Mylar has many uses beyond just keeping you warm during a survival situation.
It is worth it to buy at least a dozen inexpensive blankets to put back in your preps. If you buy a lot at once you can save a lot of money overall.
Basic mylar sheet blankets are very affordable and can be stored in a small space. There are also some emergency bivvies and blankets out there that use mylar in combination with other materials to provide a stronger emergency blanket and sleeping bag for longer situations.
The added strength and durability can be a big help if you find yourself out for a few extra nights for any reason at all. Some of the higher durability bivvies also come in different colors so if you want one that blends in you can get green or camo. Others are bright orange for easy visibility when you desire others to see you in a rescue situation.
Some basic mylar blankets are thinner or smaller than others
I will admit I have purchased some of the lower cost blankets in the past and they are quite thin. That doesn’t mean they are not good to have on hand though. I would venture to say that it is wise to have some of the regular thin types on hand for some situations and for trade and barter but consider adding some thicker and stronger varieties in different colors.
Mylar blankets have come a long way. I am amazed by how many different brands, colors, sizes, and styles there are out there. In this post, I am going to include some that stand out to me, but first let’s discuss just a few of the countless uses for mylar blankets.
Uses of Mylar Blankets
Making a survival shelter
Some paracord and a few blankets can go a long way towards creating a survival shelter. If you have some duct tape, it may be even easier.
Reflecting light to signal for help
Mylar is extremely reflective and easy to see from a long distance if used correctly. You can use it to signal or you can rest assured that if you are using it as an emergency blanket, anyone will be able to see you if the light is right from a distance.
Reflecting light to grow food
Mylar is often used in grow rooms to reflect light for better growth of plants. If you find yourself growing food in the winter you can utilize mylar to help out.
Insulating any container or shelter
Mylar is great for insulating containers or even the inside of emergency shelters.
Small amounts of water could be transported in a mylar blanket that has been folded right.
Keeping food warm
Have you ever had to delay dinner? Well, a mylar blanket can be used to cover a lot of food or it could be wrapped around foods to keep them hot for an extended period of time. So next time you get stuck making the holiday turkey and have to transport it, consider wrapping the container you are using for transport in a mylar blanket.
Build a solar cooker
Even the most expensive solar cookers use the power of reflection and mirrors to create the heat required to cook large meals. A mylar blanket can be used to line the inside of a solar cooker box.
Mark your trail
You can tie pieces of mylar to trees and bushes to mark a trail or path. I have read some suggest even dropping pieces on the ground but I think that is a bad idea because mylar is so light and it would scatter easily or not be as visible as something that is hung at eye level.
There are a lot of other uses out there too! I encourage you to search online for videos and projects using mylar sheets.
Mylar Blanket, Tarp, and Bivvy Options
A mylar blanket or bivvy should be in everyone’s bug out bag, get home bag, or car kit
Hypothermia can happen even when the temperatures are fairly high outside. People get hypothermia sometimes when temps are in the 60s or 70s.
Of course, there is always the possibility of getting stuck on the side of the road during inclement weather. Staying warm is one of the first priorities in a situation like that. Running your car’s heater may work for a while but if snow is accumulating rapidly and your tailpipe gets clogged, running your heater can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Even just running a heater on and off is going to run down your gas so it may be hard to get very far when the weather clears a bit. I think it is wise to have more than one mylar bivvy or blanket in your car too because what if you are traveling with others? Remember that kids lose heat faster than adults.
The Swiss Safe line comes in a variety of colors and is designed to be tough enough for emergency shelter use. Each blanket measures 52″ x 82″ and weighs a mere 2 oz. While I know one has to be careful when looking at reviews at big online retailers, the reviews for these blankets are 90% 5-star reviews.
One reviewer mentioned that he keeps some of these around to hand out to the homeless while another person described how their family of 4 was stranded on the side of the road in 30 F weather during a storm that dropped 9 inches of snow. They did not even use their car heater, just the blankets, and some hot coffee. It is good to hear from folks that have actually used these in a real emergency.
These are just basic mylar blankets but they appear to be durable and they come in a handy 10 pack so you can have a lot of blankets to stash in various bags and locations. Each blanket measures 52″ x 84″.
Ok, I know these blankets have an over the top name but they really are very tough. For starters, these blankets come in a protective nylon stuff sack rather than just a plastic envelope or sleeve. I think I might actually be able to manage to reuse one of these blankets by stuffing it back in the sack. When I first looked at these I did imagine how hard it is to stuff a tent back into a sack but folks seem to not have any problem with getting these back in.
The nylon bags have sturdy drawstrings and closures. You also get a carrying pouch with a carabiner that will hold all 4 emergency blankets if needed. If you want to just carry one, there is room in there to throw in some other supplies such as a small medical kit. The drawstrings on the nylon stuff sacks appear to be some type of paracord style rope that could have other survival uses if needed.
The blankets are silver on one side and safety orange on the other which gives you options for signaling and visibility. Each blanket measures 64″ x 82″, making this over 10″ wider than a lot of mylar blankets out there.
