Best Camping Blankets to Keep You Cozy Outside
If you’re an avid camper, you’ve probably put considerable thought into your camp bedding. For backpacking, sleeping bags still reign supreme, but when it comes to front-country camping—whether you’re sleeping in a van, car, or tent—camping blankets are increasingly becoming a popular option. And it’s no surprise, today’s camping blankets are a far-cry from the itchy wool blankets of yore. Modern camping blankets feature the same technology as the best sleeping bags. They are lightweight, packable, and they are capable of performing in a variety of conditions.
Camping blankets also offer a versatility that sleeping bags lack—in addition to being warm and comfortable bedding, you can use them on the beach, around a fire, at a festival or picnic and they work equally well in a cabin, on a porch, on a couch, or bed back home or even on an airplane. It’s no wonder that in the last few years, the camping blanket has become a prominent player in the outdoor market.
From ultra-packable, super-light travel blankets to cozy and warm front-country comforters, there are a lot of options to consider. The following guide presents a breakdown of everything you’ll need to know when shopping for a camping blanket.
The Search for the Best Camping Blanket
The first consideration when choosing a camping blanket is, of course, how you intend to use it. Do you plan to take along on day hikes? Is it for the bed in your rooftop tent or van? Do you intend to use it as an extra layer or as your primary bedding? Does it need to be waterproof? Will you use it on the beach, at picnics, festivals, or sporting events? How packable does it need to be? Questions like these will help you dial in a blanket that best fits your style needs.
Best Premium Down Blankets for Camping
If you are planning on camping in colder temperatures, you’ll want a blanket with down insulation that has at least 600-fill power. Generally speaking, a higher fill power rating equates to better insulation. Down with a higher fill power rating is more resilient to compression, lofts better, and can trap more air, which means more warmth but less weight. These days there are a lot of high-tech insulation technologies out there but old fashioned down remains one of the lightest, warmest, and most-compressible insulation materials available. Quality down adds a level of comfort and warmth synthetics can’t match. Down does, however, have three well-known shortcomings: It is notoriously difficult to clean, it doesn’t perform well when wet, and it can be very expensive. This being said, a number of companies have recently developed a way of treating down with a coating that makes it water resistant and washable. In other words, if you can bear the price, you can now find down that is easy to wash and performs fairly well even in wet conditions.
Best All-Around Down Blanket: Rumpl Puffy Down
The Rumpl Puffy Down is one of the warmest and lightest camping blankets on the market today. It’s not cheap, but it’s very versatile (it comes with some nice features and in multiple sizes), it’s incredibly light (1.2 pounds for the one-person version and 2.1 pounds for the 2-person version), and it’s well-made. The one-person version packs down to an impressive 7 inches. The Rumpl Puffy Down features a wave baffle patterns throughout the blanket that prevents clumping and maintains loft. Its insulation has a 600 fill rating and an RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certification, which means that its feathers and down were sourced responsibly and sustainably. On the exterior, the shell is made from moisture-resistant 20-denier ripstop nylon, which is fairly durable despite its thinness. Price: $249.00
Best Down Blanket for Backpacking: Kammok Firebelly
Austin-based Kammok started as a hammock brand, but they have recently made impressive inroads into the blanket market. Their down-filled Firebelly is a lightweight, zipperless 30ºF down backpacking quilt. The Firebelly features an impressive assortment of bells and whistles that serious backpackers will appreciate. In addition to being an exceptionally light and warm blanket, the Firebelly works as a hammock underquilt, a minimalist sleeping bag, and a hands-free poncho. Since the Firebelly is designed with hammock sleeping in mind, it’s a little longer than most blankets, which is a particularly nice feature for tall campers. It also features snaps along the perimeter and cords at the top and bottom that allow you to snug it up around your body in cold weather. Additional straps allow you to attach it to a sleeping pad and connect it to most Kammok-brand hammocks. The nicest detail, however, might be the head hole opening that is lined with a down-filled draft collar. It zips closed, but when it’s open, the Firebelly converts to a hands-free poncho that you can wear around camp (or at a football game). Finally, vertical baffles keep the water-repellent 750-fill power, Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified duck down from shifting around. Price: $289.00
Best All-Purpose Comfy Camping Blanket
If you’re looking for an all-purpose camping blanket that is easier on the pocketbook than down, a blanket insulated with synthetic fill is an excellent alternative. Blankets insulated with synthetic fill are far cheaper than down blankets but perform nearly as well at almost half the cost. In some cases, synthetic fill even outperforms down. The disadvantage to synthetic fill is that it’s heavier and bulkier than down, and it loses loft over time, especially if left in a stuff sack. However, the polyester in synthetic fill does not lump up when wet as down does, so synthetic fill can still insulate fairly well when it’s wet and it dries out quicker than down. Truth be told, the gap between synthetics and down is closing as fabric technology continues to advance, and unless you're packing your blanket into the backcountry, the extra size and bulk of a synthetic blanket is hardly a problem. For most circumstances, synthetic insulation is an excellent option that performs really well for the price.
