Wool in, fur out

Living in the southwest, I have little experience with heavy winter clothing. A sweatshirt is as heavy as I go. While watching an episode of “Man vs. Wild,” Bear Gylis skinned a caribou-type animal and wore its fur to keep warm. He wore it with the fur on the outside. Yet, hanging in my closet is my father’s old wool coat with wool on the inside. I realized that it seemed coats of both types were this way. So, why is fur wore on the outside of a coat, but wool on the inside?

WAG: The wool will wick the moisture from your skin, keeping you warmer. Its thicker weave will also hold your body heat closer to you. On the other hand, the space in the fur will allow it to trap a layer of air within it, preventing convective heat transfer through that layer.

Er, what’s on the outside of the wool coat? Usually I see wool outside and a lining of some softer fabric inside.

I think you’ve missed the major difference between a caribou skin and a coat, which is that one isn’t designed to be worn as a coat.

I suspect wearing the skin fur-out helps keep the ticks, fleas and whatever other little biting nasties live on caribou from biting you.

Assuming the wool coat you’re talking about is a sheepskin coat, here’s my WAG:

Both sheep’s wool and other animals’ fur have evolved to be worn on the outside. Why would we want to turn it to the inside?

In the case of sheepskin clothing, putting the fleece on the inside keeps it cleaner and drier (wool can absorb a ridiculous amount of water and become extremely heavy) and is very, very soft and lovely. Fortunately, sheep’s fleece is attached to a relatively durable skin, so we can do this.

The “fur on the outside” trend is probably subject to some confirmation bias. With things like caribou skin, the coarse hair would just be unpleasant on the inside, so why not expose it to the elements as nature intended? Soft furs, on the other hand, are worn both in and out, but you never notice them when they’re hidden as linings in garments. When they’re on the outside, as in the stereotypical mink coat, you take notice and mentally check “fur out”. Because soft furs tend to be attached to small, thin-skinned creatures, nobody wears the furry equivalent of a shearling coat. It would look ridiculous.

If I understand the OP correctly, Bear Grylls skinned the caribou, and then wore it fur on the inside. Doesn’t this make sense, since the other side would be bloody or at least moist from being recently bloody? If you’re trying to keep warm, getting wet is the last thing you should do. Obviously, if you have time to dry and prepare the skin, then you should wear it fur out.

He wore it fur-out.

I’m not 100% on this, but I think if you skin an animal properly there won’t be any blood on the hide.