Survival Blanket 101: Your Ultimate Guide

1. Introduction

Hey there, fellow outdoor enthusiast! If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for ways to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way. That’s why I’m a huge advocate for the survival blanket. But what exactly is a survival blanket? Simply put, it’s a lightweight, compact blanket designed to reflect body heat and provide emergency warmth. I first stumbled upon these nifty little lifesavers during a hiking trip that turned unexpectedly cold, and I’ve been fascinated by them ever since. So, let me share with you everything I’ve learned about survival blankets and why they should be a staple in your gear.

2. Why You Need a Survival Blanket

When heading into the great outdoors, being prepared is vital, and the survival blanket should be at the top of your packing list. Here’s why:

Importance in Emergency Situations

When you’re out in the wild, you never know what could happen. An injury, sudden weather changes, or getting lost can all lead to emergencies, potentially putting your life at risk. Let’s break down some of these unpredictable situations and how a survival blanket can make all the difference.

  • Sudden Weather Changes: The weather can be extremely unpredictable, especially in mountainous or remote areas. A bright, sunny day can turn into a chilly, stormy evening. In such cases, a survival blanket provides immediate warmth and protects against wind and rain, ensuring your core temperature remains stable.
  • Injury: An unexpected injury can force you to stay immobile, increasing your vulnerability to hypothermia. Wrapping up in a survival blanket helps conserve body heat while waiting for rescue teams to arrive.
  • Getting Lost: Even the most experienced hikers can lose their way, especially in unfamiliar terrain. In these situations, shelter becomes crucial, and a survival blanket can act as an improvised tent or ground cover to protect you from the elements.

Hypothermia and Its Dangers

Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerous drop in core temperature. Here’s a closer look at why hypothermia is so dangerous and how a survival blanket can help prevent it.

What Causes Hypothermia?

  • Cold Weather Exposure: Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures without adequate insulation or warmth.
  • Wet Conditions: Getting wet due to rain, snow, or sweat can speed up the loss of body heat.
  • Wind Chill: Wind can strip away body heat rapidly, making it feel much colder than the actual temperature.

Symptoms of Hypothermia

  • Mild Hypothermia: Shivering, dizziness, and numbness.
  • Moderate Hypothermia: Severe shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and muscle stiffness.
  • Severe Hypothermia: No shivering, shallow breathing, unconsciousness, and possible death.

How a Survival Blanket Helps

  • Heat Reflection: Mylar survival blankets can reflect up to 90% of your body heat back to you, significantly slowing heat loss and helping maintain a stable core temperature.
  • Wind and Water Resistance: They provide a protective barrier against wind and water, preventing heat loss through convection and evaporation.
  • Compact and Lightweight: Because they are lightweight and compact, survival blankets are easy to carry, ensuring you have emergency protection without adding significant weight to your gear.

Additional Benefits of Having a Survival Blanket

  • Versatility: A survival blanket isn’t just for warmth. It can be used as a ground cover, emergency shelter, or signal for rescue teams.
  • Cost-Effective: It’s a low-cost investment that could save your life in an emergency situation.

3. How to Use a Survival Blanket

How to Use a Survival Blanket

A survival blanket isn’t just for wrapping yourself up like a burrito. It’s an incredibly versatile tool that can be used in a variety of ways to keep you warm, sheltered, and visible in emergency situations. Here are some clever ways to use a survival blanket effectively.

Wrapping Techniques

Wrapping Techniques are essential for maximizing the heat-reflective properties of a survival blanket. Here are two methods you should know:

Cocoon Wrap

  • Purpose: Ideal for stationary situations when you need to retain as much body heat as possible.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Wrap the blanket around your body, leaving your head exposed.
    2. Secure the edges around your neck and shoulders, creating a snug cocoon.
    3. Tuck the bottom of the blanket under your feet to trap the heat inside.
  • Benefits: This technique conserves heat and is perfect for situations where you’re seated or lying down and not moving around much.

Burrito Wrap

  • Purpose: Great for when you’re lying down or sleeping to prevent heat loss.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Lie down on the survival blanket with your head at one end.
    2. Roll yourself up tightly, wrapping the blanket around your body like a burrito.
    3. Ensure the edges are securely tucked in to prevent heat escape.
  • Benefits: This technique provides comprehensive coverage, ensuring maximum heat retention while sleeping.

