Blizzard Survival's Reflexcell technology adds a new dimension to emergency blankets
By C.C. Weiss
February 9, 2012
Mother Nature is a cruel vixen, and man needs every advantage he can get when attempting to ward off her fury. Blizzard Survival improves upon the traditional emergency blanket with a honeycomb-like build that both reflects and traps heat to keep you warm. It's a technology called Reflexcell.
The average emergency blanket or bivy consists of a single layer of reflective fabric that reflects your body heat back at you. Reflexcell builds upon this concept by not only reflecting heat but also offering insulation via air space. Instead of a flat, single layer of fabric, Reflexcell uses a three-layer, three-dimensional design with air pockets built in. The pockets capture warm air and provide an effective layer of insulation, keeping you warmer than a traditional emergency blanket.
Reflexcell blankets, sleeping bags and jackets are also elastic, which makes them conform to your body, effectively eliminating drafts and keeping the reflective insulation right next to your body where it will work most effectively. The material is also waterproof and windproof.
According to Blizzard, Reflexcell offers somewhere between 8 and 9 Togs worth of thermal resistance, while traditional reflective blankets offer around 4 Togs. Blizzard's internal data also indicates that Reflexcell sleeping bags offer more than twice the warmth-to-weight ratio of goose down sleeping bags. Goose down (when dry) is typically considered the warmth-weight ratio king.
Of course, that last bit about warmth-to-weight ratio would lead any logical person to the question: If it offers such a great warmth-to-weight ratio, why aren't companies using it for regular sleeping bags and clothes? The answer to that is very simple: comfort. While down sleeping bags and clothes are both warm and comfortable, Reflexcell jackets and bags are about as comfortable as wearing a thick, tin-foil garbage bag. If you take a look at my expression in the picture below, you can see just how comfy I was in a Reflexcell jacket. The material is definitely more suitable for last-resort, worst-case-scenario applications.
Because of their added material, Blizzard Reflexcell jackets, bags and blankets don't pack quite as small or light as traditional emergency blankets, but they still pack down admirably. One of the pictures in the gallery shows the size of the packed jacket for reference.
I tried the Blizzard Reflexcell jacket on for several minutes and I confirmed that it works, while also confirming the truth in that old adage about losing most of your body heat through your head. Within the two minutes or so I had it on, I felt the hood heating discernibly. I'm sure if I'd kept it on longer, I'd have felt similar heat around my torso.
Blizzard has been around for a while in the government and medical markets, and it has recently started making a larger push into the consumer market. It sells its products through major U.S. outdoor retailers like REI. The items retail for US$39.95.
Source: Blizzard Survival