A mylar blanket (aka space blanket) is a very inexpensive yet handy item you should always have with you. They are lightweight and take up very little space yet have a variety of uses in various situations. You can purchase 10 of these for under $10 and keep one in your bag, vehicle, jacket, etc so you always have at least one available to you at all times and can be used for these 15 potentially life saving purposes.
1. Blanket to raise body temperature. Reflective properties reflect body heat back to your core instead of losing your body heat to the elements
2. Shelter. Mylar is water proof and can be used to fashion a makeshift shelter which will keep you dry and warm.
3. Heat reflector. Setup behind your heat source, the mylar blanket will direct heat that would otherwise be lost back to you. This works well with a campfire (be sure to setup far enough away to not melt the mylar) or even in a home angled over a radiator to direct the heat,
4. Groundsheet. The ground is wet and you want a dry place to sit or lay down. Can also be used under a sleeping bag or blanket to prevent them from getting wet by providing a moisture barrier between them and the wet ground.
5. Signaling. The mylar blanket if highly reflective so can be used to reflect light for the purpose of signaling. When lost simply hanging the mylar blanket fully opened will make you much more visible. If you are being searched for from above, lay the blanket out in a clearing.
6. Rain Collection. Out of water and expecting rain, use the mylar blanket to collect rain for drinking water.
7. Water Collection. You can use the mylar as a pouch to collect dirty water for filtration/purification.
8. Solar Still. In a sunny place, dig a small pit, place a collection container in the middle. Place green leaves around it. Cover with the mylar sheet held in place on the corners held in place with rocks. Place a small rock heavy enough to create a depression over the center container. Water will evaporate then condense on the mylar and roll down the depression and into your container for clean drinking water.
9. Sling. For being a thin sheet of plastic, mylar is quite strong and can be cut into a wide strip and used as a sling to secure a broken/injured arm and prevent it from moving.
10. Cordage. As previously mentioned, mylar is pretty strong, it can be cut into thin strips and used as cordage when nothing else is available. The cordage can then be used to help build a shelter. Stronger cordage can be fashioned by simply braiding multiple strands together.
11. Tourniquet. You should know what this is and the extreme cases where you might need it, ‘nuff said.
12. Increase sleeping bag efficiency. If you already have a groundcloth to keep your sleeping material dry, line the inside of your sleeping bag with the mylar to increase it’s efficiency and keep you warmer in colder temperatures.
13. Solar Oven. In a sunny location, you can simply dig a put or form 4 walls with earth or rocks then line with the mylar to create a solar oven. Anything placed inside will slowly be cooked by the sun’s rays.
14. Keep your feet dry. Wet boots or shoes? Take them off and get your socks dry, then line your shoes with mylar for a waterproof barrier that will keep your feet dry and warm.
15. Light Reflector. Illuminate your space with a small light source. Just like a flashlight takes a small light bulb and reflects it to maximize effectiveness, a small light or candle can become a primary light source for illuminating an area.
Can you come up with more uses? Let’s hear them in the comments below.