Shelter Construction

In emergencies, shelter is crucial. Here’s how a survival blanket can be used to create makeshift shelters:

Improvised Tent

  • Purpose: Offers protection from wind and rain.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Find two sturdy trees or branches to act as support.
    2. Tie the corners of the blanket to the trees using paracord or shoelaces.
    3. Anchor the remaining two corners to the ground with rocks or stakes.
  • Benefits: This creates an angled makeshift tent, providing basic protection from wind and rain.

Ground Cover

  • Purpose: Prevents heat loss through contact with the cold earth.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Clear a flat area on the ground.
    2. Lay the survival blanket flat on the ground, reflective side up.
    3. Lie down on the blanket and wrap another blanket around your body.
  • Benefits: This technique prevents conduction heat loss and helps retain body warmth.

Signal Usage

A survival blanket can help rescuers locate you more easily by acting as a signal device. Here’s how:

Signal Mirror

  • Purpose: The reflective surface of mylar blankets can be used to signal rescuers by reflecting sunlight.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Hold the survival blanket in both hands.
    2. Angle the reflective side towards the sun to catch and reflect sunlight.
    3. Direct the reflected light towards rescuers or aircraft.
  • Benefits: This technique can create a bright flash visible from a long distance, drawing attention to your location.

Trail Marker

  • Purpose: Leave a trail marker for search and rescue teams.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Tear pieces of the survival blanket into strips.
    2. Tie the strips to trees or rocks at regular intervals along your trail.
    3. Ensure the reflective side is visible for easier spotting.
  • Benefits: This creates a reflective path that rescuers can follow, increasing your chances of being found.

Water Collection

In survival situations, finding clean water is crucial. A survival blanket can be used to collect water in several ways:

Rainwater Catchment

  • Purpose: Collects rainwater into a container.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Hang the survival blanket at an angle between two trees or poles.
    2. Place a container at the lowest point to catch the water.
    3. Ensure the edges of the blanket are secure to direct the water flow into the container.
  • Benefits: This technique can collect a significant amount of rainwater during a downpour.

Dew Collection

  • Purpose: Gathers dew, which can be collected and filtered for drinking.
  • How to Do It:
    1. Lay the survival blanket flat on the ground overnight, reflective side up.
    2. In the morning, carefully lift the blanket to gather the collected dew.
    3. Pour the dew into a container for filtration and drinking.
  • Benefits: This provides a source of drinking water in areas where rain is scarce but dew is abundant.

4. Types of Survival Blankets

Not all survival blankets are created equal, and each type has unique features that make it suitable for different situations. Here’s an in-depth look at the three most common types: Mylar, Wool, and Fleece blankets.

Mylar Blankets

Mylar Blankets, also known as space blankets, are the most recognized type of survival blanket.

  • Lightweight:
    • Portability: Weighing under 2 ounces, mylar blankets are extremely portable and easy to carry, making them ideal for hikers, campers, and anyone needing lightweight emergency gear.
    • Compact Size: When folded, these blankets can fit in the palm of your hand, allowing them to be tucked into any backpack, glove compartment, or first aid kit.
  • Reflective:
    • Heat Reflection: Mylar blankets can reflect up to 90% of body heat back to you, preventing hypothermia and keeping you warm in emergencies.
    • Emergency Visibility: The shiny reflective surface can also help attract rescuers by acting as a signal mirror, increasing your chances of being found.
  • Waterproof and Windproof:
    • Barrier Protection: Mylar blankets are waterproof and windproof, providing an effective barrier against rain, snow, and wind.
    • Durability: While thin, they’re tear-resistant enough to withstand most emergency conditions.

Best Uses:

  • Emergency warmth and shelter
  • Signaling for help
  • Improvised ground cover or rainwater collector

Wool Blankets

Wool Blankets are known for their warmth and durability.

  • Natural Fiber:
    • Insulating Material: Made from wool, which has natural insulating properties, wool blankets retain heat even when wet, making them ideal for cold and wet conditions.
    • Breathable and Moisture-Wicking: Wool is breathable and moisture-wicking, keeping you dry and comfortable.
  • Durable:
    • Fire-Resistant: Wool is naturally fire-resistant, providing an added layer of safety around campfires.
    • Resistant to Wear and Water: Wool blankets are resistant to wear and can repel water to some extent, making them suitable for repeated use in harsh conditions.
  • Heavyweight Warmth:
    • Weight and Size: Wool blankets are heavier than mylar or fleece blankets, but they provide superior warmth and insulation.
    • Military Grade: Some wool blankets are military-grade, used by armed forces for their reliability and warmth.

