This story initially featured on Area & Stream.
Like many sports activities individuals, I packed an area blanket for years earlier than ever having to make use of it. After I lastly did unwrap the crinkly Mylar sheet, it wasn’t to save lots of my life however to make a clear job of ending an animal’s. An elk I’d shot had fallen in a shintangle in Idaho’s Centennial Vary, and I unfold the blanket to maintain the meat free from particles whereas quartering. By necessity I made camp close by. When my fireplace died, I retrieved the blanket from the place I’d stashed it—the Centennials being prime grizzly nation—and wrapped myself up, frozen blood, bits of guts, and all.
It wasn’t a promising begin to a working relationship, however I proceed to hold the “miracle ounce,” not solely as a result of it may maintain my coronary heart beating by a chilly evening however as a result of nothing else in my pack could be put to so many sensible makes use of.
From the toilet to the moon
It’s been over 50 years because the house blanket’s introduction. However the materials—basically plastic sheeting vapor-coated with metallic particles—was first used commercially within the 1950s as an avant-garde wall protecting in bogs. The fad may simply have died within the lavatory, however NASA noticed the benefits of a fabric that would directly repel the extreme warmth of the solar and defend the darkish aspect of a spacecraft from the subzero chilly of house. By the point Apollo 11 touched down on the moon in 1969, the material had superior; Neil Armstrong’s house swimsuit was fabricated from space-blanket materials that included a layer of pure gold.
Civilians have all the time needed to accept aluminum. However whereas the steel could also be low cost, the outcomes aren’t. No different materials has the flexibility to mirror physique warmth so effectively, and since life insurance coverage by no means got here at such a minimal weight and low value, the house blanket quickly turned a staple in practically each outdoorsman’s pack.
Extra makes use of than duct tape
There are numerous ways in which a sportsman can configure an area blanket to his benefit. It’s best generally known as a wraparound blanket; along with slowing sweat evaporation and blocking wind, it displays 90 p.c of physique warmth, minimizing cooling by convection and radiation. To discover another makes use of, I just lately spoke with David Deigan, the CEO of Superior Versatile Supplies (AFM), which provides the blankets to Journey Medical Kits. Deigan factors out that, to be efficient, an area blanket have to be used correctly. Place the shiny aspect subsequent to your physique, because the uninteresting silver aspect displays solely 65 p.c of radiated warmth. Carry duct tape to comfortable it in place. I do know a caribou hunter whose sole reminders of surviving an evening on the Alaskan tundra are the frostbitten fingers the place he pinched his house blanket collectively.
Area blankets additionally function an awesome footprint underneath a tent and as a canopy to extend the heat of a sleeping bag (AFM’s bivy sacks work greatest right here). You can too use one as a sign mirror. Simply wrap it round a inexperienced limb bent right into a circle and face it into the solar. And one of the crucial sensible purposes of an area blanket is utilizing it to make a lean-to.
As I discussed, an area blanket even makes a clear drop material for area dressing sport. Simply don’t make the identical mistake I did. Not until your intent is to offer a grizzly bear a sizzling meal.