What is a Survival Blanket?
A survival blanket, also known as a space blanket, emergency blanket, or Mylar blanket, is an essential piece of equipment for preppers and outdoor enthusiasts.
These blankets are designed to keep you warm in cold environments and protect you from the elements.
But How Do Survival Blankets Work?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind these lifesaving tools, their various uses, and how to choose the best one for your needs.
Key Elements Takeaway
Survival blankets are essential tools for preppers and outdoor enthusiasts.
They work by reflecting the body’s radiant heat, conserving warmth and preventing hypothermia. Mylar, a highly reflective material, is the key ingredient in these blankets.
There are different types of survival blankets available, including single-layer, heavy-duty, and multi-layered insulated options.
When choosing a blanket, consider size, weight, material, price, and reflectivity.
The Science Behind Survival Blankets
Survival blankets work by reflecting the body’s radiant heat back towards the user, effectively conserving warmth in cold situations.
This is achieved through the use of a thin, metallic material called Mylar.
Let’s dive into the science behind this impressive material.
Mylar: The Key Ingredient
Mylar is a polyester film with a thin layer of aluminum, which gives it its reflective properties.
Developed by NASA for use in space missions, Mylar has since found its way into various applications, including survival blankets.
The material’s ability to reflect up to 90% of radiant heat makes it a valuable asset in emergency situations.
How Radiant Heat Is Conserved
When exposed to cold temperatures, our bodies lose heat in several ways, including conduction, convection, and radiation.
Survival blankets focus on reducing heat loss through radiation by reflecting radiant heat back to the body.
By doing so, the blanket helps maintain core body temperature and prevents hypothermia.
Different Types of Survival Blankets
While all survival blankets are designed to keep you warm, there are different types to choose from, each with its unique features and benefits.
Single-Layer Mylar Blankets
These are the most basic and lightweight option, typically found in emergency kits.
They’re inexpensive and compact, making them ideal for one-time use or occasional outdoor adventures.
Heavy-Duty Mylar Blankets
Heavier and more durable than single-layer blankets, heavy-duty Mylar blankets are better suited for repeated use and harsher conditions.
They often feature additional layers for increased insulation and puncture resistance.
Multi-Layered Insulated Blankets
These blankets combine Mylar with other insulating materials like fleece or synthetic fibers, providing extra warmth and comfort.
They’re bulkier and more expensive than single-layer blankets, but offer superior performance in extreme conditions.
How to Use a Survival Blanket
Now that we understand the science behind survival blankets let’s discuss how to use one effectively.
In Emergency Situations
In a life-threatening scenario, wrap the blanket tightly around your body, ensuring there are no gaps for cold air to enter.
This will maximize heat retention and prevent hypothermia.
If you’re stranded outdoors, you can also use the blanket as a makeshift shelter by stringing it between trees or rocks.
For First Aid
Survival blankets can be used to treat shock or hypothermia in injured individuals. Wrap the blanket around the person to help stabilize their body temperature while waiting for medical assistance.
As a Signal Device
The reflective nature of Mylar makes it a useful signaling tool.
You can use the blanket to attract attention from rescue teams or other people in the area by waving it or laying it out in a visible location.
Choosing the Right Survival Blanket
When selecting a survival blanket for your needs, consider the following factors:
- Size: Choose a blanket large enough to cover your entire body for maximum heat retention.
- Weight: Lightweight blankets are easier to carry in your backpack or emergency kit, while heavier blankets offer increased durability.
- Material: Single-layer Mylar blankets are affordable and compact, while multi-layered blankets provide better insulation and comfort.
- Price: Budget-friendly options are available for occasional use, while more expensive blankets are ideal for regular outdoor enthusiasts or extreme conditions.
- Reflectivity: Ensure the blanket’s material is highly reflective to optimize heat retention and signaling capabilities.
Additional Uses for Survival Blankets
While their primary function is to keep you warm, survival blankets can also serve several other purposes:
- Ground cover: Lay the blanket on the ground to create a moisture barrier, protecting you and your gear from damp surfaces.
- Shade: Use the blanket to create shade in hot environments, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion and sunburn.
- Water collection: Fold the blanket into a funnel shape to collect rainwater or dew.
- Fire reflector: Place the blanket behind your campfire to reflect heat towards your shelter, enhancing warmth and comfort.
Remember, having a survival blanket in your prepper’s survival gear can make a significant difference in an emergency situation.
