A common emergency blanket has two sides, one is orange and the other silver. Which one should I keep on the inside?


  • Anything more you can tell us? Is the silver side a different material? What's the material like? Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 19:21
  • 7
    They have different sides?! All the ones I have seen are silver on both sides, I'm thinking the orange might be there for signaling? Although I would think that the silver would work pretty well for that. Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 19:34
  • which two colours do you have? Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 0:50
  • 2
    First aid course tip: put the gold to the cold. (Mine blanket is highly reflective gold one side, dull aluminium the other.)
    – Bwucie
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:50

4 Answers 4


Some, not all, do indeed come in two sides, and which one you use depends on the reason you use it. One of the sides strongly reflects heat. A hypothermic person therefore wants to have that reflective side on the inside so that it helps keeping any warmth inside. A person suffering from heat stroke wants the reflective side outside so that heat is kept away from that person.

Note that the latter doesn't work too well, because warmth is also trapped by putting the person into the blanket in the first place. But you can use it, for example, to keep the inside of your tent colder than if you had it in the blazing sun without that reflector, similar to what people put in their windscreens in parked cars.

Which side is which might depend on the manufacturer and I'd suggest reading the instructions. In one example I could find, the gold side was the heat-providing side.

However, it's questionable whether those blankets are suitable for outdoor use at all, see this link

  • 11
    Note also - the orange side is highly visible and intended for rescue searchers to spot.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 22:11

Your body heat is reflected back at you from the shiny silver side.

One of the reasons some blankets have two colors is so people would realize there was a correct side to get the most benefit. The other is that the "wrong side" color choice can be an aid in some signaling situations.

Even when they are silver on both sides, there is often one side shinier than the other. You should always have the shiniest surface facing inward. Think, reflecting body heat.

  • "Think, reflecting body heat.", I like this mnemonic. Mine is "the ugly side (i.e. gold) is the visible one..." Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 20:35
  • Actually, it seems to depend on the manufacturer, see experiment outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/28400/… Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 7:31
  • What you mean? There is no answer on the "experiment" only a question, and for all i know the brighter side on the thermal camera just means it heated up more, not that reflected more. If you point the thermal camera to a glass it shows its temperature not its reflection nor whats behind for example.
    – Barreto
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 19:30

There are some potentially dangerous answers here. The two colour blankets are used as follows: Protection against cold - silver side to the body. Protection against heat - Gold side to the body. Seal end with tape.

  • DO NOT DO THIS! This is dangerous. If someone is overheating DO NOT wrap them in foil. No matter which side in or out. And especially don't seal with tape.
    – Max
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 9:57
  • Thats what i thought max. What a miracle tech would cool you by wraping.. would love to see any resource to acompain such claim, thats actually why i landed here, someone was claiming that one side its for heat protection while the other is for cold protection but i dont know how would it be possible
    – Barreto
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 19:33
  • Note, its not like a blanket would behave as a heatsink.. it creates a layer of air... Thats the context of my previous comment
    – Barreto
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 19:34

It depends (as ever !) on your use-case.

This blog, from the manufacturers of the pictured item; Adventure Medical Kits, lists a number of possibilities for use - the choice of optimal external surface varies according to usage.


  • If there are good points in the referenced site, quote or paraphrase them here, to make a complete answer
    – Martin F
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 0:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.