Blankets

RustyBull

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Dec 6, 2010
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In the Heart of Dixie
Need some advise from you veteran re-enactors out there, what blankets do you recommend for our hobby and what is the best source for them? I have searched the internet and found some that were very nice but at $100 too expensive for me and too nice to take to camp (if I pay that much for a blanket it will not leave the house)!

Russell L. (Rusty) Bull
Co. B, 4th Alabama Cavalry (CS)
Co. A, 4th Tennessee Cavalry (CS)
 

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kansas

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May 12, 2010
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herington kansas
A hundred bucks does not seem out of line for a good blanket, they were expensive back then as well. Blankets made from a process called shoddy were a popular as well as cheaper alternative in the 19th century but to buy one today saves no money as they are a popular item worldwide for the texture and look. Good blankets will take alot of stretching and hard use, cheap ones dont and shoddy sure as heck wont.
 

johan_steele

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$100 for a quality blanket is quite reasonable. Look up an Abe Thomas blanket as those are IMO the best out there. But in a pinch for the cheap at heart the Swiss Army Surplus blanket will work & at $35-40 will ease the expensed account. They are both gray and brown w/ a red stripe and will work well enough.

Another option as doing CS is a carpet roll... what kind and material is appropriate will require research.

http://stonybrookcompany.com/ see the consignment page, there are sometimes blankets.
http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categories/PartList.aspx?catID=3&subID=90&styleID=334&as=1 are about as low cost as I'd be willing to go, I prefer my Abe Thomas.
 
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I agree with the previous posters that $100 or more is what it costs to get a quality reproduction. That said, Fall Creek's "emergency issue" blanket (at just under $60) has been cited as an "acceptable" substitute at authentic events I've attended, and their others would probably pass muster, too.

But we should also note that for most of the war both sides struggled with shortages of decent blankets. The Confederates always had a problem, the Union had problems for at least the first year and a half of the war. One of my favorite General Orders, No. 121 of August 29, 1862, reads in part:

"...As the sudden call for volunteers and militia has exhausted the supply of blankets, fit for military purposes, in the market, and it will take some time to procure by manufacture or importation a sufficient supply, all citizens who may volunteer or be drafted are advised to take with them to the rendezvous, if possible, a good stout woolen blanket. The regulation military blanket is 84 x 66 inches, and weighs five pounds..." The order went on to note that by bringing their own, recruits would save the cost from their clothing allowance. This was $2.95 at the time of the order, but went up to $3.60 in December 1862.

Thus, for at least part of the war, an "authentic" Federal blanket would be any pure wool blanket of about the right size and weight. I found a couple in my mother-in-law's basement that I don't hesitate to take to events.
 

RustyBull

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In the Heart of Dixie
I currently have several blankets, 3 "Italian Surplus" blankets that are quite warm and weigh at least 5 pounds each, a 1861 emergency blanket and a couple of grey and blue wool blankets, all of which are very warm. As far as the Italian blankets, they would appear to be from that period in time (although they are recent issue), would they pass in camp? I don't plan to have them out of the tent, however might wrap up in one around the fire on a cold night and don't want to use something that doesn't appear to be from the correct period in history.
 

Joey12thga

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It depends on your impression, time frame of the war, location, and what side of the spectrum of reenacting you slide towards.

Example- If I portray an Atlanta Campaign AoT soldier then I like to use my English Import blanket. (Main Impression)
If I portray a one of Colquitts Brigade during the Olustee Campaign then I use a blanket IDed to the ANV.
If I portray early war Volunteer I use a brought from home blanket
If I portray an Atlanta Campaign Federal Soldier I use a standard issue Tan US Blanket.
ETC and those are not definites but general thought process when building an impression till I get into more documentation of what they actualy had.


If you are never gonna strap a blanket over your shoulder or campaign then a cheap blanket from any mainstream vendor will work but if you wanna roll like they did then your best bet is save the money and geta good one.

Nick Sekela carries some
South Union Mills (Chris Utley)
Dan Wambaugh has some on occasion
Carter and Jasper (Joe Blunt)
 

Craig L Barry

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Murfreesboro, TN
$100 is about right for a decent blanket of the right materials and construction.
Considering the comfort it provides on all but the warmest evenings, it is money
well spent.

I plan on doing three days of living history out at Stones River battlefield beginning
Friday (New Year's Eve) and that blanket will likely be a great comfort. If you don't want
to spend for a decent blanket, a rubber waterproof "gum" blanket/poncho can be very
warm and keep you dry as well.
 

RustyBull

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Ordered a Gettysburg Blanket for $67.50 plus shipping from Track of the Wolf, best price I've seen anywhere for a Woolrich. I don't plan to carry it, dismounted cavalry but do try to be as authetic as I can within my budget.
 

