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stilllife
10-11-2017, 13:10
Who has a space blanket for an emergency in the GSMNP in November or the winter for that matter? It's 2 ounces. I never see this included in anyone's AT gear list for early starts.

Sovi
10-11-2017, 13:29
I keep one in my med kit, for my self or another who may need it. Not sure it even weighs 2 oz though. As Feb starter myself, I think it's more than prudent. I dont have an oz scale so my list isn't itemized as such, mostly guesstimates.

Old Grouse
10-11-2017, 13:57
I have one and a small tarp (and other essentials), always in my daypack even for day hikes. You never know when you might have to spend the night.

Leo L.
10-11-2017, 13:58
I carry one or two space blankets in the pack wherever I go.
But as far as I found out, they are of no other use than for short-term single use in emergency cases, exactly what usually is printed on the sleeve: Wrap a victim of an accident for the short time until medical aid arrives.
Space blankets, once used, cannot be folded up again, and will break in any other than really smooth conditions.
And if a space blanket is carried in the pack for some time, it most likely is already unusable, you can't unfold them without breaking. So you have to replace even the unused ones from time to time.

HooKooDooKu
10-11-2017, 14:11
Why would you need an emergency space blanket if you already have the necessary gear to camp?
Seem to me the most appropriate time to carry a space blanket would be for a day hike when you're otherwise not carrying the gear needed for camping.
Perfect example in GSMNP would be a stay at LeConte Lodge. You obviously don't need a tent or tarp with you when you expect to spend the night in a heated cabin. But you want to make sure you are prepared in case you get injured on the trail and won't make it to the Lodge before dark.

Sovi
10-11-2017, 14:25
yes ,the space blanket is best used for emergency situations, i.e., coming across an injured hiker who may be in shock or at risk of it, or for yourself if you have the ability to get to it or let someone know you have it. Probably not going to get you through a spontaneous blizzard unless incorporated into your other cold weather gear

Leo L.
10-11-2017, 14:26
I have a slim bag that contains several emergencies: The first aid kit (a very small one), a tiny knife, a Minibic, a compass, some cord, a piece of candle, a blue wax crayon, a small plasic tube, and among other small items I belive that could help me save my life also a space blanket. All very small and lightweight.
I toss this essentials bag in the pack I'm using at the moment. On my desert hikes I sometimes carry an extra daypack, so again this essentials bag goes in the pack I using.
Sometimes, when doing a investigation walk without a pack in an unknown area far from anybody else, I hang this bag to the belt of my camera bag. Just in case.

If, when going climbing, there is a real chance to get delayed or stuck in the rock face, I would carry a bivvy bag.

Tipi Walter
10-11-2017, 15:06
Why would you need an emergency space blanket if you already have the necessary gear to camp?


Exactly. My space blanket is my tent.

DownEaster
10-11-2017, 15:06
Not a 2 ounce space blanket, but its bigger (8.4 ounce) brother: the Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0075ZS096/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1). It's breathable, has a zipper, and is fairly durable rather than single-use.

40595

HooKooDooKu
10-11-2017, 16:46
Not a 2 ounce space blanket, but its bigger (8.4 ounce) brother: the Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0075ZS096/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1). It's breathable, has a zipper, and is fairly durable rather than single-use.

40595
I'd prefer the Blanket version (https://www.rei.com/product/407106/space-all-weather-blanket) because it would be more versatile (picnic cloth, tarp, bivvy, etc).
40598

JJ505
10-11-2017, 17:32
I'd prefer the Blanket version (https://www.rei.com/product/407106/space-all-weather-blanket) because it would be more versatile (picnic cloth, tarp, bivvy, etc).
40598

I have the blanket. It's refoldable (unlike the cheap ones). I always take a cheap one, but will take this on longer hikes. It's a LOT more substantial. Was still cheap (in the $10 range, I think). The bivvy is $15-30 depending on breathability.

Sarcasm the elf
10-11-2017, 19:11
I bring an SOL mylar bivy with me both on dayhikes and overnights in cold weather. It even lives in my car during cold weather just in case.

To those saying "why would you need it?" My answer is I hope I don't find out, but if I do I'll be glad to have it. I've seen enough mishaps over the years to know there's a reasonable chance that myself, or just as likely someone I encounter on trail may well need it.

DownEaster
10-11-2017, 19:49
I'd prefer the Blanket version (https://www.rei.com/product/407106/space-all-weather-blanket) because it would be more versatile (picnic cloth, tarp, bivvy, etc).
40598

A few points:

This blanket isn't breathable, so you need to leave ventilation openings, thereby reducing the maximum thermal benefit. If your sleeping bag gets lost/dropped in a stream, you'll likely need as much warmth as possible.
Versatility reduces effectiveness as a bivvy. The SOL Escape Bivvy has both a zipper and a hood.
The plastic tarp weighs 12 ounces vs. 8.4.

