We often think of mastering survival as being prepared for any and all situations, but there are times where you will just not have all of the things you truly need. This is when we rely on emergency kits to hold our last resorts which could keep us going just a bit longer in extreme situations.
It is in this vein that we put emergency and/or survival blankets. So which is the best survival blanket, the most affordable, the most durable?
Whether you’re a camper, hiker, runner, hunter, etc. you will find that a survival blanket can come in handy for more than just a few things. While they are praised for their ability to keep body heat in, they are often used just as well to keep it out.
They are generally waterproof, lightweight, and reflective so it’s easy to get creative with how to use them for more than just warmth. Although there are many choices for survival blankets out there, it is essential to have some form of one for your first-aid or survival kit. They are the quintessential item for hypothermic shock prevention and emergency warmth when you have no other resources.
What You Want In A Blanket
The things to think about when going through your blanket options are what you are really looking for out of it.
The most important thing to realize is that these don’t really act as blankets at all. They are usually mylar or aluminum coated plastic and more resemble a tarp or sheet than they ever would a traditional blanket. So here are some things you may be looking for:
Emergency body heating
This is extremely important for if you become stranded somewhere on a cold night without the proper attire. Imagine your car breaks down in a snowstorm, if an emergency blanket is all you have for extra heat, it may save you a lot of discomforts or even your life. The main use and purpose of these blankets are to prevent hypothermic shock or death by hypothermia.
The way to do this is to have bare skin against the parts of your body touching the blanket, crouch down low to the ground, but not sitting, and wrap as much of your body up as you can. This keeps you from losing any body heat to the ground and as little as possible to the night air.
The parts of your skin that are touching the blanket will begin conducting heat almost immediately. In this regard, make sure you are aware of how hypothermia takes hold. You don’t want to sweat too much in one of these blankets. They are made so that they don’t breathe.
Pack of multiple blankets
Packs of multiple blankets are great for if you are more concerned with emergency situations than you are with camping. These blankets are generally better for one-time use and great to have stashed in the back of the car. However, if you are looking for something to use while camping, it is better to have something that can hold up to weather and be used multiple times without fear of ripping.
A tent insulator
If you buy one of the more heavy duty survival blankets, then they work great as a tent insulator. A lot of people will even buy two and use one as a floor mat to keep the ground from dropping your temperature and the other as a tool to keep out the night chill.
If you set one up as a sort of awning for your tent and build a fire close by, you could potentially create a sort of central heating for your temporary home.
The great thing about these blankets, in general, is that you don’t need to use them for survival or emergencies at all to be able to get great use out of them. A lot of people will simply run these on the inside of a windshield as a reflector or on the inside of a window in a house where too much heat or light comes in.
The sun shield aspect of these blankets proves great for those who have RVs or other mobile homes as a way to keep the heat out early in the morning. If you’ve ever tried to sleep in an RV on a summer morning you know that it becomes a tiny hot box, but if you put one of these reflective blankets along the roof or windows you could keep it nice and cool.
Most of us attempt to be minimalists when we’re preparing for a camping trip. We realize that our space is limited, but that we may need any number of things in case of weather changes or unusual situations or dangers. So having a survival blanket that can double as a tarp is extremely useful.
Whether it’s cold or raining or both, a good number of these blankets can act as a perfect shield to both. You can use it on the ground underneath the tent to keep heat in and water out or use it as a rain fly and get the added bonus of extra insulation.
Some of the more substantial survival blankets have one side painted a bright color while the other is reflective. This can be an added bonus if you find that you need some device for signaling that you need help. Having a large, bright orange blanket laid out will obviously be easier to spot over long distances than someone waving their arms.
One of the things that we’ve touched on in mentioning all of these different uses is the fact that this is great for insulating a sleeping space, but if you are truly limited on options, one of these survival blankets could become your sleeping space.
Some of these blankets have grommets, and even stakes, that make pitching them as a tent simple. This could come in handy as a backpacker or hunter whose tent rips or is compromised in some way.
The Blanket for You
There are multiple types of emergency blankets that are more suited for your car’s first aid kit or to shove in the bottom of a backpack than they may be for resourcefulness while out camping. These are generally the blankets that come in large packs, rip easily, and are intended for warming someone up in an emergency situation.
They are usually very affordable and good for putting multiples in all the family’s cars. It’s important to note that these are really a survival blanket; something that you use when you have no other options or when someone is going into hypothermic shock.
Then there are the blankets that act more like tarps. These blankets are usually more durable, thicker, aren’t always so hard on the eyes, a little quieter, and some even have reinforced grommets so you can tie them down or to a tent or car.
While these blankets can be used for much more than your average survival blanket, they will still do the job in reflecting back body heat. This is the type of blanket you want if you will be camping and can’t bring a lot of gear.
All that said, let’s go through some of the options out there…
Mylar Men’s Emergency Thermal Blanket
Weight: 1 lbs. (Pack of ten)
Dimensions: 54 inches by 84 inches
Special Features: This is a ten pack of these blankets for an extremely reasonable price.
Best Use: Hypothermia prevention, Added insulation to sleeping bag or tent
Description: Mylar Men’s Emergency Thermal Blankets are your average, but highly useful mylar emergency blankets. They are shiny, silver, crinkly, loud, and could potentially save your life. This isn’t what you want if you’re looking for something for long time use, but they will absolutely get the job done if used properly.
They will rip and begin to wear through after only a short time, but if you are using them as true emergency blankets and not as a camping blanket then you should have no problem at all.
