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Emergency blankets are typically budget-friendly, always easy to use, and rarely get replaced. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that these blankets can’t be used an infinite number of times, which can make them much less effective. While emergency blankets can save lives, they’re not the ultimate solution that lasts forever.
Emergency blankets expire within two years of being produced, but opening the package will shorten their lifespan. Misuse and improper storage can shorten their longevity, making them much less effective at reflecting heat. If the blanket looks dull or loses its shine, it’s time to replace it.
Throughout this post, we’ll talk about why emergency blankets can expire, what you can do about it, and how many times you can use these blankets until they have to be replaced. We’ll also let you know what to look for to know if your emergency blanket is expired.
Do Emergency Blankets Go Out of Date?
Emergency blankets go out of date within a couple of years of being manufactured. Many of them have expiration dates listed on the package, but they also state that the blanket expires quicker when the package is opened. For the best results, don’t open the original package until you’re ready to use it.
Here’s how you can make your emergency blanket last longer:
- According to Be Prepared for It, emergency blankets should be stored in a cool, dry place. Excess heat and humidity can take their toll on the blanket’s foil, making it crinkled and dry. This process leaves the blanket without its most important and effective layer of protection, so consider an airtight storage container.
- Never open an emergency blanket’s package until you know you have to use it. The second you open the package, it’s no longer as secure as it can be. From then on out, the blanket can be creased or folded incorrectly. Keep it sealed until it’s time to transfer it to another reliable storage option.
- Fold the blanket into the exact shape that it was in the package (which is usually a square). Follow the folding instructions to prevent rips and creases that can expand and lead to irreplaceable wear and tear. Remember this suggestion when packing an emergency blanket in a backpack or vehicle.
- Don’t place anything on top of the blanket if possible. Emergency blankets are very lightweight and fragile. While they protect you from the heat and smoke of fires, they’re not too effective against friction and heavyweight items. Do your best to place the blanket at the top of your backpack’s items or wherever it won’t get crushed.
There’s no denying the expiration date of emergency blankets, but there’s a lot you can do to make them last longer. Simple practices such as proper folding techniques and usage can help your blanket stretch longer than a year. If you’re wondering if your blanket needs to be replaced, head to the next section.
How Do You Know if an Emergency Blanket Is Expired?
To know if an emergency blanket is expired, follow these steps:
- Check if the emergency blanket has its natural shine. Crisis Equipped suggests emergency blankets lose their effectiveness when they become delaminated. The blanket will look dull as opposed to its usual silvery shine. The shine’s purpose is to reflect heat and light, so it’s purposeless without it.
- Look for tears or rips throughout the blanket every time you pack it for a camping trip or outing. Any holes in the emergency blanket will render it useless, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect the surface before you rely on it. Nobody wants to have to use an emergency blanket, but it’s important to know if it can function when it has to.
- Find creases or areas that won’t fold. If the emergency blanket is pressed for too long or stored incorrectly, it’ll develop deep creases that stop you from securing it around your body. These creases eventually lead to rips in the material, which spells the end of the blanket (as you read in the second tip).
- Locate the blanket’s expiration date. This is often the most important and reliable way to know if your emergency blanket is out of date. Even if you’ve never opened or used the blanket, it’s going to expire at some point. Keep the expiration date in mind to know when it’s time to get a new one.
These four steps will help you keep your emergency blanket ready to go. When it’s time for a new one, we recommend the Swiss Safe Mylar Emergency Blankets. They come in multiple colors, all of which measures 52 x 82 inches. They’re lined to make them last much longer and promote easy folding for long-term storage.
Are Emergency Blankets Reusable?
Emergency blankets are reusable as long as they’re not creased, ripped, or dull. These three factors can ruin an emergency blanket, making it useless. If it’s not shiny, it won’t reflect the heat, which means you’ll be using a traditional blanket in the middle of a fire or scorching day. You can use emergency blankets countless times before the expiration date.
More info: I created an article on this exact subject: Can Emergency Blankets Be Reused?
More Prepared claims emergency blankets are reusable and keep you warm in frigid conditions while preventing overheating in hot conditions. The effectiveness isn’t reduced until there are tears in the material or the shiny coating is gone. You can use an emergency blanket as much as you need to until those signs are evident.
Remember, emergency blankets aren’t intended to replace sleeping bags or regular blankets. Instead, they’re designed for short-term use. They’ll make you far too hot if you use them throughout the night, so make sure you don’t think they’re the perfect way to lighten your pack!
Now that you know what to look for, you don’t have to worry about packing an expired emergency blanket. You wouldn’t want to be caught in a fire or an extremely hot, dry situation with an expired blanket; It wouldn’t do you any good! Properly folding and storing your emergency blanket makes all the difference.
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Here are some of my favorite van life essentials:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you’re experiencing your life on the road. Here are some tools and gadgets I use on a daily basis that made my van life a lot easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
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Kitchen: I’m cooking a lot and I’ve finally found my perfect cookware set: The Magma Cookware 10 Pcs that you can nests and store in less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space is really handy. Since I’m also spending a lot of time working at my desk, I use my favorite coffee mug from Yeti. For more, check my list of kitchen accessories I can’t live without.
Outdoor: Even though I’m spending a lot of time in my van working, I do enjoy getting out and explore my ever-changing neighborhood. This sometimes requires me to take my portable solar battery with me. And when I just want to chill outside and take a nap, I use the Winner Outfitters Hammock.
Clean/Tidy: Space is precious and therefore I used these heavy-duty storage bins from Homs to store my material. They’re robust and you can stack them together. Regarding showering, I like to use this portable solar shower from Advanced Elements when it’s hot outside.
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