Poor Private

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Don't forget to check ebay-- I just picked up a grey unused Korean War US navy blanket 100% wool for less than 35 bucks including shipping. Another way to go is go to a fabric store and pick up 2 yards of 100% wool and have someone bind the edges or do it your self for no charge Cost maybe $40 for the fabric. There are other acceptable options than buying thru "approved" vendors. Don't get caught up in the latest "designer" names.
 

johan_steele

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I've had outstanding luck w/ Track of the Wolf, their Customer Service and Shipping dept are second to none. I get into the store every couple monthes and drool on their original M1817 that looks like it was just pulled off that rack. They have good deals once in a while and sometimes their prices are outrageous, it's catch of the draw. Good Luck
Ordered a Gettysburg Blanket for $67.50 plus shipping from Track of the Wolf, best price I've seen anywhere for a Woolrich. I don't plan to carry it, dismounted cavalry but do try to be as authetic as I can within my budget.
 

johan_steele

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That Korean War blanket wouldn't be appropriate as it would be Olive Drab. The fabric store is an interesting option but you must keep in mind the difference in weave/weight. My Abe Thomas blanket keeps me warm at night w/ no issues, a lighter weave might as well be a floor rug.

I'm a fan of the Abe Thomas blankets because of the history behind them as much as anything else, though their authenticity rating is pretty hard to beat.
Don't forget to check ebay-- I just picked up a grey unused Korean War US navy blanket 100% wool for less than 35 bucks including shipping. Another way to go is go to a fabric store and pick up 2 yards of 100% wool and have someone bind the edges or do it your self for no charge Cost maybe $40 for the fabric. There are other acceptable options than buying thru "approved" vendors. Don't get caught up in the latest "designer" names.
 

Tin cup

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A good authentic blanket is hard to beat. I was lucky to have been able to buy a FHW double-woven civilian blanket years ago, when they were available) and will hang onto it forever. I also bought one of FHW coverlets, it's light weight, great for warm Spring/Summer nights.

I will be in the market for a authentic Union blanket, as I'm getting my Yank impression up to snuff next year.

Where do you find an English import blanket?

Kevin Dally
 

Poor Private

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As I noted earlier the blanket is GRAY not O.D. and it's specs by the U.S. Navy Procuring office specifies that that is what it is.
Also since he asked about a blanket for under a 100 bucks I was giving him options other than spending 2-3 hundred for a designer blanket, or buying a used worn out one. And if a feller gets close enough to look at the warp and weft of my blanket there may be other issuses. If in the future you may want to upgrade to a "designer" blanket he can use the old one on his bed at home.
I get tired of some people trying to shame others because they don't have the latest, greatest most accurate bits and pieces of uniform or equipment out there. It's a hobby for goodness sakes, we all dive into it as best or as comfortably as we can. Not all of us can afford to spend a zillion dollars on our kit or need to, or even want to due to real life, or level of the hobby we wish to be in.
 

Joey12thga

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As I noted earlier the blanket is GRAY not O.D. and it's specs by the U.S. Navy Procuring office specifies that that is what it is.
Also since he asked about a blanket for under a 100 bucks I was giving him options other than spending 2-3 hundred for a designer blanket, or buying a used worn out one. And if a feller gets close enough to look at the warp and weft of my blanket there may be other issuses. If in the future you may want to upgrade to a "designer" blanket he can use the old one on his bed at home.
I get tired of some people trying to shame others because they don't have the latest, greatest most accurate bits and pieces of uniform or equipment out there. It's a hobby for goodness sakes, we all dive into it as best or as comfortably as we can. Not all of us can afford to spend a zillion dollars on our kit or need to, or even want to due to real life, or level of the hobby we wish to be in.


Cris, Chill out.
 

bdacus

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Jul 23, 2010
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Shelby county, Tennessee
Ok i am NOT a veteran... I have learned very fast... You get what you pay for.. So look around and compare. Joey and Johnathan's list are good places to start. The other thing you will learn fast is there is NO SUCH THING as ONE STOP shopping..

Joey sent me over to Carter and Jasper.. Joe is a great guy to work with. Wambaugh and White seem good to..

brent dacus
 
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Most of the places Chris and I post we end up disagreeing with each other. But not here.

As I stated earlier, for much of the war, an "authentic" US army blanket would be just about anything, including one brought from home. That would be even more the case with the Confederates. Last year I took one of the blankets I found in my mother-in-law's basement to two campaign events, one of them lasting six days and the other two. In neither case did I run into any problems, either with the blanket or the event standards.

I also have an Abe Thomas that I took to several other events. It's a good blanket and a good investment, but it is not necessary. If people have problems raising the funds, they can achieve just as much "authenticity" by investing time in working on their first person and penmanship.

Of course, that's just my bias.
 


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