With springtime waiting just around the corner, preparation for wet weather is in check. It is also highly important to have the skillset of weatherproofing if SHTF anytime soon (and yet again, who are we kidding…). Learning a thing or two about waterproofing gear will surely come in handy.
There is not much worse than being cold…that “much worse” only comes along when you get wet and cold. In literally any sort of survival situation, getting soaked through can literally kill you. This is because the water can act as a refrigerant that will allow the cold to permeate right through your clothes to your skin, which will decrease your body temperature at a quicker pace. Rather than retaining body heat, the water will carry it all outward.
Waterproofing your gear is an absolute must. Let’s talk about that today since the topic of waterproofing gear doesn’t get too much cover.
Simply going out and buying top-notch waterproofed gear can be extremely easy in today’s market. However, any true prepper will let you know in a skinny minute the perils of this choice…
The first being, obviously, that when SHTF you will not be able to plainly walk into the next big supermarket and purchase any crucial gear (and we all know that until SHTF, we will put off any needs that aren’t immediate…). Another downfall to buying expensive equipment is that, not only are they pumped full of chemicals, they are not always as efficient as they claim to be and typically they are crazily priced. That money could easily be split into smaller portions that will buy far superior prep-products.
Waterproofed clothing is available on a wide-ranged market, but with even the slightest experience in “wasting” precious money on these “proofed” articles will let you know that they don’t last a very long time. Over time seepage will happen.
However, re-proofing your clothing is not at all as difficult as it may first appear. Just remember always to use clean, dirt-free garments.
1. The first option is to, in advance, purchase a small stock of waterproof sprays and seam sealers. In this process, you want to be sure that the material that you are waterproofing is free of dust and dirt particles (also be sure not to attempt to waterproof on a mild to severely humid day). Be sure the fabric is also dry. After the first application, allow the garment to dry and apply a second coat. Be sure to hit every inch of each seam with the seam sealer.
2. The next several steps are entirely DIY; Laundry Detergent and Alum: Mix 1 pound of laundry detergent with 2 gallons of hot water in a large container. You will need the container to be big enough to totally submerge the clothing in. Soak the fabric to full saturation. Next, dry the garment entirely. Combine a ½ pound of alum with 2 gallons of hot water in a second container. Soak the fabric a second time, allowing it to saturate for a minimum of 2 hours. And again hang the fabric to air dry completely.
Related reading: How To Deal With Laundry In Survival Or Primitive Situations
3. Turpentine and Soybean Oil: Mix 1 cup of soybean oil with 4 ounces of turpentine. Pour both into a durable plastic container and stir it. Next, use a paintbrush or a spray bottle to apply the mixture to clean, dry fabric. Be sure to lay it on in a single, consistent direction while simultaneously overlapping the last coat. Allow the fabric to dry (which could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days).
4. Beeswax and Linseed Oil: This process is known as making tin cloth. The fabric will be flexible, waterproof, and, to a certain degree, fireproof. This method is relatively inexpensive considering how much can be coated per batch. Pine tar can be used as a third ingredient to help the beeswax be more flexible and prevent any molding that may occur. 1 lb beeswax, 2 quarts linseed oil, 1 cup pine tar. Heat the linseed oil and beeswax in an old stockpot over medium heat. Next, add the pine tar (optional) and stir mixture until all ingredients are combined. Similarly, coat onto fabric to the steps above. Allow to air dry completely before use.
Waterproofing your shoes can really save your ass in a dire situation. Many hiking shoes and boots sold today are considered waterproofed, and certainly will last for a while, but not forever. It is important to prep for re-proofing any and all footwear.
Here are a few ways to ‘re-proof’ yourself.
- Beeswax and Linseed Oil: The same mixture used above can also be incorporated into leather and canvas materials. To waterproof a pair of shoes with the mixture, rub it directly onto the shoe until it is well saturated. Next, use a hairdryer to remove the excess. Be sure to hit every inch of each seam. These will need to be given time to dry for a couple of days. Mineral spirits may be used to quicken the dry pace but will take away the flame-retardant aspect, until entirely evaporated.
