Uses For A Mylar Emergency Blanket

Uses for a Mylar emergency blanket

A Mylar emergency blanket is a common item in an emergency kit. Everyone should have (at least) one in each of their own kits.

They are made from ‘Mylar’ foil material. They don’t cost much and they facilitate a number of practical and potential emergency uses.

Here are some uses for a Mylar emergency blanket:

Emergency Foil Mylar Thermal Blanket


Mylar Emergency Blanket Uses

Wrap up and keep warm. The number one purpose for the Mylar emergency blanket is to wrap one’s-self in, to keep warm. Most body heat is reflected back inside due to the heat reflective properties of the Mylar material itself.

A heat reflector for a campfire. String it up behind a campfire so the infrared heat reflects back to your location.

Improvised poncho in the rain.

Improvised shelter, similar to using a tarp for a lean-to shelter.

Hold water for over a fire. Bunch together the corners of a piece of Mylar material so as to hold some water (like a small sack), tie the bunched end and attach (string) to a make-shift tripod (sticks) and boil above a fire (not in it) for safe drinking water. Here’s how long to boil water for safe drinking.

Protect yourself from ground moisture. It’s waterproof, so place under your sleeping bag (or small tent) to protect from ground moisture (and reflect your body heat back to you) if camping outside.

A signaling device if you’re lost, due to it’s highly reflective surface – a very shiny reflector.

Fit inside your boots. Cut the Mylar material to fit into your boots for added warmth – although the material does not ‘breathe’.

Rainwater harvesting. Use it to catch rainwater (like a tarp) which could then be used for drinking water.

Light reflector. Cut pieces to use as a light reflector behind a lantern or candle.

Place under a blanket for added warmth. Body heat reflection while sleeping in a very cold environment.

Use behind the radiators or wood stove in your home to reflect heat back into the room.

Block Thermal IR heat signature. Related: How To Block IR Infrared Thermal Imaging.

Drape a Mylar emergency blanket over a cooler to reflect heat away and help keep cool inside.

Line the inside of your cabin to help keep warm inside (heat reflective properties).

A makeshift solar oven.

Lets hear your additional ideas for uses for a Space Blanket…

This brand has a nice Heavy Duty emergency blanket:
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Heavy Duty Emergency Blanket

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  1. I put one in our work trucks first aid kit which came in handy when a crew rear ended a Honda at 55mph (the Hondas bumper was in the guys back seat) car got knocked off the road into a snowy field in 9 degree weather and the amazing thing was the guy was ok but in shock. They wrapped him in the mylar blanket since all he could do was wait on the side of the road until ems arrived. These fold down so small they fit anywhere…

  2. I like to line my hats with it. Way more effective than tinfoil! XD

    Seriously though, it is a good idea to keep these things around. I probably have a couple dozen tucked away here and there. Personally, for shelters or groundcloth I would use the kind that is half tarp half mylar since the regular ones could be a bit flimsy.

    1. Nihilist —- you joke about lining your hats, but, bet if you did it would keep your head/ears warmer…And, conserve body heat….

  3. Thanks for the article. I have them everywhere for emergencies and never knew about all the other uses.

  4. Always made sure my daughter had one in her school backpack when she took the bus 30 miles to school in the high Rockies many years ago. Now I have given them to the grandkids for the same reason. .Dollar for dollar and ounce for ounce the best prep for keeping warm in an emergency. I replace mine every five years.

  5. Fold them in 1/2 or use two placed together with a hot cloths Iron and make a really big Mylar Vacuum Bag? Makes a great, HUGE bag for storing al that TP in :-) :-)

  6. One thing to remember about these blankets is once you open them up you’ll never be able to get them folded back down to a pocket size unless your willing to put a lot of time and effort into it. They are disposable and are only recommended for one use, but can be reused if your careful.

    1. Probably a good idea to carry a small stuff sack to put them in after they have been unfolded. Thinking on this a sock would work well as a stuff sack. I have a bunch of them.

    2. That’s why you get a heavy blanket one from Ready Made Resources for $17.00.
      Those cheap thin one’s with the bright colors are of no use in a survival call out. For the glove box single use they are what they are, cheap and thin. The one’s I got from RMR a few years back are camouflage on one side and silver on the other. They are a little more expensive but will last for a multi day survival situation.

  7. I read somewhere the other day, if you get cold feet, that cutting a reflective windshield cover into insoles for your shoes keep feet warm. I’m going to try it, I always have cold feets!

    1. Miss I Made It Myself
      the reflective windshield idea sounds good. have seen many at the dollar store, so cheap too. I will try that.

      — the Mylar sheets, was thinking you could do the same with these. Or, if you have a liner in your boot, cut the Mylar big enough that you can draw it up around your foot/ankle/leg. It will keep you extra dry, and likely extra warm..

  8. To Miss I made it myself:

    For cold feet, I buy boots 1 size larger and use a combination of liner socks and wool socks inside the boot. There is enough room to wiggle my toes.

    For everyday, unrelenting cold weather, I broke down and bought a pair of Sorel Pac boots and was religious about airing out the liners when I slept. Mylar would work as a vapor barrier though many kids in snow country used plastic bread bags for this purpose too.

