An emergency blanket, sometimes referred to as a first aid blanket, space blanket, Mylar, thermal or weather blanket, is used in emergencies to reduce heat loss in a person’s body caused by thermal radiation, water evaporation and convection. Many people think, since they have never needed one, that it’s a waste of space to put one in their pack, but this is a multi-use item that can serve so many more functions than it was designed for. When spending time outdoors I prefer to bring multi-use items to save space and weight.  An emergency blanket has tons of uses. Here are 50 uses for survival, “in a pinch,” or just plain outdoor fun. Please note: some of these will require your discretion.Space Blanket Shelter

    1. The obvious – wrapping in it for warmth.
    2. Use as an extra layer in sleeping bag for warmth.
    3. Stringing up as a signal device – not too tight – so it creates movement in the wind and increases your chance of being seen.
    4. Place it on the ground as a signal device and fold in different patterns to communicate a message.
    5. Melt snow by placing small amounts on space blanket in the sun and funnel into a container.
    6. Small rain shelter: create buttons by looping a slip knot over the corners of blanket.
    7. Use as material to write on, given you have a marker.
    8. Twist for extra rope material.
    9. Build a horseshoe pack to carry small items.
    10. Twist and loop it through pants, and tie to make a belt.
    11. Tie off ends to create air space for an improvised flotation device.
    12. Cut off small pieces as part of lure to catch fish (they like shiny materials).
    13. Use sticks and foil to create a cup and boil water.  Hold over the flame but not so close that it burns the foil. (The melting point of Mylar is listed at 254° C.)
    14. Use blanket as aluminum foil to warm food near the coals of a fire.
    15. Create a sling.
    16. Use as a tourniquet.
    17. Use as a compression bandage.
    18. Put in your kids’ backpack carrier to give them additional warmth.
    19. Use as gaiters, by wrapping around leg – secure with duct tape.
    20. Using as a pack liner (inside) or cover (outside) to keep clothes dry in rainy weather.
    21. Twist into an antenna to boost cell phone, radio, or TV reception.
    22. Improvised survival lingerie – be creative.
    23. Use with a rubber band to improvise a condom.
    24. Use as a strip to tie splints for broken or sprained bones. (Note: this was placed directly after the previous two for a reason.)
    25. Use as cushion material for improvised splints.
    26. Improvise a scarf.
    27. Wrap around head to create a hood.
    28. Use as a water carrying device.
    29. Use as a fire reflector to maximize heat toward your direction.
    30. Use to reflect sun onto tinder to build a fire.
    31. Use to reflect the sun to heat water.
    32. Build a mini hammock.
    33. Improvised tanning bed.
    34. Stuff with clothing for use as a warm pillow.
    35. Improvise a light by redirecting light from a full moon, sun or flashlight.
    36. Line feet inside boots to keep socks dry.
    37. Build an outdoor refrigerator by wrapping food inside as a ball, tying off, then placing in a creek.  (Weigh down the end of bag with rock to prevent from floating away.)
    38. Cut into strips and tie to trees for marking a trail.
    39. Improvise a Survival TV by building a wood frame then staring at it while you imagine your favorite shows.
    40. Improvise a sea anchor for a raft.
    41. Use in a shallow creek in a forest fire to make an air pocket to breath while the fire passes over.  If you don’t think this works read Big Burn, read it either way cause it’s one of the best outdoor books I’ve ever read.
    42. Cut into 10-inch squares then tie off ends after filling with nuts, berries, or other handful of small items you’d like to carry.
    43. Cut into 3-inch squares wrap stones to create a weight that’s easy to tie off for fishing.
    44. Fill with sand, snow, or dirt and ties off to end to create an anchor or deadman.  (NOT for climbing or rappelling.)
    45. Use as a cleaning device in lieu of clothing or rag, to scrub a pan, fir instance.
    46. Use to reset a broken arm (when solo) by tying one end to a tree then placing your wrist in other end with slip knot and using body weight to reset the bone.
    47. Spread it over a large rock or picnic table as a makeshift tablecloth.
    48. Use to improvise a knife sheath.
    49. Use to make a food/bear cache by wrapping food in the blanket, tying with rope, tossing rope over a high branch, hoisting up, then tying off the other end.
    50. Create a funnel by tying 4 sides and placing a container under to collect rain water.  Place a rock at bottom to keep a steady stream.

I’m sure you have your own ideas so don’t hesitate to send them my way and I’ll add to the list.

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