Sometimes you just want a lot of something basic and simple. For those that want to put back a lot of mylar blankets in their preps or want to save by ordering together as a group, then this is a great deal. Remember that mylar blankets could be an excellent trade item during a long emergency. If you have a prepper group you are part of, this might be a deal you want to grab while you can.
Mylar survival tarps offer a lot of options and great durability.
I really like the idea of double-sided mylar blankets and tarps. Sometimes you may not want to be seen while at another time, your life and those you care about could be saved by the high visibility provided by the reflective nature of silver mylar or the brightness of safety orange.
The versatility and warmth provided by a tarp that incorporates mylar really make it stand out as an inexpensive way to add warmth and comfort to tents and primitive wilderness shelters. You could also use one to keep food and supplies from freezing when out in the wilderness. Forgetting to get all the water out of your filter and allowing it to freeze, for example, could mean you suddenly don’t have a working water filter.
I think I might order one of these survival blankets/tarps myself to test out. I love that there are actually reinforced grommets on each corner. These have their limitations if you get caught in a lot of wind but they are still nice to have.
The tarp/survival blanket is a lot heavier than the thin mylar. The tarp weighs in at 13.6 oz and measures 60″ x 83″. If you click on the link above you will be able to view more pictures of this tarp in action. By using rope or paracord you can create an emergency shelter or you can lash this to an existing tent for extra protection from the weather and better heat retention.
The video review below reflects the opinion of a fellow that has used this tarp off and on for a year.
This is another great example of an emergency mylar survival tarp with grommets. One side is mylar and the other side is two layers of polypropylene. You get a good carry bag with zipper and the whole thing weighs less than a pound. When open, the tarp/blanket measures 5 ft x 7ft. You can get this survival tarp in camo or orange.
I like the mylar sleeping bags for keeping in emergency car kits or get home bags. This might not be a bad idea for a lightweight 72-hour kit either. If you have found some bags and blankets to be lacking in size, you will be pleased to know that despite weighing a mere 4.1 oz, this bag is 7 feet long and 3 feet wide!
The waterproof nylon stuff sack that is included also features a survival whistle and paracord. This is a good emergency sleeping bag for those on a budget that want something besides a few standard mylar blankets. The orange color also helps with visibility if you are waiting for help.
Titan is a USA based and veteran-owned company that makes a variety of survival products. This emergency bivvy is made of extra-thick mylar and weighs just 4.6 oz when packed in the included waterproof stuff sack. The bivvy measures 36″ by 78″. Titan claims the mylar they use is up to 41% thicker than its competitors. You can choose between Dark Earth, Safety Orange, and Woodland Camo colors.
This mylar tube tent kit caught my eye because it is lightweight, designed for two people, and even includes 20 feet of rope for constructing your shelter. In addition, you get two extra-large mylar blankets that are gold-colored on one side and silver on the other. If you want two of these kits, check out the link above and the price on a 2 pack. You may be able to save some money.
Don’t Die In The Woods World’s Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent • 2 Person Mylar Emergency Shelter Tube Tent + Paracord
Don’t Die In The Woods’ tube tent is made from a special flexible mylar that is stronger and less susceptible to tearing. This emergency shelter features taped seams and is designed to be reusable, unlike some emergency mylar tents. Since the mylar is flexible, it makes less noise which can be a real advantage in some situations. The entire kit weighs in at 9.5 oz. You can choose between three colors: Army Green, Camo, and Safety Orange.
Disadvantages of Mylar
There are a few negative aspects of mylar blankets that are worth noting so you can reduce how much of an impact they have at times.
Mylar is crinkly. The single-layer mylar blankets that fold up small are going to be hard to get out without making a bit of noise. Every time you move you will also be making noise. While in a lot of survival situations this may not matter, during a long emergency or SHTF situation, giving away your location could be harmful or even fatal.
Visibility to unknown persons or enemies
A reflective surface can give away your hiding place. Of course, one way to combat this is to buy mylar blankets that are silver on one side and camo, green, etc, on the other.
Many mylar blankets cannot be reused easily
If you are really careful or buy a tougher grade of emergency mylar blanket, you might be able to reuse them more than once or at least repurpose some of the mylar for other uses. The basic silver ones that come in a little packet are really just designed for one use, especially the ones that are not very thick.
Size can vary so some blankets and sacks may not work as well for all purposes.
Mylar blankets in packets are all mostly in the same size range. Actual mylar sleeping bags and bivvies vary in size but still may not work for everyone. If you are a taller or larger person, make sure to check the measurements on a bivvy or bag before ordering so you can be warm and comfortable.
Also, I want to point out that if someone is wearing a lot of clothing or intends on using a mylar blanket or bag as a liner or as an outer layer to their other sleeping bag, size needs to be factored in. It is probably best to use it on the inside of your bag but at the same time, if your bag is not very waterproof, there is something to be said for adding an additional layer on the outside.
Have you been in an emergency situation that required the use of a mylar blanket, tent, or bivvy? What did you learn from the experience?