To get the most out of your survival blanket, be sure to explore its various uses, such as providing ground cover, shade, water collection, and fire reflection.
Visit PreppersPriority.com for more information on survival gear and preparedness tips.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How Do Survival Blankets Work
What is the main purpose of a survival blanket?
The main purpose of a survival blanket is to keep you warm by reflecting your body’s radiant heat, conserving warmth, and preventing hypothermia in emergency situations.
How effective are survival blankets?
Survival blankets can reflect up to 90% of radiant heat, making them highly effective at conserving warmth and preventing heat loss.
Can a survival blanket be used more than once?
While single-layer Mylar blankets are typically designed for one-time use, heavy-duty and multi-layered insulated blankets are more durable and can be used multiple times.
What material are survival blankets made of?
Survival blankets are primarily made of Mylar, a polyester film with a thin layer of aluminum, which gives it its reflective properties.
How do I store a survival blanket?
Survival blankets can be folded compactly and stored in a backpack, emergency kit, or glove compartment.
Ensure it is protected from sharp objects to prevent punctures.
Do survival blankets work in hot environments?
Yes, survival blankets can be used to create shade in hot environments, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion and sunburn.
Can I use a survival blanket as a shelter?
In a pinch, a survival blanket can be used as a makeshift shelter by stringing it between trees or rocks.
Do survival blankets have a shelf life?
As long as they are stored properly and not exposed to extreme temperatures, survival blankets do not have a shelf life.
Can survival blankets be washed?
Single-layer Mylar blankets are not designed for washing.
However, heavy-duty and multi-layered blankets may be washed gently by hand if necessary.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.
Are survival blankets waterproof?
Yes, survival blankets are waterproof and can provide protection from rain and moisture.
Remember, a survival blanket is a valuable addition to your prepper’s first aid kit and other essential gear. Be prepared and stay safe in any situation.
Do survival blankets work for pets?
Yes, survival blankets can be used to keep pets warm and protected from the elements in emergency situations.
Can I use a survival blanket to insulate my home or vehicle?
While not designed specifically for this purpose, survival blankets can be used as a temporary insulation solution for homes or vehicles in extreme conditions.
How can I maximize the effectiveness of a survival blanket?
To maximize the effectiveness of a survival blanket, wrap it tightly around your body, ensuring there are no gaps for cold air to enter.
This will help retain heat and prevent hypothermia.
Can a survival blanket be used as a fire reflector?
Yes, placing a survival blanket behind your campfire can reflect heat towards your shelter, enhancing warmth and comfort.
How do I choose the right survival blanket for my needs?
Consider factors such as size, weight, material, price, and reflectivity when choosing a survival blanket.
For occasional use, a single-layer Mylar blanket may suffice, while more durable, multi-layered blankets are better for regular outdoor enthusiasts or extreme conditions.
Can survival blankets be used in water?
While survival blankets are waterproof, they are not designed for use in water as flotation devices or for swimming.
What are some other names for survival blankets?
Survival blankets are also known as space blankets, emergency blankets, or Mylar blankets.
What are some common scenarios in which survival blankets are used?
Survival blankets are commonly used in emergency situations, such as natural disasters, accidents, or when stranded outdoors in cold temperatures.
They can also be used for first aid, signaling, and various other purposes.
Why are survival blankets often included in emergency kits?
Survival blankets are included in emergency kits because they are lightweight, compact, and highly effective at conserving body heat in cold environments, making them a valuable tool in life-threatening situations.
Can I use a survival blanket to keep food or drinks warm or cold?
Yes, the reflective properties of survival blankets can be used to help maintain the temperature of food or drinks, either by wrapping them in the blanket or by creating a makeshift cooler or insulator.
The Science Behind Survival Blankets
Understanding the science behind survival blankets helps appreciate their effectiveness.
These blankets rely on the principle of heat radiation, which is the process by which heat is transferred from one body to another without the need for a medium like air or water.
Infrared radiation is the primary form of heat radiation that our bodies emit.
A survival blanket reflects this radiation back to our bodies, preventing heat loss and keeping us warm.
The reflective properties of Mylar, the primary material used in survival blankets, make it perfect for this purpose.
Choosing the Right Size and Thickness
When selecting a survival blanket, it’s essential to consider the size and thickness that best suit your needs. Some factors to keep in mind are:
- Size: Larger blankets can accommodate more people or cover a more extensive area but can be bulkier to carry. Smaller blankets are more portable but may not provide the same level of protection.
