Emergency Thermal Blankets in Your Survival Kit
If you’ve never actually wrapped up in an emergency blanket it may be hard to believe there’s any great benefit in including this tiny little sheet in your survival kit. I guess you could probably say I was a nonbeliever until I was actually forced to use one out of necessity in the back of an old station wagon that broke down on a cold desert highway (true story, but one for another time). The point is, there is always an emergency blanket in my survival kit now.This nifty little invention has many names. You may hear it called a space blanket (a reference to its development by NASA in the 1960’s), thermal blanket, Mylar blanket or emergency blanket. Regardless of your preferred moniker, the waterproof, windproof and lightweight qualities of the heat containing emergency blanket make them ideal in a variety of emergency situations.The body primarily looses heat in five different ways: Conduction, convection, evaporation, radiation and respiration. The amazing feature of the emergency blanket is that they can reflect up to 90% of radiant energy, including a person’s body heat and direct sunlight. But like most things in an emergency survival kit, the effectiveness of the emergency blanket is dependent on its proper care, storage and use. The effectiveness of the emergency blanket used on its own as a means of staying warm is occasionally challenged, so it is worth mentioning that most thin sheet emergency blankets are used primarily to prevent the loss of body heat. But if you’re in a cold place with only cold ground to lay on, additional layers of insulation are also important in order to keep warm, whether that means layers of clothing or a heavier blanket.If you’ve never used an emergency blanket before you ought to try it out so you know what to expect if you’re ever in a situation that demands you use one. Because they’re so inexpensive they’re great to stock everywhere. Keep them in the garage, in your car, and most definitely in your survival kit.
—Jared Matkin—Jared Matkin is a Salt Lake City based freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast who is continually on the lookout for innovative and usable products designed to help improve the way we live.