Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Shiny, Happy Project | Prototyping a Bag Organizer with Mylar

I wanted to experiment with another bag organizer, this one optimized for my backpack. My plan was to mockup a version using primitive materials, like Tyvek or even cardboard, and then create the real thing using this model.

As I was putting away camping gear I noticed a number of cheap Mylar emergency blankets. While a high quality emergency blanket, like a Heatsheet, can literally be a life saver the traditional ones leave a lot to be desired. They're fragile, crinkly, single use and often too small.

That got me thinking: could I use Mylar as a mockup material? Instead of sewing it, I'd duct tape it together.

The short answer is yes, Mylar makes a passable mockup material. I wouldn't go out and buy it for this purpose, but it was nice to upcycle space blankets that won't get field use.

Using duct tape to seal the seams of Mylar also works. Actually, it works too well: once the duct tape comes in contact with the Mylar, good luck separating the two.

I created two 2x6 inch sleeves to hold my usual Man-Bag contents, and then duct taped them together:

The end result held my gear well, and fit nicely into my backpack:

I'm impressed with how tough the Mylar is. Old School space blankets, once torn, shred easily. But if it isn't ripped the Mylar seems reasonably strong. I plan to experiment with using this mockup as a finished product and see how long it lasts.

It's worth keeping in mind that a Mylar space blanket, plus duct tape is all you need for a field expedient satchel. It won't win you any design awards (or maybe it will?), but it will simplify collecting up wild edibles and other camp chores where having a bag is handy.

I'm moving the extra space blankets I have to my fabric collection; they're more valuable there than in an emergency kit.

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