When things get wintry, the lightweight Blizzard Bag Active Range survival bag is a 'must have' reckons Fell Running Guide and Mountain Leader Dave Taylor - here's why:
Get Caught in a Blizzard!
One of the attractions of getting out to the hills is the solitude. Some days I don’t see another soul whilst out fell running deep in the Peak District.
That’s great, but what happens if you injure yourself and have to stop running? A twisted ankle out here in summer might mean a slow, painful hobble back to the car but in winter in strong wind and heavy rain and wearing only a thin base layer and lightweight waterproof you’re looking at hypothermia at best.
Warmer Than Down
One piece of kit that I pack when guiding runners in remote areas even in summer is my Blizzard Survival Bag. Made from a highly thermally-efficient material called Reflexcell it far outperforms the old-fashioned plastic bivvy bag and has a warmth to weight ratio exceeding that of goose down. Reflexcell also works while wet so doesn’t lose any thermal properties in the rain.
The Active Range bag weighs only 280g and comes vacuum sealed. Measuring 12cm x 11cm x 5cm it takes up little space and easily fits into a rucksack or even bumbag. It's significantly lighter than the original Blizzard Bag, which makes it a great option for lightweight runners, walkers, bikers and anyone else on the move outdoors.
The bag works by trapping air between cells in the layers of Reflexcell whilst the inner layer reflects heat back to the body. This means that once the pack is opened it needs to be stretched to open up the cells.
Then it’s simply a matter of getting inside, pulling the draw-cord around your face and sitting snug eating your emergency food until help arrives - you did remember to pack a phone and food didn’t you?
Unpack With Caution
Once out of the vacuum pack you won’t be able to repack the bag to its original size so if you are the inquisitive type who wants to “open it to have a look” you need to bear this in mind. However even unpacked it doesn’t take up too much space and still weighs the same.
You can send it back to Blizzard who offer a repacking service or you can try a DIY job using your vacuum cleaner, something that requires an assistant - a you pull, I’ll suck kind of arrangement!
Also in the Blizzard range are blankets, jackets and even baby wraps.
Protection And Insulation
At about £25 the bags are a great addition to your emergency kit for anyone venturing out to the hills in bad weather with the huge bonus of offering not just protection from wind, rain and snow, but insulation as well. So if you do get caught out, you will want to find yourself in a Blizzard!
More about the Blizzard range at www.blizzardsurvival.com.
About the author
Dave Taylor / Fell Running Guide is an experienced fell runner, mountain leader and UK Athletics coach specialising in Fell and Mountain running. He offers guided running, coaching and navigation training to trail and fell runners. For more info go to www.fellrunningguide.co.uk.