Bye Bye Sleeping Bag
The 9 Best Camping Blankets of 2020
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When it comes to camp bedding, the sleeping bag reigns king. It makes sense — a sleeping bag’s mummy-style construction makes it adept at providing and maintaining warmth, even in sub-zero temperatures. But technical sleeping bags were designed with high alpine pursuits and extended backcountry jaunts in mind, and while they now come in a variety of shapes and temperature ratings, sleeping bags tend to be techy.
Enter the camp blanket. Often made using the same functional materials as sleeping bags — materials like water-repellent down insulation and ripstop nylon shells — camp blankets fulfill a similar function. They provide warmth away from the comforts of home, but beyond that, they offer more flexibility, and they do it with more style.
Without the restriction of a zipper, camp blankets are ideal for summer camping. And in true contemporary outdoor lifestyle fashion, technical camp blankets easily transition from the tent to the living room sofa, to the cabin, to the van without much fuss. They aren’t specialized for a single environment like a zero-degree down sleeping bag might be; they’re versatile and practical, which is ideal for outdoorsmen and weekend warriors alike.
Kammok may be best known for its hang-anywhere hammocks, but the Austin, Texas-based outdoor brand hit a homer in expanding into camp bedding. The down-filled Firebelly is a lightweight, zipperless cover that’s fit to fill in for any sleeping bag in warmer weather.
Hidden in the side of the blanket’s hems are tiny pockets that conceal button snaps and loops that allow you to connect one side to the other. That feature, paired with cinching top and bottom hems, allow the Firebelly to close up almost entirely and become a virtual stand-in for a sleeping bag. Pro tip: use these features to create an enclosed foot box and sling it over the bottom of a sleeping pad so you, and the Firebelly, won’t slide off in the night.
Materials: Atmos X 15-denier nylon ripstop with DWR, 750-fill water-repellant down
Dimensions: 86 × 54 inches
Weight: 1.7 pounds
Rumpl Nanoloft Puffy Blanket
Best Synthetic Blanket
No company has embraced the outdoor lifestyle trend of the technical blanket more than — and quite as successfully as — Rumpl has. The company recently developed its NanoLoft line, which uses 100 percent post-consumer recycled insulation to mimic the warm-keeping abilities of down. Rumpl constructed the quilt with many of the same materials found in premium backpacking sleeping bags too, including a water-repellent 30-denier ripstop polyester face fabric. The NanoLoft blankets pack down small enough to fit inside a backpack and come with Rumpl’s signature laidback styling, makes them fit for cabins and cars too.
Materials: 100% post-consumer recycled polyester
Dimensions: 52 x 75 inches (one-person); 80 x 85 inches (two-person)
Weight: 2.1 pounds
Nemo Equipment Puffin
Best Indoor/Outdoor Camp Blanket
If there’s one thing that most technical camp blankets can improve on, it’s looking and feeling less technical. Many of them still adhere to the aesthetic of a flatter, zipperless sleeping bag. One that walks the line strategically is NEMO Equipment’s Puffin. It is technical — the blanket is stuffed with plenty of synthetic insulation to keep you warm outdoors, it has a snap button “foot nook” — but its shape and wavy baffles allow it to traverse into the home as well. Its outer fabric, a water-repellent nylon micro-ripstop, prudently lacks that outdoorsy sheen of most technical fabrics, and it’s far less… swishy.
Materials: 40D ripstop nylon with DWR, synthetic insulation
Dimensions: 57 x 85 inches (one-person); 85 x 85 inches (two-person)
Weight: 2 pounds 6 ounces (one-person); 3 pounds 10 ounces (two-person)
Yeti Lowlands Blanket
Best for Tailgates and Outdoor Concerts
Have you ever sat down on a picnic blanket only to feel, like a slow-rising dread, the moisture of the ground you thought was dry soak into your pants? In a word, it’s uncomfortable. But it’s no surprise that Yeti, which makes all of its products impervious, made its Lowlands camp blanket waterproof on its bottom to prevent such unfortunate circumstances. The top is soft and lightly insulated, though, so the Lowlands is still plenty comfy. Plus, it’s pet-friendly and, should you spill food on it (or if a rude “friend” forgets to remove his or her shoes before sitting), it’s machine washable.