Best Uses:

  • Cold-weather camping
  • Emergency warmth
  • Ground cover or layering over mylar blankets

Fleece Blankets

Fleece Blankets are soft, warm, and made from synthetic materials like polyester.

  • Synthetic Fiber:
    • Material Composition: Typically made from 100% polyester, making them lightweight and quick-drying.
    • Environmentally Friendly: Some fleece blankets are made from recycled materials, providing an eco-friendly option.
  • Soft and Warm:
    • Comfortable Insulation: Fleece blankets offer good insulation while being soft and comfortable against the skin.
    • Moisture-Wicking: The synthetic fibers wick moisture away, keeping you dry and warm.
  • Affordable and Easy Maintenance:
    • Budget-Friendly: Fleece blankets are generally more affordable than wool blankets, making them accessible to a wider audience.
    • Machine Washable: Easy to clean and maintain, they’re ideal for everyday use.

Best Uses:

  • Casual camping and outdoor activities
  • Layering over or under other blankets
  • Extra insulation in emergency shelters

Comparing the Types of Survival Blankets

Here’s a quick comparison chart to help you decide which type of survival blanket is right for you:

FeatureMylar BlanketWool BlanketFleece Blanket
Heat ReflectionUp to 90% body heatHighModerate
Fire ResistanceNoYesNo
PortabilityVery compactBulkyCompact
PriceVery affordableModerate to highAffordable

5. Reviewing the 3 Best Survival Blankets

After countless hours of research and testing, here are my top three survival blanket picks:

PREPARED4X Emergency Blanket with Mylar Blanket Liner

The PREPARED4X Emergency Blanket is a durable and innovative solution that provides warmth and mobility. Despite mixed opinions on quality and thickness, it’s a solid choice for those seeking a hands-free, heavy-duty survival blanket.

Key Features:

  • Material: Mylar, imported
  • Size: X-Large
  • Color: Green 4-pack
  • Extra Thick: 2X thicker than standard emergency blankets
  • Waterproof and Windproof: Offers excellent protection against the elements
  • Roomy Fit: Fits most body sizes and can even accommodate a backpack underneath


  • Durable Mylar Material: NASA-engineered, tear-resistant, and incredibly tough mylar retains up to 90% of body heat.
  • Patent-Pending Design: Combines the warmth of a mylar blanket with the mobility of an emergency blanket.
  • Hands-Free Mobility: Hooded design allows you to use your hands freely.
  • Roomy Size: Offers a spacious fit and can even cover your backpack to keep it dry.
  • Versatile: Can be used as a thermal blanket or an emergency blanket, perfect for survival kits, hiking gear, and bug-out bags.


  • Mixed Quality Opinions: Some users feel the quality could be improved, particularly the thickness.
  • Weight: Heavier than other mylar blankets due to the thicker material.

Don’t Die In The Woods Freakin’ Huge Emergency Blankets [4-Pack]

The Don’t Die In The Woods Freakin’ Huge Emergency Blankets stand out for their extra-large size and durability. Although the thickness may not be ideal for extreme cold, their versatility, compactness, and eco-conscious focus make them a great addition to any emergency kit.

Key Features:

  • Material: Mylar
  • Size: 5′ x 7′ (Extra-Large)
  • Color: Survival Orange
  • Ultra-Compact: Comes with ripstop nylon stuff sacks and a carabiner zipper pack
  • Lightweight: Only 9.5 oz for the whole set (2 oz per blanket)


  • Extra-Large Size: 23% larger than standard blankets, providing full-body protection.
  • Premium Materials: Durable mylar material that’s designed to withstand survival situations.
  • Ultralight and Compact: Each blanket comes in a stuff sack, making it easy to stash anywhere.
  • Versatile Applications: Can be used as a bivvy, sleeping bag liner, or emergency shelter.
  • 1% for the Planet: A portion of the profits is donated to global conservation organizations.


  • Thickness: Some users find the thickness lacking for very cold conditions.
  • Nylon Stuff Sacks: The sacks could be more durable.

QIO CHUANG Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (4-Pack)

The QIO CHUANG Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets are a budget-friendly option for emergency kits. They offer lightweight, compact protection against the elements, making them a must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

Key Features:

  • Material: Mylar
  • Color: Silver
  • Size: 84” x 55”
  • Style: Compact
  • Special Feature: Waterproof, windproof, and reusable


  • Value for Money: Affordable 4-pack, each blanket individually packed for easy storage.
  • Lightweight and Portable: Weighs only 0.11 lbs per blanket and fits easily into any pocket or backpack.
  • Retains Body Heat: Reflects up to 90% of body heat, ideal for preventing hypothermia in emergencies.
  • Durable Mylar Material: Advanced aluminized mylar is waterproof and windproof, perfect for bug-out bags, go-bags, and emergency kits.
  • Versatile: Can be used as a ground cover, shade, tent footprint, or for emergency signaling.


