What To Wear During Survival Situations

Most preppers think they know what to wear in survival situations.

And it usually consists of super expensive, “eco-friendly” materials.

A lot of preppers (especially women) also fall into the trap of packing a ton of clothing into their bug out bag, “just in case.”

However, even the best-intentioned preppers often get it wrong in the “clothing” area of survival.

And, once SHTF, this is one arena that can literally kill you if you make the wrong decision.

No matter what survival situations you find yourself in, you need to be prepared with the right clothing in order to make it through.

That’s why I want to teach you some valuable lessons on…

What To Wear During Survival Situations

1 – How Layering Should Actually Work

Many preppers think “layering” means just slapping on random pieces of clothing until they’re warm.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is, you need three distinct layers for any survival situation you find yourself in. You need one “base” layer to “wick away” sweat and keep it off your skin, one insulating layer to keep your body temperature up, and one outer waterproof layer.

Base Layer: Use shirts made of polypropylene. This material keeps sweat off your skin, allowing your body to stay warmer longer.

Insulating Layer: This layer should be thicker than your base layer. Materials such as synthetic fleece, nylon, and polyester work well for insulating.

However, do NOT use wool. This material is heavy and gets wet incredibly easily. It also holds onto the liquid, making the process of drying it incredibly time intensive.

Outer Layer: This layer should protect you from the wind and rain, but should still be breathable – especially when you’re moving around a lot. Windbreakers are a great option.

2 – Avoid Cotton and Bamboo

Cotton: Even though cotton is an incredibly popular fabric, it’s also incredibly useless when wet. Not only does it soak up water quickly, but it then holds onto the liquid, making you shiver, shake, and possibly catch hypothermia.

Plus, the crazy thing is when cotton is wet, the sun slips right through the fibers and onto your skin. So don’t be surprised when you take off your cotton shirt and you have a sunburn underneath!

Bamboo: Many bamboo fabrics are also composed of rayon, which soaks in water like a sponge, and won’t let it go (much like cotton). So if you get caught in a storm or accidentally go for a dip in the lake, these fabrics will make it almost impossible to keep warm.

3 – Other Good Advice

These don’t necessarily fit into a category, but they’re still helpful tips to keep in mind when preparing for survival:

  • Wear sunscreen (even in cloud coverage) if your skin is exposed.
  • Protect your head from the sun and rain with a bandana. (Want more cool ways to use a bandana? Read our blog about it here).
  • Always have a few extra pairs of socks. ALWAYS. These should be made of material that wick away moisture (and can be purchased at athletic stores).
  • Always change into a dry base layer before adding more layers.
  • Remove a layer before physical exertion – your body will heat up faster than you think it will.
  • Wear light-colored clothing. These don’t heat up nearly as fast as dark-colored fabrics.

Now does the above list contain absolutely everything you need to know about clothing for a survival situation? Probably not.

However, it’s a great start.

Here’s a helpful video to give you even more insight into what to wear. Remember, the better you prepare now, the more likely you’ll survive later!

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  1. If you are unfortunate enough to catch on fire, polyester will melt to your skin like the plastic it’s fibers are made of (basically) where as cotton is considered as a “clean burning” material, causing less skin damage potential than the synthetics. I have some Army Combat pants that are made of an Aramid, Rayon and Spandex blend, which are considered fire resistant that I like a lot…But, as long as you don’t catch yourself on fire, synthetics and blends are the way to go.
    I was on an early spring camping trip many years ago and was wearing 100% cotton pants on the hike in. An unexpected shower ended up getting those pants soaked, and with the high humidity, they never dried before I packed out. I’ve since been told by military veterans that 100% cotton is only good in desert environments.
    Fortunately I had a pair of high-end, 100% nylon, zip off into shorts, back up lightweight pants I wore for the rest of that trip, and i recall those cotton pants weighing about 10 pounds still super damp as I packed them out. Since then I have acquired a second pair of all nylon zipoff’s, which I caught on super sale for $20. Sometimes when all they have left is one or two sizes that go cheap on various sites, and I got lucky.
    I now aim for nylon or 65/35 poly/cotton blends, if any cotton at all. The Tru-spec 24/7 100% cotton pants are what I had on that day, but their “lightweight” version is a 65/35 blend and in a wet situation, warmer in my experience.
    I really don’t care for the sound new poly and blend pants make when the fabric rubs on itself as you hike, but it’s not so bad that I won’t wear them, and it seems to go away for the most part once they are broken in. Also, it depends on the cut, and how much extra material is in the thigh region, my thighs don’t rub together, but I imagine the noise may be more annoying for folks who do have that issue. Seems Tru-spec has come out with a slimmer cut version that may eliminate the annoying sound, but I have not tried them yet.
    With so many quality brands and makers these days working with quick drying materials,, there should be something good and functional for everyone out there.

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