9 Best Survival Blankets For Bitter Cold Emergencies

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: August 10, 2019

Survvial Blanket - Emergency Sleeping BagCall them what you will – survival blanket, mylar blanket, space blanket, or emergency blanket.

You should own one.

Winters, where I come from, is harsh.

The Rocky Mountains are not gentile – especially if sheltering in snow and ice.

Becoming trapped in freezing temperatures is a recipe for disaster.

In Colorado, keeping a survival blanket inside your trunk or glove box is standard practice.

It’s a smart insurance policy if you happen to get stuck overnight in frigid conditions.

Imagine driving on a rural mountain road in the dead of night. All of a sudden, your car discovers some black ice.

Your wheels lose traction, and you lose control. You helplessly slide sideways into a massive snowdrift.

You hit the gas, but your wheels spin freely – you’re stuck.

There’s little hope of traffic at this late hour, so you quickly dial a tow truck company.

Phew, you reach them, but “sorry, you’ll have to wait until morning.”

You have no choice; you must take refuge from the freezing winter conditions. It’s time to huddle inside your vehicle, and thankfully you’re protected from the wind. But the freezing cold temps begin seeping in, little by little, hour by hour.

But luckily, you’ve prepared for this.

Instead of nearly freezing to death, you grab your mylar blanket from a winter survival kit you keep in your car.

It’s small, light, and takes up nearly no space, and it will keep you warm tonight – possibly saving your life.

Staying warm is a key factor in surviving such a perilous situation. Hypothermia is no joke.

Exposure kills about 1300 people in the US every year. Sadly most of those deaths could have been prevented with a survival blanket.

The problem is that many options claim to use high-tech, fancy materials to keep you warm. Some of those claims are accurate, and others, well, less so.

So buyer, beware!

Trusting a mylar blanket that won’t keep you warm when you need it most is a terrible survival technique.

You absolutely must make sure the survival blanket you buy works as advertised. Otherwise, you might be up an icy creek without a paddle. That’s precisely why we wrote this guide. It’s meant to cut through the static and false-advertising floating around out there.

To give you a clear idea of what you need from a survival blanket and a few of the better ones on the market.

So today, we’ll be covering the following emergency survival blanket topics:

**Note: If you want our top recommendations, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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Different Types Of Survival Blankets

Like anything as useful as emergency blankets, there are different materials used. Over the years, as survival technology has changed, so too have survival blankets.

Some of these have stuck around through the years and are still widely used today. Others have faded with the ages.

Animal Pelts

Originally, survival blankets were animal pelts. Way back in the day, our ancestors used mammoth hides for their tents and blankets. But pelts (especially those of mammoths) are thick and heavy, and bulky.

While useful, they make for extremely heavy survival blankets.

Wool

One of history’s favorite materials for survival blankets has been wool. Why wool? Compared to leather hides, wool is much lighter.

It’s also very warm, insulates well to trap heat and it’s water-resistant. Wool blankets are notoriously warm and available in various styles, sizes, and prices.

Some come from boutiques and can get expensive. Others are cheap and easy to find at army surplus stores.

Polar Fleece

But even wool is bulky compared to modern survival blankets, like polar fleece.

Made from synthetic material, polyester, polar fleece is extremely lightweight.

It also compresses easily into a pack or a tight space.

It’s easy to wash and stretches more than most other fabric materials.

Down and Synthetic Down

Down and synthetic down are my personal favorite sleeping bags for backpacking and wilderness adventures.

They generate tons of heat and trap most of your body heat, keeping it from dissipating.

Down is one of the warmest materials known to man, which is why the best modern sleeping bags use it.

The advantage of synthetic down is that it can get wet and keep you warm – while real down loses its heat-generating abilities as soon as it gets damp.

These make excellent survival blankets. You can pack them into small stuff sacks for portable storage.

Space Blanket

But even down and polar fleece is bulky compared to space blanket technology.

Originally designed by NASA, BoPET (Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate) is a hyper-light material that looks sort of like tin foil.

It’s more commonly known as Mylar.