  • Mixed Durability Opinions: Some users found the blanket tears easily with rough handling.
  • Basic Design: No hood or additional features like reinforced edges.

Leberna Emergency Sleeping Bag Survival Bag (2-Pack)

The Leberna Emergency Sleeping Bag Survival Bag is a comprehensive solution for full-body warmth and protection in emergencies. With its extra-large size, head cover, and durable mylar material, it’s a reliable option for survival kits, car emergency kits, and outdoor adventures.

Key Features:

  • Material: Mylar
  • Size: 84” x 36” (Extra-Large)
  • Special Features: Waterproof, tear-proof, lightweight
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Occupancy: 1 person


  • Extra-Large Size: Provides full-body protection, including an upgraded head cover for warmth.
  • Durable Mylar Material: Tear-resistant, waterproof, and windproof with 5-layer construction.
  • Bright Yellow Strip: High visibility for rescue situations.
  • Compact and Portable: Each bag comes with a carry bag and weighs only 2.8 oz.
  • Additional Whistle: 120-decibel whistle included for emergency signaling.


  • Noise: Mylar material can be noisy when used as a sleeping bag.
  • Basic Whistle Quality: Whistle quality could be improved.

6. How to Choose the Right Survival Blanket

How to Choose the Right Survival Blanket

With so many types and brands of survival blankets available, picking the right one can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing your perfect survival blanket:


  • Emergency vs. Everyday Use:
    • Emergency Use: If you only need a survival blanket for emergencies like getting lost, sudden weather changes, or unexpected injuries, a lightweight mylar blanket is your best bet. It’s compact, cost-effective, and reflects up to 90% of body heat back to you.
    • Everyday Camping or Hiking: For frequent outdoor enthusiasts or those embarking on multi-day camping trips, wool or fleece blankets offer better comfort and insulation, making them more suitable for daily use. They are more durable and can be reused multiple times.


  • Mylar:
    • Properties: Mylar, also known as space blanket material, is made from a thin, flexible polyester film.
    • Heat Reflection: Reflects up to 90% of body heat, making it ideal for preventing hypothermia.
    • Lightweight and Compact: Easily fits into a pocket or small first aid kit.
    • Best Use Cases: Emergencies, ultralight backpacking, and signaling.
  • Wool:
    • Properties: Wool is a natural fiber known for its excellent insulation properties.
    • Warmth and Durability: Retains heat even when wet, making it ideal for damp environments.
    • Fire-Resistant and Breathable: Naturally fire-resistant and allows moisture to evaporate.
    • Best Use Cases: Cold-weather camping, layering with other blankets, and everyday outdoor activities.
  • Fleece:
    • Properties: Made from synthetic materials like polyester, providing lightweight insulation.
    • Soft and Warm: Comfortable against the skin while offering moderate warmth.
    • Quick-Drying and Affordable: Dries quickly and is often more budget-friendly.
    • Best Use Cases: Casual outdoor activities, layering, and extra insulation.


  • Lightweight vs. Heavy-Duty:
    • Lightweight Blankets: Mylar blankets are incredibly lightweight (under 2 ounces) and suitable for ultralight backpacking or emergencies. They won’t add significant weight to your gear.
    • Heavy-Duty Blankets: Wool blankets are heavier (3-5 pounds) but offer superior warmth and durability. Fleece blankets are lightweight but not as durable.


  • Individual vs. Family-Sized:
    • Individual-Sized Blankets: Most mylar and fleece blankets are designed for individual use, typically measuring around 52″ x 84″.
    • Family-Sized Blankets: Wool blankets and some larger mylar blankets can cover multiple people. Family-sized blankets are usually 60″ x 90″ or larger, making them suitable for group warmth or creating a makeshift shelter.


  • Tear-Resistant:
    • Reinforced Mylar Blankets: While mylar blankets can tear easily, some brands offer reinforced edges and thicker material for added durability.
    • Wool and Fleece Blankets: Both wool and fleece blankets are generally durable, with wool being more resistant to wear and tear.
  • Waterproof:
    • Mylar and Wool: Mylar blankets are fully waterproof, while wool blankets are water-resistant, making them suitable for wet conditions.
    • Fleece Blankets: Fleece blankets aren’t naturally waterproof but dry quickly due to their synthetic fibers.

