You may already be familiar with emergency blankets, or maybe you’re not. Emergency blankets are compact, lightweight blankets that feature at least one side coated with an aluminum-foil-looking sheet that helps reflect body heat back to the user of the blanket. Very often they’ll also feature one side covered in orange to make the blanket easy to see in an emergency situation.
Emergency blankets are also lightweight and easy to be compactly folded, so that you can carry one in your pocket if need be. Emergency blankets should be a vital part of any bug-out bag or survival kit, and everyone should carry one on his person or in his car.
But emergency blankets have a number of uses aside from just helping keep you warm. Here are just a few of the possible uses for an emergency blanket.
1. Staying Warm
We’ll start with the obvious use for an emergency blanket, staying warm. But an emergency blanket isn’t just something to be used in isolation. It can also be used in conjunction with other layers to keep you warm. For instance, if you have a lightweight sleeping bag that might not keep you warm enough on a cold night, you can wrap yourself inside your blanket inside your sleeping bag, thus giving you an extra layer of insulation.
2. Building Shelter
An emergency blanket can be used to create an improvised tent or lean-to, just like a tarp would. You’ll have to take care not to puncture the blanket, otherwise it will get destroyed, but creative use of rocks, paracord, or duct tape should do the trick.
3. Collecting Water
At times when you’re not using the blanket, it can be used to harvest rainwater for drinking purposes. Just elevate the four corners of the blanket so that water pools in the middle, then funnel the water from the middle of the blanket into a container so that you can purify it. Since the blanket is non-porous, you don’t have to worry about it getting soaked.
4. Waterproofing Your Supplies
Because an emergency blanket is waterproof, it can keep not just you but also your supplies safe from moisture. Given the compact size of emergency blankets, it’s easy to keep two on hand, one for you and one for your supplies.
5. Signaling for Help
The reflective foil-like part of your emergency blanket can be used to reflect sunlight to signal for help, kind of like a signaling mirror. If you have an orange side to your blanket, you can wrap the foil side around you to stay warm, while the orange side will remain highly visible to rescuers.
These are just a few of the many uses for emergency blankets. You can find many others if you look, although many uses for them require cutting up the blanket, which prevents its being used to keep you warm. Still, because of their compact size and affordability, an emergency blanket should be a part of everyone’s survival kit.