To start off I must say that luckily for me I have not had to use an emergency blanket or the Blizzard Survival bag in an actual emergency but I do know the value of having one. The Blizzard Survival brand of emergency protection gear has done a nice job in creating a product that works. Their thermal protection products have a lightweight and compact design, making them ideal for taking with you on a hike, climb or even have in an emergency preparedness kit.
When I first saw the Blizzard Survival products, I was preparing for the Outdoor Retailer Show this past January and I was intrigued by the design and concept behind them. So I set up an appointment to get a rundown on how it works and to see it first-hand. I was pleasantly surprised by how warm it felt when I first put my arm in the material at the show. I was hoping that they would give me the opportunity to give one a test drive and when they did I was really excited to see how it would really perform.
The technology that they use is called Reflexcell. It is a lightweight and innovative material that has a cellular construction to trap warm air. You can see in the picture to the right the construction of the material and how it has that cellular design. Also in the design they have incorporated elastics which draws the material to the body, reducing cold spaces and heat loss by convection. It was interesting when pulling on the Survival Bag as it does pull close to the body, yet gives plenty of freedom to move around easily. To top off the thermal performance of their products they have added a silvered surface on the inside to block heat loss by radiation. It is also completely waterproof and windproof.
I was given the Blizzard Survival Bag to test and to see how it would perform. The Survival bag comes pressed and vacuum packed to get the smallest possible volume. It is a little bigger than a video cassette tape like their website says. I would recommend reading the instructions before using the bag but if you don’t, the product will survive. I tore open the plastic bag and pulled out the Survival bag. It is packaged very tightly which is nice to be able to have it so small and compact. The bag doesn’t just open up automatically but you have to unroll it and then pull it apart and open it up. At first I was being a little careful as I didn’t want to rip the material. After a few pulls I noticed that it was a lot tougher than it looked and I had it opened in no time.
When unpacked the bag is 6.8 feet. It was plenty big for me to pull my whole body in and pull over my head. The bag has a pull string to close the top and even keep more heat in. The bag is not a mummy shaped bag, but it does have enough room and with the pull string you can make it so it does perform more like one.
So as I said at the first of this article, I didn’t test this bag by being trapped on a mountain side or lost in the woods, but I did test it in my backyard to see how well it would keep me warm on a chilly night. So I did a few different experiments with the bag try to replicate some conditions that you would experience in the mountains. I first laid down on the cold cement. I will say I was surprised at how warm my body got so quickly. I did move around a little and the bag held up nicely on the cement. I did worry about that when trying it at first I didn’t want to rip the bag. The one downside that I could see was that the side that was against the cement was a little cold but did get warmer the longer I laid there.
Next, I tried the bag on the back lawn. This was a much better place to lay down. After only a few minutes I was warm almost everywhere. And the longer I stayed in the same spot it even got warm against the ground. I didn’t plan on testing how windproof the bag was, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it works. The morning I was testing the bag it was really windy, and the bag kept the wind out. I was able to see and feel that the bag was being blown around in the wind but inside the bag it was wind free and warm.
One of the nice things about the bag is that it is reusable. I did take out the vacuum to try to repack it to the same size that it came. I first tried by myself and got it about 3 to 4 times the original size. I then had my wife help me out and got it down to about 2 times the original size, which was still smaller than a sleeping bag. I think if I continued to work at it, and had a stronger vacuum I would be able to get it even smaller. I would recommend leaving it in its original package until you need it.
I was really impressed by this bag for multiple reasons. They have truly delivered on what they have said about this bag and their Reflexcell technology. It is warm, tough, portable, reusable and weatherpoof. If you are looking for an emergency blanket or bag, I would recommend taking a closer look at Blizzard Survival products. I don’t think that they will disappoint. I can’t say that it saved my life in times of trouble but I do know that it did keep me warm and dry in cooler conditions. I wouldn’t recommend trying to get trapped or lost just for you can test the bag, but if you do get caught unexpectedly it would be nice to have something to keep you warmer. As always plan ahead, be prepared and be smart, you never know when you might get into trouble.
Features and Specifications
• Size (vacuum packed): 8.2 x 4.3 x 1.5 in. (21 x 11 x 3.8 cm)
• Size unpacked: 6.8 ft. (2.1 m)
• Volume: 0.9 liters
• Weight: 385 grams.
• Color: Silver, Orange or Green.
• Top may be closed to form hood.
• Drawcord with spring toggle.
• Fits fully clothed large adult
• Warmth: 8 Togs - equal to a medium weight regular sleeping bag
• Weather protection: fully waterproof and windproof
• Storage: bags may be stored indefinitely, and are not affected by temperature or moisture, either during storage or in use.
• Portability: the bags' small size and light weight make them easy to carry, whether as personal safety equipment, or for rapid deployment in emergencies involving large groups of people
• Re-usability: bags can be re-used many times without loss of performance.
• MSRP: $39.99
• Also available at REI. http://www.rei.com/product/829634/blizzard-survival-sleeping-bag
Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.