Best All-Purpose Puffy Blanket for Camping: REI Co-Op Camp Blanket
The REI Co-op Camp Blanket is a well-made blanket that is water-resistant, durable, and comfortable. It’s a no-frills blanket that does a great job doing what it’s supposed to do—keep you warm and cozy. This blanket is perfect for front-country camping, daytrips, or the couch back home, and it’s available in 1-person or two-person sizes. The ripstop exterior is durable, it’s machine-washable, and it’s quilted construction will keep the insulation in place for years to come. It’s an excellent blanket for the price. Price: $79.95
Best All-Purpose Puffy Blanket for Couch & Camper: Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket
It’s fair to say that the Original Puffy Blanket by Rumpl launched the camping blanket craze, so one would be remiss not to consider this mainstay when blanket shopping. Like most blankets in this price range, it’s water and stain resistant, it’s machine washable, and it’s outer shell is made from ripstop. Buying a Rumpl blanket comes with three advantages that you won’t find with the bargain blankets. First, Rumpl delivers a proven product that is immensely popular for good reason—buy from Rumpl and you are sure to get a quality blanket that doesn’t disappoint. Second, Rumpl blankets stand out when it comes to design variety—they offer so many colorways that choosing your favorite won’t be easy. Third, all Rumple blankets are made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. Price: $99.00
Best Bargain Puffy Blanket: Kelty Bestie Blanket
The Kelty Bestie Blanket is a nice blanket at a nice price. It isn’t water resistant, and it’s slightly smaller than other blankets, but it’s really lightweight and the soft-brushed fabric on both sides is quite comfortable. There are plenty of times, whether you’re just sitting around the campfire or when you’re needing just a little extra warmth on top of your sleeping bag, that you’ll think that the Bestie is exactly what it claims to be—the best. And at almost a third the price of most other blankets, how can you go wrong? Price: $24.95
Best Fleece Camping Blankets
Fleece is a synthetic material that is comfortable and lightweight. It has some moisture-wicking properties, it’s fairly warm, it’s really soft, and it dries quickly if you happen to get it wet. Fleece’s best quality by far is it's inexpensive price point. On the downside, fleece is not going to keep you nearly as warm as down or synthetics and the slightest campfire spark will instantly burn a hole in it. A number of manufacturers have leveraged fleeces best qualities by using it with waterproof bottom layers and emphasizing it’s soft feel by adding thickness.
Best All-Around Fleece Blanket: REI Co-Op Flannel/Fleece Blanket
The top side of REI’s flannel/fleece blanket is durable 100% cotton flannel; the other side is 100% polyester fleece. The result is an incredibly soft blanket that is perfect for napping or picnicking. It’s not water or stain resistant but it’s machine-washable and comes in four colorful camp-inspired patterns. Price: $59.95
Best Fleece for Car Camping and Vanlife: Rumpl Flannel Sherpa
The Rumple Sherpa Blanket’s claim to fame is how thick and heavy it is. If soft, thick, and heavy is your blanket style, then you’ll love the Sherpa. It doesn’t pack up as small as synthetic blankets, and it weighs almost twice as much, but if comfort is your goal then the Sherpa won’t disappoint. Price: $169.00
Best Fleece Blanket to Keep in Your Trunk: L.L.Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket
The L.L.Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket has an ultra-soft fleece interior with a polyurethane-coated nylon outside that works as a moisture barrier. It’s machine-washable so you can care for it easily and it comes with a stuff sack for easy storage. This is the blanket you want for festivals, picnics, sporting events, and outdoor movie nights. Price: $59.00
Best Wool Camping Blankets
Wool is a natural fiber that is breathable, warm, fire-resistant, and moisture-wicking. Nothing exudes vintage camp-cool like a classic wool blanket. Wool is a time-tested, proven performer that is extremely durable. However, quality wool is very expensive, it can be itchy, it dries slowly once wet, and it is bulky and heavy compared to other materials. One thing is for certain, though: If you’re ever sitting around a campfire on a wet night, nothing will perform better than wool.