These mylar blankets are all sorts of weatherproof and are exactly what you need for a first-aid or emergency kit in the back of the car or in your camping gear. They don’t take up a lot of room and you can pack multiples, but if you want something more heavy duty, then these aren’t the choice for you.
Titan Two-sided Emergency Mylar Survival Blankets
Weight: 0.55 lbs. (Pack of five)
Dimensions: 52 inches by 82 inches
Special Features: This is a five pack of mylar blankets that come individually packed in zip-lock type bags. These blankets are just a bit more reinforced and tear-proof. There are three color options: “Olive-Drab”, “Safety-Orange”, “Woodland Camo.”
Best Use: Hypothermia prevention, Added insulation
Description: Titan is a U.S. veteran-owned company although the blankets are imported. Titan Two-sided Emergency Mylar Survival Blankets are extra-reinforced mylar blankets with one side painted and the other side reflective. These blankets are quite a bit more expensive than other packs of blankets.
It is up to the buyer’s discretion whether they think the extra money is worth the slightly thicker material and colorful side. Titan’s survival blankets are another great addition to the backpacker’s pack or to the first-aid kit.
Grabber All Weather Blanket
Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Dimensions: 60 inches by 84 inches
Special Features: Thick laminate with colorful side and reflective side, grommets in all four corners for easy tie-down, Comes in multiple colors
Best Use: Containing body heat, doubles as tarp
Description: This is unlike the blanket options above in that it is made for multiple use and as a multi-use addition to any camping pack. Grabber All Weather Blanket is larger than most and therefore more bulky than the thin, mylar sheets which can be easily shoved into small places.
This blanket seems quite affordable based on other multi-use survival blankets out there and the ability to use it for so many things makes it worth the price.
One of the things to note about these types of thicker blankets is that they will be harder to wrap well around your body if you do need it in a survival situation. They will get the job done but think more about wrapping a tarp around your body than a thin sheet.
Extra Thick Double Sided Thermal Reflective Blanket
Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Dimensions: 60 inches by 82 inches
Special Features: Non-rip seams, Has reinforced grommets on corners and comes with small stakes
Best Use: Tarp, reflective insulation
Description: Extra Thick Double Sided Thermal Reflective Blanket is a little quieter than most. It won’t be an unbearable crinkling experience like most of the smaller, mylar emergency blankets. This blanket is also reinforced and coated in a waterproof polyethylene for extra protection.
The blanket is more pricey, but is a good size, has a colorful and reflective side, and has built-in, reinforced grommets in all four corners.
The price is also hiked up because the blanket comes with stakes to use it as a tarp or tent, but the stakes are a flimsy plastic that doesn’t seem like it would last very long with use. That being said, this blanket is great for use as a tarp, insulator, emergency signal, etc.
Outdoor Survival Camping Insulated Survival Mat
Weight: 0.13 lbs.
Dimensions: 63 inches by 83 inches
Special Features: Larger than most blankets
Best Use: Hypothermia prevention, Added insulation, Reflector
Description: While Outdoor Survival Camping Insulated Survival Mat is larger than most, it doesn’t seem to stand out amongst its peers. The blanket is quite expensive for one normal mylar blanket. It is gold instead of silver which seems to have no added benefits in reflectiveness or in emergency signaling.
This blanket will absolutely do the trick in keeping you warm or being used as an extra insulator to a tent or sleeping bag, but the price just doesn’t seem worth the one average blanket. You would be better off buying a pack of these blankets especially since they are made mostly for one-time use.
If you like the gold more than silver, go for it, but this blanket is asking a lot for being the same as something you can get more of and for a better price.
Ultimate Survival Technologies Survival Reflect Blanket
Weight: 0.04 lbs.
Dimensions: 52 inches by 83 inches
Special Features: Extremely lightweight
Best Use: Hypothermia prevention, Added insulation
Description: This is what you want for your emergency or first-aid kit. Ultimate Survival Technologies Survival Reflect Blanket is your average mylar survival blanket.
Crinkly, loud, and reflective, but will get the job done when you need it. It can be added to a tent or sleeping bag for added insulation. This blanket is weatherproof, waterproof, and compact.
The only significant difference between this blanket and other mylar blankets is that it’s even lighter, which is always great for when you can’t bring a lot with you.
This is a great option if you just need one for your own first-aid kit. Not everyone needs a pack of multiple, so if you feel like spending a reasonable price just for one then this option is for you.
Kangaroo Emergency Thermal Blankets
Weight: 0.8 lbs. (Pack of ten)
Dimensions: 54 inches by 84 inches
Special Features: Pack of ten for a reasonable price
Best Use: Hypothermia prevention, Added insulation
Description: Kangaroo Emergency Thermal Blankets are more of you average mylar blankets. Great for the family or if you don’t like the multi-use survival blankets; this is a pack of ten.
Kangaroo features your usual crinkly, space-like astronaut blanket that could save your life. These blankets do exactly what they are supposed to and even a little bit more if you use them as a sun reflector or tent insulator.
The aren’t heavy duty and most likely for one-time use, but the pack of ten could prove handy in this case. These are perfect for any first-aid kit, but as I’ve mentioned, if you want something with a longer lifespan than these aren’t for you.
Now that we’ve seen some of the many uses for these blankets and how well they hold up, it’s time to find the one that is best for you. With the reasonable prices on some of these blankets, it probably isn’t a bad idea to have some mylar ones for the family first-aid kits and a more heavy duty one if you’re a camper or backpacker.
These little blankets really get around and can be used for whatever works for you. They are all waterproof, they are all warm, and they can all be an important part of survival. Even if you only purchase one to prevent hypothermia in an emergency, you won’t be disappointed.
So make one a part of your essential survival items now!