An emergency blanket is one of the lightest and easiest things that you can carry with you at all times and could possibly mean the difference between life and death. There are many manufacturers that make and sell some version of an emergency blanket. Like anything, whichever brand of emergency blanket that you buy, test it out before your life depends on it. Some emergency blankets are silver, some are orange and some are designed to be more like a sleeping bag. Here again it will come down to personal preference. The emergency bivy’s are a little too bulky to be able to carry easily in your pocket, which means you might not even bother carrying it, which in turn won’t help you in the end if you need it but left it home.
There are many stories of survivors who survived a cold night stuck in the wilderness only because they had one of these emergency blankets. Emergency blankets reflect a huge amount of your body heat back onto your body and can help keep you from becoming hypothermic in cold weather conditions. These blankets can also be used to keep you dry in wet weather. You can either wrap yourself up in it or you can use it like a tarp to make a makeshift shelter. Be careful if you do try to use it as a tarp because emergency blankets are much more fragile than tarps. Tying an emergency blanket too tightly or using it as a tarp in high winds could cause it to tear.
Another option is to find some wood and kindling for a fire. Then find yourself a good tree that you can comfortable sit and lean against. Sit down and spread your legs and dig a small pit in the ground for a fire in the area between your legs. Build a bank around the pit, to protect your legs, with the dirt you dug out of the hole. Now build a little fire in the pit and keep the rest of the wood in arms reach. Sit there with your emergency blanket wrapped around your body and create a sort of funnel over the fire and allow the heat from the small fire to rise up inside the blanket. Smoke will come inside as well but will escape through the hole around your neck. Just make sure it’s not so bad that all you are breathing is smoke. You can use a small stick to help keep the blanket spread out over the fire as well as keeping it up high enough that it doesn’t melt. You want a very small fire, it won’t take much. You must be very careful if you choose this option but it can help you stay somewhat warm and help you survive a cold night stuck in the wilderness.
Anytime you head out into the wilderness it is worth putting an emergency blanket in your pocket especially if you plan on just hiking for a few hours or just going out on a day hike. These are often times when injuries happen or someone gets lost and can’t find their way. This is also the time when people are not prepared to spend a night in the woods. They usually are not carrying any form of shelter or sleeping bag. In the spring and fall this could become life threatening because temperatures at night could still drop very low causing hypothermia. So for what little an emergency blanket weights why not carry one in your pocket to help protect yourself in an emergency survival situation? It may just end up saving your life!