Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

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Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by KnifeStyle » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:39 pm

When I say heavy duty space blankets, I don't mean the two dollar foil affairs or the enhanced orange ones a few companies make. I mean the 'sportsman's blankets' that are basically a small tarp with a reflective side and a colored side, grommets in each corner. Cody Lundin recommended them highly in his book but didn't elaborate much on their finer points. Some one on a hiking forum mentioned using one as a tent floor liner underneath his sleeping pad, and it got me wondering about their uses in tent camping. For example, besides using one on the floor, what about draping it over the tent under the fly to trap heat on very cold nights? Could one function as a groundsheet while backpacking instead of the usual Tyvek the lighthikers always use? Are they tolerable as tarps in a pinch if I wanted to pitch one for a sun shade?
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Boondock » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:59 pm

I've used a heavy space tarp as a ground sheet for many years. I've also used one as a blanket in conjunction with a poncho and poncho liner. It makes a so-so shelter. Overall, a great item.

For backpacking, I use one of the cheep, thin space blankets as a ground sheet to cut down on the weight.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by ineffableone » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:43 pm

Yay. Though make sure you actually get the real deal and not the cheap knock offs. Grabber is the legit company. (*edit to add, Grabber Outdoors is also often advertized as Space brand)

I have a couple of them in olive. Both with the added hood and corner pockets and plan to get one more eventually without the hood to use exclusively for a groundsheet. They work great as ground sheets, pack covers, tarps, rain ponchos, etc....

As for are they tolerable tarps? Yes though they are small. You aren't going to get a lot of shelter out of them. But in a pinch they do work. You would be better off combining one with a larger tarp. Do they work as a groundsheet? Yes, I would actually say they are better than others due to the reflectivity being able to keep your heat from sinking into the ground as easy.

A decent write up about them can be found at http://rockymountainbushcraft.blogspot. ... space.html

Here is a good video showing how much space you really have in one

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:21 pm

If we are thinking about the same ones they're really good versatile gear items. I have one in my INCH bag. Tragically the cat pissed on my other which had years of use. As it had "protection" there was little I could do.

This is the one I own.

http://www.rei.com/product/407106/space ... er-blanket
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by modustollens » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:07 am

There is more than one manner of heat transfer: convection, conduction, radiation, advection...

When these types of blankets are used and the blanket is in contact with the object, it would seem that radiated heat and its reflection would cease to be operative and instead conductive transfer would take over.

Consequently, the utility of these 'reflective' blankets for preventing conductive heat transfer would be nil. Reflectivity does not mean absence of conductivity. So, the reflective portion will not do anything to prevent movement of heat to the ground when used under a tent or sleeping bag.

But, what is the r-value of the blanket for those situations when conductive heat transfer is operating? I don't own one; but, I can't imagine it giving much insulation from the ground or other such conductive situations. Perhaps some have little air pockets between the silver and the fabric?

Looks like I should buy one and conduct some experiments...


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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by ineffableone » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:26 am

modustollens I think you might be confusing the terms groundsheet and ground pad.

No these are not ground pads, though they do have a small bit of insulative properties, they are not going to have a huge effect on conductive heat transfer.

I am guessing your comment is mostly due to my statement "I would actually say they are better than others due to the reflectivity being able to keep your heat from sinking into the ground as easy."

I was not saying these work to stop conductive heat transfer. Only that they will prevent radiant heat loss into the ground. Which normal groundsheets don't tend to do.

You should however buy one and do some experiments. Be sure to also check out the link I left in my last comment as they did some experiments too.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by modustollens » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:47 am

ineffableone wrote:modustollens I think you might be confusing the terms groundsheet and ground pad.

No these are not ground pads, though they do have a small bit of insulative properties, they are not going to have a huge effect on conductive heat transfer.
I was thinking that it was the other way around - that others were taking these 'tarps' or 'sheets' to work like a ground pad because of the reflective surface; I think I was trying to explain that I doubt these reflective tarps willt work like a thermarest, for example; I don't think they will prevent conductive heat loss.

That lean-too shelter he built looks OK and would reflect the fire's heat; and I have a little tarp for a quick rain/wind block. But it is a bit too small. I find lean-toos without side walls are not so warm - even a slight amount of wind will push all the heat away.

For the price I will grab one and make a little video to test my theory...


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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by KnifeStyle » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:13 pm

From what I've gathered on hiking forums, most don't expect the space tarp alone to act as insulation between the resident of the tent and the ground. Rather, they see it as just a top-layer that makes the tent floor reflective and bounces around some additional ambient heat while providing the usual tent liner protection. Draping it over the top of the tent vents would be more ideal, but I imagine that's a winter tactic more than a three season habit. Plus, when your tent liner is reflective, if you wake up extra cold you can just yank it around your sleeping bag like a taco. Within the taco metaphor, you are the lettuce.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:09 am

modustollens wrote:
ineffableone wrote:modustollens I think you might be confusing the terms groundsheet and ground pad.

