Best Survival Blankets To Survive Freezing Cold Temperatures

By Will Brendza | Updated: 10/16/2023

Survvial Blanket - Emergency Sleeping BagToday I’ve got one of the most under-rated pieces of survival gear to share…

A Complete Guide On Finding (& Using) An Emergency Survival Blanket

Because becoming trapped in freezing temperatures is a recipe for disaster.

Keeping a blanket inside your trunk (or glove box) is standard practice where I live.

It’s a cheap insurance policy IF you get stuck overnight in frigid conditions.

Because 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 good emergency blanket…

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Short Story – Introduction

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.
  • Your vehicle helplessly slides 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 endure freezing 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.

And it doesn’t even have to be in a remote location.

It happened in Atlanta in January of 2014:

↓ Atlanta Commuters Stranded In Cars…

But luckily, YOU’VE prepared for this.

Instead of freezing to death, you grab your Mylar blanket from the winter survival kit in your car.

It’s small, light, and takes up nearly no space.

And it will keep you warm tonight – possibly saving your life.

Because staying warm is a key factor in surviving such a perilous situation.

TACT Bivvy Main Image

Best Survival Blankets For Sale Today

Here are some of the most popular ones available on the market (with some pros and cons):

Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal 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.

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Arcturus Heavy Duty Survival Blanket

This ain't your average run-of-the-mill blanket.

This bad boy is made from extra-tough, extra-durable materials that can stand up to just about anything you can throw at it.

It's windproof, waterproof, and designed to keep you warm and dry in even the harshest of conditions.

But what really sets this blanket apart is its versatility.

You can use it as a shelter, a ground cloth, a makeshift poncho, a signal flag...the possibilities are endless!

And with its compact size and lightweight design, it's easy to carry with you wherever you go.

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3. Best Emergency Blanket / Tent
TACT Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag

This one is MY top pick.

IT's 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 emergency 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 weight to warmth.

It provides maximum heat with minimal weight.

Making it perfect 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.

I recommend you get one for your bug-out bag, one for your medical first aid kit, one for your car, and your home.

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↓ TACT Bivvy Review

Survive Outdoors Longer 70% Reflective Escape Bivvy

This is a bivy sack with no extra bells or whistles.

It falls more into the emergency shelter than the adventure sack. So it's perfect for saving your life in a pinch.

Its water-resistant, durable fabric will keep you warm and dry because it will reflect 70% of radiated body heat and resists punctures and tears.

It also features:

  • a full-side zipper system
  • a draw-cord hood closure
  • and a foot box for comfort
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↓ SOL Escape Bivvy

Life-Saving Equip: Instant 1-2 Person Emergency Tube Tent

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

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Arcturus Military Wool Blanket - 4.5 lbs

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.

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↓ Arcturus Military Wool Blanket

DOWN UNDER OUTDOORS Extra Thick Fleece 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.

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Get Out Gear Down Camping Blanket

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 1.1 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.

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↓ Down Puffy Blanket

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Different Types Of Emergency Blankets

Like anything as useful as emergency blankets, there are different materials used.

Over the years, as survival technology has changed, so have 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, 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 blankets.

Wool Blanket

One of history’s favorite materials for blankets has been wool.

Why wool?

Compared to leather hides, wool is much lighter.

It’s also very warm, insulates well to reflect 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 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.

Making it a decent blanket option for some situations.

Down and Synthetic Down

My favorite sleeping bags for backpacking and wilderness adventures are down and synthetic down.

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.

Either way, they 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 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 popcorn package.

This stuff has saved countless lives in backcountry and wilderness situations.

Many medical teams carry Mylar space blankets in their first aid emergency kit.

It’s insanely light, packs into almost nothing, and is ideal for trapping body heat.

Tips For Using An Emergency Blanket Properly

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.

Here a video that shows improper use can be nearly as dangerous as the cold itself:

↓ How An Emergency Blanket Almost Killed Me!

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 Mylar 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 body heat, block wind, and help maintain temperature.

But it CANNOT increase your body temperature.

Once your body is too cold to generate any heat, Mylar won’t do much good.

3. “One is none.”

We recommend you keep at least two Mylar blankets handy.

Think rationally: these blankets are ultra-thin and weigh next to nothing.

If you have two, you can layer them up and double your heat retention capabilities.

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

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 trapping 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 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 one you decide to invest in.

6. Stay Off The Cold Ground

If you’re stuck out in the remote wild, don’t lie down on the bare cold ground.

Find some ground cover to use as an insulating material.

This can be pine needles, leaves, dry grasses.

Because the last thing you want is your remaining body heat to get sucked into the cold ground below.

Final Thoughts

When people prepare for emergencies, they usually think of survival food and emergency water storage first…

Which is a natural (and practical).

But many forget the need to preserve body heat in an emergency and prevent hypothermia.

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 temps.

You’re fatally vulnerable without a survival blanket.

Luckily, emergency blankets work, are easy to come by and cheap.

There is no reason NOT to add one to your bug-out bag, survival kits, and vehicles.

I like to think of these blankets as THE most affordable, one-time insurance policies money can buy.

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