There are always tradeoffs.

rdljr
10-11-2017, 19:54
Have carried one of the cheap ones for years. Have had to use it three times. Each time I was very glad I had it. First time was for two people that dumped a canoe and their bags were soaked and it made the night better for them. Yes they would have lived without it but it made for a better night until the bags could get dried. The other two times were when I missed on the weather forecast and needed a little extra warmth. Yes I think on both occasions I would have lived but it made the night much better. I still carry the same blanket and I still hope to never need/want it again but for the weight it is a nice buffer for oops on the forecast. On longer hikes it is less of a buffer because the forecast has a larger range and packing for the low end of the expected temps.

DownEaster
10-11-2017, 19:59
Who has a space blanket for an emergency in the GSMNP in November or the winter for that matter?
I'm carrying the SOL Escape Bivvy mostly in case of something bad (drop in a stream sort of bad) happening to my sleeping bag, but the secondary use is for non-emergency nights in GSMNP. I expect to be there in late winter, and if I have to sleep in one of their icebox-style shelters rather than my own snug tent I may need some extra protection from the elements. A tent blocks most of the wind and keeps you a few degrees warmer than outside, and the bivvy will do the same thing in a more confined space.

Slow Roller
10-11-2017, 20:01
We used them in a tent and they were worthless. Waste of money.

DownEaster
10-12-2017, 03:28
We used them in a tent and they were worthless. Waste of money.
And if you can't use a tent for some reason?

Leo L.
10-12-2017, 04:37
I may repeat my experience:
A space blanket will break in storm, when operated manually too much, will be torn by rocks, shrubs and edgy/pointy things on your backpack all too easily.
You cannot rely on it to help you stay well over night. It will not work for another use, if used once.
Its really just for emergency, to wrap somebody up to keep the body from freezing to death, for a very limited time.

A piece of a space blanket saved my and my friends live once, when we got stuck in a snowstorm, dug a shallow hole in a snowdrift and covered our heads with it. It provided the small difference between freezing to death, and shaking uncontrollably through the night, but surviving.
The few times I tried to improve a cowboy camp with a space blanket to have a less uncomfortable night, it failed miserably. Once a space blanket got shredded in the gusts within minutes. Another time we tried (covering the sleeping bags with it) we had heavy condensation, Rendering the bags quite useless, so we were colder than we would have been without the blankets.

So:
"Worthless for everyday use" - yes!
"for emergency only" - yes!

blw2
10-12-2017, 06:10
Leo echos what my gut has told me. I've never used one, but I have played around with them and see that they are super fragile. Seems more like the thing to use in a rescue situation.... as in a temporary thing, say if someone gets pulled out of some icy water....wrap up in this while a fire is started, the real tent and sleeping bag unpacked, etc...

I have contemplated getting one of those more substantial ones such as the SOL one HooKooDooKu linked to.... I thought it might serve to bolster my big ages kings canyon quilt when temps get down to the edge of its limits. My gut tells me that it would help, but the better solution would be to get something better in a quilt.

Ercoupe
10-12-2017, 06:18
I use the Sol emergency blanket/sheet for a ground cloth. It is waterproof . Very durable. It does not tear like the silver one do. Have not had to use it as a emergency blanket, but I could.

daddytwosticks
10-12-2017, 07:08
When I was a newbie, I carried one on all trips greater than overnight. Used to carry a lot of extra crap back then too. Now when I go on a day hike, I'll throw one into my day pack just in case. I also keep one in the emergency kit in my car. :)

DownEaster
10-12-2017, 12:05
I have contemplated getting one of those more substantial ones such as the SOL one HooKooDooKu linked to.... I thought it might serve to bolster my big ages kings canyon quilt when temps get down to the edge of its limits. My gut tells me that it would help, but the better solution would be to get something better in a quilt.
Conventional wisdom has it that you should switch to a sleeping bag when the temperature gets too low (maybe 20), because you can't take too many accidental ventings at the side of the quilt in frigid conditions.

There's also the issue of predicting the weather, and the logistics of changing your gear to suit the conditions. On a 2200 mile hike I think I'd rather carry extra weight and know I've got the right equipment for a comfortable night's sleep even with sudden temperature changes, rather than barely survive because I mailed my "winter" gear home. But we'll see. I won't rule out sending the SOL Escape Bivvy home after the Smokies.

nsherry61
10-12-2017, 12:07
+1 on the previous to comments about why bring a space blanket if you are already carrying overnight gear!
The SOL space blankets are made with a different plastic (even the thin light ones) that doesn't "shatter" like the Mylar ones do.
The SOL two person space blankets make a really fun, super light, and surprisingly warm little tarp shelter.

LittleJimmy
10-14-2017, 16:55
We used them in a tent and they were worthless. Waste of money.

Exactly. A useless toy.

Bronk
10-15-2017, 11:13
Carrying an emergency blanket on a backpacking trip sounds to me like you think you might be unprepared with the equipment you are already taking. Those things are for keeping in your car or a day pack. Trust me, if you bust one of those things out in a shelter you are going to piss everyone off as you crinkle all night.

