Shear Genius

Keep Warm with the Best Wool Blankets for Winter

December 22, 2015 Buying Guides By
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There are blankets made of silk and cotton and polyester. Made for chilly summer nights, for the cool comfort and security of their weight while you watch movies on the couch. These are not those blankets. These are wool blankets, made from the shearing of sheep, goats, rabbits and various other animals that manage to survive the winters outdoors.

We’ll put the misnomer associated with wool — that it’s an itchy, stuffy fabric — to bed right now. Yes, thick, course wool associated with the tug of uncomfortable collars exists. But so does merino wool, with ultrafine fibers that help trap heat and have a comfort rivaling that of cotton. As a general rule, these finer woven blankets are warmer, but also more expensive, while wool blankets blended with synthetics tend to be more durable but at the cost of warmth. While cashmere, the holy grail of wool, is the most comfortable, warmest material, it has a price tag to prove it. Below we’ve compiled the best of pure wool, cashmere and wool blends for your wintry needs.

Perf Sangria Wool Throw


Size: 59 x 72 inches
Material: 100% wool

Best Budget Blanket: Perf, named for the English translation of the Danish hygge (“hoo-ga”), roughly meaning “cozy,” looms this 100 percent wool throw, patterned like houndstooth, in a traditional mill in the mountains of the UK. Every purchase from Perf supports the construction of homes for families in need.

Faribault Weekender Stripe Wool Throw


Size: 50 x 72 inches
Material: 100% merino wool

Most Iconic Blanket: The Weekender draws inspiration from a pattern used by Faribault in the 1920s, with clean, golden stripes punctuating the heathered gray. And, unlike many wool blankets, it’s machine washable.

Woolrich Roaring Branch Jacquard Blanket


Size: 50 x 70 inches
Material: 84% wool and 16% nylon

Best Southwest-Inspired Blanket: Founded in 1830, Woolrich is the oldest manufacturer of outdoor wear in the United States. This blanket incorporates nylon to improve durability and keep the weight down. It’s a great travel blanket in an unmissable sunrise-colored design.

Faribault Woolen Mill Co. × Gear Patrol Cabin Blanket


Size: 66 x 96 inches
Material: 100% merino wool

Straight from GP HQ: In collaboration with Faribault, we created a premium medium-weight merino wool blanket with a pattern exclusive for Gear Patrol — and, naturally, it has a light touch of our signature orange. As one of the biggest blankets on the list, it’s a perfect complement to any size bed.

Pendleton Grand Canyon Roll-Up Blanket


Size: 54 x 76 inches
Material: 100% wool (wax cotton backing separate)

Best Blanket for Around Camp: This wool blanket from Pendleton, founded in 1863 in Portland, Oregon, has a leather carry strap, making it easy to pack for camp, and a snap-on waxed cotton backing, allowing you to place it on the damp ground for a comfortable, weatherproof picnic.

Johnstons of Elgin Lambswool Double Face Throw


Size: 55 x 75 inches
Material: 100% lambswool

Best Reversible Blanket: Part of the brand’s Scottish Heritage Collection, the double-sided throw from Johnstons of Elgin features earth tones and “charming tints” of the Highlands. Woven in Elgin, Scotland.

Cotton Alternative


While we recommend wool for winter blankets, those living in warmer climates should look to the blankets at Joinery for cotton alternatives with slick, clean designs and enough size and weight for most seasons. They are woven on manual looms in Minas Gerais, Brazil using a traditional tapestry technique. They don’t wholesale their products, allowing them to keep wages high for their workers, which lets you feel good about your purchase. We recommend the Eagle Blanket ($225+).

Fells/Andre Sill Throw


Size: 51 x 71 inches
Material: 100% Peruvian baby alpaca

Most Comfortable Cashmere Alternative Blanket This design company calls their designs “quiet” and inspired by “warm minimalism,” the result of the delicate balance between the “cold crisp Scandinavian Fells and the warm dusty peaks of the Andes,” from which they borrow their name. This beautiful throw is made of wool from Peruvian baby alpaca, one of the rarest and softest fibers available, and comes wrapped in natural vegetable-tanned leather strap.

Restoration Hardware Cashmere Bordered Oversized Bed Throw


Size: 80 x 90 inches
Material: 100% Mongolian cashmere

Best Blanket for the Bed: This subtle, two-ply cashmere bed blanket is rimmed with a border that adds a dash of contrast, keeping it understated but still eye-catching and clean.

Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere Tartan & Vintage Check Throw


Size: 55 x 75 inches
Material: 100% cashmere

The Original Cashmere Company: Founded in 1797, Johnstons of Elgin pioneered cashmere production, streamlining the separation of fine cashmere from the coarse guard hair of underfleece and producing the softest, warmest fabric available. Cashmere of this quality carries a hefty price tag, but there isn’t a more trusted name in the business.

Next Up


5 Best Travel Throw Blankets: Throws have a reputation for leaning closer to decoration than utility. But their smaller size makes them ideal travel companions, packing along the warmth and familiarity of home for extra comfort during the journey. Roll one into your carry-on or rucksack, or simply store it in the car. These are the five you’ll cherish on the road. View the guide here.

J. Travis Smith

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