A Comparison of the Best Options
Winter is setting in and the trails are becoming colder, wetter and far more treacherous. Preparation is, as always, essential for safe trekking and hiking over the colder months.
One key piece of kit that all hikers should pack is a Mylar emergency blanket, most people would be familiar with these high tech, shiny, survival blankets. You would definitely have seen them being used by paramedics on TV or in real life when dealing with emergency situations. One of the big dangers if there is an accident on the trail, is the onset of hypothermia, as the patient’s body temperature drops.
The emergency blanket works by reflecting a person’s body heat back in and therefore reducing the chance of hypothermia and improves your chance of survival until help arrives.
A quick look at Amazon.com shows many different variations, so which one is best and why?
The cheapest and most common option is the basic two sided silver blankets. It gets the job done and is cost effective. The only down-side is that the silver can be difficult to spot in the event of an air rescue. Especially in snow or water environments.
There are blankets that are gold both sides and are usually a bit more expensive, but two gold sides is not really necessary.
The best options are the dual sided silver/gold option. These are the best of both worlds with over 90% of body heat reflected back from the silver side and gold on the other for maximum detection from the air.
Heavier plastic backed tarps are also an option and will certainly last a bit longer. The down side is the extra cost and also the weight and size that they can add to your pack. Every ounce counts when you are half-way up a steep, slippery mountain track.
So, in our opinion the gold / silver is the way to go.