Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Topic Options
#285405 - 08/12/17 06:29 AM The Survival Blanket
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2003
Loc: Great Plains
The old "Space Blanket" has been a staple of survival kits for at least several decades, but do you folks find them useful? Or at least do you find them useful as an actual blanket? Over the years I've tried many different brands and types. For the TL;DR crowd I'll skip to the end! grin No, they don't work super well as blankets. I will go into a bit more detail.

Not all "space blankets" are created equal. The very cheapest are usually just a buck or two, and as blankets I have found them wanting. They're very very noise, cracking and creaking with every gust of wind or body movement. And of course the entire premise of them is somewhat flawed. They generally claim to "reflect 90% of your body's radiant heat" back to you, which sounds great. But radiant heat isn't really a big source of heat loss. In actual situations you'll lose most of your heat through convection and conduction. Needless to say a 1 micron bit of mylar won't do much to stop heat loss through conduction to the ground. It does help a bit with heat loss through convection by blocking the wind.

On that score I have found the Titan brand to be a bit better and the AMK Heat Sheets to be about the best. Both of them are much thicker and a lot quieter. They don't do an immense amount to keep you warm but they help somewhat.

If space blankets don't work that well as blankets, are they worth having at all? My answer in an emphatic YES! I think they have many uses. Some of my uses are as follows:

1) Fire tinder- Space blankets are extraordinarily flammable! Crump up about a square food of one in a Sierra cup and hit it with a firesteel and you'll have quite a blazing fire.

2) Rain fly- A space blanket does a very good job of sheltering from rain and to a degree, from wind.

3) Reflector- The mylar blanket does work well in conjunction with clear plastic to make a 'Super Shelter'. It also works great to protect you from the sun. It doesn't offer 100% shade but it blocks/reflects most of the sun's radiation. THIS is the kind of reflected heat that you really can affect with a space blanket! On a related note they work pretty well to cover the outside of your tent. Sometimes I'll rig one on the east facing side of my tent so buy me an extra hour of bearable sleep before the tent gets too warm.

4) Tick batting- A mylar blanket can make a decent improvised tick batting; just wrap pine boughs in the blanket. It will keep them together as an improvised sleeping matt while offering some protection from insects and adding a bit of warmth. It's also a bonus if you're forced to sleep on wet ground.

5) Water collection- I haven't used one for this as a primary function but accidentally I've collected water in space blankets that I had set aside after a use. They're waterproof and pretty strong, suitable for use in improvising a water transport (although they're thin enough I don't expect one to last for a long time- probably days, not weeks).

Most of them time I'll have at least two of these blankets on me, and sometimes a few. I like that they're cheap, light and compact. They're not miraculous and they won't replace a real sleeping bag but I still find them useful bits of gear for my kits.
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

Top
#285406 - 08/12/17 12:23 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: Phaedrus]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2796
Loc: USA
Spot on. I've dumped all the crummy ones in kits for Heatsheets, the two person size.

There's a tarp-like Space Blanket brand product that is even better than Heatsheets but they're not pocketable at all. They're too big for a pack, for me.

Top
#285407 - 08/12/17 01:37 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5999
Loc: southern Cal
Good points. A bit of tape helps in modifying them for various uses. I also employ them as tent footprints. They will last a trip or two with some care.

But I am surprised that you rig one to keep the sun off your tent. Aren't all hearty, virile, vigorous gung-ho outdoor types, especially ETSers, arising at least an hour before sunrise for another day filled with epic adventures?
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

Top
#285408 - 08/12/17 01:40 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: chaosmagnet]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4594
Loc: SOCAL
I've never been a fan of the small uber thin mylar space blankets, they just don't hold up under use. What I have used are the thin blankets marketed by numerous companies (do a search for "space blanket" on Amazon) which come in polyethylene, rip-stop polyester or nylon. One side is the base material in various colors and the other side is aluminized. They are much tougher than mylar but don't pack nearly as small.

Top
#285412 - 08/12/17 09:22 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2003
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: hikermor


But I am surprised that you rig one to keep the sun off your tent. Aren't all hearty, virile, vigorous gung-ho outdoor types, especially ETSers, arising at least an hour before sunrise for another day filled with epic adventures?




Hahaha! Nope. Remember, I'm a professional chef. We're creatures of the night. grin
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

Top
#285492 - 08/17/17 02:33 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: Phaedrus]
CJK Offline
Addict

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 495
Loc: FL, USA
I don't have much personal experience with the thin aluminum mylar ones. The ones we use to have here at EMS where aluminized 'reflector' on one side and a 'plastic' backing on the other.... don't remember the company. As someone said, it didn't pack as small as the mylar one (don't know if we are talking about the same one) but this one was decent. While not very 'insulatory' I can tell you it worked. Had a mild to moderately hypothermic and soaking wet patient (who refused to take off the wet clothes) actually stop shivering within 5 min of wrapping him up with it. It did a nice job of reflecting his body heat back to him even though he was soaking wet.

Top
#285494 - 08/17/17 02:47 PM Re: The Survival Blanket [Re: Phaedrus]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1131
Loc: North Carolina
Think in terms of how you lose heat. The wind proof and water proof properties of the blanket do help significantly, but these blankets have no insulation. They do reduce heat loss. Every degree you keep could potentially be a life saver.

SOL Emergency Blanket

These new emergency blankets are good. I have used them as a wrap and as a shelter. As durable as the old "Space Blanket", with grommets.

With some insulation underneath, their utility goes way up. I used to use the space blankets in conjunction with wool blankets and poncho liners, even in sub freezing weather (sometimes down in the 20s F), and survived. Not as comfortable as a good sleeping bag, but it works.

Top



Moderator:  Alan_Romania, Blast, cliff, Hikin_Jim 
December
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31
Who's Online
1 registered (M_a_x), 268 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Jethro, qwikjoeysmall, Cowherd35, pecenco, jacklii
5228 Registered Users
Newest Posts
wazoo belt alternative
by qwikjoeysmall
03:32 PM
Baking soda and super glue epoxy
by M_a_x
01:43 PM
Big Amazon Sale on Morakniv - this evening only
by Phaedrus
06:37 AM
What did you do today to prepare?
by hikermor
01:24 AM
get a cheap laptop
by CANOEDOGS
01:10 AM
building in a fire zone
by hikermor
04:56 PM
rug could buy time between rattlesnake bite, anti
by qwikjoeysmall
02:55 PM
Happy Hanukkah
by Jeanette_Isabelle
02:52 PM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit
Glossary
Test

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.