No these are not ground pads, though they do have a small bit of insulative properties, they are not going to have a huge effect on conductive heat transfer.
I was thinking that it was the other way around - that others were taking these 'tarps' or 'sheets' to work like a ground pad because of the reflective surface; I think I was trying to explain that I doubt these reflective tarps willt work like a thermarest, for example; I don't think they will prevent conductive heat loss.

That lean-too shelter he built looks OK and would reflect the fire's heat; and I have a little tarp for a quick rain/wind block. But it is a bit too small. I find lean-toos without side walls are not so warm - even a slight amount of wind will push all the heat away.

For the price I will grab one and make a little video to test my theory...


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Here is the bottom line from using this gear item for a number of years. It can do everything a smaller sized tarp can but seems to make for a superior heat reflector from a fire than a normal tarp. Also I have never felt any great benefits from the claimed reflected body heat with this or a regular thin Mylar blanket. That's just my field observations right or wrong. Fire heat reflector good, body heat reflector....meh.......
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by KnifeStyle » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:51 pm

So for using it as a tent drape or floor liner, it wouldn't be too beneficial? How about more general usages for car camping, such as draping it around or behind camp chairs near a fire or pitched as a screen between a couple nearby trees? For the price, I'm tempted to use it as my backpacking ground sheet with extra uses while my over-sized Walmart tarp stays home. Stashed in the bottom sleeping bag compartment, it could be handy to whip out a reflector tarp occasionally.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:16 pm

KnifeStyle wrote:So for using it as a tent drape or floor liner, it wouldn't be too beneficial? How about more general usages for car camping, such as draping it around or behind camp chairs near a fire or pitched as a screen between a couple nearby trees? For the price, I'm tempted to use it as my backpacking ground sheet with extra uses while my over-sized Walmart tarp stays home. Stashed in the bottom sleeping bag compartment, it could be handy to whip out a reflector tarp occasionally.
It can do everything a durable smaller tarp can and as I stated it's durable. Recommended gear item.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Alpha » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:00 am

I like them a lot and agree with what what everyone has said previously. I would say an additional bonus is they are quiet. You won't sound like you are trying to wear a chip bag.

My issues with them (solely as they related to BOB) are the weight and the pack size. Once I pop those things out of their retail container, I can never fold it 100% perfectly. they take up a bunch of space compared to a tyvek sheet and a crappy mylar blanket. I don't typically wear the sheets, but I will use them to reflect the heat to where I am sleeping.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by dunamis » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:02 pm

Alpha wrote:I like them a lot and agree with what what everyone has said previously. I would say an additional bonus is they are quiet. You won't sound like you are trying to wear a chip bag.

My issues with them (solely as they related to BOB) are the weight and the pack size. Once I pop those things out of their retail container, I can never fold it 100% perfectly. they take up a bunch of space compared to a tyvek sheet and a crappy mylar blanket. I don't typically wear the sheets, but I will use them to reflect the heat to where I am sleeping.
Maybe the best solution would be to apply adhesive around the edges of the cheap mylar version and permanently bond it to a length of Tyvek?

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Sig_Lover » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:15 am

I am old school military surplus Pancho serves every purpose. Ground clouth, weaped over sleeping bag, rain cost with ir with out pack, protects me, gun gear, etc won't leave home without it.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by mark9atq » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:36 pm

Yay! Good idea for sure. I have a store bought heavy duty one in my BOB as well as a few of the
flimsy cheap ones glued to painters plastic drop clothes (with spray adhesive) to rugged-ize them a bit,
but mostly to make them "1st surface space blankets".

Warning science content.
Of interest about metallic reflective surfaces is that it matters a lot which side
the aluminum is on and which side your body is on and what you want the SB to do.
Aluminum filmed side towards you to stay warm and away from you to stay cool (example -as when surrounded by a forest fire).

Terms like 1st surface and 2nd surface are used. Typical wall mirrors are 2nd surface.
Reflecting telescopes are 1st surface.
The manufactured rugged space blanket I have has is 2nd surface.

Rugged space blanket 2nd surface is good and bad.
Good because the aluminum film is protected and will not get worn off and its bad because only 20% IR is relected back
after passing twice thru the mylar plastic. 1st surface space blankets will reflect 90% IR when new.

This is the main reason to ruggedize the flimzy type of space blankets into 1st surface ones.
They are much warmer than 2nd surface space blackets, especially with an air gap between it and you.


IMPORTANT: Testing for the aluminum side with a continuity circuit tester was required before the glue up.
Just looking at a SB I cannot tell which is metal or mylar. YMMV.


