's heavy, a full size blanket would be heavier and near impossible to dry or fold in a way that would keep at least some fabric dry to use again
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby Greg » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:08 pm

This is are ally cool direction you're headed in, and I can't wait to see where it leads, but if I were to give my input, it would go simply yet frustratingly against your goals.

I'd ditch the tarp, and save ALL the weight.

I've done my last three treks with natural or no shelter, rather than a tarp tent, and both the pack weight and the construction have been immensely satisfying. Two of those three trips saw rain, one a steady downpour.

That being said, oiled silk could be really cool! Don't let me poop on your parade, but think about trying without.
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SierraStrider
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Re: On Oiled Silk

Postby SierraStrider » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:21 am

Greg wrote:I'd ditch the tarp, and save ALL the weight.

I've done my last three treks with natural or no shelter, rather than a tarp tent, and both the pack weight and the construction have been immensely satisfying. Two of those three trips saw rain, one a steady downpour.


I'd love to hear more about your techniques, if you've expanded on them elsewhere or would like to do so here. The idea of hiking without waterproof shelter goes solidly against my safety biases, but the affordability of that solution makes me very open to being convinced.

When you say "the construction" I assume you mean building a natural shelter? I've done it before, though usually in situations where rain was not an issue and therefore not accounted for in my design. When rain was looming on the horizon, I've relied on modern materials to keep my shelter warm and dry.

In any case, a man-made "bushcraft" shelter can be part if the fun if your goal is to go to a place and camp, but takes a LOT of time if your goal is to cover as many miles as possible in a day, or over the course of several days. Additionally, a lot of the places I camp aren't really suitable for that kind of thing, with sparse and slow-growing trees. Even in more lush areas, it can be dangerous to leave such a mark of your passage lest hippiesorcs track you down and murder you.

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