How to use mylar for survival (correctly)

Mylar for preppers
Surviving with Mylar blankets, mylar bags, and more

Mylar blankets: you've been using them the wrong way!
Mylar is that crinkly, wonderful, space-age survival material
that's essential to pack in your bugout bag. Or is it? Made of a
thin polyester film that's shiny on one side and dull on the
other, mylar it's useful stuff but ONLY if you know how to use
it properly! Many preppers don't realize how to use them

Perhaps you were expecting too much from your mylar
blanket... Useful it is, but honestly, you will find mylar to be
inadequate in many regards. Certainly it is better than nothing
and it weighs next to nothing too, so adding mylar to your kits
is more comforting than omitting it. The caveat is you need to
know the proper use. To that end, here's how to use a mylar
blanket properly in prepping, so you're not disappointed, (and
so you can live to tell about it)....

Rethink your Mylar blanket

Seven Things to Know about Mylar Blankets Before you Buy

  1. Mylar will never warm you up: it will only slow the heat
    loss. This is the most important thing to know about
    mylar. The goal of a mylar blanket is not to warm you up,
    it's only to slow the heat loss from your body! It is an
    important distinction because you will be sorely
    disappointed if you expect it to perform like a wool
    blanket or a hand warmer.
  2. As a fabric, mylar doesn't breathe. Be careful how you
    use mylar because the fabric retains moisture as well as
    heat. Hypothermia, a condition of having an abnormally
    low body temperature, could set in as a result of sweating
    in mylar. The condensation and moisture can stay trapped
    inside the mylar and cause you to chill, and for this reason
    you should add a layer in between you and the stuff. This
    can be dry leaves if you have nothing else! Never cover
    your entire body and face. Your breath will cause
    condensation and you could freeze to death!
  3. Mylar tears. The material invented by Dupon inteh 1950s
    rips (maybe not so easily), but it does rip. Be careful not
    to brush up against prickly bushes, particularly with mylar
    you're using to stay warm and dry. Try to retain the
    integrity of the sheeting for multiple uses on your journey
    to safety.
  4. Mylar is noisy. Mylar is extremely noisy, so it will hinder
    your ability to hide if you are within ear range of someone
    you want to evade. Or it will hinder your communications
    as you might not be able to hear instructions. Those are
    two important considerations.
  5. Size matters! Pay attention to the size of mylar blanket
    you are ordering. A mylar blanket that's 62" x 82" or 59" by
    87" will provide coverage for an adult male; while mylar
    blanket that's 54" x 84 inches is more suited to a child,
    teen or adult female.
  6. Remember the "one is none" rule. It's always better to
    have two mylar blankets than one because they are small
    and weigh next nothing, it's really a good idea to carry
    more than you need. Also, there are so many great uses
    for mylar so you may as well have a few for all the
  7. There's something better than a mylar blanket! A bivvy
    is better than a space blanket because you'll be able to
    get your whole body inside. Made of the same stuff, only a
    bit stronger, the only problem with the bivvy pictured
    immediate left is that it's orange. Manufacturers haven't
    yet figured out that preppers want to go incognito! The
    bivvy can be used as a lightweight sleeping bag. Just
    remember to use it on a tarp or surface with insulation
    from the ground.

Proper Use of a Mylar Blanket
Do you know the correct way to use a mylar "space" blanket in
an emergency? To help you retain the heat you have, you'll
want to sit up (not lie down on the cold ground). Mylar will help
offset hypothermia reactions if you use it properly.

To use a mylar blanket or sleeping bag properly: squat, then
wrap it around you! (See the picture, above left.) This will
minimize the cold you will feel from the ground. While a mylar
blanket can be good as a ground covering, it has no insulation
on its own, and this could even make you even more cold in an
extreme survival situation. If you must sleep in your mylar, the
best way to use a mylar blanket is to use two of them: one as
a ground covering and the other to retain your heat. Also be
sure to add a layer between you and the ground, such as dry

    blanket over your head! If you do, your breath will release
    condensation and effectively this will lower your body
    temperature. You may even freeze to death!

22+ Uses of Mylar Blankets for Survival
Here is a list of ways to use mylar -- some astonishing:

Mylar Use #1: Carryall.
With mylar or any blanket, you can carry items in a horsehoe
pack or hobo pack. Roll all your items into the mylar blanket,
tie with cordage and sling over a shoulder.

  • Hobo pack: Also called a bindle, hobos were famous for
    carrying stuff on a stick. Bandannas work too. To make a
    carryall from mylar, cut some cordage from the mylar, then
    sling some berries, apples or gear in the center of the
    mylar bag tying the bag with the mylar cordage onto a
    stick. Now you can swing the stick over your shoulder and
    be on your way.

  • Milkmaid's yoke. If you have two space blankets you can
    craft a carrying pole to leverage the weight of your
    luggage onto your shoulders. This is the classic look
    you've seen women in China use to carry wares on a stick.
    In the United States women in Chinatown use them to
    carry bundles of recyclables they collect in urban

Mylar Use #2: Chicken Coup insulation.
Have some hens? Mylar will help you keep your girls cool in the
summer and warmer in the winter. Reflect the heat and cool
the interior of a chicken coup with mylar blankets. Now that's
one way to avoid frying your egg-laying chickens!