DIY Reflective tarp - guy with can of spray glue geting it done. (skip ahead to 3:45 in video)
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Mister Dark » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:02 am

Woods Walker wrote:
KnifeStyle wrote:So for using it as a tent drape or floor liner, it wouldn't be too beneficial? How about more general usages for car camping, such as draping it around or behind camp chairs near a fire or pitched as a screen between a couple nearby trees? For the price, I'm tempted to use it as my backpacking ground sheet with extra uses while my over-sized Walmart tarp stays home. Stashed in the bottom sleeping bag compartment, it could be handy to whip out a reflector tarp occasionally.
It can do everything a durable smaller tarp can and as I stated it's durable. Recommended gear item.

This. I have one or two in each car kit - we have used them as groundsheets for picnics, as a wrap onchilly nights at the ball game, as a quick rain cover... I have one in my bag, i use it mostly as a small lean-to shelter and reflector for the campfire. Good stuff.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by dunamis » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:13 am

An idea I came up with recently for my BOB reminded me of this thread, so I thought I would post it here. If a 3 sided shelter can be made from a small tarp, perhaps a lean-to with some pine bows on the sides, it is a very good shelter for trapping heat from a fire set in front of the opening.

I tried to line the inside of a shelter I built last year with a mylar blanket, but because of how flimsy the material is it was hard to get it stretched out properly so that there wasn't a big sag in the middle from the mylar blanket hanging down. The idea is that the heat from the fire is intensified as it reflects off the mylar making the shelter even more effective.

What I have done is to order 2 yards of 2" wide velcro hook & loop with an adhesive backing. I will cut this into two inch squares and stick the loop patches on the underside of my Bushcraft USA MEST2 emergency tarp (measures 5x7 feet.) I will then stick the corresponding hook patches on the orange side of my mylar blanket.

This will allow the mylar blanket to be securely connected to the tarp if I want to use it for building such a shelter or even for wrapping up in it as a make shift bivy. It will also allow the items to be parted (simply pull the velcro patches apart) for maintaining individual use of the items.

I have just now orders the velcro ($6 with free shipping from an eBay sale) and so will have to wait until it arrives to put it together and get some photos.

P.S. SOL has one they call "Heavy Duty" which is reflective on the inside and OD Green on the outside which is 2.5 times thicker than their regular version with the orange outer side. Never used it but seems reasonable at $15 for an 8'x5' which weighs 8 oz.?

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by PWA2600 » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:51 am

dunamis wrote:An idea I came up with recently for my BOB reminded me of this thread, so I thought I would post it here. If a 3 sided shelter can be made from a small tarp, perhaps a lean-to with some pine bows on the sides, it is a very good shelter for trapping heat from a fire set in front of the opening.

I tried to line the inside of a shelter I built last year with a mylar blanket, but because of how flimsy the material is it was hard to get it stretched out properly so that there wasn't a big sag in the middle from the mylar blanket hanging down. The idea is that the heat from the fire is intensified as it reflects off the mylar making the shelter even more effective.

What I have done is to order 2 yards of 2" wide velcro hook & loop with an adhesive backing. I will cut this into two inch squares and stick the loop patches on the underside of my Bushcraft USA MEST2 emergency tarp (measures 5x7 feet.) I will then stick the corresponding hook patches on the orange side of my mylar blanket.

This will allow the mylar blanket to be securely connected to the tarp if I want to use it for building such a shelter or even for wrapping up in it as a make shift bivy. It will also allow the items to be parted (simply pull the velcro patches apart) for maintaining individual use of the items.

I have just now orders the velcro ($6 with free shipping from an eBay sale) and so will have to wait until it arrives to put it together and get some photos.

P.S. SOL has one they call "Heavy Duty" which is reflective on the inside and OD Green on the outside which is 2.5 times thicker than their regular version with the orange outer side. Never used it but seems reasonable at $15 for an 8'x5' which weighs 8 oz.?
dunamis,

I had attempted a similar project with my USMC reversible tarp, and the SOL sport utility blanket; I too had the heavy duty Velcro with adhesive backing which I applied to both items. Unfortunately without additional sealant to each Velcro patch, or ideally having sewn these to each item; they would come apart after folding both together, or separating each one. So until I can improve my sewing machine skills, I plan on purchasing buttons at either Walmart or Joann fabrics.

Your experiment may have gone better than mine.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by dunamis » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:40 pm

PWA2600 wrote:
dunamis wrote:An idea I came up with recently for my BOB reminded me of this thread, so I thought I would post it here. If a 3 sided shelter can be made from a small tarp, perhaps a lean-to with some pine bows on the sides, it is a very good shelter for trapping heat from a fire set in front of the opening.