Dimensions: 55 x 78 inches
Weight: 5.8 pounds
Therm-a-Rest Vela Quilt
Best Blanket for Couples
Camp blankets are designed to dumb down the tech and make camping a more homey experience. Sleeping side-by-side in separate zippered sleeping bags is distinctively not homey, so Therm-a-Rest created the couple-friendly Vela. The Vela is a quilt, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t techy — Therm-a-Rest has learned a lot from making high-quality sleeping bags. The Vela is filled with 650-fill water-repellent down and has baffles that extend the length of its sides to help trap heat. Its footbox is also elasticized so that neither you or your partner’s feet will slip out during the night. The Vela also integrates with any other Therm-a-Rest products you already own (like sleeping pads) with side-mounted snaps and an included loop kit.
Materials: 20D Polyester Ripstop with DWR (shell), 20D Polyester Taffeta (liner), 650 Fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down
Dimensions: 72 x 84 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Pendleton National Park Collection Blanket
Best for Instagram
For nearly a century, Pendleton has paid homage to United States National Parks with wool dyed in stripe, block and chevron. Its National Park Collection blankets, made of 100% pure virgin wool and made in the USA, have become rightfully iconic. These blankets are thick, heavy and warm — perfect for those more concerned with appearances than keeping to the latest tech. While the collection has grown, the Glacier National Park Blanket is still the most recognizable.
Materials: pure virgin wool
Dimensions: 66 x 90 inches (twin); 80 x 90 inches (full); 90 x 90 inches (queen)
SOL All Season Blanket
Best for Your First Aid Kit
Ok, yes, this is less of a camping blanket and more of a worst-case-scenario survival tool. But SOL — short for Survive Outdoors Longer — has beefed up the typical lightweight, foil-esque survival blanket for extreme versatility. It’s not something you’ll wrap up in on the couch when you aren’t out in the backcountry, but it can be used as a tent footprint, a makeshift shelter or a draggable, tarp-like hauler. And if you do decide to cocoon inside of the All Season Blanket, it’ll keep you nice and toasty.
Materials: polyethylene, vaporized aluminized coating
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.4 x 11.25 inches (packed)
Weight: 1 pound
Filson Mackinaw Blanket
Best for Sleeping in the Car
Camping next to a car is one thing, but bedding down inside of it is something else altogether. Depending on how dedicated you are to #vanlife, a night in the car might mean sleeping on a platform in a truck bed or laying down the seats and making do in a wagon. In either case, cars offer ample shelter but little warmth. Many of these blankets will do in a car, but since you have the extra space, it can be worth it to go big. Filson’s heavy Mackinaw Blanket is 100 percent USA-sourced virgin Mackinaw wool, so it’ll provide plenty of warmth, even when damp. Like most Filson products it’s super durable, in this case thanks to a serged hem that won’t fray over time, which is handy because the Mackinaw Blanket will last for years.
Materials: 100% virgin Mackinaw wool
Dimensions: 72 x 90 inches
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Slowtide Chico Throw Blanket
Best for the Beach
While you technically could use many of the blankets on this list to hang at the beach, you shouldn’t. Sand is more invasive than dirt and dust, it gets on anything and once it does, it will stay there until the end of time. If you’re a dedicated beach-goer, it’s smart to have a dedicated beach blanket. Slowtide has nailed beach style with its line of printed towels and its blankets are up to snuff too. Made with Turkish-style chambray fabric, the Chico is big enough for a group outing, and it’ll beat that old sheet you were planning to use any day.
Materials: 100% cotton
Dimensions: 66 x 80 inches
Sleeping bags have come a long way in the past decade. This guide, organized by fill type and temperature rating, represents the best of the current class. Read the Story