What Is A Thermal Blanket: 4 Unique Traits And Functions

Colder months will soon be upon us. As this season draws nearer, you might find yourself wondering: what is a thermal blanket? 


what is a thermal blanket

Fret not, because this article will talk about all there is to know about this handy piece of fabric! It will tackle what a thermal blanket is, its uses, and other important information.


What Is A Thermal Blanket?

If you live in a colder climate, thermal blankets might be your next best friend. 


Thermal blankets are specially-engineered pieces of fabric designed to keep heat trapped inside the blanket. They are also meant to deflect harsh weather like wind and rain.


They are made of plastic sheeting that is both thin, waterproof, and heat-reflective.


Some other names for this invention are emergency thermal blanket, space blanket, first aid blanket, safety blanket, heat sheet, shock blanket, and Mylar blanket. 


Thermal blankets are small and lightweight. They are also easy to pack and unfurl, which is excellent for situations that require space and weight efficiency.


These characteristics make them easy to bring during trips outdoors and even to outer space!


What Are The Uses Of Thermal Blankets?

As mentioned previously, thermal blankets are small and very portable. This makes them ideal for outdoor trips in colder areas. 


Campers are always advised to have a thermal kit in their packs should they face any dangers in the wild. Aside from providing warmth, they are also reflective, making them great improvised distress beacons. Lastly, their reflective surface also helps them provide coverage from harsh sunlight.


More importantly, they are also an essential addition to first-aid kits. They are a staple to emergency response workers, forest rangers, search and rescue teams, and the like.


Thermal blankets are also commonly used in hospital settings where a person can lose body heat quickly and fatally. They help a patient retain heat more effectively. This blanket can and has saved lives.


Another name for this blanket is the space blanket. Why? Because even astronauts use this nifty blanket in the harsh and cold temperatures of space.


Additionally, scientists also use the material of thermal blankets as insulation lining for spacecraft.


Do They Work?

The short answer: yes, thermal blankets work.


The long answer: these blankets utilize the power of science and physics to ensure that heat remains where it should stay. They are designed with the principles of thermodynamics in mind. 


Thermal blankets are impenetrable sheets of metalized plastic. They are designed to trap up to ninety percent of your body heat in the blanket. This body heat, if not trapped, would otherwise disperse into the air. 


Additionally, the airtight foil reduces heat loss caused by convection and evaporation of sweat. The reflective surface also reduces heat loss caused by thermal radiation.


These blankets prevent your body temperature from dropping without the bulk that comes with heavy and uncomfortable linens.


What Is The Difference Between A Thermal Blanket And A Non-Thermal Blanket?

Both these blankets do their job in keeping a person warm. So what’s the difference between a thermal blanket and a non-thermal blanket? Below is a list of their fundamental differences.


  • Space

Thermal blankets are noticeably less bulky than traditional, non-thermal blankets. Non-thermal blankets keep a person warm through many thick layers of cloth, whereas thermal blankets do this with one thin layer of plastic.


A thermal blanket’s compactness is also very useful in emergencies where space is placed at a premium.


  • Weight

Traditional, non-thermal blankets are heavy. They use layers upon layers of fabric to keep a person warm. These layers can add up to one heavy blanket. 


While heavy blankets do keep you warm, they aren’t always the most comfortable. The lightweight characteristics of thermal blankets also make them ideal for newborns, children, and adults.


  • Maintenance

Believe it or not, thermal blankets are extremely easy to clean. Because they are designed for space, emergencies, and even military operations, these blankets have to be low-maintenance to be helpful. You don’t exactly have a lot of dry cleaning options in space, after all.


  • Coziness

Even though non-thermal blankets are more commonly associated with warm, cozy nights, thermal blankets are just as comfortable. They might seem unassuming, but they provide enough warmth to help you sleep through a cold night. 


Yes, they are made of plastic. But some thermal blankets look and feel like regular blankets, with the bonus of thermal warmth.


How Do You Find The Perfect Thermal Blanket?

Despite these blankets being used by astronauts, they are relatively easy to find and purchase for non-space-related use. 


You can find these nifty blankets online on retailers like Amazon. If you’d prefer to see and inspect the product before purchasing, you can look for them in local medical supplies stores.


Outdoor recreation stores might also have these blankets on their shelves.



So, what is a thermal blanket?


This article tackled everything you need to know about thermal blankets. These are blankets made of a unique material that is both lightweight, waterproof, and heat-reflective.


These characteristics make thermal blankets the best choice for everything — camping trips, emergencies, space exploration, and even just everyday use.


The possibilities are endless!