Manufactured by Blizzard Protection Systems and distributed by Persys Medical, this lightweight, compact emergency cold weather sleeping bag is touted as being the technology of choice for military medics all over the world and is apparently endorsed by the “National Association of [Energy] Medical Technicians” according to the company website.
It is made with their own “Reflexcell” technology, comes with a drawstring, is reusable, waterproof, windproof and has a warmth rating of 8 togs – about equal to a medium weight sleeping bag per Blizard Protection Systems. Click here for the company jib on youtube.
Weight: Ours was 14oz in sealed plastic.
Size: About the size of an old VHS cassette. Once opened, the Blizzard Bag will not compress back to its original size easily, so stuff sacks are available.
Packaging: Vacuum sealed heavy duty plastic wrapper and second inner wrapper. Pretty tough stuff.
The bag itself seems fairly durable and we are convinced it is, in fact, good for more than one use. Does it make loud crinkly noises everytime you move? Sure, but cheating death never sounded so sweet.
We were happy to see it is as large as advertised. Our subject (me) was 5’11” and the blizzard bag fit easily up over my head. It was more than adequate for my 168lb frame. We believe it would easily accomodate larger individuals.
On to testing. It’s summertime and we had to improvise. In the end, we found some nice folks at a local restaraunt who let us use their 7 degree F walk-in freezer !
The subject (me again) entered the 7 degree F freezer with shorts, socks, sneakers, a t-shirt, blizzard bag and thermometer. It was freakishly cold.
I climbed into the Blizzard Bag, and stood with it bundled around me and up over my head with my face peaking out of it, for about 20 minutes, which is how much time it took for the temperature in the bag to stablize.
Final temperature inside the bag? 67 degrees on average, with some warmer pockets and some cooler ones (72-65 degrees)
I did spend some time standing in the 32 degree F walk-in refridgerator whilst inside the Blizzard Bag. Obviously, it was even warmer inside the bag.
IMPORTANT: All sleeping bags’ warmth ratings are based on them laying on a thermal sleeping pad inside a shelter. Most of your body heat is lost to the ground while laying down in the first place but to make matters worse, sleeping bags smoosh up and compact under your body weight decreasing their ability to store heat between you and the ground. The importance of a sleeping pad in cold weather cannot be overstated.
So, I was standing for the entire test period (the freezer was too small to lay down in). Obviously the final temperatures inside the bag would have been lower had I been able to stretch out on the cold freezer floor. Therefore, we promise the bag will be retested outdoors when cold weather hits later this year, with and without a pad beneath it.
Overall, for its weight, compact size and cost we are very impressed with the Blizzard Bag, and look forward to further testing. The Thermolite bivy probably functions really well as its intended use – a bivy, or in warmer conditions as a survival bag.
The verdict: This one should be in your survival gear collection.
Please, do not rely on a flimsy space blanket or paper thin emergency bag unless you have tested it and found it to be adequate for your climate. Nobody wants to die nipping out.