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Cloak Wearers - Step Forward

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by TeeDee, May 27, 2010.

  1. TeeDee

    TeeDee Full Member

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    OK, I was rereading this older thread the other day;-

    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41138&highlight=elves

    And one of the things that it seemed to underline and speculate upon was that to travel light a cloak or poncho of some fashion would be a step in the right direction.

    So , does anyone use a cloak or poncho on a regular basis for its material merits and not its artistic ones? ie its carried for its actual physical benefit and not a 'look'?

    I would like to see photos or hear more from 'unconvential' equipment users and how those items merit inclusion within their kit.

    I can understand how Army poncho's are a useful bit of kit for wearing , setting up as a tarp , using to gather material i just wonder how many other uses wool cloaks or ponchos can be utilized for ?
     
  2. forestwalker

    forestwalker Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I've used a cloak as a part of my MiddleEvil stuff, and also tried it for bushcraft style activities.

    + Good for sleeping under
    + Cover you up in the rain
    - Tangles in dense brush
    + Wet brush deposits water on cloak, not clothes
    + You can cover dry kindling/firewood under it in rain.

    The historical garment that is superb for bushcraft is a hood. One of those hoods with a smallish shoulder cape attached to it that was popular for about 1000 years or so. A warm "hat" that is always with you, that can protect you against mosquitos (just pull the hood forward) and is nice to sleep in. Make it from something "felty" and soak it in one of the "re-lanolizing" compounds. A deep hood is also good for storing gathered materials in (one big pocket, I once "found" some neatly coiled spruce roots, 5 dried dandelion roots and some birchbark in mine, a few months later).
     
  3. John Fenna

    John Fenna Lifetime Member & Maker

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    I have been known to wear a blanket as a cloak during the winter.
    It makes a great warm layer when sitting around in the evening as well as re-inforcing the sleeping system on realy cold nights.
    My current "cloak" is a cunningly folded double bed size blanket of green dyed wool that is held closed with a penannula (sp?) cloak pin.
    No cutting of the blanket was required and a flap acts either as a cape or can be thrown over my head as a hood. The cloak covers me from head to ground in a snug "tent" when I sit ...but is a bit long for strolling around in brambly woods.
    I used to use the good old "camp blanket " when I was a Scout Leader and that was made poncho style from a single bed sized blanket and was pretty useful as well.....
     
  4. Chris the Cat

    Chris the Cat Full Member

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    Any more for any more!?
    I am also interested to hear how folks have got on with
    any variation on the 'cloak' theme!
    Chris.
     
  5. silvergirl

    silvergirl Nomad

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    I have used cloaks before, I don't so much these days, but I'm out less regularly just now than I used to be.

    I have a light weight silk cloak in black, that looks a bit like the Scottish widows Ad. which I made myself (with a hood) and while it doesn't look that practical it does add an extra layer of warmth, it packs up really small, doesn't rustle, and as its black I have wraped it around myself when I've wanted to 'blend in' to the background at night when 'yoofs' have wandered past me that I really didn't want to confront in an isolated situation on my own.
    I do also have a wool blanket that I use as a cloak use for guide camp.
     
  6. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Birrus Britannicus is extremely comfortable and practical too. It's the woollen forerunner of the army poncho............and we've been using it for at *least* 2,000 years in the British Isles :D

    I have patterns for those hoods, look up wodesmans weir or geir; I'll bring them to the Moot if folks want.

    The great plaid and the arisaid are really just blanket cloaks too.

    cheers,
    Toddy
     
  7. Chris the Cat

    Chris the Cat Full Member

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    Toddy, any chance you can tell me more about the names you have just used
    please!? Wodesmans weir, great plaid, arisaid, Birrus Britannicus, ( I get the
    'Brittanicus bit! )
    Many thanks .
    Chris.
     
  8. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Birrus Britannicus means cloak of the Britons. It was a very highly valued item and became a expensive export to the Roman empire. It was l length of fulled (think lightly felted and thus more water and thornproof) wool, split down the front with a small hole cut for the neck and a hood. Fastened at the neck it draped comfortably over the body, and gear if necessary. In wild or windy conditions it could be simply belted around the waist to keep it close.

    Wodesman weir is the shouldered hood that the old woodsmen and hunters wore. Loads of medieval illustrations of it. Very comfortable, the hood fits snugly but not tightly around the head and lets the wearer move the head without the hood getting in the way. The neck and shoulder piece carry rain away and off the body. Warm, comfortable, water and thorn proof it's silent in use.............but you can look a bit robin hoody in it.
    My husband wears one tucked into his fleece since he finds it so comfortable, but doesn't want to be seen in a medieval hoody :D
    If he gets too warm he just pushes it back away from his face and it just keeps his neck warm.

    The great plaid is the unstitched length of cloth that eventually became the kilt and the seperate fly plaid. The Arisaid is the one women wore.

    That help ? :)

    cheers,
    M
     
  9. nitrambur

    nitrambur Settler

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    Tried googling it and all it came up with was this thread :(
     
  10. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    It's somewhere else on the forum too.........I came across a reference to it in a medieval text a few years ago and asked on here about it.
    We came to the conclusion that it was a kind of neutral green/ brown coloured hood. I'm sure the text was also on line though :confused:

    Off to take the Uncle shopping, I'll have a look later on.

    cheers,
    M
     
  11. forestwalker

    forestwalker Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    This sounds like the ideal bushcraft cloak. Any idea how late it survived? I suppose the Fjellduken is the modern equivalent...

