We all know that wrapping up in a space blanket can keep us warm. These reflective Mylar blankets and bivy sacks usually only cost a few dollars, which make them a great investment considering that the lives they can save are priceless. But besides being a blanket to shelter us from the elements, what other tricks can the simple space blanket pull off?
The waterproof nature of the plastic blanket makes it an ideal rain harvester. All you have to do is line a hole and wait for the skies to open up. But this isn’t the strongest material on earth, and pin holes through the plastic are inevitable, which brings us to one more good reason to carry duct tape.
The signal qualities of the blanket depend on its coloring. Some brands of space blanket have a silver side and an orange side, like the ones from Adventure Medical Kits. This gives you options when placing the blanket out on the ground as a signal panel. The orange would be better contrast against snow, and the silver would be stark against a dark background. Whichever colors you have on your space blanket, they all work when you hoist the blanket on a pole as a signal flag. The material can also be cut into strips and hung on branches as trail markers.
Tent, tarp, and bivy configurations abound when you are dealing with a strong, flexible, rectangular piece of material. If you have a few pieces of cordage, and know how to tie a sheet bend in each corner of the space blanket, you literally have dozens of shelter style options.
Using the waterproof blanket as a piece of rain gear can make the space blanket your best friend in places where precipitation is abundant, and your supply of Gore-Tex is low. But don’t cut a hole in the middle of the blanket for a classic type of poncho, as this will limit its reusability.
A busted arm can be cradled in a sling improvised from a space blanket. Strips can be cut off and twisted to make cordage, and the remaining piece can be folded and tied to make a warm, effective arm sling. The blanket can also be wrapped around sprained wrists and ankles. Cut off a piece of the blanket, wrap it with duct tape, and you now have a patch to cover wounds.
Got a different use for a space blanket? Tell us all about it in the comments.