Mylar blankets are a highly durable material that folds into the size of an un-popped package of popcorn. This stuff has saved countless lives in backcountry and wilderness situations.

In fact, many medical teams carry mylar space blankets in their first aid survival kits. It’s insanely light, it packs down into almost nothing, and it’s ideal for trapping body heat.

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TACT Bivvy Main Image

Our Favorite Survival Blanket – The TACT Bivvy

Advertised as “one of the most advanced survival tools on the planet,” the Tact Bivvy is an incredible piece of survival gear.

Small enough to fit in your hand, this survival blanket utilizes Mylar. Mylar provides the highest quality, most effective survival blanket around. And because it’s taped together, it traps your body heat inside more like a sleeping bag than a blanket.

The Tact Bivvy is the best bang for your buck when you compare the weight to warmth. It provides maximum heat with minimal weight.

TACT Bivvy In HandMaking it the perfect survival blanket for bug-out bags, get-home bags, survival packs, or glove boxes.

Not only that, but it is windproof, waterproof, easy to use, and includes a small stuff sack.

This helps keep it stored neatly when you are not using it.

And the best part? It’s affordable. At this price, it’s an accessible survival tool for everyone.

Field Tested

We even tested the Tact Bivvy on a chilly 40-degree overcast day. “Just In Case,” Jack (our managing editor) recorded temperatures inside the Tact Bivvy, and after only 10 minutes, it was a warm 82 degrees.

It was so warm inside the Tact Bivvy that he got out shortly after 10 minutes to keep from overheating.

If it works this well on a cool 40-degree day, it’s a legitimate lifesaver in below-zero survival situations.

The bottom line is – The Tact Bivvy works and is excellent for cold-weather survival.

When we published this post, Survival Frog offered a 20% discount and a box of waterproof matches!

Click here to see if this fantastic deal is still available!

TACT_Bivvy - Buy 3 Deal

I recommend you get one for your bug-out bag, one for your medical first aid kit, one for your car, and your home. Believe me, when it comes to survival blankets, you can never have too many of them.

You can survive for a few days without water and a few weeks without food. But exposed to the elements, you can die in hours (or even minutes) without a way to stay warm. Do not take the risk!

Arm yourself with a Tact Bivvy in every place you can think of.

Here’s “Just in Case” Jack’s video review of the Tact Bivvy.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best Survival Blankets On The Market Today

While the Tact Bivvy by Survival Frog is Skilled Survival’s top recommended mylar survival blanket, other options exist.

Here are some of the most popular ones available on the market:

Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Blankets

These highly cost-effective Mylar blankets are designed to retain up to 90% of your body heat inside of them.

They are durable and lightweight, and this offer comes with four per order.

So if one gets damaged or you need a space blanket for multiple people, Swiss Safe’s got you covered.

They also come covered with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Survive Outdoors Longer Emergency Blanket

More durable than Mylar blankets, these polyethylene emergency blankets have “legendary durability.”

They are also multifunction backcountry tools.

You can use them for ground cover, gear cover, and, of course, emergency shelter.

The bright orange color provides maximum visibility for rescue teams. Orange is helpful if you’re stranded in the wilderness and in need of rescue.

Emergency Thermal Tent

Unlike the other options, this is technically neither a bivvy nor a mylar blanket. It’s a tent!

It sets up with some paracord to hold up the center. It provides shelter (for up to two full-sized adults) from the elements keeping you both warm and dry.

But remember: this IS NOT a camping tent. It’s an emergency tent/survival blanket and is best for emergency situations.

Grabber All-Weather Blanket

Compared to wool, this all-weather emergency blanket is “pound-for-pound” warmer. Use it as a ground cover to keep sleeping bags dry and to add an extra layer of insulation between you and the ground.

But it can also be used as a wilderness survival shelter.

The material is water-resistant, and the corners have grommets. The grommets allow you to turn it into a makeshift shelter in the backcountry.

Its heat-reflective properties contain up to 80% of a person’s body heat.

Arcturus Heavy Wool Military Blanket

This list would not be complete without a Military-quality wool survival blanket.

Yes, it is bulky. Yes, it is heavier than Mylar. But wool is a tried and tested survival material that has saved countless lives over the years.

