Clothing is an item oft-overlooked when people begin preparing for a survival scenario. But, Jack Spigarelli notes in his Crisis Preparedness Handbook, surviving without the civilized comforts we’ve become accustomed to places a burden on the clothes we wear.
So Spigarelli recommends setting aside enough ready-to-wear clothing, or the fabric and materials to make it, to last at least one year.
He recommends good quality outdoor clothing such as that made by Filson, Pendleton or Woolrich. He writes that tightly woven fabric is more snag and tear resistant and wears longer. However, loosely woven fabrics are warmer.
Natural fabrics like wool and cotton are more absorbent, and wool retains its insulating properties even when wet. But synthetics have greater strength, resist abrasion and mildew better and dry more quickly. Gore-Tex and similar fabrics, which are waterproof but breathable, are essential, and fleece items are important to have, Spigarelli writes.
In his book, Spigarelli has a table of the basic clothing needs for one person for one year. He recommends adapting the list to age, sex, climate and lifestyle, but it is a great reference for a starting point. Here’s what he says you need:
- Eight sets underwear (two long)
- One pajamas or nightgown
- One warm robe
- Two t-shirts
- Two cotton turtle-neck shirts
- One straw hat
- One knit cap or balaclava
- One heavy-duty work belt
- One pair suspenders
- One or two sweaters
- Two pair leather work gloves
- One pair winter gloves, mittens or inserts
- Two pair work shoes or boots
- One pair waterproof boots/overshoes
- Two pair shoelaces per pair of shoes
- 12 pair socks (eight light, four heavy)
- Four pair of jeans, pants, overalls
- One pair heavy wool pants
- Two to four work shirts (chambray, etc.)
- Two cotton flannel shirts (chamois, etc.)
- Two heavy wool shirts
- One water-repellant windbreaker
- One winter work coat
- One heavy-duty parka
For shoes, be sure they are well-fitting and broken it. It won’t do to don a new pair and then set out on a bug-out that requires you to walk many miles. Your feet will be protesting quickly.
And don’t forget to store foot powder. And keep a supply of moleskin in your first-aid kit to help with blisters and other foot sores.
And one final tip; wear a thin pair of socks over a thicker pair to help avoid blisters if you’re going to be on your feet for a long time.