The Miracle of Mylar
Many preppers store their foodstuffs inside sealed Mylar bags. In order to do so, you’ve gotta order the bags (usually online), pay between 50 cents and a buck each, fill them full, squeeze out the air, and then seal the bags permanently shut with an iron. Seems like a lot of bother. So, why bother? Why Mylar?
Let’s talk Mylar.
Mylar is an extraordinarily strong polyester film developed by DuPont in the early 1950s. By the 1970s, it had become DuPont’s best-selling film. If ever there was a miracle product, Mylar is it. The wonders of it never cease.
Technically speaking, Mylar is biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate. Mylar is an American brand name; other countries call the same product BoPET from the initials of its chemical composition. Basically, it’s a polyester film made from stretching its components of polyethylene terephthalate until the individual molecules line up and lock into place. This gives the material extraordinary tensile strength. It’s nearly impossible to tear or stretch a sheet of Mylar.
But there’s more to Mylar than that. So very much more.
Mylar cannot be torn or chipped, but it can be bent and folded. It will not deteriorate with age. It can bond to most materials such as wood, metal, cloth, paper, leather, and plastics. It’s heat resistant and can withstand temperatures from 80 below zero to 300 above F. Mylar is impervious to chemical reactions; will not conduct electricity; and has excellent insulating properties. It forms an impenetrable barrier for moisture and air.
Here’s an excellent 1950s era video about marvelous Mylar.
All of these phenomenal properties make Mylar attractive to people who wish to store food indefinitely. The primary enemies of successful food storage are critters, temperature swings, moisture, and air. Mylar helps protect against all of these: bugs and rodents cannot chew through it. It helps protect the food from temperature changes. Most importantly, it keeps humidity and oxygen out much more efficiently than regular plastic does. Plastic baggies “breathe”; Mylar does not.
Because it is so effective at extending the shelf-life of foods, Mylar is used extensively in the food packaging industry. That foil lid on your yogurt cup is not foil at all, but Mylar. The cellophane film on top of your TV dinner that doesn’t melt in the microwave isn’t really cellophane; it’s Mylar. The big roasting bag that surrounded your Thanksgiving turkey in the oven is also made of Mylar. Look at the interior side of the packaging of the coffee beans or cookies or potato chips you just bought: if it looks like foil, but you cannot tear it; if it looks like cellophane but it won’t melt-- that’s Mylar. Mylar bags are also used to preserve medical products, seeds, and tissue samples that are sensitive to changes in moisture and oxygen.
Mylar space blankets can be just as useful for preppers as Mylar baggies are. In a shelter, a Mylar blanket with the shiny side facing outward will help keep the interior cool on hot days. Placed inside the shelter with the shiny side facing in, it helps trap heat inside. Use it to line the walls of a greenhouse to reflect light back to the plants. Wrap an injured victim in a space blanket with the shiny side to the skin in order to keep body heat from escaping, lessening the potential for shock. If you’re lost in the desert, huddling under a space blanket will keep the heat away, protect you from UV radiation, and trap evaporative moisture escaping from your body, cutting down on the chances of dehydration. Use it to signal for help if you’re lost in the wilderness; to reflect heat from a campfire; or to collect rainwater or dew. Cut a hole in the middle of it and use it as a poncho. It makes a great tarp, tent fly, or ground blanket. It can even be used as a fire starter: line a bowl with it, place light flammable tinder in the middle of the bowl, and place it in the sunlight at an angle to focus the light on the tinder.
Mylar is a miraculous product with a million useful applications for preppers and outdoorsmen. After the collapse, they might not be making it any more – you'll need to search your local landfill for it – so stock up on Mylar today!
More about Mylar
Mylar is used in thousands of ways in our modern world. When bonded to a thin sheet of aluminum, it forms a metallic material that reflects 98 percent of the light that hits it, while also reflecting heat. The familiar ‘space blankets’ are made of foil-bonded Mylar. NASA uses this material to make weather balloons. A five-layer sandwich of it in space suits protects astronauts from radiation and temperature swings. It’s used as solar sails in outer-space aircraft. It’s built into aluminized suits to protect urban firefighters, and in protective emergency heat-shielding fire shelters for wildland firefighters. It’s found in the reflective backing of solar panels; in insulation for houses and tents; in heat-reflecting curtains for the home; as a protective film to prevent glass from shattering; and in solar ovens to concentrate heat. That shiny fold-out reflector that you put in your car’s windshield to help keep your car cool on hot summer days is also made of Mylar.
Mylar emergency shelter