By Don Jurries
The Blizzard Survival Jacket, a pocket size body warmer, was recently on display at the Snow & Outdoor Trade Association (SOTA) show in Canberra, Australia. Created by Blizzard Protection Systems in the UK, the body warmer is made from innovative Reflexcell material and protects you from the elements while allowing you to remain mobile.
Completely different from space blanket technology, Reflexcell has a cellular construction to trap warm, still air, providing insulation at a warmth-to-weight ratio over twice that of Down feathers. Elastication draws the material to the body, reducing cold spaces and heat loss by convection.
Reflexcell consists of three layers that reinforce each other to keep the body warmer from tearing. The inner layer's silvered surface blocks heat loss by radiation, while the outer layer is waterproof and windproof.
The Blizzard Survival Jacket is vacuumed packed down to a small size, making it easy to throw in your pack as part of your first aid kit for those emergency situations. In addition to the small volume, this one size fits all body warmer weighs only 240 grams.
Conceived by engineer and active mountaineer, Derek Ryder, the Blizzard Survival Jacket and other Blizzard products, including survival bags and blankets, are now being used for military, medical, emergency preparedness, and outdoor applications globally. The Australian Defence Force ordered over 17,000 body warmers in 2009 for use during the cold winters in Afghanistan.
The Blizzard Survival Jacket retails for $30 in the US, for £23.99 online from Blizzard for Europe, and is available from various retailers in Australia and New Zealand.
-Based in Melbourne, Australia, Don Jurries is a contributing writer for The Gearcaster on all things outdoor Down Under.