Blizzard Survival Sleeping Bag and Jacket Review
The Blizzard Survival Products have been around for 15 years. The technology originated in England, and it now used throughout the world. The Blizzard products are mostly used by emergency rescue teams, and the military. In fact, the Blizzard Survival Blanket has been endorsed by the US Army Medical Center Directorate of Combat and Doctrine Development and is the only blanket used to train Army medics in the treatment of hypothermia. Blizzard products will soon be offered to the public in the United States, and National Outdoors was one of first publications selected to field test the products.
Blizzard Reflexcell Technology
The Blizzard Reflexcell Technology consists of a triple layer of metalised polymer foil, which expands to form insulating air pockets as well as reflecting heat. The three layers of cells trap air and help insulate you. A foil coating on the inside of the material helps retain your body heat. The elastic straps within the cells and the foil help keep Blizzard products snug on your body. For more detailed tests, visit the Blizzard Website. The material is waterproof and windproof.
Blizzard Vacuum Packed Size
All Blizzard products come vacuum packed from the factory. As you can see from the picture the packages are about the size of a VCR tape. The Survival Jacket is smaller and weights slightly less than the Sleeping Bag. You can deploy each product in under 30 seconds. Once you open the vacuum pack, you unroll the contents. You'll slowly start to see the Jacket or Sleeping Bag taking shape. Once the Blizzard Survival product is completely unrolled you pull perpendicular to the pleats to get air into the cells.
Blizzard Survival Jacket on Cold Morning
I first tested the Blizzard Survival Jacket on a cold fall morning. We left the Salt Lake Valley at a temperature of 70 degrees. Once we go up into the mountains the temperatures at 8000 feet were in the 40's. Some members of the the group hadn't dressed for the cold weather. They looked a little skeptical when I pulled out the vacuum packed jacket. It wasn't a life or death situation, but it made the fishing much more enjoyable to wear the survival jacket. It kept them toasty warm for two and half hours until it warmed up. The jacket not only retains your body heat, it also acts as a wind blocker, which works great while fishing on a lake. The Survival Jacket weights 8.8 ounces.
Blizzard Survival Sleeping Bag Test
To really put the Blizzard Sleeping Bag to the test, I had to get wet. I picked a very cold morning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to try this out. The air temperature was 39 degrees, cold enough to see my breath. I jumped into the pond, and quickly ran out and got into the sleeping bag. I was still dripping wet while I huddled in the bag.
Blizzard Survival Sleeping Bag
The Blizzard Sleeping Bag worked instantly. As you can see, the bag held tight to my body. I pulled the hood over my head, and used the drawcord to cinch it tight. I laid in the bag for 15 minutes, soaking wet, and continued to stay warm. I really didn't notice how cold it was until I got out of the bag. After I dried off, I turned the sleeping bag inside out, to drain the water out of it. I hung it out and within a few hours it was dry. The sleeping bag weights 12.3 ounces and is 6.9 feet long.
Blizzard Survival Jacket Size After Use
Here's the Jacket after use. I was able to stuff it into a large ziploc bag. Notice it's now much larger than the VCR tape. These products are all reuseable, but I could only get them packed tightly to three times the factory size. If you're putting them back on your boat, or with your fishing gear, or anywhere you have a lot of storage it's not a big deal; however, if you're trying to put them into your backpack, plan on them taking up a lot more room.
Thumbs Up to the Blizzard Survival Jacket
Despite the awkward appearance, I found the Blizzard Technology to work well during a number of outdoor activities. With the small factory pack size, it's smart to have any of the products in your pack if you're headed into the backcountry. Also if you ice fish, hunt in the winter or backcountry ski, these products could save lives. On a lighter note, I see adventure racers, ultra-light backpackers and ultra-endurance athletes using the Blizzard Sleeping Bag as an alternative to a traditional sleeping bag.