Mylar blankets are a popular and often highly-touted piece of emergency gear. I own at least a dozen or more, however, I was recently wondering how worthwhile they really are.
When I first began researching preparedness years ago this was one of my first purchases; after all, a “high tech” emergency blanket was too good to pass up. I was later surprised, in fact, to know that mylar blankets have been around for quite some time… at least 20 years or more.
Regardless, these blankets just made sense to keep in my bug out bag and even vehicle kits, although there are other alternatives that may be a better choice, especially if your life may depend on it. Mylar blankets are actually a thin polyester film specially designed for NASA. With that in mind, here’s where emergency mylar / thermal blankets stack up:
Benefits of Mylar Blankets:
- very lightweight and take up minimal space (at least when factory sealed)
- help to retain some body heat (some estimates tout up to 90% but I have to doubt that is realistic)
- relatively wind-resistant and (probably) water-resistant
- highly reflective (useful for rescuers to spot you)
- reusable (sort of)
Drawbacks of Mylar Blankets:
- difficult, if not impossible, to fold up properly again
- VERY noisy especially with any wind (not good for light sleepers like me)
- use the term “blanket” loosely since it’s not anything like Grandma’s cozy quilt
While mylar blankets have their place–I still happen to keep mine around–there are better alternatives. The AMK Heatsheets Emergency Blanket or AMK Bivvy Sack Thermo-Lite Bivy are two examples of more durable alternatives. If price is the only determining factor then go with the mylar blankets and buy them in bulk. Otherwise, I would now choose the AMK products since my life may depend on it.