Final Considerations

  • Budget: Mylar blankets are the most budget-friendly option, while wool blankets can be pricey due to their material and durability.
  • Storage: Ensure the blanket can be folded or packed compactly, especially for emergency kits.
  • Versatility: Look for multi-functional blankets that can double as a ground cover, shelter, or signaling device.

7. Advanced Survival Blanket Techniques

Once you’ve mastered the basics of using a survival blanket, it’s time to step up your game with some advanced techniques. These methods can significantly enhance your warmth, water collection, and survival chances in challenging outdoor environments.

Reflective Fire Barrier

A mylar survival blanket can act as a reflective fire barrier, amplifying the heat from your campfire and creating a warmer environment.

  • Setup:
    • Positioning: Place the reflective blanket behind your campfire, ensuring that the reflective side faces the fire.
    • Support: Use rocks, stakes, or trees to secure the blanket in an upright position.
    • Distance: Maintain a safe distance between the blanket and the fire to prevent damage.
  • Effectiveness:
    • Heat Reflection: The reflective surface of the mylar blanket will reflect heat back towards your shelter, providing a warmer environment.
    • Wind Protection: The blanket can also act as a windbreak, blocking cold drafts and maintaining a steady temperature.
  • Pro Tips:
    • Use paracord or duct tape to reinforce the edges of the blanket for added durability.
    • Ensure the reflective barrier is angled correctly to maximize heat reflection.

Solar Still for Water Purification

A solar still is a simple yet effective way to purify contaminated water or extract moisture from soil. Here’s how to build one using a survival blanket:

  • Materials Needed:
    • Survival Blanket: Preferably mylar, to maximize heat reflection.
    • Container: Any bowl, cup, or water bottle to collect distilled water.
    • Plastic Tubing: Optional, for easier water collection.
  • Steps:
    1. Dig a Hole: Dig a hole in the ground about 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep.
    2. Place a Container: Put a container in the center of the hole.
    3. Cover the Hole: Cover the hole with the mylar blanket, securing the edges with rocks or dirt.
    4. Create a Cone: Put a small stone in the center of the blanket, creating a cone pointing down toward the container.
    5. Collect Water: Condensation will form on the underside of the blanket and drip into the container.
  • Effectiveness:
    • Purification: The solar still purifies contaminated water by distillation, removing bacteria and other impurities.
    • Water Extraction: It can also extract moisture from damp soil, plants, or seaweed.
  • Pro Tips:
    • Add non-drinkable water or green leaves to the hole to increase moisture.
    • Use plastic tubing to siphon water from the container without disturbing the still.

Cold Weather Layering

In freezing temperatures, layering different survival blankets can boost insulation and provide maximum warmth.

  • First Layer: Mylar Blanket
    • Positioning: Wrap a mylar blanket directly against your skin to reflect body heat.
    • Heat Reflection: Reflects up to 90% of body heat back to your body, preventing hypothermia.
  • Second Layer: Wool Blanket
    • Insulation: Cover yourself with a wool blanket for insulation and moisture-wicking.
    • Durability: Wool retains heat even when wet, making it ideal for damp environments.
  • Third Layer: Mylar Blanket
    • Wind and Moisture Protection: Wrap another mylar blanket over the wool blanket to keep out wind and moisture.
    • Barrier Effect: The outer mylar layer acts as a barrier against cold winds and wet conditions.
  • Pro Tips:
    • Ensure all layers are securely wrapped and tucked to prevent heat loss.
    • If possible, add a fleece blanket between the wool and mylar layers for added comfort.

Additional Advanced Techniques

  • Emergency Sleeping Bag:
    • Materials: Two mylar blankets and duct tape.
    • Steps:
      1. Fold one blanket lengthwise and tape the edges to form a tube.
      2. Tape the second blanket over the first as a cover.
      3. Reinforce the seams with extra duct tape.
  • Reflective Sunshade for Shelter:
    • Materials: Mylar blanket and paracord.
    • Steps:
      1. Cut the blanket to the size of your shelter entrance.
      2. Secure the blanket above the entrance to reflect sunlight and heat away.

8. Common Survival Blanket Myths Debunked

Common Survival Blanket Myths Debunked

There are several misconceptions about survival blankets that often lead to improper use or underestimation of their versatility. Let’s debunk some of these myths to help you make the most of your survival blanket.