Wool blankets are some of the best when it comes to survival. And they are relatively cheap, too – meaning you can buy one for your car and another few for your home.

That way, you always have a warm wool blanket nearby.

Bonus Tip: Wrap a wool blanket around yourself and a Mylar blanket over that.

Down Under Outdoors Blanket

Machine washable, reusable, waterproof, and windproof, this “stadium blanket” is an incredible survival tool. It’s made with thick quilted fleece to provide maximum protection from the elements.

And it comes with a lifetime warranty.

You can replace it with no problem if it causes trouble.

Packable Black Diamond Down Throw

As I mentioned before, “down” is one of my favorite materials for survival blankets.

Why? Because it generates heat, it is extremely light and packs down into almost nothing.

This particular model weighs only 1.15 pounds.

And it comes with a fitted stuff sack so you can pack it away easily in a backpack, bug-out bag, car, desk, or survival kit.

S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy

Bivy sacks make great lightweight emergency rescue devices.

This Escape Bivvy is a good option for all types of survival emergencies.

It’s survival gear for a bug-out bag list, a get-home bag list, or for survival camping.

The SOL Escape Bivvy is a lightweight, breathable, and durable mylar space sleeping system.

Here’s a good overview of this S.O.L escape bivvy.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Tips For Using A Mylar Survival Blanket In An Emergency

Alright, so you’ve bought a mylar blanket, and the time has come to use it. But when you’re thrown into an emergency, and it is freaking cold outside – now what?

Using an emergency blanket is not as straightforward as most people think – it requires some explanation or directions for proper use.

This is not the case.

Mylar technology requires a little bit of know-how to use effectively. Here are some facts and tips that might help:

1. Be CAREFUL when you pull your emergency blanket out.

Yes, they’re advertised as “extremely durable.” But Mylar won’t stand up to contact with sharp objects – like a large fixed-blade knife.

There are instances of survival blankets tearing when pulled out of their container. So be gentle!

Don’t panic, even if you’re cold and afraid. Remove your Mylar blanket from its pouch slowly and tenderly. If you tear it, you’re in trouble.

2. Mylar does NOT generate heat.

Unfortunately, while Mylar is incredible, it doesn’t overcome the law of thermodynamics. It will contain your body heat, and block wind, and help maintain your temperature.

But it’s not going to increase your body temperature.

3. “One is none.”

We highly recommend that you always keep at least two Mylar blankets handy.

Think rationally: these blankets are ultra-thin and weigh next to nothing. You can layer them up and double your heat retention capabilities if you have two.

Or, if you’re with another person when a frigid disaster strikes, you’ll have an extra to share.

4. Never pull a Mylar blanket over your head.

Tempting as it may be to wrap yourself up entirely like a mummy, face and all, DO NOT DO IT!

Mylar doesn’t breathe.

So when your face is inside, your breath will create condensation on the inside. This condensation will drop your body temperature like a rock.

The drier the inside of your Mylar blanket stays, the better off you will be.

You’ll also be traping in your exhaled breath or CO2. So over time, you could pass out due to the increased CO2 air mixture build-up trapped in the mylar blanket.

5. The Bigger, the Better.

When it comes to Mylar survival blankets, go big or go home.

Some of them are sized for children or young adults. If you unknowingly get one of those, you might find it too small to cover you up completely.

So pay close attention to the dimensions of the Mylar blankets you decide to invest in.

Final Thoughts

When people prepare for emergencies, they usually think of survival food and emergency water storage first – which is natural (and practical) preparation. But many forget the need to preserve your body heat in an emergency or survival situation.

Exposure can kill a person in mere minutes. So, it won’t matter how many dehydrated meals you stash or how much water you’ve stored without a way to protect yourself from extreme exposure.

You’re fatally vulnerable without a survival blanket.

Luckily, emergency/survival blankets are easy to come by and cheap. There is no good reason NOT to add one to your bug-out bag, survival kits, and survival vehicle.

I like to think of mylar survival blankets as one of the most affordable, one-time fee insurance policies you can buy.

Get a survival blanket today!

Will Brendza

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