Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Umar
Survival blankets, also known as space blankets, emergency blankets, or mylar blankets, are designed to help people stay warm in various situations, from marathon runners to mountaineers and astronauts
These blankets are made from a thin, reflective material that can help retain body heat and prevent heat loss
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the science behind survival blankets, their effectiveness, types, and alternative uses.
How Do Survival Blankets Work?
Survival blankets work by trapping and reflecting body heat.
They are made of an impermeable metalized plastic sheet that can trap up to 90% of the radiated body heat that would normally be dispersed into the environment
The aluminum coating on the blanket reflects heat back to the body, preventing heat loss through radiation
However, it is important to note that survival blankets cannot create warmth from nothing; they merely help retain the body heat that is already being generated.
Types of Survival Blankets
There are three main types of survival blankets: mylar, insulated polypropylene, and wool blend
- Mylar emergency blankets: These are the most common type of survival blankets, made from a thin, reflective material that helps retain body heat. They are lightweight, compact, and affordable.
- Insulated polypropylene blankets: These blankets are more durable and provide better insulation than mylar blankets. They are often used in conjunction with mylar blankets for added warmth and protection.
- Wool blend blankets: Wool is a natural fiber known for its warmth and durability. Wool blend survival blankets are heavier and bulkier than mylar or insulated polypropylene blankets but provide excellent insulation and can keep you warm even when wet.
Effectiveness of Survival Blankets
Survival blankets are highly effective at trapping and reflecting body heat when used correctly
However, their effectiveness can vary based on the situation and the type of blanket used.
Mylar blankets are lightweight and compact, making them ideal for emergency situations, but they may not provide the same level of warmth and insulation as a wool blend or insulated polypropylene blanket
In addition to retaining body heat, survival blankets can also be used to protect against heat loss through convection by acting as a windbreaker when wrapped around exposed skin
They can also be used to reduce heat loss caused by evaporation of perspiration and to inhibit losses caused by thermal radiation
Alternative Uses for Survival Blankets
Survival blankets are versatile tools that can be used for more than just keeping warm.
Some alternative uses include:
- Shelter: Use the blanket as a makeshift tent or tarp to protect against rain, wind, and sun.
- Signaling: The reflective surface of the blanket can be used to signal for help in an emergency situation.
- Water gathering: Use the blanket to collect rainwater or dew for drinking.
- Insulation: Place the blanket under your sleeping bag or pad to provide an extra layer of insulation against the cold ground.
- Heat reflection: Use the blanket to reflect heat from a fire or other heat source to keep you warm.
- Medical uses: The blanket can be used as a sling, tourniquet, or compression bandage in a pinch.
- Waterproofing: Wrap the blanket around items that need protection from water, such as electronics or clothing.
Choosing the Right Survival Blanket
When selecting a survival blanket, consider the following factors:
- Material: Choose a blanket made from a material that suits your needs, whether it’s mylar for lightweight emergencies, insulated polypropylene for durability, or wool blend for maximum warmth.
- Size: Ensure the blanket is large enough to cover your entire body or serve its intended purpose.
- Durability: Look for a blanket that is tear-resistant and can withstand harsh conditions.
- Thermal properties: Consider the blanket’s ability to retain and reflect body heat.
- Versatility: Opt for a blanket that can be used for multiple purposes, such as shelter, signaling, or insulation.
Survival blankets are an essential tool for staying warm in emergency situations.
They work by trapping and reflecting body heat, preventing heat loss through radiation, convection, and evaporation.
While mylar blankets are the most common type, insulated polypropylene and wool blend blankets offer additional warmth and durability.
In addition to their primary function, survival blankets can also be used for a variety of alternative purposes, making them a valuable addition to any emergency preparedness kit or outdoor adventure.