Myth: Survival Blankets are Only for Emergencies

Reality: While they’re excellent for emergencies, wool and fleece survival blankets can be used for everyday outdoor activities. Here’s why:

  • Wool Blankets: Known for their natural insulating properties, wool blankets are great for keeping you warm during camping trips, hikes, and other outdoor adventures. They are fire-resistant, moisture-wicking, and can withstand rugged outdoor use.
  • Fleece Blankets: Ideal for casual camping or hiking, fleece blankets provide lightweight warmth and comfort. Their moisture-wicking properties and softness make them perfect for layering or extra insulation.

Examples of Everyday Uses:

  • Camping and Hiking: A wool or fleece survival blanket offers excellent warmth and insulation for cold nights by the campfire.
  • Picnics and Beach Trips: Use them as a ground cover or throw for a comfortable outdoor seating area.
  • Car Blanket: Keep one in your vehicle for impromptu picnics, chilly evening drives, or emergency warmth during roadside breakdowns.

Myth: Mylar Blankets Can Make You Overheat

Reality: Mylar blankets reflect body heat but do not generate heat themselves. Adjust your wrapping technique to regulate warmth effectively.

Proper Wrapping Techniques:

  • Ventilation:
    • Leave a small opening at the top to prevent moisture buildup and maintain airflow.
    • Avoid wrapping too tightly around the neck and shoulders to allow some heat escape.
  • Layering:
    • Combine with other blankets (like wool or fleece) to better regulate warmth.
    • Use as an outer layer over clothing or sleeping bags to trap heat but allow breathability.

Practical Tips:

  • Use in Moderation: If you feel too warm, partially open the blanket to cool down.
  • Avoid Physical Exertion: Reduce activity levels to prevent excessive sweating and overheating.

Myth: Mylar Blankets are Waterproof

Reality: Mylar blankets are water-resistant but not completely waterproof. Water can seep through seams and edges if not secured properly.

Key Points:

  • Material Properties: The mylar material itself is waterproof, but the blanket edges and seams can allow water ingress if not tightly sealed.
  • Proper Setup: Ensure edges are tightly secured when using the blanket as a rain cover or shelter.

Tips for Waterproofing:

  • Reinforce Seams: Use duct tape or waterproof adhesive to reinforce blanket seams.
  • Tarp Combination: Layer the mylar blanket over a tarp for added waterproofing.
  • Edge Tucking: Tuck the blanket edges under rocks or ground cover to prevent water from seeping in.

Alternative Waterproof Options:

  • Emergency Bivvy Sacks: Provide full waterproof protection and better sealing than standard mylar blankets.
  • Tarp and Blanket Combo: Combine a lightweight tarp with your mylar blanket for reliable waterproofing.

9. Survival Blanket Maintenance and Care

Taking care of your survival blanket ensures it’s ready when you need it most. Each type of blanket requires different care due to its unique materials and properties. Here’s a guide to keeping your mylar, wool, and fleece survival blankets in top condition.

Mylar Blanket Care

Mylar blankets are incredibly lightweight and compact but require careful handling to avoid damage.

  • Avoid Tears:
    • Gentle Handling: Handle the blanket gently to prevent tearing. Mylar is thin and can easily rip with rough use.
    • Reinforcement: Consider reinforcing the edges and seams with duct tape to improve durability.
  • Storage:
    • Folding: Fold the blanket carefully along the original creases to reduce the risk of tearing.
    • Waterproof Bag: Store it in a waterproof bag to prevent moisture and dust buildup.
    • Labeling: Clearly label the storage bag for easy identification in emergency situations.
  • Inspection:
    • Before Use: Check for tears or damage before each use.
    • Replacement: Replace if the blanket shows significant wear or tearing.

Wool Blanket Care

Wool blankets are known for their warmth and durability, but they require specific care to maintain their insulating properties.

  • Washing:
    • Hand Wash: Hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent.
    • Machine Wash: If machine washing, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a wool-friendly detergent.
    • Avoid Bleach and Fabric Softeners: These can weaken the wool fibers and reduce warmth.
  • Drying:
    • Air Dry: Air dry the blanket flat to prevent stretching.
    • Tumble Dry: If using a dryer, tumble dry on low heat, but avoid over-drying to prevent shrinkage.
    • Reshape: Reshape the blanket while damp to maintain its original size and shape.
  • Storage:
    • Cool, Dry Place: Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
    • Moth Protection: Use cedar blocks or mothballs to protect against moths.
    • Breathable Bag: Store in a breathable cotton bag to prevent moisture buildup.

