How to Incorporate Mylar Blankets into Your Outdoor Adventure Gear

Mylar blankets

Mylar blankets, also known as space blankets, are a marvel of modern material science that have transcended their original aerospace applications to become a staple in outdoor enthusiasts’ gear lists. Lightweight, compact, and versatile, these reflective blankets offer a myriad of uses that can enhance comfort, safety, and even survival in the great outdoors. This article will explore how to incorporate mylar blankets into your outdoor adventure gear, ensuring you’re prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way.

Understanding Mylar Blankets

Before diving into their various applications, it’s essential to understand what mylar blankets are and why they are so effective. Mylar blankets are made from heat-reflective thin plastic sheeting, which reflects up to 90% of body heat to the user. This makes them an invaluable tool for preventing hypothermia in cold conditions. Despite their thinness, they’re remarkably durable and windproof, making them multifunctional gear for any outdoor activity.

As a Ground Cover or Underquilt

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to use a mylar blanket is as a ground cover beneath your sleeping bag. When facing up, the reflective side reflects your body heat back toward you, creating an additional layer of warmth. This setup is particularly beneficial in colder climates where ground chill can be a significant issue. A mylar blanket can be an impromptu under quilt for hammock campers, providing much-needed insulation from the cold air beneath.

Protecting Sensitive Equipment

The outdoor environment can be harsh on sensitive equipment like smartphones, cameras, and GPS devices. Extreme temperatures, in particular, can drain battery life or cause permanent damage. Wrapping your devices in a mylar blanket helps insulate them from temperature fluctuations. During hot days, the reflective surface can deflect sunlight and keep your gear cool, while in cold conditions, it can retain warmth and prevent freezing.

Enhancing Your Sleeping Bag

Even the most insulated sleeping bags can benefit from adding a mylar blanket. Lining the inside of your sleeping bag with a mylar blanket can significantly increase its warmth. This is especially useful for extending the range of a three-season bag into colder nights, avoiding the need for a heavier, more expensive winter sleeping bag.

Emergency Shelter and Signaling

The compactness of mylar blankets makes them ideal for emergencies. They can be rigged between trees or rocks in unexpected weather conditions to create a makeshift shelter, providing a windproof and waterproof barrier. Additionally, the reflective surface is evident from a distance, making it an effective tool for signaling for help in rescue situations.

Food Insulation

Mylar blankets can also be crucial in managing your food and water supply. Wrapping food containers or water bottles with a mylar blanket helps maintain their temperature, keeping hot and cold items warm. This is particularly useful for multi-day treks where managing food temperature can become challenging.

Clothing Modification

In extreme situations, a mylar blanket can be fashioned into an additional layer of clothing. Cutting a hole in the middle can transform it into a makeshift cloak, providing an extra layer of warmth and protection against the wind and rain. While not the height of fashion, this improvisation can be a game-changer in critical conditions.

First Aid Applications

Mylar blankets can also serve several first aid purposes. In addition to preventing hypothermia, they can treat shock by maintaining the body’s warmth. For those skilled in wilderness first aid, mylar blankets can create slings, splints, or makeshift stretchers in emergencies.

Compact Packing for Maximum Efficiency

Given their many uses, incorporating mylar blankets into your gear doesn’t mean sacrificing space or weight. These blankets fold down to the size of a deck of cards and weigh next to nothing, making them the epitome of efficient packing. Carrying multiple blankets is advisable, as their compact size and low weight allow for redundancy without burden.

Considerations and Cautions

While mylar blankets are handy, there are a few considerations to remember. Their crinkly nature makes them noisy, which can be a nuisance in quiet wilderness settings. Repeated folding and unfolding can cause them to tear, so careful handling is necessary. Lastly, while they are great for retaining heat, ensure adequate ventilation in enclosed spaces to avoid condensation build-up.


Mylar blankets are more than just emergency gear; they are a multifaceted tool that can enhance your outdoor experience in countless ways. The possibilities are endless, from providing warmth and shelter to protecting your gear and food. Integrating mylar blankets into your outdoor gear ensures you’re prepared for emergencies and equipped to enjoy your adventures more comfortably and safely. So next time you pack for the great outdoors, remember to include this lightweight, versatile item—it might just be the most helpful gear you bring.

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