What Is A Thermal Blanket?

What Is A Thermal Blanket?

By Adelia Ladson

First developed by NASA, in 1964, a thermal blanket or also called a space blanket is a blanket that either both sides of it or one side of it has a highly reflective surface. Typically, they are made entirely of a foil like Mylar, or one side is covered in a foil. It’s used to insulate thermal radiation, which is the emission of electromagnetic waves from any matter that has a temperature greater than absolute zero.

How Does It Work?

Electromagnetic waves? What? Your body is made of particles that are always in motion, as long as they’re not frozen. This motion produces energy in the form of waves that radiate out and when they hit another group of charged particles in a body or object, they cause them to move faster and produce more energy. That absorbed radiation energy is then deposited, therefore, heating the object or body. Look, all you really need to know is that thermal blankets are designed to reflect heat back to your body or deflect heat when you use it as a shelter from the sun. Heat loss due to evaporation and perspiration can be reduced because the blanket is waterproof and windproof.

What Do You Use It For?

Thermal blankets have been used to insulate everything from marathon runners to the satellites. They are often included in first aid and emergency kits. They can be used to prevent or treat hypothermia and overexposure to the sun and also to keep someone warm who has gone into shock. Since, thermal blankets are usually lightweight Mylar, they can be folded into a very small package, making them easy to store and carry anywhere. That is why they are ideal for first aid kits, bug-out and survival bags, vehicle emergency kits and camping gear.

Our Recommendations

Thermal blanket technology comes in many shapes and sizes, not just the old Space Blanket that NASA started out with. Here are a couple of options to consider including in your emergency gear.

Intense Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag

When your survival depends on being warm and dry, you want to have an Intense Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag to climb into. The sleeping bag is made of tear-resistant, heavy-duty Mylar with an aluminum-coated interior for extra insulation. It’s olive drab on the outside if you need the camouflage and like I said above, it’s both water and wind-proof. In a non-emergency situation, you can also combine it with another sleeping bag for additional warmth when you’re camping. The reusable, emergency sleeping bag’s overall dimensions are 7’x3’, packing neatly into a nylon carry pouch.

Trailblazer Emergency Outdoor Double-Sided Mattress

The Trailblazer Emergency Outdoor Double-Sided Mattress is an example where the technology is used on one side. Primarily for camping or bugging-out, the mattress offers one thermal reflective side to reflect heat and a padded EVA foam material on the other side. The 8mm thickness will ensure you sleep in comfort and it’s easy to just unroll and layout. There are elastic straps for rolled storage and the thermal mattress’s dimensions are 71”x 20”.

Trailblazer Emergency Rescue Tent

I really like the Trailblazer Emergency Rescue Tent because it makes the most of the thermal blanket technology. It’s made out of the same highly-reflective Mylar material that’s tear-resistant and weather-resistant, but it will provide ample protection from the elements for two to three people almost instantly. It still folds down to a very small package so that it can be carried easily when you’re hiking, on an outdoor adventure or even bugging-out. Included with the emergency thermal tent is 20’ of tough cord.

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