Horizon Hound Down Review
Cons: Slippery material, thin-feeling, unimpressive durability
Manufacturer: Horizon Hound
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Horizon Hound Down blanket is stuffed with 650-fill RDS (responsible down standard) in an 80% down, 20% feather mixture. It comes in a few colors and one slightly larger, thicker size.
The Horizon Hound is made of 20D ripstop nylon that, like several others we tested, feels quite cool and slippery against your skin. It's so lightweight that it can easily fall off your lap or sleeping body. It does warm up quickly on your body but starts off with that slightly jarring cold feeling. The slippery fabric is also a bit on the "loud" side for a blanket. Five snaps turn this blanket into a poncho that you can wear with all the snaps closed against the cold or a few left open to free your hands for making dinner (or doling out high fives to your fellow adventurers). Measuring 50" x 76", it's a decent single-person sized blanket, though a bit on the small side among the competition. It's perfect for stuffing inside your sleeping bag on a particularly cold night or wrapping around your shoulders during a chilly fall tailgate.
Though it claims to have the highest amount of down filling of the down models we tested, it is by far the thinnest option, fully lofted, which affects comfort and warmth. In our heat loss insulation testing, it performed below average and inconsistently across tests. We think this is likely due to the extra space between layers that may or may not be filled with insulation. This patchy coverage gives erratic warmth and insulation, and presumably will only become more pronounced as the down continues to age over the blanket's life span. Unfortunately, it's not a blanket we'd be willing to rely solely on for any truly cold activity.
The Horizon Hound is treated with a DWR finish that does an excellent job repelling water even when left to soak for prolonged periods. It also does a pretty solid job of blocking wind, though it isn't the most impressive of the bunch. Its wearability and low weight make it a versatile use blanket, from international travel to backyard hammocking. The slippery fabric sheds dirt and pet hair and keeps it cleaner-looking for longer. However, it loses a fair amount of credibility when it comes to durability. The edges and seams aren't particularly impressive or sturdy, appearing sloppy in several places on the one we tested. The snaps that create the poncho also need a fair amount of caution when using them. They're not located on seams or otherwise reinforced and can easily rip through the fabric with regular or rough treatment. In fact, ours did actually rip from normal use of the snaps during our several month testing period. Based on how easily this blanket broke and the lack of attention to detail in the assembly that we observed, we're just not convinced that this blanket is going to last through serious outdoor adventuring.
The shining glory of this blanket can be seen in how impressively lightweight and packable it is. It's the lightest blanket we tested and packs down into the smallest size. Based on this alone, it's a backpacker's dream; however, any durability concerns prevent us from being able to truly recommend it as a blanket that can handle the heavy use associated with backpacking. But if you don't mind taking a gamble on longevity, this 17 ounce blanket can be squeezed down into a space that's hardly larger than two liters, which is pretty impressive in our book! Its stuff sack is also a roll-top bag that can easily be used to help compress contents to fit into small spaces.
Features & Design
Cross-stitching in both horizontal and vertical rows helps keep the down in place, and two "handles" let you hang it up to air out or store the blanket. It is machine washable in a front-loading washer on a delicate setting and can be re-fluffed with clean tennis balls in a dryer with a no heat setting. The Horizon Hound also backs their products with a one year warranty against defects in manufacturing.
Compared to other down models we tested, this one is the cheapest. It offers a decent level of performance for the price, but we aren't confident about its longevity. However if you're ready to be careful with your camping blanket, the price of this option is pretty hard to beat.
We love the impressively small weight and tiny packed size. It's easy to travel with, and a good usable size for outdoor adventures; plus, the poncho snaps are always appreciated. However, we find it to be lacking a few of the creature comforts and durability features we'd like to see. Fortunately, it's one of the lowest prices for a down blanket, making it a decent choice for a little extra layer of warmth and protection.
— Maggie Brandenburg