Racing Around Florida - A 1,200 Mile Small Boat Odyssey

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December, 2002
Table of Contents

Surviving When Gods Play
By Steven John Isaac

Make a Hypothermia Kit
By Steven John Isaac

Modify Your Space Blanket
By Steven John Isaac

Dozing Off
By Steven John Isaac

Fueling the Fire
By Steven John Isaac

Hydrate Or Die
By Steven John Isaac

The WaterTribe Kit
By Steven John Isaac

How To Finish a Challenge
By Steven John Isaac

Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat
By Steven John Isaac








Modify Your Space Blanket

By Steve Isaac (aka Chief)

I wish I could say that I came up with this idea, but I can't.  I got it from Ranger Rick and it works great.  Basically we want to modify the standard Mylar/aluminum space blanket so that it can more easily be used as a poncho or a shelter.  I changed Ranger Rick's instructions just a bit to suit my own tastes.  You can work your own magic too, but here is how I did it.

  1. Start with a standard space blanket.  The one I used was from Stansport and measures 84" x 52".  It comes packed 4.75" x 3.25" x .75". This might work equally well with a more substantial version such as Adventure Medical Kits.

  2. Find the center of the space blanket.  Cut a piece of duct tape about 18 inches long.  Tape it onto the space blanket where you would like your head to go.

  3. Turn the space blanket over and place another piece of duct tape in the same location so you have duct tape on both sides of the space blanket.

  4. Place a piece of duct tape at each corner and the center of each side.  To do this cut a piece about 5" to 6" long and fold it over the edge so half is on one side and half on the other side

  5. Use a hole punch or a nail to punch a hole in each of the eight perimeter patches: 4 corners and 4 sides.  Don't cut a slit with a knife.

  6. Fold the space blanket in half along the axis of the 18" duct tape.  Use the hole punch to punch two holes roughly 15 inches apart.  Cut between the two holes with a scissors to make a neck hole.

  7. But you might not want a poncho.  Maybe you really want to make a shelter or still use it as a blanket, so you have to make a seal for the neck hole you just made.  Seal the neck hole with another piece of duct tape.  Fold over the last inch or so on each end so you have something to grab.

  8. Fold the space blanket back up always brushing the air out from the fold to the open end.  Place the modified and folded space blanket in a Ziploc bag.  

  9. See the photos below for a picture story.

You can see a larger view of each picture by clicking on it.

Tools needed:  duct tape, scissors, hole punch, yard stick.  Note how the tape is folded over and the distance between holes.  If you have a bigger head, make the cut larger.

The space blanket costs about $2.

Detail of tape reinforcement at the side.  Fold the tape over so it is on both sides.  Use a hole punch or nail.  Don't cut a slit.  Place one on each corner and the center of each side.


Full view of "poncho."  Look closely for the tape at the corners, sides, and for the neck opening.  Notice orientation of the neck opening.  If you put the tape on the wrong way, it won't make a very good poncho.

Close up of the neck hole.  Notice that each end is cut using a hole punch.  Fold the tape over and use the punch on the edge of the fold.  Then cut between the holes with a scissors or knife.

But sometimes you want to use it like a blanket or a shelter.  The neck hole needs a piece of tape over it.  Cut another piece of duct tape.  Fold over the ends of the tape upon itself so the last one inch or so won't stick.  

Place the sealer tape over the neck opening.

The tabs are so you can get it off easily if you really do want a poncho.


Once the genie is out of the box, you will never get it back in.  Fold it as best you can and then place it in a ALOCSAK.  Discard the original box.

This modified space blanket could save your life.  It can still be used as a blanket.  Or, by using the tie points you installed you can make numerous forms of shelter that will also reflect the heat of the fire onto you.  Or, rip the piece of sealer tape off and use it as a poncho.

Note that if you rip the sealer tape off, be sure to stick it to the inside of the poncho so it can be used again.

The holes you reinforced and punched along the perimeter can be used as tie points for a shelter or tie them together to keep your poncho from flying around, but be careful.  The Mylar material is stronger than it looks, but it can still tear.

If you wear it as a poncho, you can squat over a candle lantern and contain considerable heat.  Be sure to squat in such a way so that you don't set yourself on fire or asphyxiate yourself.

© Steve Isaac, 2002



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