US-Made, Navy-Situation Camp Blanket Offers Jobs to Staff Who Are Blind: Meet the ‘Genuine Woobie’

What the heck is a ‘woobie’ and why is it so rattling in style? We examined one to seek out out.

Camp blankets have loved a comeback of types in the previous few years. Rattling close to any model that makes a sleeping bag has one, however the craze has additionally swept up exhausting items manufacturers like YETI and Dometic. It’s even given rise to Kickstarter-born manufacturers devoted to the camp blanket.

Whereas the camp blanket of outdated conjures up visions of professional quality striped wool affairs, there’s truly been a model making weather-resistant, outdoor-focused blankets from technical artificial supplies for greater than 30 years.

What’s extra, it’s geared up service members and offered jobs for people who find themselves blind and have low imaginative and prescient. Launched in 1991 by IFB Options (previously “Industries For the Blind”) the Genuine Woobie initially served as a poncho liner for army personnel.

Now, due to the burgeoning blanket market, the woobie is seeing a renaissance of its personal. After making greater than 3 million blankets for the army since 1991, Pinnacle Mercantile made the Genuine Woobie blanket accessible to the general public for the primary time this previous winter.

In brief: It’s not the lightest, warmest, or most high-tech camp blanket you should buy. Nonetheless, the Genuine Woobie has sturdy ties to American manufacturing and jobs. And whereas military-issue gear doesn’t at all times signify “one of the best,” the Woobie has the look, really feel, and historical past of a camp mainstay you’ll wish to take in every single place.

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What Is a Woobie?

If you happen to haven’t served, we’ll forgive you for not realizing what the woobie is. However as a chunk of standard-issue package, its historical past dates again to the mid-Twentieth century and the introduction of technical poncho liners.

As for the title, there are a selection of theories — my favourite is that you just “woobie” chilly with out it.

In any occasion, it’s commonplace subject for staying heat. It comes with a pair of tie-offs on every nook and within the middle of every aspect. This permits the wearer to safe it to grommets on their poncho. In our use, it’s good for serving to stake out a comfy floor cowl.

With the suitable tools — stakes and a few trekking poles — you possibly can even use it as a makeshift shelter in an actual pinch. (The workers at Pinnacle Mercantile make tent stakes, too!)

Pinnacle Mercantile Genuine Woobie Assessment

Let me be clear: This isn’t the subsequent huge factor. Fairly the alternative, the Woobie makes use of fairly commonplace, however reliable, supplies and design. However it’s that basic, easy design and building that makes it nice.

(Picture/Eric Phillips)

The Woobie measures 91.5 inches by 65.5 inches (about 7.5 ft by 5.5 ft) and weighs about 1.5 kilos. It makes use of 30D nylon ripstop with DWR remedy and artificial Climashield batting insulation. And it has a complete of eight 9-inch ties to safe or configure as you want.

That’s quite a lot of specs to say it’s a giant out of doors blanket. It resists moisture, although it isn’t waterproof. You may — and I did — drag it on the bottom or alongside rocks, and it will possibly stand up to an errant campfire ember (as long as you catch it shortly).

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The Woobie is rated to 40 levels, and I used to be lots heat at that temp. I used it precisely because it was meant for use: I wrapped myself up in it very first thing within the morning after which once more when the solar went down at camp.

I additionally staked it out as a floor cowl to play some cribbage — and it labored like a dream.

Not like many camp blankets on the market, this doesn’t have snaps and there’s no hood for a correct poncho configuration. And there aren’t any artist prints or splashy colours. And that’s one of the best factor it has going for it.

The tie-offs provide loads of versatility and utility. And the usual U.S. Military Operational Camouflage Sample (OPC) hides dust and spills like a dream. It’s a design that’s meant to be soiled, so that you received’t thoughts truly utilizing it exterior.

The Genuine Woobie’s Impression

Along with the completed product, the Genuine Woobie has a stellar manufacturing story. Pinnacle Mercantile is a nonprofit beneath the IFB banner that gives jobs, coaching, schooling, and assist for People who’re blind.

The Genuine Woobie is made within the USA with all American-made parts in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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