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#161912 - 02/09/12 07:43 PM using wool instead of down or syn for insulation
routerdoubter Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, PNWet
saw this article
http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcas...insulation.html

and was thinking about making a jacket or a quilt using some loose wool. The only place i know of to get some loose wool at the moment is here. http://www.oregonshepherd.com/

does anyone know an easy way to figure out how much wool (in oz.) compared to how much down or synthetic it would take to get the same warmth rating?

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#161914 - 02/09/12 08:01 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I dont know, but i will say this. Pops always wore wool sweaters and carried a spare when backpacking. That was old school. Wool keeps you warm much like syn can even when wet. However, man is it heavy. I highly doubt it will hold a candle even to synthetic weight wise? I could be wrong, but wool isnt light bye old school standards. Merino has come along way! Unless some new tech has come along, if weight is a concern? I am doubtfull it will compare???
I still have pops old wool sweaters, and wear them when hunting and cross country sking. They are great for that , but backpacking they are home in the trunk!

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#161931 - 02/10/12 12:53 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: Kent W]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
You aren't looking at the right wool shirts. I have some merino shirts (the Backcountry.com brand, Stoic) that are awesome summer hiking shirts. Nice lightweight stench-resistant wicking shirts. NO itching.

Lightweight wool base layers are really, really nice.
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#161935 - 02/10/12 04:18 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Wool has a warmth to weight ratio comparable to down? Color me skeptical. Don't believe everything you see on the Internet....

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#161938 - 02/10/12 09:53 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: oldranger]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I stand corrected! Interesting concept. Pricey , but what high end gear isnt.
I still have to see a 20 degree 2 lb or less wool sleeping bag to beleive it!


Edited by Kent W (02/10/12 09:57 AM)

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#161939 - 02/10/12 10:00 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By routerdoubter
saw this article
http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcas...insulation.html

and was thinking about making a jacket or a quilt using some loose wool. The only place i know of to get some loose wool at the moment is here. http://www.oregonshepherd.com/

does anyone know an easy way to figure out how much wool (in oz.) compared to how much down or synthetic it would take to get the same warmth rating?


Oregon Shepard gives out free samples. I would say, get the free sample, then make a small pouch to stuff it in. Your warmth rating will be based on the loft, and is probably comparable to loft of down. Then you weigh it and determine how much for a certain amount of loft. Another method would be to simulate the down rating test. I believe it uses a column of down with a weight.

edit: There is a chart on their site that give R value, thickness and weight together. A little math is all that is needed.


Edited by finallyME (02/10/12 10:24 AM)
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#161943 - 02/10/12 11:09 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: finallyME]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
So, I did some calculating with the numbers from Oregon Shepard. According to wiki, fill power is measured in units of in3/oz. If my numbers are right, then I am getting around 117 to 120 in3/oz for the wool.
Keep in mind, this is the insulation that Oregon Shepard is using for housing insulation. The insulation in the garment article says it uses a binding agent. This probably increases the fill power.
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#161948 - 02/10/12 12:43 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: finallyME]
routerdoubter Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, PNWet
i don't know that a binding agent would make a difference. corn starch is water soluble, so i would imagine it would wear out after 1 or 2 washes or a heavy sweat.

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#161949 - 02/10/12 12:44 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: finallyME]
routerdoubter Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, PNWet
source or actual calculations you used?

Originally Posted By finallyME
So, I did some calculating with the numbers from Oregon Shepard. According to wiki, fill power is measured in units of in3/oz. If my numbers are right, then I am getting around 117 to 120 in3/oz for the wool.
Keep in mind, this is the insulation that Oregon Shepard is using for housing insulation. The insulation in the garment article says it uses a binding agent. This probably increases the fill power.


Edited by routerdoubter (02/10/12 12:51 PM)

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#161969 - 02/10/12 06:22 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
routerdoubter Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, PNWet
i did some more internet digging, and using lofted wool is apparently not such a new idea. most results were for comforters. did some more digging, and i can find raw merino wool on ebay and a couple other places. looks like people spin their own wool yarns from the raw stuff.

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#161991 - 02/11/12 02:02 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: lori]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
Originally Posted By lori
You aren't looking at the right wool shirts. I have some merino shirts (the Backcountry.com brand, Stoic) that are awesome summer hiking shirts. Nice lightweight stench-resistant wicking shirts. NO itching.

Lightweight wool base layers are really, really nice.


