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Cotton kills

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by SCOMAN, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    In the South East England, where I lived, It could be -3 or so. Just a few days a year.
    Very pleasant climate. Normal winter temp and humidity like an autumn day in Skane ( Scania)
    I do not use wind chill factor.


    We 'white' people in my regiment were taught by the Saame most of the winterskills, everything from how to defecate to make drinking water. I know maybe 1% of what a reindeer farmer knows.
     
  2. Paul_B

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

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    Anything from +2 to +8°C I'd say in Northern Lancashire. Typically in December, January and February. A few days we'll get negative temperatures days and nights.

    A bit further north in Cumbria (next county up) averages a couple degrees lower. However all areas can have colder spells.

    Iirc 2010 saw a long spell of really cold weather one winter. It's when I learnt an £50 pair of black diamond waterproof and insulated gloves wasn't enough. I got a £30, oversized pair of primaloft insulated mitts. I wore the gloves for 10 minutes with my hands getting colder and colder. It all started with my hands getting cold getting my kit ready in the carpark. After those 10 minutes getting colder I switched to the mitts. Ten minutes later my hands were snug and warm.

    I enjoyed that walk despite it being -10°C in the carpark and a lower up the hill even without the exposure to the bitter wind. It didn't start that way. Imho if your extremities get cold it can ruin a nice jaunt into the fells.

    Scotland is a bit colder. North Eastern England gets more cold and snow than north western. I think the whole eastern coast can get colder than the west. Nothing too severe in the UK I reckon. Not compared to northern Sweden.

    I can confirm from my experience that cotton base layer isn't nice in uk winters. You can wear it with any mix of layers you like it's still awful against the skin. In serious cold I doubt it's better as a base layer if you're sweating then stationary. If you can maintain constant effort and change out when stationary (unlikely on a simple day out) I suppose you'll cope. Not worth the risk imho.
     
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  3. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    What really are the options for a base layer, easily available?

    Merino, silk ( expensive), synthetic ? Any more? can you get Angora? Normal wool?

    More people here should try a brynja. ( Available brand Norwegian Brynje)

    I guess much depends on how you layer.
    When I spent extensive time in the bush ( as a civilian) I liked to either have a few brynjas, or a few T-shirts ( all cotton) and change maybe every 3 - 5 days.
    Kept the shirt ( flanell usually) nice and 'smell free'.

    I swapped some things with a US colleague when we did the Nijmegen peace march in the early 80's, one of the items I got was an US over shirt. Cotton/synthetic mix. Not warm, so summer use. Did not get dirty, maybe treated somehow.

    I do not mind a bit of BO in the field, but do not want to smell like a decomposing moose!
    :)
     
    #143 Janne, Nov 25, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  4. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    Merino shirts from Leka are not even very expensive if your skin can take it. Silk undershirts exist. Lyocell and viscose are in my experience better than cotton, a triacetate version might be even better.

    The other possibility is to go by construction like fishnet or certain types of pile.
     
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  5. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    What I call brynja ( Brynje brand name) is a fishnet.

    Love those. When in Scandihooliganland, I wear those at home.
    (Here I only wear boxers)


    I recall with horror one training exercise, a week, when we had to wear a Neolithic uniform, anno early 1900'.
    The shirt was of wool. Those sheep must have lived in Greenland. Fibers the thickness and sharpness of barbed wire.
    ( Rest of uniform was also wool. Thickness about 8-10mm)
     
  6. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Wrong sheep breed for the wool. Maybe really meant for carpets.
    Wrong spin = woolen or worsted spun yarn?
     
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  7. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Or the Swedish soldier of past was much tougher than we were!

    Internet is not good for this info, but I think it was m/1923.

    It was not m/1939, that one I know well. Also wool, but softer with a softer scratch/itchiness!

    Replaced by m/1959 which was cotton fabric based.
    I am not aware of any deaths due to wearing the m/1959 despite at least a million users over 30 years.
     
    #147 Janne, Nov 25, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  8. Old Bones

    Old Bones Settler

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    But the Aral Sea project turned out to be a huge environmental disaster, which led to greatly increased salinity, the shrinkage of the Aral Sea by a huge amount, increases in pollution, and increases in dust storms and climate change, and adverse health effects. It wasnt even an efficient use of water (something which is reflected in the American West, as the excellent book Cadillac Desert attests).

    Looking at the health impacts of the diversion of the rivers alone, you can certainly say that cotton kills.
     
