Survival

How to Block Thermal

In today’s modern world of technology, the ability to see in total darkness is no longer a tool possessed by a select few. FLIR cameras and thermal-imaging scopes are more affordable and accessible than ever. While it used to be that only the military, law enforcement and elite private security firms could afford to “own the night,” that is simply no longer the case. Not only are there a number of well-made IR and thermal cameras, scopes and binoculars on the civilian market today, but drones equipped with these capabilities are also well within reach of the average man. Along with this brave new world of affordable technology comes a lot less privacy. For those folks out there that appreciate privacy, or for the self-reliant individual who is willing to prepare for anything, the ability to be unseen by prying eyes is a must. Here’s a solid, cheap way to evade IR and thermal imaging.

First off, similar to the principals and reality of camouflage, you will never be truly invisible to IR or thermal. This is similar to the way that you don’t just disappear when you put on a ghillie suit. Knowing where to hide, as well as knowing what is looking for you is essential.

Thermal

Thermal imaging cameras and scopes work by picking up the heat signature of whatever they are looking for. While very expensive thermal gear, such as the kind used by military and law enforcement, can detect photons of heat emitted from an object, the more affordable thermal devices used by average civilians use a material that measures difference in temperature. This means that while helicopters and drones equipped with cutting edge thermal equipment are much harder to cloak yourself from, the stuff that can be easily bought over the counter at the sporting goods store or ordered over the Internet is more vulnerable to evasion. As is the case with high-end or low-end thermal optics, if you heat doesn’t reach the sensor then you will not be seen. This means you will need to put a barrier between your body heat and the sensor.

Heat-reflective “emergency” blankets, sometimes referred to as “survival blankets” or “space blankets,” work well for this. A heat-reflective blanket reflects the heat your body gives off back onto your body. This makes it so that thermal cameras can’t pick up on heat you are giving off. The only downside to using this kind of blanket is that should you happen to touch the blanket, your body heat will pass through the blanket immediately. Keeping a buffer space between you and the blanket gives you the best chance of evading thermal.

Another type of method which is similar to the aforementioned “survival blanket” technique is using a wool blanket. However eventually one would run into the issue of creating so much heat that his heat signature would become visible through the blanket. A surefire way to evade thermal for a longer period of time would be to layer yourself with a wool blanket first, then a “survival blanket,” followed by an additional wool blanket. Sure, you’d get hot, but the layered materials would work together to make your heat signature minimal.   

 

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