Best Itch-free Wool Blanket: Woolly Mammoth Woolen Company Explorer Collection Camping Blanket
The Woolly Mammoth Woolen Company Explorer Collection Blanket is woven with 80% premium virgin Merino wool so it’s not going to itch like standard wool. It’s also lighter than most wool blankets its size, which makes it more portable than any wool blanket you’ll find at an army surplus store. You lose a little durability with a blend like this, but for most people this is a small price to pay for the increased comfort. Price: $74.99
Best Vintage-Inspired Blanket: Pendleton Yakima Camp Throw
The iconic Pendleton Yakima Blanket is, for most of us, the kind of blanket that comes to mind when we think of wool camping blankets. Pendleton has been making wool blankets for over a century and they are still the gold standard in the industry. The Yakima is made of 86% wool and 14% cotton, and it’s manufactured in the USA. It’s a bit small at 54" x 66" and it needs to be dry cleaned, but it’s an absolute beauty. Price: $119.00
Best Bushcraft Blankets
Bushcrafters tend to favor wool blankets over synthetic and down blankets for a number of reasons that go beyond wool’s rustic aesthetics. First, synthetic and down blankets are more likely to be torn or damaged. Wool is more hardwearing because its natural fibers don’t tear as easily when snagged. Wool is also a good insulator, even when wet, and it’s fire resistant, which means sparks won’t burn holes in it the way they do in synthetic materials. Wool is not as compressible as modern synthetic blankets, but it’s still easily rolled up and attached to a pack and—importantly—far more practical when camping in primitive shelters where sleeping gear may come into contact with rocks, sparks, and branches.
Best All-Purpose Wool Blanket: Arcturus Military Wool Blanket
Surplus military blankets, particularly Italian Issue Army Blankets, have long been popular with Bushcrafters. However, quality military blankets are increasingly hard to find and expensive. The Arcturus Military Wool Blanket is a respectable alternative and it also won’t break the bank. The Arcturus Blanket is made with a blend of 80% wool and 20% hypoallergenic polyester. It’s a bit heavy at 4.5 pounds but it’s exceptionally warm. Since it’s a blend, it’s not 100% fire-retardant, but it’s still quite durable—an excellent starter blanket for your bushcraft kit or to simply keep in your trunk for emergencies. It comes in 3 colors: military grey, navy, and olive green. Price: $37.99
PNW Bushcraft Waxed Canvas Ground Cloth
Okay, technically a ground cloth may not be a blanket, but coupled with a wool blanket this all-purpose cloth is an instant upgrade to a bushcrafter’s kit. Handmade with 10.1 oz waxed canvas by PNW Bushcraft, this ground cloth is at its best in damp weather. It creates a perfect place to unload your backpack and provides somewhere to kneel or sit that is dry. It is also perfect for rolling up a wool blanket to keep the blanket protected while it is strapped to a pack. This ground cloth measures 6ft 6" x 4ft 5" and includes 10 grommets. Price: $199.00
Best Multi-Purpose Bushcraft Blanket: Fjällräven’s Övik Blanket
The top of the Fjällräven’s Övik Blanket is made of a soft felt/wool blend, while the bottom is made of rugged polyester and organic cotton fabric impregnated with Greenland Wax. This setup allows you to use the Övik as a mat or as a top blanket for warmth. Meticulously constructed and versatile, the Övik isn’t cheap but it is sure to serve you well for decades. Bonus: Leather carrying straps are included. Price: $200.00
Best Festival and Beach Blankets
If you’re taking a blanket to a festival or a beach, it needs to be weather resistant, stain resistant, and packable. In short, minimal and utilitarian.
Best All-Purpose Festival Blanket: Nomadix Festival Blanket
The Nomadix festival blanket is soft and stylish on top, but tear and water-resistant below. It’s sand proof, easy to wash, it features anchor loops on all four corners, and it comes in enough colorways and styles to satisfy all tastes. At 60x70 inches, it’s large enough to fit four people comfortably, but you’ll be surprised how small it packs up when the concert is over. Price: $69.95
Best 100% Waterproof Festival Blanket: Rumpl Stash Mat Ground Cover
The Rumpl Stash Mat’s best feature is its waterproof bottom. Your butt is not going to get wet when you are lounging on this blanket, even if it starts raining like Woodstock. The Stash Mat easily fits four people but packs up into a miniscule 6x12 carrying case. Pro tip: Stash mats work really well as changing stations in ski resort parking lots. Price: $79.00
Festival Blanket: Belmont Hellagood Adventure Blanket
The Hellagood Adventure Blanket is the Sherman tank of festival blankets. It’s a waterproof outdoor camping blanket that is designed, hand cut, and hand sewn in Portland, Oregon utilizing a water-proof woven outer face and an incredibly soft, fleece-lined inner face. These heritage-quality blankets are perfect in any condition: Snow, wet grass, sand . . . you name it. As rugged as this blanket seems, it’s easily washable and it comes with a classy 100% bridle leather wrap for carrying and storage. Price: $120.00
FAQ: What’s the Difference Between a Premium Down Blanket and a Bargain Down Blanket?