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  9. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    The health effects may be an after construction.
    Areas which were desert/dust areas got cultivated ( less dust) and previously cultivated areas became dust areas and desert.

    Overall, it was an environmental disaster though. The ex Soviet union and vassal countries have many of these. Cleanup is still going on in many places!
     
  10. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I think you might be confusing different areas. In the US the diverted rivers were out West (the far West and the Southwest) whereas the dust bowl was in the Great Plains states. Three very different areas.
     
  11. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    When I was stationed in England it was in the Cotswolds. Temps there were generally mild but occasional cold snaps might reach down enough below freezing that interior plumbing would freeze (much like here in the Florida Panhandle but without our summer heat)
     
  12. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I write about the Soviet area in the vicinity of the Aral Sea.
    Or, ex Aral Sea, as it is almost completely dried out!

    Was not thinking about the US at all.

    But yes, you have your own environmental disaster areas. Everybody has. But the Aral Sea fiasco was and is of a humongous size, and was mainly due to the Soviets wish for cheap, plentiful cotton supply.
     
  13. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Ah. I lost that after Old Bones post about the US West.
     
  14. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    I have a set of old Brynje fishnet under clothes, all synthetic but works, only problem they have is the net over shoulders so backpacks are out.
    Aclima seems to make a set with merino/polyamide/elastan that might be an alternative.

    Aral fiasco is famous for actually having killed people but also being more than a little controversial in green circles, apparently it is not PC to say that communist made the mess, go figure.
     
  15. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    #155 Janne, Nov 26, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  16. Old Bones

    Old Bones Settler

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    The Dust Bowl was a result of incorrect farming methods on a fragile enviroment, but the West has also suffered from the effects of poorly thought outand often very expensive irrigation schemes. Cadillac Desert is now a rather old book, but the problems have continued. If you set out to take water from a major river, and then over allocate it to as many users as possible, often at little rational economic cost, then problems emerge. Some years after reading Cadillac Desert I remember flying over the desert to San Diego from DFW, and seeing huge circles. They were alfafa 'fields', round because the mechanical irrigators rotated around a central point, using river water or possible even fossil aquifer water to grow animal feed, and effectively subsided by the US taxpayer, often heavily. Thats nothing new, with many projects and rights going back to the thirties and forties. The damning of rivers often had a devastating effect on wildlife.

    Its not all bad, but its not good either. Deserts and arid areas exist for a reason, and climate change means thats only going to become more likely - so the problem will become worse. The fires in California are now a sadly common event, and droughts are pushing that trend. And its not just California.

    And whilst conservation at last is becoming an important tool, humans still like to build themselves out of trouble. Which tends not to work, as even the ancient Mesopotamians learn the hard way, when salinity became a recurring problem with their irrigation projects.

    I was shocked to find out that one almond uses perhaps a gallon of water to actually grow it, and 5 to produce a walnut. You can eat a nut or drink water, but Californians might not be in a position to do both at some point.
     
  17. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I don't weave walnuts. What's the water cost for cotton bolls?
     
  18. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Mostly all true. The irrigation here in Florida works the same way (sprayer pipe rotates around the source pipe) But nobody irrigates cotton. Only grass crops of one sort or another (like the alfalfa you mentioned) That said, most of the river damming that was done in the 1930s (and that’s the vast majority of our dams) wasn’t about irrigation as such. It was about hydroelectric plants and flood control downstream. The resulting reservoirs we an additional benefit, but not the main goal. To be completely honest the main goal was simply part of a vast public works program to put the unemployed masses back to work in an attempt to end, or at least mitigate, the Great Depression. It partially worked but in the end it was WWII that finally put everybody back to work and ended the Depression.

    By the way, the farming methods on the Great Plains haven’t really changed. It’s still “America’s breadbasket” producing almost all our commercial grains other than rice. And sadly a large part of the water used for irrigation in Southern California isn’t for edible crops; a significant amount is used for lawns and golf courses :(

    He said upthread it was around 2700 liters for enough cotton to make a t-shirt. That must be the worldwide average.
     
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  19. Monk

    Monk Forager

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    This is a very interesting discussion and topic! Thanks for posting everybody!
     
  20. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    The School of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, has a massive Agricultural Engineering unit.
    They design, build and test prototype farm machinery among other interests. Somebody has to do it.

    One thing they did do, decades ago, was conclude that land plowing techniques of that day and time were the root cause of soil erosion.
    With proof in hand and on the ground, practices changed across the Great Plains, very quickly.
     

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