    I like using the mylar blanket on the inside of a lean to in front of a small fire while sitting on a foam pad and plastic sheeting. I try to use wood that is not have a lot of pitch as the popping and sparks will burn holes in the mylar. Add a hot drink and I am all set.

  9. I want to sew up one of the heavier duty space blankets with a Harbor Freight moving blanket and make it into a poncho (punching head hole in center). Mylar side in for when its cold, reversing when its wet. Make a nice light bedroll too. If you have to carry some items, a hobo ‘bedroll’ , carrying over one shoulder.

    Tons of uses.

    1. Anonymous,
      Have thought about sewing some of that thin white foam sheeting that comes in some packages as protection inside a space blanket. I am wondering if the Mylar will tear along the stitch lines though.

      1. – It will tear along the stitching. Don’t ask me how I know. Mostly, I carry several of these to give out to the unprepared when the weather turns cold and they’re stuck where they are. They also work well for shade in the hot sun, tie a small rock in the corner to use instead of a grommet, use the tails to tie it down. Alternatively, you can shut it in the door of the car to hold one side.
        – Papa S.

        1. – The original, thicker, tougher ones are an essential ingredient in a “Ranger Burrito.” These are composed of a military grade poncho, (In extreme cold weather, next is the good Space Blanket,) followed by a poncho liner or ‘woobie’.
          Roll up in that, it makes a decent three-season sleeping bag. it will also allow you to ‘travel light, freeze at night.’ This is what’s in my GHB.
          – Papa S.

        2. I think maybe if you put a binding on the blanket you could sew it. Otherwise I’m sure it would tear.

  10. – ground sheet under tent or sleeping bag
    -for folks who are considering sewing one into various items, maybe “liquid seamstress”/plastic glue would avoid holes from sewing..

    1. Mrs USMCBG,
      the cheap standard ones are pretty ‘flimsy’. I do know there are stouter ones out there though, some that are backed with maybe a camo or bright orange side.

    2. Anon,
      I was thinking same thing, but liquid seamstress might ‘melt’ it. would have to try that out. That said, I do think you could by some ‘spray adhesive’ and make a ‘sandwich’ out of the whole thing.

        1. both would work well, but I would say you’d have to be careful to put it exactly where you want it.

  11. Per Amazon there is one. Olive on one side and silver on the other. Called KABA sold by Ninja Prepper fulfilled by Amazon. 15 micron and 59×82, resealable lifetime guarantee..

  12. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with the S.O.L. Survival Outdoors Longer Escape Bivy.

    S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy (Orange)

    From what I understand this is more of a Mylar space blanket type material but breathable, heavier and more of a sleeping bag with a zipper closure. My concerns with the Mylar emergency blanket is they are prone to tearing and not breathable. I spent a night in a sleeping bag inside of plastic bags once and was soaked from condensation. I think being wrapped in a mylar emergency blanket could also have problems with condensation. The space blankets are much more durable but take up more room. They are in both vehicles along with the mylar emergency blankets.

    1. Look for Grabber All Weather Blanket to see what I’m talking about with space blanket. Although some of the mylar emergency blankets are calling themselves space blankets they are not the same as the original ones. The Grabber looks to be the same as the original. Much stronger.

  13. The ultra-thin Mylar blanket works best when used as a liner, versus a primary cover. Albeit if that is the only thing available, then it is what it is. Works great for instance to cover your feet inside of a sleeping bag in very cold weather. MIMIMS, some folks have cut the Styrofoam packaging from a meat package to fit inside of their shoes/boots to help keep their feet warm.

  14. Any seamstress’ here think that perhaps a double-sided tape, I’ve seen it called Stich-Witchery, would work to couple the Mylar blanket with something else?

    1. CR
      If I recall correctly “Stich-Witchery” requires heat to adhere to an object. The amount of heating to requiring this seal would be in the medium range and depending on the thickness of the Mylar it should work.
      Were you thinking of adhering two Mylar units into one piece for a larger tent version? Do not see why it would not work, just make sure after the witchery cools that both pieces have blending into one solid line. If it did not, go back and touch up the areas that did not melt together.

  15. I believe I heard somewhere that the insurgents in Afghanistan were putting it in side umbrellas and using them as shield to defeat thermal imaging.

  16. I decided to try one of these out a few years ago one evening to sleep in. Tried it inside the house on the carpeted living room floor and nothing else. I only lasted about 15 minutes before I could not stand the crinkling noise anymore. (Can you imagine the noise from a whole group of people using these?) Since then I will put in a cheap flannel blanket in my bags for warmth instead. If you are unable to sleep you will be no good.There are certainly other uses these sheets can be used for which is why I continue to put them in my bags but not as a blanket. Field testing of stuff is important.

  17. AC, completely forgot about the heat needed for it. Perhaps a quality double-sided tape. Or even laying the ends or sides side by side, on the adhesive side of a wide version of something like Gorilla Tape would work to make a larger version if necessary. Improvise, adapt, and overcome!

  18. Mylar blankets will shrink if they get too hot (they’re aluminised plastic) and may even catch fire.

    I’d recommend aluminium kitchen foil for improvising heat reflectors with things like radiators or woodstoves. Same goes for light reflectors with candles and combustion lanterns.

  19. Remember they also reflect heat just as well. We wrap them around the sides of beehives in summer to help keep the hive cool. The same idea would work for chicken coops and rabbit hutches as well.

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