The Space All-Weather Blanket
The Space All-Weather Blanket

Can I use an emergency blanket as an ultra-light alternative to a sleeping bag?

Do emergency blankets make a good alternative for a sleeping bag, in terms of ultra-light backpacking? Would they be good for repetitive use? Steve Edmonton, Alberta

The Space All-Weather Blanket

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In moderate weather, why not? An emergency blanket or “space” blanket, used in place of a sleeping bag, would keep you pretty warm, assuming you’re planning on wearing whatever clothes you already have in your pack. And it makes sense, as you aren’t lugging around weight that you use only at night. Put on your clothes, wrap up in the reflective blanket, and lights out.

The Space All-Weather Blanket The Space All-Weather Blanket

A good example of what to use is the 12-ounce Space All Weather Blanket ($14 at REI). Like all blankets/bags of this type, it’s designed with a reflective side that directs body heat back into you. It’s pretty rugged, so you should get quite a bit of use out of it.

Lighter still, but not as tough, is something like the Space Emergency Bag ($10). This thing weighs only three ounces, but is made from very thin plastic with a reflective coating, so you might not get more than nine or ten uses out of it.

But then, compared to the weight and expense of a sleeping bag, maybe that’s not a bad trade-off!

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