- Beeswax: If you only have access to the beeswax, this can be applied in the same manner and will do the job to a certain degree (re-application may be required periodically).
We can all understand that a map can be your best friend in nearly any situation (though map reading does appear to be a lost skill set…). I am sure we are all also aware that a paper map only performs best when the weather outside is cooperating with a good bit of “dryness”. A wet map is impossible for practical use.
Waterproofing a paper map can be done in a slew of ways. Today, we will discuss one, and possibly the most pragmatic method of waterproofign a map.
Lamination is a very practical way to waterproof a paper map, but it renders it nearly inflexible, unbending.
Waterproof Map Sealing:
- Get a waterproof sealant of any kind (Thompson Water Seal worked great for me)
- Open the map fully, flatten it out on an open workspace.
- Brush a decently thick layer of the sealant on both sides of the map, covering every inch.
- Hang the map up flat, and allow it to dry for a day or so.
- Once the map is dry, use clear packing tape to line every inch of the edge (this will prevent tears and rips for some time).
*(There are several professional-grade map sealants available on the market, just pick any you prefer, but the above way is sure to save you mula!)
When waterproofing any leather or canvas tarps and backpacks and other gear that will be subject to weathering, the above mixture of beeswax and linseed oil will work great wonders. It helps for the weave of the material to be good and tight, too loose and the proofing will not be able to close in the gaps to keep your shit dry.
If the material is cloth, be sure to allow the heated mixture to cool off enough so that it doesn’t shrink the cloth. Brush the mixture directly to the fabric until it is saturated. Allow it to dry a bit then heat it with a hair dryer to smooth and remove the excess. This can and will nicely waterproof any canvas you may be used as a tent, tarp or packs for holding your camping gear. Allow these materials to dry for a couple of days.
Now, the argument can be made that “these materials may not be so easily obtained when the shit really does fly to the fan”, and that is an extremely valid point. There is, however, an age-old answer to this conundrum, and it is age-old, tested and known to be (for the most part) remarkably fruitful:
You may be whispering to yourself now that you aren’t a “hunter” of any sort, but I can guarantee that will all change once you ever find yourself in a dire, survival scenario. A bear and the uses it withholds can cover a broad realm. Not only its meat (which, by the way, is a very rich source of organic, healthy caloric content), but its fat can be used for a multitude of things, including waterproofing your gear.
This includes cooking, conditioning, lubricant, lamp oil, pie crusts, rust-prevention, as well as weather forecasting (wow, I know right…). It is also important to take note that bear fat does not go rancid as fast as any other animal fats.
Today, we are only covering the use of its fat for waterproofing, but with a bit of tedious research, you will find it useful for many, many everyday things.
Rendering bear fat for the first time can prove to be a bit of a squabble to wrangle. But once you get the process down, it can save your ass in a skinny minute. A bears ability to store excess amounts of fat makes it a biological marvel. The bear’s fat is an “all-natural” harvest of the Eastern Forests that make up much of the eastern United States; consisting, mostly, of berries, nuts, fish, grasses, and insects.
Rendering Bear Fat:
- First, you want to remove all the meat from the fat (the meat will cause the fat to go rancid faster). Clean it thoroughly, removing any stray fur and meat.
- The next step is to cut the fat into small, square pieces and add them to a deep stock pot. BE sure to cut them into very tiny segments, this will ensure a faster breakdown.
- Put the pot over a medium heat and constantly stir to prevent sticking. *You don’t want the meat to sizzle or turn brown, only simmer and sputter.
- Allow the fat to render and the moisture to evaporate. Be sure to stir a few times per hour.
- Once the fat has stopped sputtering and is entirely liquified, it is complete. Filter out any hardened or large chunks.
- Next, filter the fat liquid through a sieve, as this will help to filter out any cracklings and impurities.
- Finally, transfer the fat into storage containers
And voila, you now have a perfectly homemade waterproofer for any of your outdoor needs!
Note: there are other steps to the process of waterproofing that are most assuredly worth checking out, as techniques always vary. Learn this practical practice now, and it could save your hide come a time when SFHTF.
This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.