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5 Survival Blankets To Keep You Warm Even In The Most Frigid Temps

Image source: Blizzardprotection

Image source: Blizzardprotection

Having fire-starter in your survival kit or bug-out bag is essential. With fire, not only do you have warmth, but you also have security and a means to cook food.

Nonetheless, a good blanket or two is also something that you should consider including in your kit. Yes, they do take up some space, but most blankets that you will be using fold up very compactly or can fit inside a small bag. A blanket will come in handy if you can’t build a fire during the winter, and also will provide extra warmth when you do have a fire.

Let’s examine your options:

1. Cotton blankets. This is not the best blanket to put in your kit, especially during the fall or winter months. Cotton blankets are very lightweight but shrink quickly when they get wet. The major benefit to cotton blankets is that beyond shrinking, they do last a very long time. You can put a lightweight cotton blanket in your bag if you wish, but you need to take a look at the next options first.

2. Emergency blankets. Emergency blankets are very cheap, very small, and designed to reflect the heat back to you. They can be purchased for just a couple of dollars per blanket and are quite compact. You can easily store several of these in your kit. However, when they are unfolded, they are still rather small and you will need more than one. And since they are cheap, they also tear quite easily. Some can only be used once or twice before becoming little more than trash items. But despite the shortcomings, the emergency blanket is still a fine way to have a one-time, cheap-and-easy means of providing warmth.

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3. Space blankets. True space blankets are similar to emergency blankets in that they reflect heat back to you, but they cost more, are much larger and more durable, and are designed for more than just a one- or two-time use. They also can double as a shelter-provider; some have grommets in the corners.

4. Sleeping bag. This is definitely the most bulky option on the list, but you have to consider sleeping bags as another option. Some sleeping bags are designed to be rolled up very compact. These smaller bags have also been designed to insulate the body even in extreme temperatures. The benefit of a sleeping bag is that it should keep you warm regardless of what weather or temperatures you are in, and it also is much more cozy and comforting then a simple blanket.

5. Wool blankets. Wool blankets are extremely durable, will last you a long time, and are relatively cost-efficient. They will also keep you warm when you are wet and they won’t shrink; this is due to the fibers in the blankets that allow the blanket to maintain its shape. Many wool blankets are also resistant to flames, so you can sit down wrapped up close to the warm fire without any worries. If there is one notable downside to wool blankets, though, it is that they get dirty very easily. Clean them rigorously after each use.

Which survival blanket do you prefer? Leave your tips and suggestion in the section below:

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13 comments

  1. Wool is a great way to stay warm, however, due to the course nature of the animal hair it is itchy and uncomfortable. We solved this by sewing a softer fabric to one side of the wool blanket. It still insulates well and you retain comfort. For my girls we then folded the blanket in half and sewed up the bottom and long side. Thus making wool sleeping bags. We knew they probably wouldn’t hold still in there sleep and this way they stay covered.

  2. I was just about to give away a very old green wool blanket, that was my parents first blanket they owned, it’s all wool and itchy as heck. But now I’m gonna go grab it an sew a piece of fabric on one side and save it. It’s goin in the survival bag. I remember when I was living in the high mtn.s and before I got my larger heavy loft fake down from la cross I would put that green blanket at the bottom of my bed my feet get cold I have bad circulation) and on top and it kept my feet toasty warm,so it’s true they do work. Thanks for remindin me of that.

  3. We have 4 of the very light weight emergency blankets in our grab bags untill I can afford to get better ones, our small pack sleeping bags are located nearby so could be grabbed on the way out and we both have wool blankets in our cars.

  4. Wool also holds something like 50% of it’s weight in water and still insulates. And wicks water so you don’t have wet spots like cotton.

  5. People!! It’s survival. An itchy blanket? OK. I will take yours so you won’t itch. Thank you. Dryer lint has hair in it when you use it to start a fire? Ok. Sit over there away from the heat cause it’s icky.
    Survival means that. You do what you do to survive the night. Get over it.

    • I agree with you on the itchy part, some folks complain about everything. I prefer a cotton blanket when sleeping on a bed but darn sure prefer an itchy wool blanket to keep warm in the outdoors. If they get wet they still keep you warm. Itchy works for me too… Good idea on lint. I’ll be sure and bring some along on my next shot into the woods. Keep your powder dry…

  6. Maybe I’m just ignorant or missing something obvious, but I wonder why a fleece blanket wasn’t included in the review.

  7. One must not underestimate the power of the “Woobie”. Known as the Poncho Liner it is light weight. compressible, and extremely warm.

  8. NB on cotton and wool blankets; cotton blankets can be pre-shrunk by a cycle or two thru the washer dryer- the prob with them outdoors is if they get wet, they will hold onto the moisture for considerable amounts of time. Long distance hikers will tell you ‘Cotton Kills’; i prefer the more precise ‘Cotton Chills’; in respect of the amount of body heat it requires to drive moisture out of cotton fabric when worn.
    Wool blankets also shrink, but less, and they tend to thicken at the same time (fulling) they are also fire resistant (as are all natural fibers), but anything will burn if you hold it in the flames…so try not to do that.

    • also wool blankets are easily cleaned with a clothesline and a tennis racquet (or similar item) hang over line and whale the fluff off of each side, then flip the inside out and repeat. wash/dry cycle only needed for deeply penetrating spills and stains. most stuff will bead up and dry on the surface, rendering the first method effective. Hope that helps!

  9. Wool blankets DO shrink. If yours didn’t then it was acrylic. I found out the hard way when I washed a blanket that my mother had been given as a wedding present by her grandmother…

  10. DO NOT BRING COTTON BLANKETS OR ANYTHING COTTON IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE OUTDOORS. If you recommend bringing cotton outdoors you will be responsible for the lives lost when that cotten gets wet and becomes virtually USELESS in heat retention. Other fabrics shed water. Cotton does not. Cotton absorbs and retains water and becomes virtually useless.

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