Best Camping Blanket of 2020
Best Overall Camping Blanket
The Nemo Puffin is a solid indoor/outdoor blanket that's seriously cozy. The underside is softer than the slippery, swishy top side, making it comfortable on your skin and less likely to slide off your body. It gives the feeling of instant warmth and is thick and puffy. The bottom can be buttoned into a small foot box to keep your toes toasty, and a small hidden pocket on the end can keep colder items, like keys. Slightly bowed outward edges make it easy to cocoon yourself comfortably around the campfire or on the couch. It's also impressively resistant to liquid spills, pet hair, and dirt, and can be easily laundered at home in a front-loading machine.
Though it gives the impression of supreme warmth, it was average in our insulation testing. As a good-sized synthetic blanket, it's also a bit on the large and bulky side. While we're more than happy to bring it to backyard bonfires and car camping excursions, it's not one we'd take on a winter backpacking trip. Though the large zippered stuff sack is easy to fit the blanket back into, it is a bit larger than it needs to be. Of course, storing your blanket uncompressed is better for maintaining its warmth in the long run, so this isn't a terrible issue. At the end of the day, we love using this comfortable, warm, and versatile blanket during just about every indoor and outdoor activity, from winter stargazing to snuggly movie nights.
Read review: Nemo Puffin
Best Bang for the Buck
At first feel, the SnugPak Jungle is almost in a category of its own, and we have grown to like it quite a bit. It has some of the largest single-person dimensions of any model we tested, yet remains impressively light and shockingly packable. It comes with its a stuff sack that's also a compression sack, saving you from needing to buy yet another accessory. It's softer than nearly all the other slick-feeling camping blankets we tested, and though it feels quite thin, it performed the best in our insulation testing. It did a great job of keeping us warm and protects from wind and light precipitation. It can also be washed at home. For the price, we're truly impressed with its performance.
However, it's not nearly as "weatherproof" as it claims to be. Pooled water will soak through multiple layers of the Snugpak if left for a long time, but as long as you're cleaning up your spills right away and not standing out in a downpour, you should be okay. It also has no cross-stitching whatsoever, which means the front and back of the blanket can easily be pulled apart from one another. Though skipping those stitching holes helps keep you warmer, we're not so confident that it's the right move for the longevity of the material inside. It's an excellent option for casual camping, picnics, or even as back up for emergencies, and truly has a lot to offer.
Read review: Snugpak Jungle
Best for Backpacking
Rumpl Down Puffy
The Rumpl Down Puffy is an impressively lightweight down blanket, which sets the bar high for packability. It compresses extremely easily into its roll-top stuff sack, making it simple to justify bringing it just about anywhere that's chilly - from backpacking trips to international travel. It clips easily into a poncho, giving you hands-free warmth to cook dinner in comfort or tailgate for your favorite team. The micro-ripstop material and reinforced seams add durability to this featherweight blanket and do an excellent job repelling spills, rain, dog hair, and dirt. Corner loops let you stake it to the ground if you want to keep your bum dry or hang it up for storage. If you do manage to get it dirtier than you can stand, it's machine washable at home.
With that being said, this is one of the smallest single-person blankets we tested - though additional sizes are available. The material, while protective, is also on the extreme end of slipperiness, and easily slides off laps or sleeping bodies. While we love the poncho option, the single clippable loop leaves your front quite exposed; this is great for getting things done, but hands are still required for the experience of a full wrap. Last season's colors and patterns are frequently on sale in various places, though this blanket is by far one of the most expensive options we tested. If you're after an incredible travel or backpacking blanket that's durable, resistant, and packs down into a tiny package, this is the cover for you.
Read review: Rumpl Down Puffy
Best for Casual Comfort
The Kelty Bestie is a great, non-technical blanket that's a perfect choice for couch lounging or enjoying a crisp summer evening. The very soft underside makes it one of the most comfortable camping blankets to have against your skin, and the most likely to stay put on your lap! Though it won't protect you from a rainstorm, it does a good job holding off spills for the amount of time it takes to run to the kitchen and grab a towel. It's also machine washable for those tough messes (spaghetti night, anyone?). With an easy-to-use stuff sack, the Bestie compresses into a reasonably sized package with a fairly reasonable weight. It wouldn't make the cut for our backpacking weekend but certainly is worth bringing on a fall road trip. It's also one of the least expensive blankets we tested to boot.
