The only thing worse than being cold is being WET and cold. In a survival situation, getting wet can literally kill you because the water acts as a coolant that lets the cold seep right through your clothes and decrease your body temperature. Your clothes won’t hold your body heat in; instead, the water will carry it out. You need to find a way to waterproof your clothes and shoes, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
You can always go out and buy waterproofing products but we figured we’d skip recommending any of those for three reasons: first, you’re not going to be able to run to Wal-Mart if you’re stuck in a SHTF scenario. Second, they’re full of chemicals and frankly aren’t always as effective as just making it yourself at home. Finally, many of them are crazy expensive. We can think of about 100 better ways to spend money.
We found several different methods using turpentine, mineral spirits and even used motor oil but we sidestepped those because of flammability issues and the smell. Since you may use these near a campfire or wear them in a situation where you’ll be exposed to heat, we thought it best not to make you a walking fire hazard!
How to Waterproof Your Clothes
This was the best recipe that we could find and when we tried it at home, it was extremely effective. Known as making tincloth, the result of this process is cloth that’s still flexible but is totally waterproof and even fireproof. It’s also pretty cheap considering how much you can coat with just one batch. Also, this method seems like it’s going to last for quite a while because the fabric seems to be almost altered. Of course, that will likely depend upon how often you wash the item.
According to the instructions, it doesn’t matter much what ratio you use but it seems to us like if you use too much beeswax, the cloth would be cakey and crusty, whereas if you used more linseed oil, you’ll get less waterproofing but more flexibility. The combo we used was perfect: no caking and absolute waterproofing, so start there if you’d like.