Up against the latest and greatest technologies of camping blankets, a classic wool blanket may not be the most incredible option in existence. However, the Pendleton Yakima is a great blanket, and our favorite wool model tested. It's a wool-cotton blend that adds integrity and softness and comes in timeless patterns and colors we love. It's warm and more versatile than you'd expect from a wool blanket, and it is easier to keep clean than other wool options (though it does require dry cleaning). It also presents a comfortable cuddling weight.
Pendleton Yakima Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Soft for a wool blanket, warm, comfortable, good colors and designs
Cons: Can't launder at home, pet claws will ball up wool, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Pendleton Yakima is a wool blanket that's 86% wool and 14% cotton. We tested the twin size, but it can also be purchased as a throw, or in queen and king-sized options. It's available in numerous colors and patterns.
Though wool blankets have a (well-deserved) reputation for being scratchy and uncomfortable, Pendleton has been making wool blankets in the US for over a century, and they use a carefully crafted blend of 86% wool over 14% cotton warp fibers. By blending different grades of wool and treating every blanket after it's woven, they add softness and remove the traditional scratch associated with wool blankets. It may not be as silky smooth as a stuffed insulation, polyester, or nylon camping blanket, but the Yakima can be laid over bare skin in relative comfort. The twin size we tested measures 66" x 82", which is an excellent size for a couch cover or (obviously) twin bed blanket. It's also a decent size to carry around camp or wrap it around you as you toast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.
By weaving wool threads over cotton warp yarns, Pendleton creates small pockets inside the Yakima that help trap heat, making this blanket warm. In our insulation testing, it performed near the top of the pack for heat retention. Sitting outdoors or on the couch under this blanket is toasty warm - though any wind will quickly change that.
As a wool blanket up against all the latest technology of packed-insulation camping blankets, the Yakima isn't quite as versatile. Wind can whip right through the blanket, and water will leak through as well. However, one of the upsides of using wool to keep warm is that it will continue to keep you warm even if it is wet, as wool still maintains those heat-trapping pockets even when fairly wet. We don't recommend standing out in a downpour, but if you need a few minutes to get inside as a storm is beginning, you'll manage.
We're impressed with the higher level of versatility the Yakima has compared to other wool blankets we tested. It shakes free of sand, pet hair, and debris much more easily than others, making it a better companion for outdoor use - even as a picnic blanket if you desire. It also works as a couch cover for your pet, though dog claws (which always stick out and catch things, unlike cat claws that retract) will ball up little wool fibers and can shorten the lifespan of your blanket, so we don't recommend using it that way with any regularity.
Wool blankets aren't known for their light weight or ability to be squeezed into small packages, and the Yakima is no exception. It weighs 75 ounces (or just over 4.5 pounds), and though we did our best to compress it, still takes up a good bit of space. That being said, the weight and bulk of a wool blanket just isn't a driving factor in purchasing one. And compared to the other wool blankets we tested, this one is significantly lighter. It also comes in a clear plastic zippered case that can be reused for storage and transport if you decide to bring it with car camping or in the RV - or even just to store it in the closet during summer.
Features & Design
As a wool blanket, there aren't many additional features you can add; it doesn't have any pockets or hooks. We do appreciate the diversity of colors and patterns (and even sizes) that the Yakima can be purchased in. We do think it's important to mention that this is the only blanket we tested that can't be washed with water; dry cleaning is recommended, which is simultaneously a good and bad thing. The obvious downside is that you have to find a dry cleaner, take it there, pick it up, and pay for it every time you want your blanket washed. The upside, though, is that it's a much kinder process for a wool blanket and won't prematurely age the fibers or shrink the blanket - which washing in a standard or commercial washing machine can do.
Yakima blankets aren't cheap. Depending on the size and pattern you decide to go for, they're available in a huge range of prices (and colors and styles and sizes). If you're on the hunt for a camping blanket that you can easily toss in the car and skip town with for the weekend, this one probably isn't going to be worth it for you. However, if you've been secretly (or overtly) coveting a wool blanket and you're wondering if you should take the plunge for a Pendleton, we think you'll love its performance as a wool blanket and appreciate your investment as it lasts for years - or even decades, as others report.
In a category where modern technology has prioritized smaller and lighter, the Yakima seems unimpressive. However, in comparison to other wool blankets, it stands above the crowd. It's lighter and softer, easier to shake free of debris, and offers more versatility, from picnicking to camping to hanging at home. It comes with a hefty price tag, but if you're hankering for a wool blanket, we're impressed by the overall performance and it's well worth the investment.
— Maggie Brandenburg