If you're searching for a technical blanket or a winter warmer, this is not the best choice for you. It will eventually soak up whatever you drop on it, and almost instantly if splashed across that soft underside. The incredible feeling of the velvety backing is also a bit of a pet hair magnet, though it brushes off reasonably easily. Though it's enough to ward off a slight chill, it performed at the bottom of the pack in our insulation testing. It's also one of the smallest blankets we tested and is best for laps or even children. It's an excellent blanket for every kid in your house, as it's just right for indoor and casual adventures outdoors, is durable enough to withstand minor mishaps, and is cheap enough that every child can have their own. It's also great for adults looking for the same kind of casual usage.
Read review: Kelty Bestie
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is headed up by Senior Review Editor, Maggie Brandenburg. An avid outdoorswoman, she's guided backcountry adventures in all four seasons for over a decade. She's spent a significant part of her life living outside on the trail, on the water, and in the true wilderness. As a global adventurer, she knows what to look for when seeking a piece of gear to bring along, and isn't willing to sacrifice comfort or functionality when staying warm. Living with poor circulation while still adventuring to some of the coldest places around, like the Canadian Rockies, Midwestern plains, and snow-covered Iceland, Maggie has dedicated years of her life to chasing that warm feeling no matter where she is. She also recruits her friends and family to gather opinions and feedback from a wide range of sizes, ages, body types, and personal preferences.
This review began by researching 40+ camping blankets; we then chose the most promising options. We purchased every model to put to the test both in the lab and in the real world. From measuring insulation prowess and wind resistance in the lab to taking each model outside in the wind and snow, we pushed these blankets to their limits. We considered the comfort of their material, size, and weight and poured water on them just to see what would happen. Numerous dogs were also enlisted to test each model's warmth on cold winter days and their ability to withstand teeth and claws during playtime. We treated these blankets worse than we thought any "normal" blanket-lover would, so you don't have to guess about it before you choose your ideal cover.
Related: How We Tested Camping Blankets
Analysis and Test Results
We chose a variety of different camping blankets designed for the outdoors. These range from options that can easily pack into a backpack and those that are bulky enough to stay in the car. To assess each contender, we score each based on five important metrics, including comfort, warmth, versatility, packed size, and features. This article compares and explores the nuances of each to help you find the best for your needs.
Related: Buying Advice for Camping Blankets
Consideration of price is an important one as you don't want to spend an arm and leg on a camping blanket. The models we test are wide in range when it comes to price, but some have better performance than others. A higher price sometimes reflects better performance…but not always. As a result, those that offer excellent performance at a lower price are considered to be a great value.
For example, the Snugpak Jungle scores in the top five and comes at a fraction of the price of high-scoring contenders. The Kelty Bestie is another that isn't the warmest but offers some of the best comfort features we've seen. We also love the price. The Ektos Wool is another that scores at the low end of the spectrum, but offers a variety of uses with its wool construction that extends to use at the beach or on a picnic. If price is a concern, be sure to check out these contenders first before looking at more expensive options.
A blanket that isn't comfortable probably isn't going to be one you'll want to use; thus, we weighted this metric more than any other. We considered fabric feel and weight, blanket dimensions, and coverage for a variety of different sized people while sitting, standing, and lying down. We tested these blankets in various conditions, gathering opinions and input while camping, tailgating, watching movies, and hanging out in the great outdoors.
Our favorite blanket for sheer comfort is the Kelty Bestie. While most camping blankets are made of slippery, swishy material to repel dirt, hair, and water, the Bestie has a soft underside that's pleasant to put right against your skin. This softer side also keeps the blanket on your lap, rather than letting it slide right off with the smallest movement, like some we tested. It's a bit smaller than most, but it has very comfortable dimensions and a good shape for casual use. It's not our top choice for a sleeping blanket or a serious chill, but for hanging out on a crisp evening or napping in a shady hammock, we love how comfortable this blanket is.
