Sleeping Bags vs Mylar Blankets

Last Updated on July 13th, 2023

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Sleeping bags have been a staple item in camping for what seems forever, but the fact is that these warm nap sacks have only been around for about two hundred years.

It is said that G. Fuglesang made the first basic form of a wadding that later became the perfect material for keeping a person warm on a cold evening in the wilderness.

Later in 1876, a Welshman by the name of Pryce Jones made the sewn blankets that resemble sleeping bags for the British Military. The first ‘sleeping bag’ was made of buffalo hides, slept upwards of three people, and was used in Arctic Explorations circa 1880.

Mylar blankets have been produced to keep astronauts warm when working and living in space. They have incredible abilities to conserve and insulate heat while shielding out UV and other solar radiation from harming the wearer.

What are the Similarities?

Both of these items are designed to keep a person warm while they are sleeping. There are some astronauts that use specialized sleeping bags along with these mylar space blankets. However, astronauts are not the only ones that use these mylar blankets.

Many mountaineers and fellow climbers will have these blankets to withstand the harshest colds.

Both are essential for climbers, arctic and polar explorers, or even winter campers to survive in these cold conditions and to sleep with enough heat to prevent frostbite and any loss of limb.

When you consider the application of these two items, the similarities will be based on these parameters, but the differences will be more numerous.


What are the Differences?

The most contrasting differences will be the fact that sleeping bags are closed-ended sleeping equipment, while the mylar space blankets will be open-ended, giving them more various utilities outside of sleep.

Mylar blankets, or sheets, are used on spacecraft, spacesuits, and the space station to shield those onboard or to use them from any UV or solar radiation or damage.

These mylar items can be found in outdoor emergency blankets but will take second fiddle to the sleeping bag when it comes to most camping and exploration excursions into the wilderness.

Then you have the materials for these two products, and most sleeping bags are stuffed with specialized down filler.


Pros and Cons: Sleeping Bags vs. Mylar Blankets

The crazy pro to the Mylar bag is the capability of this thin material to shield out solar and UV rays while having the ability to insulate heat with minimal heat loss.

The con will be the limited uses that most emergency mylar blankets will have, and most will only have the single rescue situation to shine.

The cons for sleeping bags will be the fragility of the materials and how often there will be tears and rips in the fabric, from being caught on a branch to snagging a buckle.

The pro will be how convenient these bags can be stuffed into a backpack or carry bag, providing support and padding for those long treks across the country.


Which one is Easier to Maintain?

This will be closer than you might think. Mylar emergency blankets will be limited to a single use in most situations. Carrying them is rather easy, and they come in backpacker-friendly sizes, meaning they are lightweight and take up little space in the pack.

When it comes to sleeping bags, they come ready to use and come pre-stuffed in traveling bags; they are easy to fit into a backpack and are rather easy to keep in one piece, granted they are kept in a tent away from natural hazards.

However, the single-use makes the sleeping bag harder to maintain, as there is going to be a longevity element to this comparison, which gives the nod to the Mylar emergency blanket.


Which one Lasts Longer?

As mentioned in the portion above, the mylar emergency blanket will have only a single use, while the NASA editions will need to last astronauts longer than a single mission.

Therefore, these specialized bags will be more comparable to sleeping bags, which can last generations if taken care of and stored properly.

So, this comparison comes down to how many days an astronaut spends in space, leading us to the space station, which has been in service for twenty-two-plus years, and the outer mylar shielding has been in service for the length of that time.

So, the oldest known sleeping bag would be the ‘Euklisia rug,” which has survived since the time of ancient Greece.


Final Thoughts on Sleeping Bags vs. Mylar Blankets

When it comes to these two products, the mylar blanket is an emergency blanket or sleeping bag liner for those reading. The sleeping bag has been a staple for thousands of years for explorers and travelers.

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