Mylar Use #3: Cordage.
Hopefully your bugout bag include paracord, but if not, you can
rely on mylar as cordage if you cut it into strips. Because mylar
tears so easily, you can use this cordage.

How can you use mylar as cordage to help you survive?
Cordage is always useful for first aid (see below for ideas on
how to make a tourniquet and more):

  • Catching food. Making fishing lines, trap triggers, and

  • Lashing shelter. Cut into strips you can use the cordage
    to tie shelter together. (Emergency tents are also

  • Improvising a Leg gaiter. Tie a pant leg as a gaiter to
    avoid ticks or wick away water from pant legs or use in
    combination with duct tape.

  • Using as a Territory marker or path marker. As a way to
    mark your path from camp to a hunt and back again.

Mylar Use #4. Dry your camping laundry more quickly.
How can mylar help you do your camp laundry? Wash laundry
as you would ordinarily, drip dry it, then as a final touch, place
your garment directly atop the mylar blanket to dry. The sun
will dry it faster than on a clothes line. Try it! You may need to
flip the garment.

Mylar Use #5: EMP protection.
Mylar alone will not help protect your electronics from an
ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP), but it does provide a layer of
protection for your electronic equipment. You'll need to use
mylar bags and place your gear also into insulated metal
containers (a Faraday cage). Even then you'll have to pray,
because it's unproven as to whether a Faraday cage will
withstand the immense magnitude of Electromagnetic
destruction a solar flare can produce.

Mylar Use #6: Evading thermal imaging.
If one day you're a prepper evading drones, you can remember
this handy trick about using mylar to evade detection: mylar
will make you invisible! Avoid thermal imaging is a drone's
primary source of detecting people.

Mylar Use #7: Fire Starter.
With a bit of ingenuity and a hot day, you can use your mylar
as a reflective fire starter. Dig a hole and place mylar reflective
side up. Now place dry tinder materials, which will act like a
sun oven onto the tinder. With time you should have a
smoldering start of a fire with which to feed into larger fire.

Mylar Use #8: First aid.
Obviously, a mylar blanket will help a hypothermia victim retain
heat, but mylar has many first aid purposes too:
  • compress wounds to bandage (for example paired with a
    feminine napkin, it can helps stop the blood).
  • make a finger splint (to strap an injured finger to a
    healthy one).
  • craft the mylar into a sling!
  • use as cordage for a makeshift tourniquet.

Mylar Use #9: Fishing lure.
Craft a makeshift fishing lure with mylar (or enhance the one
you have). Fisherman often use prism tape to dress up spoons,
crank baits, spinners and other lures. See the mylar skirt lure,
pictured immediate left. To make a mylar skirt lure, you'll need
to cut the mylar into fringe.

Mylar Use #10: Heat reflection.
As previously mentioned, mylar can help you avoid thermal
imaging of drones. Mylar actually works better as a sunshade
than it does as a blanket for the elements.A Mylar space
blanket can provide you with sun protection. It reflects heat to
keep you cool. Place it shiny side up to create shade.

  • Sunshade for your vehicle. As a sunshade, mylar works
    incredibly well. Mylar deflects heat to help in extremely
    hot climates, particularly if you are trying to stay cool and
    don't have any air conditioning.

  • Neck gaiter. Craft a neck gaiter by affixing a strip of mylar
    to the back of a baseball cap or hat.

Mylar Use #11: Heat retention.
The primary use of  mylar blanket is to prevent heat-loss. It's
intended to help you retain 90% of your body heat in a survival
situation or in the event of trauma shock where you'll need to
keep body temperature stable. In other words, a mylar blanket
keeps what body heat you have, so that you don't loose more.
Here are more ways mylar can help with heat retention:

  • Keep warmer near a fire. To keep warmer near a fire,
    out a mylar blanket behind your back on a camp chair or
    behind your backpack, so that the heat reflects back
    towards your body.

  • Windbreaker: Mylar can act as a wind shield to cut the

  • Prevent frost bite. In extreme conditions, you can cut the
    mylar and line your boots and gloves to help avoid frost
    bite. Be sure to allow moisture to wick away however, so
    as to avoid hypothermia.

  • Insulation for your jacket. To use as insulation for a
    jacket, shred the mylar and crumple it, then use it like
    stuffing inside your jacket. This will help to create pockets
    of air released from your body heat.

  • Insulation for a sleeping bag. Keep yourself toasty in a
    sleeping bag by lining the inside of your bag so that you
    trap the hot air.

  • Duvet insulation. For a Winter's night, slip a blanket in
    the duvet cover. This will help retain your body heat.

Mylar Use #12 Hydroponics.
Pictured immediate left, a 50 foot roll of reflective mylar film
can give your plants an extra boost of light without using any
more electricity for your hydro farm.

Mylar Use #13: Light reflection.
When set mylar behind a candle or flashlight you'll gain more
visibility of light (or heat if you need it from a candle).

