When people put together emergency plans, they often think of ways to keep warm but it is usually in terms of winter coats, thick blankets and sleeping bags. But most people don’t have something quite simple – an emergency survival blanket, AKA solar blanket or space blanket. Yes, those thin tin-foil looking blankets really should be in your survival kit. Unfortunately for the frugal in you, tin foil does not work the same, not to mention that I can’t imagine how much it would rip while trying to use it as a blanket!
Solar blankets work by reflecting your body heat back into your body, instead of losing it through clothing, blankets or simply the air. And even though the name might make you think otherwise, they do not need sunlight in order to work. You want to make sure the shiny side is against the body in order to keep the heat reflecting back.
But did you also know that just as solar blankets can reflect heat in, it can also reflect heat outwards. If you find yourself in a heat wave without electricity, you can tape solar blankets (shiny side facing out) to the windows to help keep the heat out, since windows can bring a huge amount of heat into the house when the sun hits them.
Solar blankets are somewhat durable, made of fairly strong mylar. It folds up incredibly small, is extremely light, and best of all, it is only going to cost you a buck or two, so they can be considered disposable after you use them once, if you are having trouble folding them perfectly or it gets damaged. You can upgrade to a much stronger and heavier solar blanket, but it will run you around $10-15, and the surface area tends to be smaller. There are also some that have the reflective material on one side, while the other side is a more durable canvas or plastic material. Also, if you have any friends who run marathons, sponsors often give out these blankets at the finish line, so you can try and score on for free… just be prepared to do a little work to get it folded nice and small again!
There is a newer kind of solar blanket available recently, called a solar bag. Similar to a sleeping bag or a bivvy sack, these are meant for people to go inside them similar to a sleeping bag, to keep even more body heat in.
You should have at least one solar blanket for each member of your family. I personally have a few of each type with my survival supplies for each family member. I also have a few of them in my vehicle incase I am caught in extreme cold or hot weather. They are light and fold extremely tiny, there is really no excuse not to have one.
This emergency blanket is the most durable one I have found, although it does cost a bit more. However, you won’t end up replacing it if it gets damaged or ripped during use.