The biggest difference is usually fill power. The key is to remember that fill power is the quality of the down, not the quantity. In other words, just because a blanket is using 600 fill power down doesn’t mean that its using the same amount of 600 fill power down. Also, the down in a bargain blanket will likely not be treated with a water resistant coating or have stitched in baffles designed to maintain loft. In addition, don’t expect down in a bargain blanket to be sustainably sourced. And if a bargain blanket is marketed as “durable” or “weather resistant,” you might take these claims with a grain of salt. Features like hood clips and cinch strings (if they are included at all) won’t be as well-designed. And if you look closely at the measurements, bargain blankets are usually smaller. Most importantly, cutting corners on materials and design means that the insulating power of a bargain blanket will diminish rapidly. In other words, a bargain blanket won’t hold its loft as well as a premium blanket, which means that by the second year, don’t be surprised if your blanket isn’t as warm or as fluffy as it was when you first bought it.
FAQ: How Do I Shop for a Warm Blanket for Camping?
If warmth is your priority, then a premium down blanket is the best option. A down blanket with a fill rating above 700 will be expensive but it will provide exceptional warmth and is recommended if temperatures will be below freezing. Blankets with fill ratings of 600-700 are still very good; 500-550 is considered good, ideal for spring and fall camping. If you see a fill rating below 500, you might consider opting for synthetic fill which is nearly as good as down and far cheaper. Synthetic fill can’t compete with down in extreme cold, but if the evening temp doesn’t drop below 40 degrees, a quality synthetic fill blanket will do the job nicely.
FAQ: How Do I Shop for the Best Lightweight Camping Blanket?
If your camping needs require a lightweight camping blanket that is packable, you’ll need to bite the bullet and buy a down blanket. A good down blanket packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle. When it comes to warmth to weight performance, synthetics just can’t compete.
FAQ: How Do I Shop for the Best Wool Camping Blankets?
The warmest wool blanket will be heavy and will have a loose weave that feels more fluffy than dense. A denser, tightly woven wool blanket—like what you will find in a military issue blanket—is slightly less warm but more durable and less likely to snag. Merino wool is less itchy than traditional wool, but not as durable. Wool that is blended with synthetics is also less itchy than traditional wool but also less durable and less fire-retardant.
FAQ: What’s the Best Waterproof Camping Blanket?
Aside from mylar survival blankets, no camping blanket is fully waterproof. However, some blankets are more water-resistant than others. Wool, for example, is very water-resistant and remains warm even when it is wet. Fleece is fairly water-resistant too, but not as warm as wool, especially when it’s wet. Blankets with “synthetic fill” are insulated with tightly-wound plastic fibers, which repel water reasonably well and far better than down does. Synthetics don’t perform as well as wool does in wet conditions, but unlike wool, synthetics will dry out much faster. As for down, even though the fill in many modern down blankets is now treated with a water-repellent coating, down still doesn’t perform as well as other materials when wet, so down is not the best choice if wet conditions are likely.
FAQ: How Do I Shop for a Fireproof Camping Blanket?
A 100% wool blanket is fire retardant and will only burn in extreme conditions (above 570°C). Even if wool ignites, it won’t support a flame for long. At high temperatures 100% wool may smolder but it won’t melt or drip. If you’re planning to sit near a campfire with a blanket, opt for wool. Polyester, fleece, and down blankets are cozy and comfortable but the smallest spark will go right through them. Worth noting: Many wool blankets (if you read the small print) are made with a blend of wool and cotton. This makes them less itchy but also slightly less fire retardant.
FAQ: Is a Cheap (Under $100) Down Blanket Really a Bargain?
Is a down blanket that costs under $100 dollars too good to be true? To answer this question consider the following: A bargain down blanket producer has to cut costs somewhere. Most likely, the stitching quality won’t be as good and there won’t be baffles employed to keep the down from clumping. This means that the blanket, in the long run, won’t be as durable or warm as a premium blanket. Also, the down in a cheaper blanket may not be RDS certified and it definitely won’t be coated with a water repellant. Less important but worth mentioning, the blanket won’t come with extra features like corner loops or come in as many colorways.
FAQ: What Is the Main Difference between Synthetic Insulation and Down?
Synthetic insulation is a man-made insulation that is much cheaper than down, which comes from goose or duck. Synthetic insulation will usually outperform down in wet weather, but down will always win out in cold, dry environments. Also, synthetic insulation weighs more and compresses less than down. This means that down can provide the same amount of warmth at a fraction of the weight.
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We hope this article has helped you with your camping blanket selection. We're a Pacific Northwest brand specializing in outdoor gear for adventurous people. We've been outfitting car campers, overlanders, bushcrafters, and explorers since 2016 and look forward to outfitting you for your next adventure! Check out more of our products here!
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