    This is the one I was talking about. Strongly recommended.

    A friend wore his downhill skiing. One with a long tail...

    Think e.g. the Rob Roy movie. A bit of a pain to put on in the field (spread out 8 or so meters of wool, tuck and pleat the middle section, roll yourself into it, tighten belt, stand up and adjust), but on the other hand you never have to borrow a seat cushion again...
     
  12. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    The Birrus just changed length a little bit and became a ladies cloak for a very long time. I wear one now over my bushshirt when it's really cold out, and a lot of my friends have them too, it's popular among the reenactors. It's also a very practical garment to ride in since it can leave the arms free but cover the legs for warmth.

    When I was very little my grandmother showed me how to put the arisaid on, but I hadn't to wear it anywhere at the front gardens where I could be seen since it was really a poor person's garment.........she was showing her Edwardian upbringing there :D. The Ministers frowned on them being worn in the Kirk since they couldn't see if a woman was paying attention to the sermon or not when she wrapped it up over her head and shoulders, so that meant that it wasn't 'quite' respectable and women who could afford a tailored outer garment wore that instead......but you can't wrap a baby in a jacket the way you can snuggle him into you in an arisaid :) so it remained as a quietly domestic use only garment.

    The belt was hooked onto a door handle and the plaid neatly draped along it and then just wrapped around my waist.
    I was told that girls without sisters or friends had to take more care or they'd look unkempt.

    It there are two folks there's no need for anyone to lie down on the wet ground to get dressed in either plaid or arisaid.

    cheers,
    Mary
     
  13. forestwalker

    forestwalker Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Sorry, I was unclear. How late was it in use? 6-700 AD? Later? Earlier? I can't recall having seen it in any medieval or viking age context, but if the Anglo-Saxons was still using it in the 8-900s...

    They do have their advantages, I've seen the surprising carrying capacity of the great kilt/plaid.

    Hmm, I suppose you do have a point, I've only ever been shown the roll around on the ground method.
     
  14. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    No idea on the birrus, but if you look at some of the saints robes in medieval paintings it's still there. It becomes the travellers belted cloak and is sometimes seen on the illustrations of pilgrims..........the ones where they have wide straw hats and staffs.
    The Anglo Saxons 'seem' to have gone in more for the square or semi circular cloak that is seen today surviving in Roman catholic and Church of England vestments.

    There's a root to all this.
    There is a widely held theory that in Northern Europe, and that seems to include the British Isles, clothing styles were first developed from animal skins and the cut of garments is very different. The warp weighted loom lasts much much longer in the North too, and that loom allowed wide warp cloth. In Southern Europe, the Middle East and the like, narrow cloth from the back strap looms meant that to fully cover a body, cloth was cut and pieced.
    The earliest style of tunic was one length over the head for a tabard style. Add two cut lengths at the side and you have sleeves. If you want to wear it long, or very full though, you have to cut another length across it's diagonal to create long triangular gussets.
    In the North the wide cloth was cut in what we refer to as Neolithic Cut (the pattern only really survived industrial clothing production as a home made, mostly seamless, baby garment). The warp weighted looms of the Greeks and their contemporaries produced fine cloth that was worn as loosely gathered chitons and the like, very suitable for their climate but damn all use in ours.

    So, for a people who did not tailor garments by cutting their finely spun and woven woollens, the birrus is an ideal no waste cloak, so is the great plaid/arisaid or the Irish Brat (though that might be a Hiberno Norse garment style rather than just an Irish one).

    Right now I'm trying to weave a fine singles warp on an inkle loom, and my yellow threads are wearing through :sigh:
    I'm kind of distracted but if I haven't given enough information, I'll get back to you.

    cheers,
    Toddy
     
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  15. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Oh, and the roll on the ground method for the great plaid............everybody gets shown that, it looks interesting, it looks stupidly cool somehow :rolleyes:
    I've slept outdoors in my arisaid, you slacken the belt to lie down, you don't take it off. You really want those pleats under you when you're sleeping.

    cheers,
    M
     
  16. _scorpio_

    _scorpio_ Need to contact Admin...

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    they had similar things in Morocco when i went a few years ago. hand made and in loads of colours. they were expensive to us brits though. about £15 - £20 each! thats a lot in that country considering a glass bottle of coke came to about 20p! im sure we were offered a high price though because we weren't native. they sold our group about 6 of them (we didn't get one... will next time) so why not :D
     
  17. _scorpio_

    _scorpio_ Need to contact Admin...

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  18. _scorpio_

    _scorpio_ Need to contact Admin...

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    right, now you have got me thinking... im not going to be able to make one of these from scratch or buy one for a few years... what can i do? mod a bathrobe? :D
     
  19. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    That would be great in the desert.

    I use a blanket as a cloak, Im pretty primitive.

    But its very comfy. Im suprised such a stylish and practical garment ever went out of fashion
     
  20. _scorpio_

    _scorpio_ Need to contact Admin...

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    my only issue is in this jugemental time you would be ridiculed for wearing one. big stick and angry face?
     

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