EKTOS Wool Review
Cons: Scratchy, particular home-care, collects hair and debris easily
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|Price||$45.00 at Amazon||Check Price at REI|
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|$39.95 at Amazon||$25 List||$65 List|
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|Pros||Good "bed weight", fairly warm, can launder at home, inexpensive||Softer underbelly, weather-resistant, great features, feels warm, easy to clean||Solid insulation, light and packable, compression stuff sack, large size, affordable||Very soft underside, comfortable, simple stuff sack, reasonable size/weight, inexpensive||Impressively lightweight, compresses small, great weather resistance, becomes a poncho, quite affordable|
|Cons||Scratchy, particular home-care, collects hair and debris easily||A bit large and bulky||No cross-stitching, not weatherproof||On the small side, not super warm, not particularly technical||Slippery material, thin-feeling, unimpressive durability|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive 100% wool blanket that works well as a mid layer for a bed||Though a bit large, this blanket is seriously cozy and offers solid comfort, warmth, and protection||Despite its unconventional look and feel, this blanket is warm, useful, and impressively affordable||A solid, comfortable blanket for just about any casual use||A super portable and packable blanket that's affordable but lacks some durability|
|Rating Categories||EKTOS Wool||NEMO Puffin||Snugpak Jungle||Kelty Bestie||Horizon Hound Down|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Features & Design (10%)|
|Specs||EKTOS Wool||NEMO Puffin||Snugpak Jungle||Kelty Bestie||Horizon Hound Down|
|Measured Blanket Size||71" x 80"||54" x 78"||62" x 74"||42" x 74"||50" x 76"|
|Compressed Size||14 L||4 L||3.5 L||3.5 L||2.1 L|
|Weather Resistance||none||DWR treatment
|windproof & MicroDiamond
(light water resistance)
|Weight||94 oz||36 oz||26 oz||24 oz||17 oz|
|Stuff Sack||N||Y - zippered||Y - compression||Y - drawstring||Y - roll-top|
|Exterior Material||100% wool||30D nylon micro-ripstop||100% polyester with Paratex antibacterial treatment||75 D polyester taffeta top
190T polyester pungee bottom
|20D ripstop nylon|
|Insulation Material||100% wool||600G Stratofiber (synthetic)||Travelsoft (synthetic - resinated polyester fiber)||9.5 oz Cloudloft (synthetic)||650-fill RDS duck down
|Manufacturer Temp Rating (F)||Not specified||Not specified||45°F||Not specified||Not specified|
|No||Yes - 1 zippered near feet||No||No||No|
|Machine Washable||Yes - front load only||Yes - front load only||Yes - front load only||Yes - front load only||Yes - front load only|
|Available Sizes||One size only||1-person (tested), 2-person||Regular (tested), X-Large||One size only||One size only|
|Additional Features||None||Foot Nook foot box created by three buttons and holes, outwardly curved edges, sewn through in horizontal bars, contrast-colored top edge||None||Softer bottom layer, sewn through boxes hold insulation in place||Can become a poncho, has handles for wrapping around body or hanging, sewn through boxes hold down in place|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ektos Wool blanket is a 100% wool fiber blanket. It comes in a single size and color. 80% and 90% wool options that we didn't test are also available from Ektos, as are several synthetic options.
When we think of a wool blanket, we might think of the word scratchy. The Ektos 100% Wool blanket is made of 100% wool, not a wool-cotton blend like many other "wool" blankets, and is scratchy. It's rather unpleasant against bare skin or even over a very thin shirt or bed sheet. Compared to other wool blankets we tested, this one is exceptionally abrasive. Yet used in a full bed ensemble, over a flannel sheet, we don't notice this and can instead appreciate the comfortable weight and warmth. While Ektos claims this blanket is 66" x 90", ours measured 71" x 80", which is both smaller and a different overall shape. It's barely large enough to use on a queen-sized bed (typically 60" x 80") and is better suited to a full mattress.
As a wool blanket, the strengths of this blanket are different than other camping blankets with their DWR coatings and synthetic or down insulation. Wool is renowned for its ability to retain warmth even when wet, as wool fibers will still trap (warm) air even when they're wet. Still, in our insulation testing, the Ektos proved to be only slightly below average at preventing heat loss compared to the rest. If you were to use this blanket as an insulator against the wind, you'll find it may not be the best option. However, the best intended use of this blanket is as an addition to a bed set-up, whether that's on a blow-up mattress in your tent, a bunk in your RV, or your regular bed at home. And for that purpose, used in conjunction with at least a sheet and likely another layer on top, it works just fine.
In a category of blankets that include options which pack down into tiny bundles or turn into wearable ponchos, the versatility of the Ektos is rather limited. Even compared to other wool blankets we tested, it proves to be unimpressive in its uses and overall durability. It isn't our first choice as a picnic blanket, as it brings home dirt, grass, twigs, sand, and other ground debris. We also don't like it as a furniture cover for pets, as it collects fur like a bad habit and starts losing little balls of wool fibers from critter claws. Its large size and heavy weight also prevent it from being a go-to option for sitting around the campfire, even if it wouldn't pick up all sorts of junk just from touching the ground.
When it comes to durability, you can wash it in your front-loading machine at home, but ours shed an exceptional amount of dye and fuzz for several washes, leaving us to question how many times you could wash and use it before it has thin, see-through patches or even holes in it. For our testing purposes, this blanket is best used as a bed mid-layer; we would treat it gently and wash it infrequently.
Packed size is another metric in which wool blankets just don't have a leg up against the competition. They're naturally heavier and bulkier and don't really compress - though we did try, just to give it a whirl. The Ektos doesn't come with a storage bag, which would keep it clean and neat when not in use. It weighs a mammoth 94 ounces, which is just shy of six pounds! But then again, it's not really made for travel.
Features & Design
The two notable design features of the Ektos are the stitching around all four edges and the ability to wash it at home when you need to; we've already discussed the issues surrounding the home-laundering situation. Though the stitching around all four edges helps in holding the blanket together, the fibers lost when cleaning are from the center of the blanket, and there's no stopping that.
The Ektos is sold for a low price, especially compared to other wool blankets on the market. However, we find its uses (and potentially its lifespan) are rather limited. If you're after a wool blanket to add as a wintertime bed mid-layer and you're able to treat it gently, then this blanket could be a steal. But if you want a rugged blanket you can camp with on the weekends, lay on the couch for the dog, and easily wash without worry, we think you'll be happier spending a little more on a different option.
The Ektos is a straightforward wool blanket whose main draw is its low price. Because it's 100% wool rather than a wool-cotton blend, our testers found it to be scratchy. It's heavy, doesn't come with a storage bag, collects dirt and hair, and is difficult to launder. It's well-suited to be a gently used mid-layer for a bed, but not much else.
— Maggie Brandenburg