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Old 02-15-2012, 05:53 PM
AustinCQC AustinCQC is offline
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Default Emergency Survival Tarp or Emergency Survival Blanket?



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Hey all,

I'm putting together a PSK that will go on a belt that will be a minimalist survival system for my area (Texas). I'm trying to get everything to fit in a butt pack, small pouch, maxpedition water container and on my knife sheath instead of taking a day pack.

I'm stuck on getting a Survival Tarp or Survival Blanket and wanted to get some feedback from those that have used one or the other, but preferably both.

http://www.bushcraftoutfitters.com/M...T-standard.htm

http://www.bushcraftoutfitters.com/A...allweather.htm

These are the two items I'm comparing....obviously there are other items that are very similar, so please share your opinions.

I was thinking about getting the Tarp because it's good for a number of uses, but when I found the blanket, it's only 2oz more, the same size, and half the price (almost). Both can be used to make a shelter, ground covering, part of a sleep system...but it seems the blanket could be used for signaling and a better choice for the sleep system and ground cover if it's cold and I can't get a ground bed put together.

I'm going to REI after work to check out their version of the blanket and see if they have a tarp...but I doubt they'll have that one.

Is the tarp tougher? Does the blanket take up a lot more space?

Am I missing something?
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:02 PM
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gwynn1975 gwynn1975 is offline
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The tarp is lighter, packs smaller, and has multiple attachment points for building a shelter. The blanket only has a few grommet holes for tying up, takes up ALOT of space, and like you said, is heavier.

I would buy the MEST (tarp) and a cheap disposable emergency blanket at WalMart for reflection. The two combined will give you the "survival blanket" and be lighter and smaller packed
Old 02-15-2012, 06:32 PM
catfish hunter catfish hunter is offline
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I guess it depends on what you expect from it. One thing to consider is that 5x7 is pretty darn small for a shelter tarp. My military poncho tarp is way better than nothing as a shelter, but not ideal by any means. I battled the same thing you are for a while and ended up spending alot of money on a 13oz Kifaru paratarp. It's pricey but makes a dry roomy shelter for both me and my gear when out hunting in rain or snow. One of my favorite things is that it's quiet while many tarps really make noise in the wind. Other companies may make a similar version cheaper.

I've used a few different types with both good and bad about them.

-Adventure medical bivy sack: If you just want to sleep in it, this is 3.8oz, small, and retains heat well. It doesn't breathe well and moisture will build up, but it's warmer than just a blanket.

-MPI hooded space blanket: It's a hooded version of the 5x7 blanket like you had listed. It's a little bulky but the hood lets you wear it like a cloak or put your hands in the pockets and spread your arms to heat both your front and back while sitting by a fire.

-military poncho: It's not real big or bulky. It's about 4.5ft x7.5ft which is still pretty small. It's plus is that it can be raingear, shelter, or a ground sheet pretty easy. I still pack one in my BOB for this reason to use with the paratarp, and often pack one hunting also if I'm not taking a rainsuit. Throw in a liner and it makes a decent sleeping bag.

-Coglan's tube tent: It weighs 1lb, needs 2 trees to tie the ends to. It's not the most durable and it's loud in wind, but it is cheap and has more coverage and room than a 5x7 tarp, plus a floor built in. It will keep you drier than a small tarp set up right but it might be to loud to get much sleep.

My solution is to pack the paratarp plus an adventure medical bivy sack. A couple 50 gallon drum liners can help improve many shelters and are handy to have if you go another route.

I packed a fanny pack on a couple mountain hunts with lots of climbing early on. I figured out that a decent pack with a hip belt and decent shoulder straps handles the weight better for me. If you are interested you might look at the smaller camelback packs. I have an old Stryker model that packs my kit well and doesn't slow me up. They made some changes to the current model I don't like, but it's still a decent pack. I also really like the Sitka Ascent 14 when I don't need a rifle scabbard. When I do I love my eberlestocks.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:40 PM
arleigh arleigh is online now
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Weigh the length of time you expect to survive.
in the worst senario weather say sleet for a month .
Now, what should you carry ?
Planning to barely survive on a mimnimal list, why bother. slow torture.
Just my opinion .
Plan for what your life is worth to you .
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:04 AM
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That MEST tarp is really a good piece of kit. I would recommend sticking with that and getting either Heat Sheet bivi or just a regular space blanket. You can always improvise ground insulation easier than improvising protection from the rain/snow fall and wind. The MEST is pretty small, but you can make it work and you really don't want your shelter large for severe weather contingencies.