I second Loris post
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#161998 - 02/11/12 03:19 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: Samoset]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Like I said I think merino is great it has come along way. I have some merino items. But ounce for ounce with down? Like I said show me a 2 pound twenty degree wool filled sleeping bag! Then I will beleive it! Though the wool would fare much better when damp or wet! It is obvious they are doing some interesting things with wool fill. Time will tell?

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#162000 - 02/11/12 03:25 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: Kent W]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
There's nothing new about processing wool into fluffy quilt filling. A lady I knew as a child raised several "bum" (orphan or rejected) lambs each year, sent their wool off to be washed, carded and fluffed into quilt filling, and made her own quilts with it. I know they were warm, but they weren't as light as high quality down. I strongly suspect that wool batting will neither compress as well nor recover from compression as well as 800+ fill down.


Edited by OregonMouse (02/11/12 05:30 PM)
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#162006 - 02/11/12 05:09 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: OregonMouse]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
My mother and father used wool-filled sleeping bags while they were still camping and backpacking; this was in the 40's and 50's. I kept one of the wool bags for a while after my dad retired. It was like a rolled mattress when rigged for carrying and had lost most of its original loft over 20 years of use; it was more like a thick blanket after some use. Also, it was heavy and not particularly warm, even when new.
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#162066 - 02/13/12 09:27 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: Pika]
Pete A. Offline
member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 23
Loc: Auburn, AL
Very interesting concept - thought it would seem like even if you got the loft you wanted, could it compress and then re-loft anywhere near like down?
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#162088 - 02/13/12 02:40 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: lori]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I'll back Lori up on that. Merino wool is very functional and light now. I get a minor rash if the synthetics are next to my skin for too long. So now, everything next to my skin is merino wool (while backpacking). Shirts are 150 weight and I have nice 200 weight long john pants for winter that work great and are not bad weight wise.

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#162210 - 02/15/12 10:33 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By routerdoubter
source or actual calculations you used?

Originally Posted By finallyME
So, I did some calculating with the numbers from Oregon Shepard. According to wiki, fill power is measured in units of in3/oz. If my numbers are right, then I am getting around 117 to 120 in3/oz for the wool.
Keep in mind, this is the insulation that Oregon Shepard is using for housing insulation. The insulation in the garment article says it uses a binding agent. This probably increases the fill power.


I gave the source in my post. The Oregon Shepard website that you linked to, and I used Wiki to determine how they measure fill power.
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#162450 - 02/18/12 08:39 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: finallyME]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Hand knit or machine knit medium thickness sweaters can have a fair bit of loft and spring to them, and breath well when uncovered and drain and squeeze dry nicely if soaked, and once you add a fleece or wind layer over they provide their full benefit for warmth. You get a little more puffiness or loft if the eventual wind layer has elastic cuffs and is just a bit short than the wool to fluff it up a bit. Maybe try same idea with a machine knit wool blanket vs a woven blanket. You could separate the wool and nylon shell for drying.

I would like to try using cat-tails as insulation some time.

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#162476 - 02/19/12 11:07 AM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: routerdoubter]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
My grandmother used to have blankets that used wool for batting. I think you can actually still buy wool batting. I see compressability as a problem. How large a stuff sack would a 0F wool bag take? The wool batting does not make a lot of sense now that there are much lighter synthetic batting materials that work well in wet conditions. I would reserve wool for underware. As underware, it really works well, in conjunction with a synthetic bag, if you are in VERY wet humid condtions.

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#162491 - 02/19/12 02:48 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: wandering_daisy]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Wool can also be a good liner inside of a down or synthetic bag, but you have to be able to take it out and dry it now and then. Wool underwear is better because it is multipurpose and you can dry while wearing it.

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#164117 - 03/18/12 02:25 PM Re: using wool instead of down or syn for insulation [Re: wandering_daisy]
OldJohnDewey Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 11
Loc: BC Canada
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
My grandmother used to have blankets that used wool for batting. I think you can actually still buy wool batting. I see compressability as a problem. How large a stuff sack would a 0F wool bag take? The wool batting does not make a lot of sense now that there are much lighter synthetic batting materials that work well in wet conditions. I would reserve wool for underware. As underware, it really works well, in conjunction with a synthetic bag, if you are in VERY wet humid condtions.

There were a few wool bags, quilts and such around when I was growing up as well. Compressability and weight were certainly issues. I wouldn't want to pack one anywhere. There are certainly much better options for sleeping bags today. I too really like the merino underwear but also still keep a few wool shirts and sweaters for the trail. (Maybe I'm still a little old school.) Merino wool underwear with a synthetic bag is indeed a great combo for damp conditions.

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