Fleece Blanket Care

Fleece blankets are soft, lightweight, and require minimal care compared to wool.

  • Washing:
    • Machine Wash: Machine wash on a gentle cycle with cold water.
    • Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent without bleach or fabric softeners.
    • Separate Colors: Wash separately from items with zippers or Velcro to prevent pilling.
  • Drying:
    • Tumble Dry: Tumble dry on low heat or air dry.
    • Avoid High Heat: High heat can cause the fibers to melt or shrink.
  • Storage:
    • Fold and Store: Fold the blanket neatly and store in a dry place.
    • Vacuum Bag: Consider storing in a vacuum bag for space-saving storage and added protection.
  • Inspection:
    • Pilling: Check for pilling, which can occur with repeated washing.
    • Repair: Use a fabric shaver to remove pills and maintain a smooth texture.

Final Tips for Survival Blanket Maintenance

  • Label Your Blankets: Clearly label each type of blanket for easy identification.
  • Inspect Regularly: Periodically inspect all your survival blankets for wear and tear.
  • Emergency Kit Rotation: Rotate blankets in your emergency kit every six months to ensure they’re in good condition.
  • Have Spares: Keep spare mylar blankets in your emergency kit for immediate replacement.

10. DIY Survival Blanket Projects

Feeling crafty? Here are some fun and practical DIY projects using a survival blanket. Whether you’re looking to keep your furry friend warm or create an emergency sleeping bag, these projects are sure to enhance your outdoor experience.

Reflective Dog Coat

Keep your canine companion warm and visible with this reflective dog coat made from a mylar survival blanket.



  1. Measure and Cut:
    • Measure your dog’s length from neck to tail and around their chest.
    • Cut a piece of mylar blanket to these dimensions.
    • Cut a piece of fleece fabric to the same size.
  2. Sew Fleece to Mylar Blanket:
    • Sew the fleece onto the mylar blanket, ensuring the shiny side is facing outward.
  3. Add Velcro Straps:
    • Attach velcro straps to secure the coat around your dog’s neck and belly.
  4. Fit and Adjust:
    • Try the coat on your dog and adjust the velcro straps for a snug fit.


  • Reflective mylar keeps your dog visible and warm.
  • Fleece lining adds extra insulation and comfort.

Emergency Sleeping Bag

Create an emergency sleeping bag that’s lightweight, portable, and reflective using two mylar blankets and duct tape.



  1. Create Inner Layer:
    • Fold one mylar blanket lengthwise and tape the edges to form a tube.
    • Leave one end open for entry.
  2. Create Outer Layer:
    • Tape the second blanket over the first as a cover.
    • Ensure the reflective side is facing inward.
  3. Reinforce Seams:
    • Reinforce all seams with extra duct tape to prevent tearing.
  4. Test Fit:
    • Ensure the sleeping bag is large enough for you to fit inside comfortably.


  • Reflects body heat to keep you warm in emergencies.
  • Lightweight and compact, perfect for ultralight backpacking.

Reflective Sunshade for Your Car

Create a reflective sunshade to keep your car cool on hot days using a mylar survival blanket.



  1. Measure and Mark:
    • Measure your car’s windshield dimensions.
    • Spread out the mylar blanket and use a marker to outline the windshield size.
  2. Cut to Size:
    • Cut the mylar blanket to the marked dimensions.
  3. Attach Mounting:
    • Attach suction cups to the corners of the blanket for easy mounting.
    • Alternatively, sew or glue elastic bands to the corners for looping around the rearview mirror.
  4. Install:
    • Mount the sunshade onto your windshield using suction cups or elastic bands.


  • Reflects sunlight away, keeping your car cool.
  • Compact and easy to store when not in use.

11. Recommended Gear to Pair with Your Survival Blanket

Recommended Gear to Pair with Your Survival Blanket

A survival blanket is an essential tool for outdoor adventures, but it works best when combined with complementary gear. Here are some recommended items that will enhance your survival strategy and provide additional protection, warmth, and safety.

Emergency Bivvy Sack

An Emergency Bivvy Sack is a lightweight, compact shelter that pairs perfectly with a survival blanket.

