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    Emergency/Space blanket as insulation

    Hey group! Pretty new to hammock sleeping and to this forum. Wondering what peoples thoughts are on using a emergency/space blanket as under insulation as opposed to a traditional underquilt, and if anyone has tried this or something similar. Space blankets reflect up to 80 and even 90% of your body heat and are windproof. thanks in advance -Mike

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    SimonMc's Avatar
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    Hennessy use it as part of their insulation system but in conjunction with some foam.

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    Member mountainm's Avatar
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    Re: Emergency/Space blanket as insulation

    Condensation may be an issue given its not usually breathable.

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    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    Some condensation issues, at some temperatures, for some people, have been reported, under some conditions, using ESB's.

    They are in essence part of a vapor barrier system of insulation. Once you understand the pro's and con's of VB's and your own personal tolerances to heat and cold, they can allow you to extend bottom ranges of your present insulation significantly, and in the long run can allow you to further lighten loads, toward UL and SUL.

    On the flipside you can end up swimming in your own sweat, significantly degrading the ability of the rest of your cloths and insulation to keep you warm, by loading it up with condensation, from your body, if not allowed to vent properly.

    The HHSS is a good introduction into the world of VB's, but it's really just a general primer IMO.
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  5. #5
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwilli04 View Post
    Hey group! Pretty new to hammock sleeping and to this forum. Wondering what peoples thoughts are on using a emergency/space blanket as under insulation as opposed to a traditional underquilt, and if anyone has tried this or something similar. Space blankets reflect up to 80 and even 90% of your body heat and are windproof. thanks in advance -Mike
    Space blankets can be used as part of your under insulation--however, while your statement is mostly accurate about the reflection of heat, it doesn't convey the whole story.

    Sure, space blankets reflect ~80%+ of your body's radiated heat. However, radiation is a fairly poor way to lose heat (see the cooling problems that most spacecraft have) versus convection and conduction--especially when the temperature gradient isn't particularly steep (as it usually isn't for an human versus his or her surroundings; at most, you're usually talking about ~110* F difference between the person and the air). And a space blanket doesn't do much for either convection or conduction.

    So, most of the effect that folks get out of a space blanket is in it being used as a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier prevents the loss of heat through evaporative cooling of your body when there's a large absolute humidity gradient between your body and the surrounding air (which is why many recommend their use at seriously cold temperatures; cold air doesn't hold much moisture, regardless of what the relative humidity is).

    All that being said, I do use one as part of my warm weather under insulation. I've gone over to using a semi-Garlington insulator for my hammock when I'm camping in temps above ~50* F. The space blanket gets suspended in my poncho (no trash bag), crumpled up, to help prevent air movement underneath me while I'm sleeping. I'd recommend this for most folks above ~55* to ~60* for the lows (I'm a pretty inhumanly warm sleeper; I've taken this as low as 43* F, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers, and not frozen to death even though I was very uncomfortable). I show off my set up in a photo in post #2 and the video in post #3 (around 8:30 in the video) in this thread.

    I wouldn't say that it's a replacement for a true underquilt or pad--both of those do much better at preventing convective heat loss than a space blanket will. However, for warmer temperatures, it is an effective way to lose weight from the pack (mine is ~1.5 oz heavier than just bringing the rest of my stuff, since I'm using my poncho to hold it in place).

    Hope it helps!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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