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Mylar "space blankets" work...if you know how to use them properly

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  • Mylar "space blankets" work...if you know how to use them properly

    Here are some excerpts from an excellent article about the one item that every prepper has probably bought at one time or another: the mylar "space blanket."

    How to (Properly) Use a Mylar Blanket for Survival

    Mylar does not provide any insulation

    If you want to stay alive (and comfortable) with a Mylar blanket, you need to know that: Mylar does not provide any insulation.

    Yes, it will reflect some of your body heat back to you. But, if you are hypothermic, you won’t have much body heat to reflect back!

    Thus, you can’t just wrap a Mylar blanket around you like you would with a normal blanket. Instead, you need to use one of these methods to make Mylar’s reflective properties work in your favor. 1. Use Outside of an Insulating Blanket

    Mylar prevents heat loss from radiation, evaporation and (because it is windproof) convection. Traditional blankets prevent heat loss from convection and (to a lesser extent) from convection. Thus, if you combine a Mylar blanket with an insulating blanket, you will prevent all forms of heat loss.

    To do this, wrap yourself in a wool or fleece blanket. Put the Mylar blanket outside of these blankets. For even more protection, you can use duct tape to sandwich a Mylar blanket between two wool blankets. You’ll stay toasty warm this way!
    2. Create a Shelter

    One of the best uses for a Mylar blanket is to make a debris shelter. The debris acts as an insulating layer, preventing heat loss from convection. The Mylar blanket lining the shelter blocks wind and prevents heat loss from radiation.

    If it is winter and you have to make a shelter with snowy debris, the snow will start to melt as your body heat warms it up. Because Mylar is waterproof, using it to line the top of your shelter will keep the melting snow from dripping on you.
    3. Use Mylar Blanket as a Ground Sheet

    Mylar provides absolutely NO insulation. So, you can NOT just put it on the ground and expect to stay warm. The ground will suck heat right from your body.

    However, you can use Mylar as a ground sheet along with something that provides insulation (such as a bed of pine needles or other vegetation). The Mylar will help reflect some heat back towards you. Since it is waterproof, it will also protect you from wet ground.

    First put the Mylar blanket on the ground. Then pile the pine needles on top of this. The pine needles provide insulation. The Mylar blanket reflects heat back towards you. If you try to put the Mylar blanket on top of the pine needles, you’ll just end up sweaty.

    *A Mylar blanket works great when hammock camping. Put the Mylar blanket in the hammock and then put you blanket or sleeping bag on top of that. 4. Mylar Blanket Fire Reflector

    Knowing how to make a fire reflector is one of the fundamentals of survival. You set it up across from the fire. The idea is that the heat from the fire hits the reflector and bounces towards you. You’d be surprised how much warmer a fire is when you’ve got a fire reflector up.

    Most bushcraft experts show you how to make a fire reflector using logs. A Mylar blanket is even more effective as a reflector and easier to set up. 5. Mylar for Lining Your Shelter:

    In addition to lining debris shelters with Mylar, you can also use them to line other types of shelters. For example, if you are stuck in your car in winter, you can line the inside of the car with the Mylar blanket to stay warmer.

    (There is a lot more info about mylar in the article, including tips 6, 7, and 8)
    9. Lining Boots or Mittens

    If your boots get wet, cut the Mylar blanket into two squares. Put them into your boots to line them. They will keep your feet dry.

    The same also works for mittens – your hands stay incredibly warm with a layer of Mylar inside of them. Even better is if you use this layering system: Gloves, Mylar, Mittens. Tips for Using a Mylar Blanket

    • NEVER put a Mylar blanket right next to your skin. You need an insulating layer between you and the Mylar.
    • Dry the Mylar blanket before using. Since it stops evaporation, sweat easily builds up on Mylar. This will make you wet and colder. So, make sure you thoroughly dry the Mylar blanket before using.
    • Beware of rips. Mylar is very durable. However, once it punctures, it will rip easily along the puncture line. Some experts like to carry a bit of duct tape with them in case they need to repair tears.
    • Add a source of heat. If you are hypothermic, your body won’t have heat for the Mylar blanket to reflect back to you. You’ll need another source of heat. Put something like a heated rock or a flask with hot water next to you.

    Check out the article for more handy tips and illustrations, such as this:
    If your Mylar blanket doesn’t have grommets (most don’t), you can secure it to rope by putting a smooth rock in the corner and tying the rope around this

    Click image for larger version

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    Genius is making a way out of no way.

  • #2
    Mylar blankets have a lot of uses other than what it was intended for. You can use them to collect rain water. I have also heard of people taking them to line a box to make a solar oven. I have not tried it but I heard it works good for heating up things like water and soup. I keep a couple in my car but also have a couple of wool blankets in car as well.


    • #3
      Very informative. You could make a Mylar bag to go outside your sleeping bag and double the effectiveness of your ground sheet perhaps.