Recently, I tested the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket to evaluate its usefulness as both an emergency blanket for an urban police officer and as a survival tool for rural officers. It appeared small enough and potentially beneficial for a bail out bag.
This may not seem like the usual gear and accessory selection for BlueSheepdog, but when I saw the Pocket Blanket I immediately imagined its beneficial use during police, fire, and medical emergency situations in the field.
The Pocket Blanket is extremely compact and lightweight but is designed with modern materials providing excellent heat retention and protection from the elements.
Pike Trail is an outdoor supply company located in Columbia, Missouri. The company was founded by outdoor enthusiasts. The company name comes from a trail forged to an overlook of the Missouri River and connecting to Missouri’s Katy Trail system. The Katy Trail has received national recognition for restoring portions of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad line into a public park and trail system.
Pike Trail Pocket Blanket
The Pike Trail Pocket Blanket is designed for a multitude of outdoor uses. Inspired by an outdoor enthusiast, I’m sure the primary marketing for this product is for fellow outdoorsmen. However, as I mentioned before, the Pocket Blanket has a great potential for service with Police, Fire, and EMS first responders at emergency incidents where victims need to be protected and kept warm. I’ll expound more on those opportunities later in the article, but this observation was what inspired me to do this review.
The Pocket Blanket comes with a convenient lightweight carrying bag made from the same high-quality rip-stop nylon as the Pocket Blanket itself. This carrying bag includes a paracord drawstring with simple push-button tension lock to secure the Pocket Blanket inside. At the end of the paracord drawstring Pike Trail includes a small non-load bearing carabiner.
The Pike Trail website identifies three primary advantages of the Pocket Blanket in its design and features. Those advantages include being:
- 100% Waterproof.
This allows the user to clip the Pocket Blanket to a pack, Molle webbing on a plate carrier or outer body armor, or to other available gear. Obviously, the Pocket Blanket could also be stored in a glove box, bail-out-bag, trunk, or other easily accessible location. Compact, and discrete, the Pocket Blanket could be carried almost anywhere without garnering unwanted attention or adding bulk to the user’s choice of clothing or gear.
The Pocket Blanket I received was gray with orange corners. This was perfect for me since hunting season is coming up and I can use the Pocket Blanket as additional hunter orange identifiers. Pike Trail also offers a more family-friendly aqua blue with yellow corners Pocket Blanket. This option comes with a yellow carrying case and can be viewed more closely here.
Each Pocket Blanket option is priced at $17.98.
Emergency Services Potential
I accepted the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket to test and review to determine how it would perform for Police, Fire, and EMS first responders. When I first saw the Pocket Blanket I went right beyond the obvious hiking, hunting, and outdoor uses. I began to see an excellent option to provide water, wind, and heat protection for trauma victims.
One of the components of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) is to keep the victim warm to help prevent them from going into shock. Trauma victims who have lost a lot of blood, or have been seriously burned, are at high risk for entering into shock as the body begins to weaken in its ability to regulate core temperature. Even victims who have simply experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can enter shock. Having the right blanket to provide heat maintenance, and protection from the elements is key.
Maintaining body heat is one of the final major actions for trauma care, after stopping bleeding, and ensuring heartbeat and breathing. The Pike Trail Pocket Blanket makes an excellent source to provide trauma victims with the necessary protection they need. The Pocket Blanket’s compact and lightweight design allows first responders to carry more Pocket Blankets over traditional fibrous blankets without being burdened by bulk or weight.
This is where I see tremendous benefit and potential for the Pocket Blanket. Traditional blankets are often thick and heavy. This makes them difficult to store in patrol cars, that are already strapped for storage space, and cumbersome to use with victims. In addition, some blankets are very fibrous making them less than ideal for victims with open wounds or burns. It is critically important to prevent contamination from entering a victim’s body. Even a clean fibrous blanket can be detrimental to patient care and cause severe infection.
Of course, with a name like Pocket Blanket one of the first questions of customers is if this blanket can really fit into a pocket. When my Pocket Blanket arrived I measured the blanket stored in its included carrying case, and when unfolded. The rough measurements are:
- Height: 5.5 inches
- Width: 4.0 inches
- Depth: 2.0 inches.
- Length: 60.0 inches
- Width: 56.0 inches.
When the Pocket Blanket is unfolded it opens to a respectable 56.0″ x 60.0″ size. The unfolded blanket can provide protection for up to four people according to Pike Trail, but I would have to say those four people would have to be on the smaller side for overhead cover. However, the unfolded blanket on the ground could provide enough seating room for several people. The Pocket Blanket has several useful purposes, including:
- Traditional blanket
- Ground cover for protection sitting or heat shield (hot/cold ground)
- Throw over rain cover and heat shield
- Small shelter material
- An emergency liter (with limitations)
With the Pocket Blanket in its carrying case, I attempted to fit the package into my 5.11 and Blackhawk pants pockets. I was easily able to fit the Pocket Blanket into the front, rear, and cargo pockets of both brands of cargo pants. The Pocket Blanket could be stored in all of the pockets quite comfortably, though I would not want to sit on the package in the rear pocket for too long. I’m confident the Pocket Blanket will fit nicely into most brands of cargo pants.
In addition, I found that I could fit the Pocket Blanket in both the front and rear pockets of my Levi’s Denizen jeans. Though jeans are not typically designed for utility carry, it was nice to know the Pocket Blanket could be carried in jeans if needed.
The fit in the Levi’s was not quite as comfortable as the cargo pants, because jeans are typically cut to fit just a little bit tighter. However, I could still perform a near full range of functions and movements without too much difficulty or prohibitions.
