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What does a Mylar blanket do? September 23,2019.

What is a Mylar and what is a thermal blanket used for?

A Mylar blanket (It is also known as a space blanket, emergency blanket, safety blanket, thermal blanket, first aid blanket, weather blanket, heat sheet, or commonly referred to as shock blankets depending on the specific function) is a super lightweight, low-bulk blanket made of heat reflective thin plastic sheeting. The material Mylar is the trade name for biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET or commonly referred to as PET). They are used on the exterior surfaces of spacecraft for thermal control, as well as by people. The design reduces the loss of a person’s body heat, which would otherwise happen due to thermal radiation, convection or water evaporation. The lightweight and compact features make them ideal when space or weight are limited. They are often included in a first aid bag or kit and also in camping gears. Lost hikers and campers can also utilize the metallic surface appearance as it flashes in the sun, which can be used an improvised distress beacon for searchers and also a method of signaling over long distances to other people on the same route.

Mylar blanket Emergency Tent Thermal Sleeping Bag

The Properties of Mylar

One of the most important properties of Mylar is that is reflects radiant heat. The radiant heat will bounce off when it hits the shiny surface. This can be used to direct heat away from an object or redirect heat back towards the source.

A good example would be that NASA created a parasol-type object made from Mylar back in 1973, to reflect heat away from Skylab. It was proved to be effective to prevent the Skylab from overheating.

Mylar can be often seen in marathons. These thin and shining blankets are given to runners after they stop running as their body temperatures start to drop quickly. It helps reflect some of their heat back to them and stabilize their temperatures. Mylar is also windproof and waterproof in addition to the heat reflecting property mentioned above. It can prevent heat loss from evaporation due to the waterproof feature since we can lose up to 85% of our body heat during intense sweating because of evaporation. We lost about 10-15% of our body heat from convection, wo a wind barrier like Mylar can do magics to keep you warm.

How do you use a Mylar Blanket?

Although Mylar blankets are proven to be extremely useful out in the wild, you need to understand that it does not provide any insulation. It will reflect some of your body heat back to you but it won’t work very well if you are hypothermic. Thus, instead of wrapping an emergency Mylar blanket around you like a normal blanket, you need to use one of below methods to make sure the reflective properties work best in your favor.

1. Combine the use of an insulating blanket and a Mylar blanket

Traditional blankets can prevent heat loss from conduction to a lesser extend compared to Mylar blanket. The properties mentioned above already explained about radiation, evaporation and convection. To do this, simply wrap yourself in a fleece or wool blanket, then put the Mylar blanket outside of these blankets. You can also use duct tape to secure the Mylar blanket in between two wool blankets. This will help you stay toasty warm!

2. Use of Mylar Shelter

Mylar blanket can be turned into a debris shelter or you can purchase pre-patterned emergency mylar tube tent. The debris acts as an insulating layer, preventing heat loss from convection. The Mylar blanket helps block wind and prevent heat loss from radiation. In winter times when you have to make a shelter with snowy debris, the waterproof property of Mylar will be extremely useful when you use it to line the top of your shelter since the snow will start to melt as your body heat warms the place up. This will keep the melting snow from dripping on you.  You can create a Mylar shelter in no time by following below steps:

a) Use a long branch or stick to make a ridge pole that can be put between two branches or poles stuck in the ground.

b) The Mylar blanket needs to be put over the ridge pole. Rocks can be used to secure the edges on the ground. Do not puncture the Mylar as it will start to rip.

c) Lean branches on the ridge pole so they are over the Mylar blanket. These are now the structural frame of your shelter.

d) Add debris over the poles to serve as insulation.

e) Additional walls can be added to the sides of the shelter for extra protection.

When it comes to this application we suggest users to get a larger size as there are many different options in sizes when you purchase a thermal blanket.  The larger sizes are more durable in terms of making a shelter since it doesn’t tear easily.

Emergency Mylar Tube Tent

3. Use of Mylar Ground Sheet

Mylar blanket will not help you stay warm if you just put it on the ground with no insulation as the ground will suck heat right from your body. Similar to the combination of traditional and Mylar blankets mentioned above, if you use Mylar as a ground sheet along with something that provides insulation, i.e. a pile of pine needles or other vegetation, it will help reflect some heat back towards you. It will also protect you from wet ground since it is waterproof.

