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#203628 - 11/08/19 12:12 AM Mylar "Space Blanket"
Jim M Offline

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I usually use a thin plastic painter's tarp for a ground cloth under my tarp. It has always worked fine, but I think I could save a little weight by simply using one of those Space Blankets I see advertised on Ebay for a buck. I was wondering if anyone has done that. I know they wouldn't last long. The plastic I use has lots of duck tape patches and isn't vary durable either.
Jim M

#203631 - 11/08/19 06:58 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
bluefish Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 680
I used an e-blanket, though it was far more than a dollar, as a ground cloth on some desert backpacks. It served a second purpose as a sun shield, as my wife doesn't fare well with heat at times. It acquired lots of rips quickly. I've had better luck with crossed linked polyethylene , sold as polycryo, or patio door insulation. You need the 1.5 mil, not the .75. This is pretty durable and a few ounces for a solo groundsheet. I'm guessing the dollar stuff is meant for one use and would be in the trash very quickly.

#203633 - 11/08/19 09:22 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 839
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I've slept on a space blanket for exactly one night. No issues other than it's very crinkly. Since then, I've used polycryo.
The journey is more important than the destination.

#203639 - 11/09/19 12:37 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
Petro1234 Offline

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 98
Loc: engeland
I agree with the other posts of really fragile, does not fold back up as it gets crinckly, and its really noisy to boot.

Have you tried hydroponic grow mylar ? Quite robust stuff and folds up too.(im sure you all in the states have it everywhere now, or is that just california ?)

#203643 - 11/09/19 03:39 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6728
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If you toss and turn as much as I do, the "space blanket" won't last more than one night!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#203648 - 11/11/19 11:15 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1026
Loc: Torrance, CA
My buddy uses one as a ground cloth under his tent. It is difficult to work with because it is so light and flimsy. He usually shreds his setting it up and it never lasts more than one set-up. Its always seemed like a really waste to me.

#203659 - 11/13/19 08:50 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
CamperMom Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1220
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
This may be another YMMV situation. I use a mylar blanket slung under my hammock. Yes, it is noisy, but one can last me all season and beyond. Also, I just returned from a trip to FL. On my bucket list was camping at a waterfront site in Fort DeSoto (County) Park. I used a space blanket under my <$20 (well-known bidding site) tent. The base was mostly sand with some small shells. Even with moving the tent, between sites, the space blanket looked pristine when I put it away. No, it did not fold as small, but it at least was the same weight.

That said, if you have the opportunity to use Polycro, my opinion is "Go for it," unless you are in a sun-baked situation. I also used a one of these blanket under my tent in the Grand Canyon some years ago. With afternoon temps reaching 120 F, the ground didn't cool much before about 1 AM. The first night, the heat was somewhat reflected away from me, the second night (not moving the tent) the ground hadn't heated under the tent.

In windy conditions, you may find it easier to spread the lightweight blanket after erecting the tent, then working the blanket under it.

#203672 - 11/15/19 06:08 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
Rick_D Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2890
Loc: NorCal
I'm happy with a hunk o' "kite Tyvek" I cut to size. Silent and soft compared to housewrap, and it lasts.


#203706 - 11/20/19 08:53 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
Dryer Offline

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Too crinkly and they shred. I will use space blankets for the underside of my hammock to block wind. The reflective nature is overrated.
Tyvek....any Tyvek works well for me. Homewrap, kite tyvek, anything you can get your hands on works.
A sheet of silnylon also works well and I think that's what's in my pack now, for tarping.
Coated ripstop works fine too but is a tad heavier than the above choices.
paul, texas KD5IVP

#203792 - 12/05/19 11:31 AM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Dryer]
Mbphoto Offline

Registered: 01/16/19
Posts: 37
Loc: Switzerland
Their reflective Nature is overrated?

They actually work amazingly well, but will only reflect infrared radiation, i.e. your body giving off heat, or the sun's warming rays.

I've got one in my classroom that I'm going to demonstrate tomorrow morning and the students are amazed by how quickly you can feel "the heat".

#203793 - 12/05/19 12:04 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Mbphoto]
CamperMom Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1220
Loc: Eastern MA, USA

You might also show your students how well the blanket works as a sun shield. I forgot to mention earlier that we found one of these set up with hiking poles, etc., worked well as a temporary shade/shield as we took a break along a sun baked trail. A friend set one up behind us to reflect the heat from a campfire as well as block wind from that side on a very cold night. Think variation of a reflector fire.

#203794 - 12/05/19 02:00 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: CamperMom]
Lonerock Offline

Registered: 12/10/15
Posts: 54
Loc: Southern Oregon
A word of warning. I had a space blanket in my backpack unused for several months and when I took it out it disintegrated. They do have a shelf life so might be wise to replace occasionally. Agree with other that they will tear pretty easily and not meant for prolonged use.

#203796 - 12/05/19 05:17 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: 4evrplan]
JustWalking Offline

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 242
Loc: PNW
I'm a polycryo fan as well (I use the heavy duty window covering which someone else mentions). Because it blows away so easily, put small pieces of gorilla tape at each corner, then added grommets. I can stake down the polycryo so it doesn't blow away, and then set up my shelter. I can then remove the stakes from the polycryo if I wish. Works like a charm, and has lasted for a couple of backpacking seasons so far.

#203864 - 12/20/19 01:58 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jim M]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3966
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I too found a piece of thick painters tarp to be adequate.

I found that if I put in INSIDE the tent under my bag, it was a fine vapor barrier but if you put it under the tent it funneled water under and you get MORE WET. We have demonstrated this often, try it yourself if you wanna get wet put the barrier under the tent. Space blankets are a waste. I want gear that can be used over and over.
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#203873 - 12/21/19 02:42 PM Re: Mylar "Space Blanket" [Re: Jimshaw]
Rick_D Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2890
Loc: NorCal
Good points. When I use a groundcloth it's usually to protect the tent floor more than moisture management, although rain can always happen and/or a soggy campsite.

Now that we have ultralight tents with 20D and even 10D floors, punctures and scrapes are much more common.


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