- Thickness: Thicker blankets offer better insulation and durability but are heavier and take up more space in your prepper’s survival gear. Thinner blankets are lightweight and compact but may not be as effective in extreme conditions.
Care and Maintenance of Survival Blankets
Proper care and maintenance of your survival blanket can extend its lifespan and ensure it’s ready when you need it most. Here are some tips to help you care for your survival blanket:
- Storage: Keep your survival blanket in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. This will prevent the Mylar from degrading or losing its reflective properties.
- Handling: Handle your survival blanket with care to avoid punctures or tears. When unfolding or refolding, be gentle and avoid creasing the material too much.
- Cleaning: For heavy-duty and multi-layered survival blankets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. Typically, these blankets can be gently hand-washed if needed. Single-use Mylar blankets are not designed for washing.
Why Preppers Should Carry Multiple Survival Blankets
Carrying multiple survival blankets in your prepper’s survival gear can be beneficial in various emergency situations.
Here are some reasons why you should consider having more than one blanket:
- Group emergencies: If you’re with a group of people, having multiple blankets can provide warmth and protection to everyone.
- Multiple uses: As we’ve seen, survival blankets can be used for various purposes, such as ground cover, shade, or water collection. Having multiple blankets allows you to use them for different functions simultaneously.
- Backup: In case one blanket gets damaged or lost, having a backup ensures you’re still protected and prepared.
Survival blankets are an essential item for any prepper or outdoor enthusiast.
They work by reflecting the body’s radiant heat, conserving warmth, and preventing hypothermia.
To get the most out of your survival blanket, choose the right size and thickness, care for it properly, and consider carrying multiple blankets in your prepper’s survival gear.
Visit PreppersPriority.com for more information on survival gear and preparedness tips.
Additional (FAQs) about How Do Survival Blankets Work
What materials are used in making survival blankets?
Survival blankets are typically made from a material called Mylar, which is a reflective, lightweight, and durable plastic film.
Some blankets also have a layer of polyethylene or other insulating materials to increase their effectiveness and durability.
Check out our guide on preppers survival gear for more information on essential items for your kit.
Can survival blankets be reused?
Yes, many survival blankets can be reused, especially those made from more durable materials like multi-layered or heavy-duty Mylar.
However, single-use Mylar blankets may not withstand multiple uses, as they can be prone to tearing or punctures.
How should I dispose of a single-use survival blanket?
Single-use survival blankets can be disposed of by folding them up and placing them in a waste bin.
Since Mylar is a type of plastic, it’s essential to dispose of it responsibly to minimize environmental impact.
How do I fold a survival blanket properly for storage?
To fold a survival blanket, start by folding it in half, aligning the edges, and smoothing out any wrinkles.
Continue folding in half until the blanket is a compact size, taking care to prevent creases and punctures.
For more tips on prepping essentials, visit PreppersPriority.com.
Can survival blankets protect against rain and wind?
Yes, survival blankets are waterproof and wind-resistant, making them suitable for protection against rain and wind in emergency situations.
However, they should not be used as a substitute for proper rain gear or clothing.
Are there any alternatives to Mylar survival blankets?
There are alternatives to Mylar survival blankets, such as wool blankets or insulated sleeping bags.
While these options may offer better insulation and comfort, they are typically bulkier and heavier, making them less suitable for emergency situations or inclusion in compact prepper’s survival gear.
What is the typical size of a survival blanket?
Survival blankets come in various sizes, but a standard adult-sized blanket typically measures around 52 x 84 inches (132 x 213 cm).
Larger blankets are also available for accommodating multiple people or providing additional coverage.
Can survival blankets be used to signal for help?
Yes, the reflective surface of a survival blanket can be used to signal for help in emergency situations by reflecting sunlight or other light sources, making them visible from a distance.
Is a survival blanket effective in hot environments?
While survival blankets are primarily designed for retaining body heat in cold environments, they can also provide shade and protection from the sun’s harsh rays in hot environments.
By creating a makeshift shelter or shade, you can use a survival blanket to help stay cool and prevent heatstroke.
Do survival blankets have an expiration date?
Survival blankets do not have an expiration date.
However, proper storage and care are essential for maintaining their effectiveness and durability.
Keep your survival blanket in a cool, dry place, and handle it gently to ensure it remains in good condition when you need it most.