Various people use a variety of names to describe the highly reflective, featherweight, paper-thin sheet including Mylar, emergency blanket, survival blanket and space or solar blanket. Whatever you call them, and whatever brand you use, they have many things in common.
Most brands have a melting point above 250 degrees, which makes them safe to use for many applications. All weigh only a few ounces and take up minimal space, making them ideal for hunters, campers and hikers. The most noticeable thing about them, besides the glaring reflective quality, is they are all extremely noisy—although the higher quality blankets are not as noisy as the lowest quality ones.
The material for the solar blanket was originally designed as a way to help reflect heat from space equipment but quickly gained popularity among marathon runners, physicians and hikers because of it is flexible, portable, inexpensive and insulating. Although all emergency blankets may look similar, they are not. Just like anything else on the market, there are low-end, cheap, generic solar blankets as well as higher quality types. When shopping for a solar survival blanket, you should ask yourself the following questions. How thick is the material? Thicker blankets insulate better than thinner ones. What is the overall size of the blanket? Is it large enough to completely cover you? Is it waterproof, windproof and tear resistant?
The common Mylar emergency blanket has many uses for the prepper, survivalist, camper, hiker, gardener and homeowner. Because there are so many uses, I like to keep several in my backpack and a few in my vehicles; plus I always look for them in bargain bins.
Here are some ways to use them:
- Personal warmth in an emergency or as a supplement, such as inside a sleeping bag, coat or blanket to help keep in body heat
- A shelter, canopy or lean-to
- Ground cover under a tent or sleeping bag
- A tablecloth
- Reflective or signaling device to signal for help
- Torn into strips for trail markers
- Inexpensive tent divider or privacy curtain
- A hammock (higher quality solar blankets only)
- Snow-melting device (place the snow on top of the blanket outside)
- Seat cover for vehicle in cold temperatures
- Foot warmers (cut two 12-by-12-inch squares and wrap them around your feet, then cover with socks)
- Water warmer for a container
- Rain catcher
- Tarp or drop cloth
- Food cover to keep food warm
- Food warmer (line a cooler with one of them and place warm dishes or hot rocks inside the cooler but do not add ice to create a warming oven to keep food warm for hours)
- Plant cover for sensitive vegetable plants
- Solar heating blanket for kiddie pool (or tape several large sizes together for a super cheap solar blanket for larger pools)
- Pet blankets (wrap around your pet to keep them warm)
- Pan scrubber (ball up to use as a pan scrubber)
- Cordage (twist or braid together strands)
- Warm pillow (Stuff with leaves or other soft material)
- Fishing lure (cut small squares and shapes to use as lures)
- Christmas tree tinsel (shred and hang on the tree)
- Cheap party decorations
What others uses can you come up with? Share them in the comment section.
Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.
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