multi-use items as signal mirrors

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    Jim Colten
    BPL Member


    Locale: MN

    In another thread, Roger Chaffin said SAR mirror? Try a dead CD. Or a stove wind or radiation shield. Or a camera flash.

    I've wondered about CDs for that but haven't tested one, have you Roger?

    Anyone else have first hand test experience with other multi-use items as signal mirrors?

    My idea of a test is to catch the eye of someone who is looking for you from a good distance (>1km maybe?) when they don't know your exact location. Even better, attract the attention of someone who is not looking for you (somewhat harder to arrange)

    Michael Mangold


    I've done the opposite: taken my signal mirror and used it along with the pliers from my multi-tool as a spatula (technically a pancake turner). I also use the pliers as a pot-grabber instead of one of those single-purpose spondonacles.

    Michael Moccia
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Lone Star State

    The Equipped to Survive web site has a little extract of the effectiveness of CDs as signal mirrors. Its about half way down in the signaling section.


    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Right there

    Who brings a cd when backapcking? Accuracy of sighting compass is appreciated in the canyons and arroyos of the southwest where they all look the same, but only one gets you back to your car.

    Frank Deland


    Locale: On the AT in VA

    I had a friend who became quite ill while hiking in the 100 Mile Wilderness along the AT in Maine. With some sort of a mirror, he attracted the attention of someone fishing on one of the lakes. He got a ride to safety. (Turned out he had ODd on some medication he was taking) Plastic signal mirrors are lightweight, but glass is probably the best reflectors. A camera lense might work in a pinch.

    Adam Rothermich
    BPL Member


    Locale: Missouri Ozarks

    My compass has a small sighting mirror. I've always planned on using that if I needed to. I also use it to check for ticks, make sure my hair looks ok :), etc. Its actually quite handy.


    Jan Rezac
    BPL Member


    Locale: Prague, CZ

    I own a ready made mirror, but it is too bulky to fit into my survival kit. So I made one out of hard disk plate, cutting a part of it and drilling a hole in the middle. The rationale behind is as follows:

    + lightweight – it is an aluminum alloy about 1.5 mm thick
    + effective – the surface of the plate is almost perfect. It means almost all the light is reflected. The surface is perfectly flat, so that the resulting beam is very narrow and thus visible from longer distance.
    + drilled hole allows sufficient sighting. It's double sided, so one can use the "dot on your face" method when it is possible.
    + it should be stored with some care, although it is surprisingly strong. I protect the surface with an peel-off tape.

    It should be noted that I used a plate from an quite old HDD that was silver like. More recent drives I disassembled had the plates a bit brownish, what makes them less effective.

    I'm pretty happy with this solution, it is small and lightweight but fully functional.

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