1. Keeping Warm: The Basics

If you’re using your blanket to keep yourself warm–or, perhaps more critically, to keep a child or other family member warm–OffGrid issues the reminder that you should make sure the shiny side of the blanket is facing the person you want to keep warm. This side is designed to reflect back 90% of the heat the individual is putting off. Getting a little bit too warm? Flipping the blanket over will decrease that number to 65% reflected body heat, which may be more comfortable. Note that you don’t have to use the survival blanket alone. It can also be used as an additional layer of warmth inside a sleeping bag or underneath a traditional blanket.

2. Turn It Into an Oven

Did you know that your survival blanket will warm up your food along with warming you up? This is one of the coolest features of your survival blanket. As it reflects back the heat of the sun, it will raise the temperature of your food and allow you to cook some pretty incredible meals. Earth Easy provides a great list of six recipes that are designed to help beginners figure out how to use their solar oven that includes peanut butter cookies, an egg strata, perfect baked beans, and even a mushroom chicken and rice dish that looks like it came straight out of a regular oven.

3. Create a Signal Mirror and Get Some Attention

When you’re attempting to get the attention of a rescue party or another group, you’ve got to act fast. A corner of your survival blanket can quickly be turned into a mirror that will reflect back the rays of the sun and create a bright beacon to help lead people to your location.

4. Fire Use

Whether you’re hoping to boost the heat from your fire just a little or looking for a way to start the fire in the first place, Off the Grid News offers a piece of advice about Mylar blankets: they have a lot of use around fire.You can either set up your blanket to help reflect the heat of the fire back toward you, create a tent that will capture more of the fire’s warmth, or even use the blanket to capture the rays of the sun and start your fire to begin with.

5. Ground Cover

When you’re out in the cold, the last thing you want is to end up sitting on rain-soaked grass or mud. Thankfully, your survival blanket will provide a layer of protection. Even if you’re not stuck in a survival situation, tossing your blanket down on the ground will create a great waterproof picnic blanket. Just be sure which side is up–the reflective side could reflect back more heat than you want!

6. Improvise an Outdoor Fridge

Since your survival blanket is waterproof, anything that you wrap in it is safe from rushing water–assuming that the blanket isn’t punctured or torn. Wrap food that needs to stay cool in the blanket, seal the edges, and lower it into a creek or other source of running water. Keep in mind that it will need to be tied in place or weighted to keep it from floating away!

7. Dry Your Clothes Faster

Laying clothes that need to dry over your Mylar blanket in the sun will help them dry much faster than hanging them on a line alone. Seattle Backpacker’s Magazine also notes that if you’re truly desperate, your survival blanket will also allow you to improvise clothing or lingerie. Unfortunately, you might need more than one blanket to use both functions at once.

8. Scrub Your Pans

When you’re camping or stuck in a survival situation, you might not have access to your usual cleaning methods. Thankfully, your trusty survival blanket is here to help! Cut off a corner, ball it up, and use the piece of blanket to scrub out the bottoms of your pans, rendering them clean and ready to go the net time you need to cook.

9. Stop the Rain From Leaking In

You never discover just how many leaks your tent has until you’re trying to camp out in the wilderness as water pours in around you. Thankfully, you have your survival blanket on hand! Use it to redirect the flow of water, keeping your tent toasty and dry so that you can get a little bit of sleep in peace.

10. Cool It Down

Think that you can leave out the survival blanket if you’re going to be out on a warm, sunny day? Think again! Prep Happy notes that by turning your blanket so that the shiny side points outward, you can reflect the sun’s rays away from you, offering some shade and a cooler area where you can cool down.

11. Make Yourself a Pillow

Let’s face it: rocks and tree limbs don’t make a great pillow. Stuffing your survival blanket full of clothes or other soft items, however, does! Turn your blanket into a comfortable pillow that will also keep your head warm throughout the night.

12. Strip It Into Trail Markers

Walking around in circles isn’t helpful for anyone, nor is retracing ground you’ve already covered during a search. Small strips of Mylar blanket make great trail markers that will catch the light of a flashlight after dark. This makes them the perfect solution for quick, efficient trail markers when you need them.

13. Gather Water

Water is the most critical item for your survival, and your survival blanket can help you get it! Whether you’re lining a hole in the ground to catch rain water or using the blanket as a way to dip water out of a creek, your survival blanket is the perfect waterproof tool for catching that critical, life-giving substance. It will also form a makeshift container for boiling water over the fire to make sure there isn’t anything in it that you don’t want to drink.

14. Catch Some Food

Fish, much like crows, love shiny things, and they’re sure to come investigate. Tie a few strips of Mylar blanket to your fishing line and watch the fish come swimming right up to your hook. Thin strips are more than sufficient and won’t hurt the integrity of your blanket.

15. Don’t Forget the Medical

You don’t want to admit that you aren’t invincible, but accidents do happen. Luckily, your survival blanket is there to save the day. Use it as a splint, to help reset a broken arm if you’re on your own, or as a tourniquet if get caught in a nasty situation. It might not be what a medical professional would do, but it’ll get you home!