The Nemo Puffin is another standout character when it comes to comfort. Though its underbelly isn't quite as t-shirt soft as the Kelty Bestie, it is soft and much better than the slickness of most others we tested (and certainly more comfortable than scratchy wool). It's also one of the thicker blankets of the group, which lends it a very nice overall weight and feel. The optional foot box is another feature that adds to the comfort of this blanket, and it gently hugs your toes wherever you snuggle. It's a great size, as well, and much more of a full-coverage experience for when you truly want to stay toasty.
Also notable for their comfort are the Alps Wavelength and Zefabak Down. Both of these blankets are thick and puffy, which gives an instant feeling of warmth and comfort. Neither of them has an incredibly soft underside, but their overall size and shape help keep them on your lap or around your shoulders. Though they may be considered bulky, if you don't need to travel with your blanket, the extra thickness and slightly larger-than-average size are much appreciated for ease of snuggling.
While a wool blanket next to these super-slick, smooth options may not seem like the most comfortable choice, you might be surprised. Their extra weight is comforting to a lot of people, and not all of them are as scratchy as your mom's ancient wool blanket you still have nightmares about from when you were a child (Anyone else? No? Just us?). The Pendleton Yakima is notable for being a surprisingly comfy wool blanket that's not abrasive to drape across your bare arms and one we enjoyed curling up in with a good book.
The second most important part of a blanket is how well it keeps you warm. We employed several tests to discern which models are better for your temperature than others. We started in the lab, using hot water to test the insulation capabilities of each blanket. Then we took them all out in the real world to see how they perform. We laid on snow, stood in blustery winds, cooked winter camping meals, and nestled into chairs and couches.
Though you'd expect the thickest blankets to do best and many of them are quite warm, absolute thickness is not the only factor that lends insulation and warmth to a blanket. The Snugpak Jungle and Pendleton Yakima are both impressive insulators, especially for their thickness. The Jungle blanket has a small size and relatively thin synthetic insulation but performed well in our insulation testing and out in the field. The Yakima holds its heat in a controlled environment, trapping heat in its wool fibers.
The Alps Wavelength stands out when it comes to warmth. It's filled with thick, puffy synthetic insulation that does an excellent job holding in heat both indoors and out. It also has a pleasant "instantly warm" feel both because of this thickness and because of the fabric that holds it all in place. It does a great job of keeping its loft, even when we laid on it; it quickly became a favorite among our testers when it was truly frigid.
The Nemo Puffin boasts an excellent blend of thick synthetic insulation; it holds in a great deal of heat while also giving the feeling of instant warmth when you throw it across your chilly legs. The slightly outward bowing of the top and bottom makes it even easier to wrap up entirely in this blanket. The Zefabak Down is the thickest down blanket we tested (despite having the same, or lower, listed fill volume). It is thick and lofty and does an excellent job holding in heat when you need it most. It's not quite as nice as the others we've mentioned, as its slippery material is a bit cool against your skin - at least at first.
As is true of many types of gear, a good camping blanket is one you can happily use in many conditions. We tested how each of these models perform in wind, against rain, and in the face of dog claws and rocky grounds. We also did everything from reading books to tailgating to cooking meals (particularly the ones that can be clipped or buttoned to become a poncho) to figure out which ones can really do it all.
While no blanket performed flawlessly in this metric, some performed better than others. The Rumpl Down Puffy is the most versatile option we tested. It did not soak up any water, even after letting it sit with a puddle on top for nearly an hour. It's also one of the most wind-resistant options we tested. Its material has a fine ripstop pattern with reinforced edges and a sturdy feel. On top of that, it clips into a poncho but leaves the front partly open, so you can stir the potatoes or play cornhole with your friends.
The other two blankets we tested (that turn into ponchos) are the Horizon Hound Down and Zefabak Down. They snap all the way down the front; when fully buttoned up, we felt a bit penned in, which could become problematic when you'll inevitably rip the snaps open. When unsnapping the Horizon Hound, our testing model ripped during this exact situation. The Rumpl, on the other hand, features a loop and clip design that is opened by pressing the clip release, so there's no worry of ripping the blanket in your hurry to pull it off.