  • Features:
    • Waterproof: Made from durable materials like polyethylene or mylar, providing waterproof protection.
    • Windproof: Shields against cold winds, preventing heat loss through convection.
    • Lightweight: Typically weighs less than 5 ounces, making it easy to carry.
    • Compact: Folds into a small stuff sack for convenient storage.
  • Why You Need It:
    • Extra Insulation: Adds a layer of insulation, trapping more body heat to keep you warm in freezing temperatures.
    • All-Weather Protection: Protects against rain, snow, and wind, making it suitable for a range of outdoor conditions.
    • Ease of Use: Quickly deploys as an emergency sleeping bag or shelter in seconds.
  • Best Practices:
    • Layering: Use the bivvy sack over your survival blanket for maximum warmth.
    • Ventilation: Leave a small opening to prevent condensation buildup inside.

Fire Starter Kit

A Fire Starter Kit ensures you can always start a fire in any weather, providing warmth, cooking capabilities, and signaling.

  • Features:
    • Waterproof Matches: Specially treated to ignite even when wet.
    • Ferrocerium Rod: Generates high-temperature sparks to light tinder.
    • Firestarter Cubes: Compact cubes that burn hot and long, even in damp conditions.
  • Why You Need It:
    • Warmth: Starting a fire helps you stay warm, especially when paired with a survival blanket.
    • Cooking: Enables you to cook food or boil water for safe consumption.
    • Signaling: Smoke from a fire can be seen by rescuers, increasing your visibility.
  • Best Practices:
    • Practice: Familiarize yourself with using the ferrocerium rod and firestarter cubes before heading into the wild.
    • Carry Tinder: Include waterproof tinder or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in your kit for reliable ignition.

Survival Water Filter

A Survival Water Filter is crucial for providing safe drinking water in emergencies, reducing the risk of dehydration.

  • Features:
    • Portable: Small, lightweight design that easily fits in a backpack or pocket.
    • Effective Filtration: Removes bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants from water sources.
    • Multiple Filtration Stages: Includes activated carbon and ceramic filters for thorough purification.
  • Why You Need It:
    • Dehydration Prevention: Ensures access to clean drinking water, preventing dehydration during outdoor adventures.
    • Improvised Water Collection: Can be used with a survival blanket to collect and purify rainwater or dew.
    • Versatile Application: Suitable for filtering water from rivers, lakes, or streams.
  • Best Practices:
    • Pre-Filter: Use a cloth or bandana to remove larger debris before filtration.
    • Backwashing: Regularly backwash the filter to maintain optimal flow and effectiveness.

Other Essential Gear to Pair with Your Survival Blanket

  • Multi-Tool:
    • Purpose: Provides a versatile set of tools (knife, pliers, saw, etc.) in a compact package.
    • Why You Need It: Useful for shelter construction, food preparation, and repairs.
  • Headlamp:
    • Purpose: Hands-free lighting for navigating or working in the dark.
    • Why You Need It: Helps you stay productive at night, especially during emergencies.
  • First Aid Kit:
    • Purpose: Contains essential medical supplies for treating injuries.
    • Why You Need It: Immediate access to first aid supplies can prevent minor injuries from worsening.

12. Final Thoughts

No matter where your adventures take you, a survival blanket should be a staple in your gear. From reflecting body heat to signaling rescuers, these versatile tools can save lives in emergencies. I’ve personally tested and used many of them, and I always keep a mylar blanket in my backpack and a wool blanket in my car. Choose the right blanket for your needs, and stay safe out there!

13. FAQs

  1. Can a survival blanket really keep me warm?
    Yes, survival blankets, especially mylar ones, can reflect up to 90% of your body heat, helping you stay warm in emergencies.
  2. How durable is a mylar blanket?
    Mylar blankets can tear easily but are generally durable enough for short-term emergency use. For repeated use, consider reinforced mylar blankets.
  3. Can I use a survival blanket for my pet?
    Absolutely! Mylar blankets can keep your furry friend warm in emergencies. Just ensure it’s securely wrapped and not too tight.
  4. How do I store my survival blanket?
    Store your survival blanket in a waterproof bag or container, away from direct sunlight, to prevent degradation.
  5. What’s the best way to clean a wool blanket?
    Hand wash your wool blanket in cold water with mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, and air dry it flat.


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Mark Thompson

Greetings, I'm Mark Thompson. The outdoors - from camping under the stars to hiking rugged trails and mastering wilderness survival - has been my passion and teacher. Each adventure has deepened my respect for nature and honed my skills. At Outdoor Saga, I'm here to share my insights, experiences, and passion with you. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a newbie camper, join me as we explore the wonders of the wild. Adventure beckons, and together, we'll answer its call!

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