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Mylar Blankets: Off-Label Survival Uses

Mylar blankets are staples in any bugout bag, INCH bag, or get home bag, but the little packets of warmth can do a lot more than just fend off frostbite and hypothermia.

By Tara Dodrill

Mylar blankets are staples in any bugout bag, INCH bag, or get home bag, but the little packets of warmth can do a lot more than just fend off frostbite and hypothermia. The survival blankets and their ultra-shiny material are designed to reflect heat. When there is no body heat to reflect, the vast majority of the ambient heat available will ultimately be reflected away from the person huddled inside of the bag.

The emergency thermal blankets have a multitude of off-label uses. The bags are mildew resistant and do not crack or shrink over time when stored in a bugout bag or even in a vehicle glove compartment. Placing a few mylar bags in your emergency kit is a great idea, but if you do not know all the survival uses for the emergency thermal blankets, their maximum benefit will never be realized.

Do not hesitate to unwrap your mylar bag and snuggle inside, the longer you wait to decide that you are indeed in an emergency situation worthy of breaking out the life-saving gear, the more body heat you lose. If possible, hug another person, or even your dog, and wrap yourselves inside one or two emergency thermal blankets to increase the heat exuding from inside the bag.


Mylar blankets are extremely flimsy and the ends are known to move about in even a slight breeze. Tuck the ends are tightly as possible, do not forget to cover your head. Some people even recommend using the emergency thermal blanket poncho style after removing your jacket and putting it back on outside of the bag. Mylar is not a breathable material, so be mindful of moisture buildup. It is best to remain both warm and dry and not damp.

Mylar Blankets Uses

Frostbite impacts the extremities first. Cut up an emergency thermal blankets to protect your fingers and toes. The Mylar blankets make incredibly good liners for hats, gloves, and boots. Put the strip inside your socks next to your skin. Again, be aware of moisture buildup and remove the liners if the extremities become wet or damp.

Mylar blankets are waterproof and can also be used as a sleeping mat. If you find yourself outdoors during an emergency or disaster scenario, place an emergency thermal mat on the ground to protect the body from the dampness of the ground overnight and retain heat until morning.

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Use an emergency thermal blanket as a backdrop for a campfire. Such a setup with reflect more heat towards you. Mylar does not melt until it reaches about 489 degrees, so fire is not a danger unless you place the blanket too close to the flames, or engaging in such a heat intensifying endeavor in high winds which could blow the flames onto the blanket.

Use the Mylar blankets in your emergency gear as a clothesline of sorts. Place your damp clothing onto the material positioned in the sun and it will dry twice as quick.

Harness the reflective attributes of the Mylar when attempting to start a fire. The blankets double as wind break during this process as well. If you do not have an extra pair of hand to help you, duct tape some Mylar to some sticks pushed into the ground as stakes.

Gather some rocks or dirt and build a makeshift solar oven with an emergency thermal blanket. Place the oven directly facing the Sun and put small and thing chunks of fish or meat onto the Mylar blanket to cook.


The blankets can also be used as trail markers and a signaling mirror. The reflective nature of the material will help rescuers find you or permit you to retrace your steps back to camp after hunting or searching for water. Cute or tear the material into squares and secure in place with rocks or duct tape when used for trail marking purposes.

Fish will have a hard time resisting the shiny Mylar when wrapped around a pebble or stick and used as a fishing lure.

Mylar can also be tied or braided together and used as emergency cordage. Although the material is strong enough to secure cloth into a pouch, hold caught fish, or to make a snare, I would not recommend using it to repel down a hillside.

Emergency arm slings can also be crafted from a section of a Mylar blanket.
A thin strip of the material could also be used as a temporary tourniquet during an emergency in the woods or in a disaster when alone and calling 911 is not an option.

If the power goes out, place a Mylar blanket behind your wood stove, lanterns, or candles to maximize the heat output.

Grab that handy roll of duct tape and affix emergency thermal blankets to windows and around doors to prevent heat from escaping. The thin material is also ideal for lining the insides of sleeping bags. The crinkling noise throughout the night might be a bit bothersome, but your body temperature will be far less likely to drop below safe levels.

If a tent or a tarp are not available and there is no time to construct a shelter from found materials, try using a Mylar blankets. The material can be duct tape to trees or branches used as posts. The material is thin, so tearing will be quite possible, especially if the shelter is being constructed as stormy skies develop. If a makeshift hut is constructed from branches and leaves, the Mylar could be taped to the inside and used as insulation.

Emergency thermal blankets are also useful in the garden. To prevent vegetable plants from shriveling during extremely hot weather, lay the thin material over the bed and secure it in place with a small rock. This will also decrease a loss of moisture from evaporation. Birds loathe Mylar, it is too shiny and easily flutters. The constantly changing reflection also deters our feathered friends from stopping by for a quick snack on fruit bushes and hanging plants. Tape a square or two of Mylar to a pot to keep away the birds without being bothered by the annoying sound of aluminum pie pans constantly blowing in the wind.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on June 25th, 2014

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