I tried to line the inside of a shelter I built last year with a mylar blanket, but because of how flimsy the material is it was hard to get it stretched out properly so that there wasn't a big sag in the middle from the mylar blanket hanging down. The idea is that the heat from the fire is intensified as it reflects off the mylar making the shelter even more effective.

What I have done is to order 2 yards of 2" wide velcro hook & loop with an adhesive backing. I will cut this into two inch squares and stick the loop patches on the underside of my Bushcraft USA MEST2 emergency tarp (measures 5x7 feet.) I will then stick the corresponding hook patches on the orange side of my mylar blanket.

This will allow the mylar blanket to be securely connected to the tarp if I want to use it for building such a shelter or even for wrapping up in it as a make shift bivy. It will also allow the items to be parted (simply pull the velcro patches apart) for maintaining individual use of the items.

I have just now orders the velcro ($6 with free shipping from an eBay sale) and so will have to wait until it arrives to put it together and get some photos.

P.S. SOL has one they call "Heavy Duty" which is reflective on the inside and OD Green on the outside which is 2.5 times thicker than their regular version with the orange outer side. Never used it but seems reasonable at $15 for an 8'x5' which weighs 8 oz.?
dunamis,

I had attempted a similar project with my USMC reversible tarp, and the SOL sport utility blanket; I too had the heavy duty Velcro with adhesive backing which I applied to both items. Unfortunately without additional sealant to each Velcro patch, or ideally having sewn these to each item; they would come apart after folding both together, or separating each one. So until I can improve my sewing machine skills, I plan on purchasing buttons at either Walmart or Joann fabrics.

Your experiment may have gone better than mine.

Hope this helps.
It just depends on the quality of the adhesive. A thin layer of aqua seal around the edges might be necessary as reinforcement. Also, the surface must be clean where the adhesive is being applied. I guess they could be sewn but then you would have to seal the stitch holes and it doesn't seem the space blankets could handle the sewing.

Also, the weight of the sport utility blanket (11 oz.) vs. the standard SOL space blanket (under 3 oz.) might have had something to do with it. I'm going to be using the standard lighter weight version.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by dunamis » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:30 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image


So, here it is: my multicam BCUSA MEST2 and an SOL single person space blanket. The hook and loop I bought online through an Ebay sale for $3 per yard. It is Elixir Deco brand and the adhesive is quality, no issues at all with peeling (make sure surface area is clean before applying.) The tabs I used are 2" square after cutting them off a 2" wide roll. This offers the best of both worlds and still allows for separate use. I used the soft loop side on the MEST so as not to create an abrasive surface area on the tarp. As soon as my truck is finished being worked on, I should get a chance to field test it in the snow with a small campfire.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by DeadCanadian » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:11 pm

Only you can decide.

Does it provide enough protection for the weight? Enough coverage for the weight? Enough coverage for the conditions/body size? Enough warmth for the local weather?

My 8'x10' sil/nylon tarp weighs about 1 pound 6oz with ridgeline, 8 guylines, 8 stakes, and stuff sack. However, if I don't have a backpack to carry it, then a Heetsheet in my coat or cargo pants pocket is going to be a lot more useful to me if I have nothing but the clothes on my back.

Heavy duty space blankets have their place but it must fit within the system that is your entire gear load. I recommend reading several of the books on ultralight backpacking. Computer survivalists tend to pack a bunsh of largely untested gear while the ultralight thru-hiker has traveled thousands of miles with their gear.

BTW SOL now has a shelter kit of (thicker than Heetsheet) blanket with guylines, 4 stakes, and Linelocs for about $20. I bought mine on Amazon. I hope they take my advice of stop putting orange cord and glow in the dark Linelocs with a green blanket; ofter 1 set in all orange and 1 in all green, then the customer can pick the one that they want.
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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Cephalotus » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:20 pm

Any experience with those?

They are advertised as "breathable", so they should work better as a blanket with less condensation(?)

http://www.2gosystems.com/products/trif ... 5897656453

http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/categ ... XA107.html

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by Black Beard » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:02 am

On a clear night, you are exposed to the coldness of space. A thin layer of nylon doesn't do much to stop your heat radiating out but not much coming back in. The reflective tarps do make a difference. I have set one up from a line strung between tent poles before- just peg down the corners within the tent.

Another comfort imporving idea is a fleece blanket as a top layer over a sleeping bag. Apart from the basic insulation you also get condensation forming on top of the blanket instead of the sleeping bag underneath. You stay drier and a wet fleece is a lot easier to deal with than a damp sleeping bag.

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Re: Heavy duty space blankets, yay or nay?

Post by MPMalloy » Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:51 am

Black Beard wrote:a wet fleece is a lot easier to deal with than a damp sleeping bag.
Thank you kind Sir!

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