Sarcasm the elf
10-15-2017, 12:17
Carrying an emergency blanket on a backpacking trip sounds to me like you think you might be unprepared with the equipment you are already taking. Those things are for keeping in your car or a day pack. Trust me, if you bust one of those things out in a shelter you are going to piss everyone off as you crinkle all night.

You might want to brush up on the definition of Emergency. ;)

TTT
10-15-2017, 17:13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9u_UxKWgFE

Crossup
10-16-2017, 15:29
Just as an information point, I have one of the "cheap" kind except that its is labeled as the original "Space" emergency blanket by MPI Outdoors(http://www.mpioutdoors.com/main.htm) and its likely more than 5 years old. Its spent most of its life in a bicycle backpack and while the package labeling is starting to wear off, the sealed bag has kept it from deteriorating. So despite any special care its still as shiny as new and as much as I can manipulate it inside the bag, is still strong and flexible.

Point being, its fairly likely a lot of the bad press concerning Space blankets is due to inferior knockoffs and misuse.

MPI also has a next gen version(Extreme Pro-tect bag and also a vest) where they created a bag out of the same material but bonded into a hollow tubes structure similar to an inflatable sleeping pad with built in elastic threads to make it hug your body, so it also has significant insulation capabilities beyond reflective warming . They claim despite its 12oz weight its very reusable and can deal with condensation thru micro perforations. I have no experience with these, and smell a whiff of marketing hype but beyond the reusable part, seems likely to be effective.
FWIW, the MPI site has a good deal of (real)info on the entire subject of heat loss, survival blankets and bags and a lot of survival tips/info .
To me the value of these devices is to get you warmed up faster and with less heat loss than your bag/quilt can SO that you can use your bag. And in a worst case scenario, where you have a wet or missing bag its going to keep you warm until condensation starts...then you really have only one option- open it and let the moisture out periodically despite the heat loss.

I think the real danger isn't dealing with hypothermic cold per se but rather the mental degradation caused by it...seems to me that's something even the most experienced fall prey to. Beyond having something to fall back on(and I'm not touting Space blankets as the best answer), it behooves anyone whose potentially going to expose themselves to hypothermia to read up on how hypothermia really works as the common notions are more dangerous than the condition itself.

KDogg
10-16-2017, 16:02
Absolutely worthless on a thru hike. If you start with it you won't end with it. You cannot afford to take stuff with you that you anticipate using for somebody else. All of your gear should be enough for you (if not, rethink). In case of someone else's emergency then all your gear will be enough for them too.

HooKooDooKu
10-16-2017, 17:13
Absolutely worthless on a thru hike. If you start with it you won't end with it. You cannot afford to take stuff with you that you anticipate using for somebody else. All of your gear should be enough for you (if not, rethink).
I would have to agree...

That heavier and more durable space blanket I linked to earlier... the only time I really ever made serious use of it was for an injured hiker I encountered that had fallen off the Chimney Tops Pinnacle in GSMNP. The blanket was first used as a sun-shade for the victim. I then left the blanket with the family because I knew it would be after sunset before the victim could be carried back to the trail-head, and the family had not set out on this day hike with warm enough gear expecting to still be in the woods that late in the day.

After I gave the blanket away, I never bothered to buy another one. Since then, I always make sure I at least have enough of the right kind of clothing to ensure I can stay warm should I find my self on an unplanned extended stay in the back country.


In case of someone else's emergency then all your gear will be enough for them too.
I'm not totally following the logic here... if you are only carrying enough gear to protect yourself in an emergency, then you're not going to have enough gear to protect you and 'them too'.

DownEaster
10-16-2017, 22:16
I'm not totally following the logic here... if you are only carrying enough gear to protect yourself in an emergency, then you're not going to have enough gear to protect you and 'them too'.
I believe KDogg was only thinking of those emergencies not also affecting you. So someone else drops their sleeping bag in a stream, but you don't. Your gear for one emergency would simply get used by someone else, because you're not having an emergency yourself.

KDogg
10-23-2017, 14:15
In case of someone else's emergency then all your gear will be enough for them too.

My point here is that if you help someone in an emergency then you will help them with everything you have. If it means you end up without some critical items that are required for you to be safe then you get off the trail. Emergencies can mess up your day even if it isn't your emergency.

wecorey
10-23-2017, 21:57
I carry one even when I go on a day hike.

rocketsocks
10-24-2017, 11:02
It’s one of my ten essentials, save a life.

Slow Roller
10-24-2017, 23:25
Cheap space blankets that are no more than a sheet of plastic sold at curb stores do not work. The better kind I would try.

sethd513
10-25-2017, 07:15
I carry the sol emergency poncho. I figure it could help someone or myself. Id personally wear it under something if I was to use it to get the maximum protection I could out of it and trap as much heat as possible. You barley feel the weight of it. If you do more power to yah.


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