Made from “Premium Best-In-Class Reinforced Waterproof Rip Stop Nylon,” the Pocket blanket is both very tough and very durable. The great outdoors and the working environment of police officers and first responders offers plenty of sharp points, edges, and snags that can ruin gear made from cheaper materials.
The rip-stop nylon used in the Pocket Blanket resists tears, punctures, and snags. Rip-stop designs have been popular in military pants for years due to the ability to provide increased longevity under extreme use and abuse. This feature works out nicely with the Pocket Blanket providing a very sturdy material that is still easily manipulated and folded.
I tested the strength of the rip-stop nylon using a Kubotan. The Kubotan is a popular martial arts weapon and has been used to great effect in controlling resistive subjects by police officers. The Kubotan has a long metal shaft and typically has a pointed end. The shaft is used for joint locks, while the pointed tip is a devastating striking point.
The Pike Trail Pocket Blanket was very tough. My Kubotan’s point was not razor-sharp, but still had a decent point. Initially, I was unable to penetrate the Pocket Blanket’s rip-stop nylon. However, a second attempt with significant force was able to penetrate through the nylon. In examining the puncture, the nylon showed great signs of limiting the damage to the hole itself, with the rip-stop design preventing further damage. I did not expect the Pocket Blanket to be impervious to damage, and it lived up to that expectation by being very difficult to puncture.
Pike Trail advertises the Pocket Blanket as being 100% waterproof, sand and soil-proof, and windproof. Though lightweight and relatively thin, the Pocket Blanket was capable of living up to all of its advertised promises.
Amazingly, we had very little rain during the time I was testing the Pocket Blanket, and when it did rain I was away from the blanket to test it during a live event. For the waterproof test I used a dry towel laid on the ground and covered by the unfolded Pocket Blanket. I then sprayed water from a hose onto the Pocket Blanket for (5) minutes to simulate a moderately hard rain.
After the test I checked the dryness of the towel. The Pocket Blanket had successfully blocked water from penetrating the rip-stop nylon material and the towel and immediate area under the Pocket Blanket were still completely dry.
While hiking in a nearby creek and trail my son was able to build a quick and temporary shelter from the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket next to a rock wall. There are paracord loops at each corner. On two corners he tied additional paracord through the loops and around available ground cover. He then used nearby sticks to slide through the opposite two loops, and secure into the ground to form the shelter.
Though there was no rain at the time, I’m confident from the water test that a downward falling rain would have been successfully blocked and redirected away from his resting place. Without knowing the set up location, or the available natural supplies, my son was able to complete this shelter with the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket in just a few minutes.
Soil and Sandproof
Being in the middle of the country I was, unfortunately, unable to travel to the coast to test the Pocket Blanket on a nice warm sandy beach. However, I was able to use the Pocket Blanket on several different soil surfaces nearby. These surfaces included grass, dirt, and muddy terrain.
SOIL AND SANDPROOF TEST
The Pike Trail Pocket Blanket again performed flawlessly with the rip-stop nylon blocking all the soil surfaces tested from penetrating through the material. This is particularly important in survival and emergency services uses, as it is imperative to prevent contamination or moisture from reaching the victim’s body.
The Pocket Blanket incorporates a great design for keeping the blanket in place when on the ground. There have been plenty of times I’ve had ground cover blow away during high winds, and this can be both frustrating and dangerous. Each corner of the Pocket Blanket has a different colored triangular pocket. In addition, to being a great hunter orange or emergency location indicator (in my example), these pockets can be filled with nearby soil, or rocks to weigh down the blanket and keep it in place.
Some people may believe the mountains and coasts have the highest wind gusts. However, living in the midwest we’ve come to learn and expect rapidly changing weather. Whether it is a cold front moving down from Canada and the Rocky Mountains, or a warm front moving up from the Gulf of Mexico, the temperatures can change 40 degrees in one day!
Such rapid temperature changes often bring intense weather cycles with high winds and thunderstorms. I live just a little north of tornado alley that rolls across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. A few years ago I was part of a Task Force to provide assistance during the devastating EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri.
During my testing period, I did not experience the intensity of a tornado, but there were several thunderstorms and high wind days. To fully take advantage of the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket’s wind-blocking abilities I recommend using some form of a carabiner, or other tie-down, to keep the blanket in place. This is especially true if the user is wearing or holding the blanket as a wind block. However, when secured the Pocket Blanket blocked wind and retained heat well.
The Pocket Blanket performs well in moderately cool temperatures even into the 30-degrees. However, the closer the temperature gets to freezing and below the more the user’s proper clothing layering plays into the benefits the Pocket Blanket can provide.
I tested the Pocket Blanket for heat retention on a day with temperatures in the low 40’s with a slight to moderate wind. My test subject was wearing only jeans and a T-shirt. I had the subject stand in the cool wind for about 10 minutes to have an effect on their outer body temperature. The subject then wrapped the Pocket Blanket around their upper body and head. In less than 5 minutes the subject said they felt warm and comfortable.
The Pike Trail Pocket Blanket has proven to be well-built, lightweight, and very durable. Despite being designed for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities, I have shown its great potential as an emergency blanket for first responders.
The lightweight and highly compact package of the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket is perfect to carry just about anywhere. Instead of over-burdensome heavy blankets, the Pocket Blanket offers great features at a reasonable price. The one recommendation BSD has would be to offer a slightly larger blanket option. Though 60″ x 56″ is sufficient in most cases, a 72″ long option would be very beneficial.
I completely recommend the Pike Trail Pocket Blanket for outdoor or emergency uses.
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