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Old 02-16-2012, 01:01 AM
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I agree with Rock6 on the MEST and the Bivy if they will both fit, except that I think if you must choose one I'd get the AMK Emergency Bivy. It's small enough to include in a butt pack PSK and will meet your needs in a short term survival situation in terms of rain, wind, etc. It'll give you temporary shelter from the elements, weighs only 3.8 oz, has the heat reflective surface, and with a little care its tough enough to last through several weeks or more of repeated use. I've used mine multiple times with no signs of wear, albeit only under mild conditions just to increase the comfort rating of my bag. I'm planning to carry one along with my tarp on a thru-hike of the the John Muir Trail next year for extra protection in case it rains. In a pinch, you can also set it up as an emergency tarp for rain shelter if winds are minimal. There's a guy on YouTube experimenting with an AMK blanket (same material) as a backpacking tarp shelter. If your looking for more long term use, the MEST tarp or one of the more substantial AMK bivy's would be a better choice but may take up too much space in a butt pack.

REI will have the AMK bivy's but I've never seen any kind of lightweight nylon survival tarp there. I've checked several times recently to see what they have for tarps. Walmart carries the Outdoor Products tarp that's lighter (7.9 oz), a little cheaper, packs small, but doesn't look to be quite as strong as the MEST. I keep one in my truck survival kit, along with an AMK Thermal Bivvy. It has grommets, so if you choose the OP tarp buy some narrow elastic band from the sewing department and tie some small loops at the grommets to give the tie outs some stretch. Set in low profile, it should withstand some decent wind.

I'd avoid the cheap mylar space blankets, they are pretty much one time use. If you get a blanket, get real space blanket or an AMK . The AMK's don't weigh any more than a cheap one, are only $2.50 or so, and can stand up to limited repeated use. But I've pretty much switched over to the AMK bivy's for my survival kits.
Old 02-16-2012, 04:51 PM
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1stcavmp77 1stcavmp77 is offline
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The reusable space blanket does NOT take up much room. I have mine in a large maxpedition tactile pouch with plenty of room to spare. I use a milsurp molle buttpack for dayhikes with all the gear I would need for up to 72 hours and then some if I can replenish food and water.
Here is my space blanket set up as a ninja shelter which takes about 5 minutes using a trekking pole to hold it up.


Here it is in the tactile pouch all packed up.

Here is the thread on my butt pack/haversack
http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ight=haversack
Old 02-16-2012, 06:03 PM
AustinCQC AustinCQC is offline
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Thanks for the responses!

I have to reiterate that this is only for Texas. I dress according to the weather always with an extra layer, so even if our winter weather turns sour, I'll already be prepared from a clothing standpoint. When I say turn sour, I mean a cold front comes through that brings our winter temperature from 70 degrees down to 40 for 12 hours and then we're back to 70 degrees a day or two later. An overnight freeze down here is treated like a major emergency with people stocking up on batteries, bottled water, and canned food....no lie. So no slow torture ha

The idea behind this pack is being able to move quickly and efficiently. I stalk hunt and spend a lot of time crawling on my belly when hunting, so a buttpack makes a lot of sense to be able to reach back and get my gear vs trying to slide a back pack to one side and try to get gear out of it. This is NOT my entire go bag, but it is incorporated into my BO System. Basically, this is my worst case scenario system that I'll use if I'm hunting and get lost 100 miles from civilization or if something wild happens at home and I need to do some serious E&E. I'll just grab my AR, G17, and loaded plate holder along with this system.

Space and weight are issues I am addressing, but 2oz is not a big difference....the space might make an issue, but I can't see the two side by side unfortunately. The only reason I was leaning towards the blanket is the fact that it's layered and has the reflective side so it has multiple uses and if I absolutely had to, I could peel it apart and use the 4 layers separately (possibly).

1stcav....nice thread! Thanks for the link...almost identical set ups.
Old 02-16-2012, 06:44 PM
Medic73 Medic73 is offline
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I just used my Survival Blanket this past weekend on a winter BOB Campout. I set up the 5'x7' Tarp Shelter with the reflective side facing down and out towards the front of the shelter with a nice fire ring with reflective flat rocks to send the heat towards my open shelter.

The temperature got down to 10 degrees (Brrrrrrr) with some northerly winds blowing. I used another tarp as a ground cloth and slept on a Thermorest Air Mattress and used a 20 degree sleeping bag and my folded up Field Jacket for a pillow.


Here is a photo of my Tarp Shelter before I placed the Air Mattress and Sleeping Bag inside.

Those large flat rocks worked great too. I did move some to direct the heat right towards my open lean to shelter.

I stayed toasty warm all night, even when the fire wood all burned up, leaving just a nice bed of warm coals.