To do this, first put the Mylar blanket on the ground, then pile the pine needles on top of it.  You should avoid putting the Mylar blanket on top of the pine needles as you’ll end up sweaty. A Mylar blanket also works great when hammock camping. You can put it in the hammock and then place your traditional blanket or sleeping bag over the top of that.

4. Use Mylar Blanket as Fire Reflector

You can use Mylar blanket to reflect heat generated by a fire. This is one of the fundamentals of survival skills. Most of survival experts know how to make a fire reflector using logs, but the unique properties of a Mylar blanket make it extremely effective as a reflector and easier to set up.

5. Use Mylar for Lining Your Shelter

A Mylar blanket can be used to create a shelter. It can also be used to line other types of shelters. A good example would be your car. In extreme weathers such as blizzard, an easy-to-access mylar blanket can be used to line the inside of the vehicle quickly if you are stuck in the snowstorm.

6. Keep it Cool

A Mylar blanket works in the same way as those shiny metal sheets you saw often to keep the cars cool.  If you are trapped in your car on a hot day, use it to keep it cool. It can also be used to create a survival shelter in the desert.

7. Use Mylar for Solar Still

Some survival experts suggest that Mylar blankets work great as solar stills. It is one of the smartest ways to collect water in a life-or-death situation. To do this, you need to remember that the shiny side goes down when making a solar still.

8. Signaling for Help

As we mentioned in the first part of the article, the metallic surface appearance of a Mylar blanket can be utilized as improvised distress beacon for searchers. Some blankets can be customized with SOS already stamped on them.

Reflective mylar blanket can be easily spotted from distance

9. Use it as Lining for Your Boots or Mittens

Wet boots can be very uncomfortable. Cut the Mylar blanket into two squares and put them into your boots to line them. This will keep your feet dry. The same also works for mittens. Your hands stay incredibly warm with a layer of Mylar inside of them. It works the best if you use this layering system: Gloves, Mylar, Mittens.

10. Use it as an emergency thermal sleeping bag

There are pre-patterned mylar sleeping bags but in case you do not have one in hand, the mylar blanket can be easily turned into a sleeping bag. As mentioned above this is only good when you do not have access to a regular insulated blanket. Keep in mind that it will reflect some of your body heat back to you but it won’t work very well if you are hypothermic.

Additional Tips for Using a Mylar Blanket

1. It is not suggested to use without an insulation layer between your skin and the Mylar.

2. The Mylar Blanket needs to be dried before using. Sweat can easily build up on mylar since it stops evaporation which will make you wet and colder. So, make sure the Mylar blanket is thoroughly dried before using.

3. Mylar is very durable but once it punctures it will rip easily along the puncture line. Some survival experts like to carry some duct tapes in case they need to repair tears.

4. As mentioned earlier that if you are hypothermic, your body won’t have enough heat for the Mylar blanket reflect back to you. You will need another source of heat. A heated rock or a flask with hot water will be handy in this case.

Advices Before Buying a Mylar Blanket

1. You get what you are paying for

The prices of Mylar blankets may range vastly from one shop to another. You can buy them for ridiculously cheap. However, those super-cheat ones usually won’t hold up for more than one or two uses. The reflective coating comes off easily and they also rip easily.

Of course, these cheap and disposable Mylar blankets can be useful as well. They are easier to access since you can buy an entire pack and put them in your emergency bag, or having a bunch of them laying around in the trunk of your car. The Mylar blankets that are used for wilderness survival shouldn’t be cheap and disposable.  You need a thicker, more durable survival blanket.

Durable Space Mylar Blanket

2. Thickness

Thicker Mylar blankets don’t get punctured as easily, thus they are more durable and don’t rip as easily. The downsides are that it will be heavier and won’t fold down as compact.

3. Grommets

You shouldn’t poke a hole in a Mylar blanket because it rips easily. Some thicker Mylar blankets are custom made with grommets in them. These grommets make it much easier to use, especially when making a shelter or lining the inside of a shelter.

4. Double Sided

We’ve mentioned that a Mylar Blanket can be used as a solar still or desert shelter so you don’t want it to be double sided in most of the survival cases.

5. Silver, Gold or Other Color choices

The aluminized side of the Mylar blanket should stay in its original shiny silver color. The other side can be custom made into different colors. Green or camouflage colors can help you stay hidden. Orange, gold or other brighter colors can be used for signaling for help.

Are you looking for a reliable manufacturer of mylar blanket in different colors or pre-patterned Mylar shelter, emergency sleeping bag and emergency mylar rain poncho? Email us at info@firstcaresolutions.com to get a free quote!

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