We also love the Nemo Puffin for its impressive versatility. It also repelled every drop of water we left sitting on it, including on the seams. It's nearly as wind-resistant as the Rumpl Down, and both do an excellent job repelling dirt, debris, and hair. Ripstop material and reinforced edges add to the Puffin's durability. Though it doesn't become a poncho, we love the option to button it up and create a foot box at the bottom. Toes are many people's first body part to get cold, and the foot box is an excellent touch to combat this. You can simply leave it unbuttoned if you're wrapping the blanket around your shoulders.
Many of the camping blankets we tested come with claims about DWR treatment to repel water, wind-blocking technologies, and the power to shed every spec of dirt and hair that come in contact with it. However, not all of them lived up to their claims or our expectations. Models that repelled all spilled water during our testing include the Nemo Puffin, Rumpl Down Puffy, and Horizon Hound Down. The REI Co-op Camp very nearly repelled all of our spillages but did take up a little bit of water at the seams.
Similarly, the Alps Wavelength and Zefabak Down repelled most water, but after the puddle was removed, the top layer of material was damp to the touch. Both the Kelty Bestie and the Snugpak Jungle initially resisted the water but ended up soaking the entire amount through several layers after a few minutes. Thought both wool blankets, the Pendleton Yakima and Ektos Wool, obviously soaked up all the water we put on them, they both maintained a puddle for the amount of time it would take to grab a towel and clean it up.
Depending on what kind of use you're hoping to get out of your camping blanket, you might care about its packed size and portability. We weighed every model we tested. We also measured their sizes in the stuff sacks they come with and crammed each one into a compression sack to see how small we could make them. We also considered the usability of each stuff sack and any features that might add to their versatility.
The obvious frontrunners in this metric are the two smallest down blankets we tested, the Rumpl Down Puffy and Horizon Hound Down. Both of these blankets weigh barely more than a pound and can be squeezed into tiny spaces, making either of them solid contenders for a winter backpacking trip. Both also come with nearly identical stuff sacks that are narrow and thin with a roll-top that lets you compress them to a fairly small size, even without a separate compression sack. This portability is ideal for travel where space is at a premium.
The REI Camp and Kelty Bestie are also solid contenders. Both of these synthetic blankets are relatively lightweight (the REI Camp actually ties for the same weight as the Rumpl Down!) and fit easily into small-ish stuff sacks. Though the Snugpak Jungle is heavier than we'd generally like for a portable option, it's also significantly larger than any other one person camping blanket we tested and is the only one that comes with its own compression sack.
Features & Design
Though we assigned this metric the lowest weight, the features and design elements of each blanket still impact the overall performance. We considered extra features like pockets, loops, and tie-downs, as well as those little things we noticed during testing that don't fall into any other testing area, like warranties and washability.
The Nemo Puffin is the only camping blanket we tested that includes a zippered pocket on the actual blanket. This is an excellent spot for a set of keys, a rock (for weight on a windy day), or even the stuff sack itself, to stop it from being lost. The Rumpl is the only model we tested that has four corner loops for tying or staking down on a windy day or hanging up to dry. The Horizon Hound and REI Camp also both have 1 (REI) or 2 (Horizon Hound) loops for hanging your blanket. The Zefabak includes small pockets on the two corners that end up on the front of your poncho, that can be used to keep your hands warm - as long as you have fairly long arms to reach them!
When it comes to the ability to clean them, each blanket differs as to how you can treat it. All but three we tested can be washed at home in a front-loading washer with a delicate setting and air-dried. Down blankets can have their filling re-fluffed in your home dryer on a gentle, no-heat cycle with a few clean tennis balls. The three blankets that require special care are the Alps Mountaineering (must be washed in a commercial machine), the Zefabak Down (hand-wash, spot treatment only), and the Pendleton Yakima (dry clean only). Probably the most alarming blanket we washed at home is the Ektos Wool blanket, which sheds lint and color like crazy for the first several washes, and we think will probably last longer if you can avoid washing it as much as possible.
There are plenty of camping blankets out there that cover a wide range of how comfortable and warm they are. Some are easier to take care of, and some require special treatment. Some are small enough to take backpacking while others are versatile enough for cold-weather camping or lazy Sundays on the couch. No matter what you want your camping blanket for, we hope that our thorough testing has helped you find the best blankie for your needs.
— Maggie Brandenburg