Mylar Use #14: Keep the critters away.
If you don't have a bear box for camping, you can tie your food
up into the trees with help of cordage. This will keep raccoons
and small rodents away. In bear country, you will deter bears.
Some will

Mylar Use #15: Melt water.
Eating snow in a survival situation is dangerous because it
could lower the core body temperature. In a survival situation,
you can melt snow for drinking water by hanging a snowball in
mylar above a fire. Being careful not to burn the mylar, but
warming the snow enough to melt it into drinking water.

  • BONUS IDEA: The little plastic bag the mylar blanket
    comes in could be used to collect water!

Mylar Use #16: Rain cache.
A mylar blanket can help you collect water in a survival
situation. Simple and effective as a rain cache, first by diga
hole in the ground and then laying the mylar sheet on the
surface. Secure the edges of the sheeting with rocks, then wait
for it to rain!

Mylar Use #17: Shelter (Outdoors).
Mylar provides personal protection from rain, wind, heat and
cold, making it an ideal addition to a
bugout bag to create a
tent or overhang and ground covering.

  • Tent. Making a tent with mylar won't be easy because
    ordinary mylar blankets don't come with grommets, but it
    can be done! To make a tent from a mylar, ideally you'll
    need a large mylar blanket and some cordage, along with
    tent stakes and duct tape. Mylar tube tents are also
    available. The mylar tube tent pictured immediate right is
    8 feet in length, and houses two adults. It provides only
    ground covering and a roof.

  • Ground covering and shelter. Because mylar is
    waterproof and relatively durable it will make a good
    temporary ground covering for your shelter or sleeping bag
    (if you're sleeping out under the open stars).

Mylar Use #18: Shelter (Indoors).
In an emergency situation, using mylar tents and blankets in
freezing conditions during a blackout will certainly help in
conserving body heat.

Mylar Use #19: Signaling device.
The reflective nature of the material will make a good marker
for an aerial view if you are awaiting a rescue and place the
material flat in an open space, supported by stones or
otherwise anchored. Here are some ideas on how to use mylar
as a signaling device:

  • String mylar onto cordage to provide a long reflective line
    of mylar flapping in the wind.

  • If you have lots of mylar, as with a group, then you can
    create an S.O.S. pattern on the ground or use it as ground
    covering with which to place large stones, which spell S.O.
    S. (the universal acronym soliciting extreme distress).

Mylar Use #20: Reflect and absorb light for gardening.

  • Scare crow replacement. The reflective material will
    keep birds away from your crops. Just cut the mylar into
    strips and tie to a stake. Reflective bird deterrent. Birds
    hate mylar! The changing reflections and constant
    movement keeps them off the fruit bushes and away from
    the veggies.

  • Shield crops. Cut the chill of frost in the Winter or
    moisture loss in the summer by placing mylar as a
    protective shield around your plants.

  • Mylar for Hydroponic gardening: Preppers affix mylar
    sheets to the walls near their gardening system to reflect
    back otherwise wasted light to plants.  This helps plants
    grow faster and more efficiently.

Mylar Use #21: heat reflection for fire or sun oven
With a melting point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, can help you
retain heat from a fire, and can be used to make a home-made
sun oven, or parabolic cooker.
Mylar will melt at 254°C !

Mylar Use #22: Cook food.
Again, because of its power to withstand heat, you can throw a
fish over the fires  using mylar to cook it.

Final Thoughts About Mylar...
Mylar keeps out light, which can degrade food. Another benefit
of mylar for food storage is that it provides the perfect barrier
from rodents because it's strong and puncture resistant. What's
more, it helps keep foods sensitive to changes in moisture and
oxygen. You can easily seal food with an oxygen absorber to
control moisture and remove oxygen which degrades food.

Other (non-prepping uses of Mylar)

  • Food storage. The same wonderful material for your
    bugout bag is also available for your prepper's pantry to
    help you keep your food preserved. Here's how to use
    mylar with oxygen absorbers.

  • Dog house insulation. Take the frost bite of out the dog
    house too and have your dog's body heat help retain the
    heat. Line the inside of your pooch's little abode.

  • Improvise a picnic blanket or a table cloth. Mylar adds a
    layer of protection to keep your picnic blankets dry on a
    moist lawn, too. Since mylar is so lightweight, you could
    keep it in your pocket for the fourth of July fireworks at
    the fair, when you don't want to lug around a large blanket
    to sit on the lawn or to keep little ones warm. It makes a
    nice sit-upon! Keep a mylar blanket in the car and you
    have a tablecloth for picnics.

Happy endings...
Mylar is an extremely useful item for preppers to have. Is mylar
on your prepper's supply list! Ideally you should stock two
mylar blankets per person. If you have a family of four, have at
least eight on hand in your car.

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Note: The above picture is not how to use a space blanket properly if you are trying
to retain heat in a survival situation. The couple should be huddled together sitting
up because the ground is cold. If you lay on the ground, then be sure to pad the
surface wtih plenty of dry leaves.

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