Medic73
Old 02-18-2012, 05:45 AM
INCH PACKER INCH PACKER is offline
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I just don't get some things. Why does everybody tie the tarps and ponchos way up off the ground? It sems to me if it is cold out,closer to the ground will be your best bet. I bought 4 of those light weight aluminum tent stakes at Wally World earlier this week. I also bought another 100 feet of 550 cord. When I get a chance, I will show you how I set mine up. I'm waiting on my Swiss Army Mess Kit, should be here some time today :].
Old 02-18-2012, 01:59 PM
AustinCQC AustinCQC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INCH PACKER View Post
I just don't get some things. Why does everybody tie the tarps and ponchos way up off the ground? It sems to me if it is cold out,closer to the ground will be your best bet. I bought 4 of those light weight aluminum tent stakes at Wally World earlier this week. I also bought another 100 feet of 550 cord. When I get a chance, I will show you how I set mine up. I'm waiting on my Swiss Army Mess Kit, should be here some time today :].
I agree with you that they should be lower to your body to make it warmer and stronger similar to 1stcav's. His should only be a 18-24 inches off the ground.

I was able to pick up an emergency blanket at REI yesterday. Can anybody measure their MEST once it's folded up? Maybe post a pic?
Old 02-18-2012, 03:45 PM
Medic73 Medic73 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INCH PACKER View Post
I just don't get some things. Why does everybody tie the tarps and ponchos way up off the ground? It sems to me if it is cold out,closer to the ground will be your best bet. I bought 4 of those light weight aluminum tent stakes at Wally World earlier this week. I also bought another 100 feet of 550 cord. When I get a chance, I will show you how I set mine up. I'm waiting on my Swiss Army Mess Kit, should be here some time today :].
I set the angle that high because if I had made it lower, the heat from the campfire would not have reflected into the tarp shelter and down onto me. The rocks forming the fire ring would have blocked the heat from a lower tarp angle.

Trust me, I had plenty of reflected heat all night, even once the wood burned and it was just the nice hot coal bed providing heat.

The temperature did get down to 10 degrees F that night and that photo was taken last Saturday, 02/11/2012 so I can honestly say that this worked well for me.

Go ahead and make your tarp shelter any way you wish. I'll continue to do it the best way for me. At least I'm out there doing this and not just speculating about it from my computer.

Medic73
Old 02-19-2012, 02:03 AM
INCH PACKER INCH PACKER is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medic73 View Post
I set the angle that high because if I had made it lower, the heat from the campfire would not have reflected into the tarp shelter and down onto me. The rocks forming the fire ring would have blocked the heat from a lower tarp angle.

Trust me, I had plenty of reflected heat all night, even once the wood burned and it was just the nice hot coal bed providing heat.

The temperature did get down to 10 degrees F that night and that photo was taken last Saturday, 02/11/2012 so I can honestly say that this worked well for me.

Go ahead and make your tarp shelter any way you wish. I'll continue to do it the best way for me. At least I'm out there doing this and not just speculating about it from my computer.

Medic73
I was not even talking about you. I was refering to some of the you tube videos that were linked where they do that and, are not using a fire.

By your last comment, it sounds like you are saying I am an armchair commando or something. Read up a few comments, I already said I was going to set mine up soon and post pic's so guys can see how I do mine, how is that speculating?

It won't be this weekend though, my Swiss Mess Kit is still a no show, maybe it will be here monday. Relax, set up ever how you want, who am I to tell you how to set up. I just commented I don't get why everyone does that, even when no fire is involved was what I meant. I understand why you did that.
Old 02-19-2012, 02:53 PM
Medic73 Medic73 is offline
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[QUOTE=INCH PACKER;3796354]I was not even talking about you. I was refering to some of the you tube videos that were linked where they do that and, are not using a fire. QUOTE]

Ok, sorry if you were not talking about me.

I do get defensive, espcially when some folks like to shoot down others when they have no real experience, hence the Armchair Quarterbck comment.

Medic73
Old 02-19-2012, 03:12 PM
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Gristle62 Gristle62 is offline
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Many,many years ago I had one of those silver reflective emergency blankets with my fishing gear. I'd bought it for a buck. While out icefishing (I did have a shack) a blizzard came in and my ride never showed up. Now I did have a small wood stove but ya know those ol'shacks are not insulated. I was stranded all night. I pulled that blanket out and mostly used it on my upper body but ya know. that thing really worked. I couldn't believe it but it did keep me warm.
Old 02-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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Gristle62, I keep one of those on my body armor, and a military one that is a sleeping bag in my pack.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:51 PM
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The best way to reflect heat from a fire is how Medic73 set his tarp up; those reflective space blankets or under-sides really reflect heat quite well.

With no fire and when it's cold, your really have to "go to ground". 1stcavmp77 really shows the best, simplest and fastest method. The only caution is to make sure you have a decent insulative bed to avoid heat loss from conduction.

ROCK6
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