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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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